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US Here’s how to cancel or postpone a cruise due to coronavirus

19:40  13 june  2020
19:40  13 june  2020 Source:   msn.com

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Editor’s note: This post is regularly updated with the latest details of cruise cancellations and cancellation policy changes.

Are you booked on a cruise between now and the end of the year? We wouldn’t blame you if you’re having second thoughts.

With the coronavirus outbreak still raging in many parts of the world, the death toll from the illness mounting and many countries restricting entry to Americans, it surely doesn’t seem like a great time to have an upcoming cruise on the calendar.

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Even if your sailing isn’t scheduled to begin for many months, you’re probably weighing the March advisories from both the U.S. State Department and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that cited an increased risk of infection in a cruise ship environment. You might be thinking it’s simplest to just press pause on cruising until a vaccine for COVID-19 is available.

The good news for those itching to cancel a booking is that it’s easier than you might think — at least for now. Many cruise lines have greatly eased their cancellation policies.

Plus, many lines are proactively canceling departures well into the summer on a rolling basis. In early March, all major lines canceled at least a month’s worth of sailings, but the cancellations soon were extended into May and June and, more recently, as far out as August or beyond at some lines.

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In such cases, cruise lines generally are offering a choice of a full refund (actual cash back) or a credit for a future cruise. In an effort to preserve cash, many lines are offering incentives to get you to choose the latter, including bonus credit and onboard spending money.

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Some things to consider

Neither the State Department nor the CDC have ordered Americans to stop cruising. But they have strongly advised against it — at least until the worst of the coronavirus outbreak has subsided.

The two agencies issued advisories in early March that were very clear in their wording: Americans should not cruise for now. Both cited early evidence that the coronavirus can spread particularly fast on a cruise ship.

“Recent reports of COVID-19 on cruise ships highlight the risk of infection to cruise ship passengers and crew,” said the CDC, which released a list of 21 cruise ships where passengers may have been exposed to coronavirus before lines began shutting down. “Like many other viruses, COVID-19 appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships.”

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Both agencies also warned cruisers that the U.S. government might not be able to evacuate them from foreign countries if they get caught up in a coronavirus-related quarantine situation. The U.S. government evacuated several hundred passengers from a Princess Cruises vessel in Japan, the Diamond Princess, that experienced a coronavirus outbreak in February.

“While the U.S. government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers … repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities,” the State Department said.

Related: The most bizarre cruise story of the year finally has an ending

Flexible cancellation policies

Nearly all major lines started drastically easing cancellation policies in February as the coronavirus outbreak began spreading beyond Asia.

Many major lines now will let you cancel a cruise just a day or two prior to departure for a full refund in the form of a future cruise credit. That’s a huge change from normal policies. At many lines, you’ll normally lose at least part of your money if you cancel a cruise within 90 days of departure. Normally, if you cancel within a few weeks of a sailing, you’ll lose all of your money.

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The new policies are temporary. At some lines, they only apply to sailings in the next few months. At others, the cut-off is far later. Norwegian Cruise Line, for instance, is allowing passengers booked on any voyage departing before Nov. 30 to cancel up to 48 hours before departure without penalty. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit for the full amount they paid. The future cruise credit can be used on any sailing through Dec. 31, 2022.

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

Don’t rush to cancel

If you’re booked on a cruise that isn’t departing for a few months, there’s no need to rush to cancel in many cases. The relaxed cancellation deadlines at many lines mean you can hold off a bit to see how the coronavirus outbreak plays out.

“With the cruise lines loosening their cancellation policies, it really makes sense to wait as long as possible to cancel an upcoming cruise,” said Vicky Garcia, COO and co-owner of Cruise Planners, a large travel agency network. “Our advisers are encouraging their clients to hold off on canceling unless they are just wanting to change their travel plans. Many travelers are choosing close-to-home travel without hesitation.”

Before making a decision, it’s important to closely review your cruise company’s adjusted policy. Many (but not all) lines are posting their revised cancellation policies on their websites. Some have changed them more than once in recent months.

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Related: Bucking the trend, a few small-ship lines are about to restart sailings

If you have questions about canceling, it’s best to call your line directly (or your travel agent, if you’ve booked through one) to discuss your options before making a move.

Note that, in some cases where a ship has been chartered to an outside group for a specialized sailing, such as a music cruise, you’ll fall under the organizer’s cancellation policy and not the policy of the line. In such a case, call your trip organizer first.

