The boss of P&O Cruises has pledged new technology and resources to speed up the payment of refunds for cancelled cruises.
President Paul Ludlow took to social media to outline measures the company is making to speed up the refund process.
The Facebook posting, which came after parent company Carnival UK confirmed staff consultation on redundancies after a pause in operations, had attracted 1,700 views as of Thursday morning.
Ludlow said he was “very aware of how imperative it is that those of you who opted for a refund, instead of an enhanced Future Cruise Credit, receive your money back as swiftly as possible”.
He added: “We are proud to be a travel company which is able to offer refunds but the impact of Covid-19 upon our business, your businesses, and all of our lives has been devastating, and therefore the complexity and scale of this task has been unprecedented for us.
“At P&O Cruises, we have had to adapt our ways of working very quickly as we set up new systems and all our colleagues began working from home.
“I understand that some of you see us as a big business ‘holding on to your money’ as some of our guests have been commenting publicly, but I assure you I am very aware of the financial constraints everyone is under at the moment and we are not delaying this intentionally.”
The first cruises were cancelled due to Covid-19 in the middle of March “and whilst we expected to process the first refunds sooner, we revised that to ‘up to 60 days’ when we realised the impact the pandemic was having on our wider business and teams,” Ludlow said.
“I know that ‘up to 60 days’ is not ideal and it is certainly not the service you would normally expect from us but sadly ‘normal’ has taken on a new meaning.
“In the past few weeks, despite the challenges, we have been able to put new technology and systems and also an additional resource in place which will result in more refunds being processed more quickly and I hope this will improve the situation daily. We will also be contacting all of you who have requested a refund.”
The line’s systems are also being amended to allow enhanced 125% FCCs to be able to be redeemed online without the need to call, with more details expected at the end of May.
Customers now have until the end of December 2021 to put their FCC against a booking for any holiday on sale during that period.
FCCs may now be used to upgrade or for a second cabin for any booking in 2021 or 2022 departure period currently on sale and may also be gifted or transferred to someone else.
“This option too will apply to further out departures as and when they go on sale, until as stated above, the end of December 2021,” Ludlow said.