Here, a line-by-line guide to cancellation policies as they stand now:

AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways has lifted restrictions to let passengers on any voyage add the line’s cancel for any reason policy, Travel Waiver Plus, to bookings. The policy, which costs $80 to $175, allows passengers to cancel a cruise for any reason up until 24 hours before departure.

Passengers who cancel under the policy receive either a future cruise credit that’s valid for 24 months, or a mix of a future cruise credit and a cash refund. Normally, a Travel Waiver Plus policy only can be booked in conjunction with AmaWaterways’ Cruise Protection Plan and at the time final payment for a cruise is made. The line has lifted that restriction to allow passengers to add the policy to any existing booking up to 48 hours in advance of any trip except those in Africa.

AmaWaterways has canceled all sailings through July 31. Passengers on the canceled sailings will receive a future cruise credit for 115% of the amount they paid. The credit can be applied to any sailing embarking through Dec. 31, 2022. Upon the expiration of the credit on Dec. 31, 2022, passengers unable to use it can ask for an extension or a refund equal to the original amount paid.

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American Cruise Lines

Passengers booked on any voyage departing through Oct. 31 can cancel without penalty up until 24 hours before their trip begins. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit in the amount of 100% of what they paid. The credit must be used by Dec. 31, 2021.

American Cruise Lines hopes to resume limited departures in the Pacific Northwest on June 20, with sailings on the Mississippi River and Alaska returning by July. But most sailings in the coming weeks have been canceled. Passengers on the canceled sailings can choose between a future cruise credit for 125% of the amount they paid or a full refund. Future cruise credits must be used by Dec. 31, 2021.

American Queen Steamboat Company

Passengers can cancel any 2020 trip up to 30 days before sailing or up to June 15, whichever comes first. Standard penalties apply, but penalty amounts will be refunded to customers in the form of a future cruise credit. The credit must be used by the end of 2022.

American Queen Steamboat plans to resume limited operations on the Mississippi River complex on July 20 with a single vessel, American Duchess. The line has canceled sailings on the Mississippi River complex-based American Countess and American Queen through July 15 and has not announced specific restart dates for the vessels. The Pacific Northwest-based American Empress is now scheduled to resume operations on July 6.

Passengers on the canceled sailings can choose between a future cruise credit for 125% of the amount they paid or a full refund. Future cruise credits must be used by the end of 2022.

Avalon Waterways

Passengers on any sailing still scheduled to operate can cancel without penalty up to three days before departure.

Avalon has canceled departures through Aug. 31. Passengers on those sailings will get the amount they paid back in the form of a future cruise credit plus a bonus credit of $200 per person. They can use this credit to switch to a different trip operated by the line or any of its sister tour companies between now and the end of 2022. Avalon is part of the Globus family of brands, which includes the giant tour companies Globus and Cosmos.

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Azamara

Passengers with a reservation on any cruise booked before Aug. 1 can cancel without penalty up until 48 hours before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit in the amount of 100% of what they paid. Future cruise credits must be applied by Dec. 31, 2021 for any voyage through April 30, 2022.

Azamara has canceled departures through July 31. Passengers on canceled sailings can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare paid for the canceled trip. The credit must be applied by Dec. 31, 2021 for any voyage through April 30, 2022.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line

Cruise-only passengers traveling in fewer than 30 days can switch to a new sailing date at no charge. Their fares will remain the same. Cruise-only passengers traveling in more than a month can cancel without penalty or switch to another sailing date. If they switch to another sailing date, they’ll receive a $50 onboard credit. Customers booked for a Cruise & Stay package that includes a stay in the Bahamas also can cancel or delay trips.

Bahamas Paradise plans to resume sailings of Grand Celebration on July 25 and Grand Classica on Oct. 3. Passengers on canceled sailings can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of what they paid for the canceled sailing. The credit must be used by the end of 2021.

Carnival Cruise Line

Passengers booked on any voyage departing before September can postpone the trip without penalty for up to a year. Passengers who postpone will get a future cruise credit in the amount of 100% of the amount they paid that can be applied to the new sailing.

Carnival has canceled most departures through Aug. 31. The exceptions are sailings on eight ships — Carnival Horizon, Carnival Magic, Carnival Sensation, Carnival Dream, Carnival Freedom, Carnival Vista, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Elation — that are scheduled to resume on Aug. 1. Carnival also has canceled all sailings from New York City and San Francisco for the rest of the year as well as all Alaska sailings.

Passengers on the canceled trips can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 100% of what they paid. If they choose the credit, they will get an additional credit of $300 or $600 per cabin, depending on the length of the cruise. Passengers who choose the credit option must book by Dec. 31, 2020 for a voyage departing before Dec. 31, 2022.

Related: Why Carnival is spending millions to remake its oldest ships

Celebrity Cruises

Passengers with a reservation on any cruise booked before Aug. 1 can cancel without penalty up until two days before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit in the amount of 100% of what they paid. Future cruise credits must be used by April 30, 2022.

Celebrity has canceled all departures worldwide through July 31. The line also has canceled all Alaska sailings for the rest of the year as well as fall sailings to Canada and New England, and Hawaii. Passengers on canceled sailings can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare paid for the canceled trip. The credit must be used by April 30, 2022.

Celestyal Cruises

Passengers booked on departures through Dec. 31 can cancel without penalty up to 30 days before travel. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit that can be used for any sailing through Dec. 31, 2022.

Celestyal has canceled sailings through July 30. Passengers on affected sailings will get a future cruise credit equal to 120% of the amount they paid for the canceled trip. They will have until the end of 2021 to apply it to any sailing through 2022. Passengers who don’t use the credit before it expires at the end of 2021 will receive a refund equal to the amount they originally paid.

Crystal Cruises

Passengers booked on any Crystal voyage can cancel without penalty up until seven days before their trip begins. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit for 100% of the amount they paid for the canceled trip. Future cruise credits must be used by the end of 2023.

Crystal has canceled sailings of Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity through Sept. 1 and Oct. 1, respectively. The line also has canceled October sailings to Canada on Crystal Serenity and replaced them with trips out of Miami. Sailings of Crystal Esprit are canceled through Aug. 2, and all river sailings are canceled through Sept. 6. The line also has delayed the debut of its new expedition ship, Crystal Endeavor, until 2021.

Passengers on canceled sailings can get a full refund of their cruise fare plus port charges, taxes, fees and the cost of any air and hotel packages booked through the line. Alternatively, passengers can get a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare they paid, coupled with a refund of port charges, taxes, fees and the cost of air and hotel packages booked through the line. The credit can be applied to any voyage through Dec. 31, 2023.

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Cunard Line

Passengers booked on Cunard voyages that have not yet been canceled will face standard cancellation penalties if they cancel.

Cunard has canceled departures of Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria through Nov. 1. Sailings of Queen Elizabeth have been canceled through Nov. 23. Passengers on canceled sailings can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare paid for the canceled trip. The credit can be applied to any voyage through March 31, 2022, if booked by Dec. 31, 2021.

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Disney Cruise Line

Disney has canceled departures worldwide through the end of July. The line also has canceled all sailings out of Vancouver, B.C., through Sept. 14, including all Alaska sailings. All sailings in Europe are canceled through Oct. 2.

Passengers on canceled sailings can get a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of what they paid for the canceled sailing. Those who choose a credit must use it within 15 months of their original travel date.

Emerald Waterways

Passengers booked on departures through December can cancel without penalty up until 30 days before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit.

Emerald has canceled river and ocean sailings through Aug. 31. Passengers on canceled sailings will get a future cruise credit equal to 110% of the amount they paid for the canceled trip. The credit must be used for a sailing before June 30, 2023. Upon expiration of the credit in 2023, if it hasn’t been used, passengers can request a cash refund.

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Holland America

For bookings made by Aug. 31, passengers on sailings departing through Dec. 31 can cancel without penalty up until 30 days before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit. Future cruise credits must be redeemed by Dec. 31 for used for a cruise in 2020 or 2021.

Holland America has canceled all Europe, Alaska, Canada and New England sailings for the rest of the year. The line also has canceled a 79-day Grand Africa voyage that was scheduled to begin in Boston on Oct. 3 and end in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Also canceled: All sailings out of Vancouver in September and October, and some Hawaii cruises as far out as February 2021.

Holland America has canceled the sailings in several waves, the most recent of which occurred on June 11. Passengers on sailings canceled on June 11 who had paid in full can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare paid for the canceled trip. Those who hadn’t paid in full have the choice of a full refund or a credit worth double the amount they had paid as a deposit. Requests for refunds must be received by July 15. The credits are good for 12 months from the date of issue and must be used for a sailing departing before Dec. 31, 2022.

The refund and credit terms for cruises canceled before June 11 are slightly different.

Lindblad Expeditions

Passengers booked on any 2020 voyage can cancel without penalty up until 24 hours before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit that can be used on any future trip through December 2021. The policy will remain in effect through at least June 30.

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MSC Cruises

Passengers booked on any voyage departing on or before Sept. 30 can cancel without penalty up until 48 hours before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit that must be used by Dec. 31, 2021.

MSC Cruises has canceled all sailings through July 31. The line also has sailings out of New York City scheduled to take place between Sept. 5 and Oct. 22 on MSC Meraviglia, and all cruises on MSC Divina and MSC Armonia from March to October 2021.

Passengers on affected sailings can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare paid for the canceled trip. The credit can be applied to any voyage through Dec. 31, 2021.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Passengers booked on any voyage departing before Nov. 30 can cancel up to 48 hours before departure without penalty. They’ll receive a future cruise credit that can be used through Dec. 31, 2022.

Norwegian has canceled departures through July 31. Passengers on affected sailings have a choice between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare paid for the canceled trip. To receive the refund, passengers have to complete a form on Norwegian’s website within a certain number of days after their trip is canceled. The credit can be applied to any voyage from Oct. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2022.

Oceania Cruises

Passengers on any voyage booked before July 31 can cancel up to 48 hours before departure without penalty. They’ll receive a future cruise credit that can be used through Dec. 31, 2022.

Oceania has canceled departures through July 31. Passengers on affected sailings can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare paid for the canceled trip. The credit can be applied to any voyage through Dec. 31, 2022.

Princess Cruises

Passengers on any Princess Cruises voyage departing through April 30, 2021 can cancel up to 30 days before departure and receive a future cruise credit for any cancellation fees.

Princess has canceled all Europe and Alaska sailings for the rest of the year as well as all 2020 cruises in the Canada and New England region. The line also has canceled Caribbean sailings through Nov. 4. Other cancellations include Japan cruises on Diamond Princess into the fall and Australia cruises on Sapphire Princess, Majestic Princess, Sun Princess and Sea Princess through mid-September. Seven-night roundtrip West Coast cruises on Star Princess out of San Francisco scheduled for September and October also have been canceled.

Princess has canceled the sailings in several waves, the most recent of which occurred on June 3. Passengers on sailings canceled on June 3 who had paid in full can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare paid for the canceled trip. Those who hadn’t paid in full have the choice of a full refund or a credit worth double the amount they had paid as a deposit. Requests for refunds must be received by June 30. The credits are good for any sailing departing before May 1, 2022.

The refund and credit terms for cruises canceled before June 3 are slightly different.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Passengers on any voyage booked before July 31 can cancel up to 15 days before departure without penalty. They’ll receive a future cruise credit that can be used through Dec. 31, 2022.

Regent has canceled departures through July 31. Passengers on affected sailings can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare paid for the canceled trip. The credit can be applied to any voyage through Dec. 31, 2022.

Royal Caribbean

Passengers with a reservation on any cruise booked before Aug. 1 can cancel without penalty up until two days before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit in the amount of 100% of what they paid. Future cruise credits can be used for any open sailing. It must be applied by Dec. 31, 2021 or 12 months from the canceled sailing date, whichever is longer.

Royal Caribbean has canceled most departures through July 31, with the exception of a few July cruises out of China. The line also has canceled all Alaska sailings for the rest of the year. In addition, sailings on Jewel of the Seas scheduled for Aug. 8, 16 and 23 have been canceled along with a sailing on Brilliance of the Seas scheduled for Aug. 21. All August sailings of Explorer of the Seas have been canceled. Voyager of the Seas sailings are canceled through Sept. 30.

Passengers on canceled sailings can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare paid for the canceled trip. The credit must be applied by Dec. 31, 2021 for any voyage through April 30, 2022.

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

Passengers booked on departures through December can cancel without penalty up until 30 days before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit.

Scenic has canceled river sailings through Aug. 31 and ocean voyages through Sept. 30. Passengers on canceled sailings will get a future cruise credit equal to 110% of the amount they paid for the canceled trip. The credit must be used for a sailing before June 30, 2023. Upon expiration of the credit in 2023, if it hasn’t been used, passengers can request a cash refund.

Seabourn

Passengers booked on any cruise departing before Dec. 31 can cancel without penalty up to 30 days before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit valid for 12 months that can be applied to any sailing departing through the end of 2022.

Seabourn has canceled departures through mid-October, with its five ships returning to service on a staggered basis between Oct. 13 and Nov. 20.

Seabourn has canceled sailings in several waves, the latest of which was on May 6. Passengers on sailings canceled on May 6 who have paid in full can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of what they paid. Passengers on sailings who had not paid in full can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of their deposit, plus an onboard credit of $300 per room. The future cruise credit will be valid for 12 months from the date of issue and may be used to book sailings departing through Dec. 31, 2022.

The terms for refunds and credits for passengers on sailings canceled before May 6 are slightly different.

Related: Here’s what to consider if you’re thinking about booking future travel now

Silversea

Passengers booked on any voyage departing before Dec. 31 can cancel without penalty up until two days before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit in the amount of 100% of what they paid. Future cruise credits will be valid for two years.

Silversea has canceled most departures into the fall, with most ships now scheduled to resume operations in September or October. Silversea also has pushed off the debut of two new ships scheduled to debut this year. Silver Moon now is scheduled to debut on Oct. 2. Silver Origin won’t arrive until Aug. 22.

Passengers on canceled sailings can choose between a full refund or a future cruise credit in the amount of 125% of the fare paid for the canceled trip. Future cruise credits will be valid for two years.

Tauck

For passengers booked on sailings that have not been canceled, Tauck is relaxing final payment deadlines and freezing cancellation penalty tier amounts at whatever tier was in effect on June 9. Passengers who cancel a trip will receive a credit for the cancellation penalty amount that can be used for a future trip.

Tauck has canceled departures through Aug. 31. The line has said it would reach out directly to customers to discuss their options.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Passengers booked on any 2020 cruise can cancel without penalty up to 14 days before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit that can be used for any 2020, 2021 or 2022 sailing. The future cruise credit also can be used in 2020, 2021 or 2022 at any of Uniworld’s sister brands including Insight Vacations, Luxury Gold, Trafalgar and African Travel.

Uniworld has canceled departures through July 15. The line says it is contacting passengers on canceled sailings to discuss their options.

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Viking

Passengers can postpone any cruise at any time up until 24 hours before departure with all cancellation fees waived. Passengers will receive a voucher for future travel valid for 24 months that can be used on any Viking cruise (river, ocean or expedition). The policy is applicable for any current booking and new reservations made through June 30.

Viking has canceled departures through the end of August. Passengers on canceled sailings have been given the option of a full refund (if requested promptly) or a credit voucher for a future cruise. The credit voucher will be valued at 125% of the amount passengers paid for the canceled sailing and be good for 24 months.

Virgin Voyages

The maiden voyage of the first Virgin Voyages ship, Scarlet Lady, has been postponed until Oct. 16. The vessel had been scheduled to sail its first “sneak-a-peek” voyage with paying passengers out of Miami on March 26.

Passengers on affected sailings can choose between a full refund or a credit for a future cruise. If they choose the credit, they will get 200% of the amount they paid to apply to a future sailing. Passengers also can get up to $500 in onboard credit if they rebook a sailing before June 30. Those who choose a refund will get a 25% credit toward a future cruise in addition to all their money back.

Windstar Cruises

Passengers booked on any cruise through Dec. 31, 2021, can cancel without penalty up until 15 days before departure. Those who cancel will receive a future cruise credit that must be used by Dec. 31, 2021.

Windstar has canceled all sailings through early September. The line’s three sailing ships — Wind Spirit, Wind Surf and Wind Star — will resume operations in September, November and January 2021, respectively. Its three motor ships — Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride — will restart operations in October, March 2021 and July 2021, respectively. Passengers on affected sailings can get a full refund or a future cruise credit equal to 125% of the amount they paid for the canceled trip. Those who choose a credit will have 24 months to use it.

Additional resources for cruisers during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • Why you shouldn’t expect bargain-basement cruise deals anytime soon
  • Expecting a refund for a canceled cruise? Here’s how long it will take
  • Good news for cruisers worried about strict new boarding rules
  • Some of the year’s hottest new ships could be delayed
  • Stream these 13 movies, television shows to get your cruise ship fix

Featured image courtesy of Princess Cruises.

SPONSORED: While travel is limited right now due to COVID-19, you need your everyday purchases to give you flexible, forever useful cash. In general, TPG gives preference to transferable points and using your points to travel, but on some days, cash is king.

These are the top cash-back cards, and a few others that award transferable points that can be used as cash.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

NFL to give players opt-out option for 2020 season? .
As the NFL prepares for the 2020 season, many players are nervous about how things will unfold for the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, with training camp just a month away, the NFL could be considering a significant step that could shake up the 2020 season. © Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may have to pivot from the full-steam ahead plan the NFL has instituted thus far in the offseason, as the concern over coronavirus increases among players and staff. Entering the week, nearly one-third of NFL teams had at least one player test positive for COVID-19.

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