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Can a Gay Cruise Keep 5,500 People Safe Amid Covid?

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Out of the 2,700 rooms sold, Mr. Campbell said only 35 have been canceled since Jan. 1.

For guests who cannot travel because of government restrictions or lockdowns, Atlantis is showing more flexibility and issuing credits for future cruises, Mr. Campbell said. Because of the fast-changing circumstances of the pandemic, he said, the company is approaching cancellation requests on a case-by-case basis and trying to accommodate as many people as possible.

“We are here to take care of people and we are doing our best,” he said. “But if someone comes to us and just says they want their money back, because they don’t feel comfortable going on the cruise, then we recommend that they take out ‘cancel for any reason’ travel insurance.”

Since restarting operations in the United States in June, many cruise lines and tour operators have adopted flexible cancellation policies, offering credit or refunds to customers who want to make itinerary changes because of the coronavirus.

Before the pandemic, Atlantic Events hosted more than 25,000 guests each year, organizing specialty gay and lesbian events on cruise ships and resorts around the world. Last year it was forced to cancel or postpone several events, including its 30th anniversary cruise.

“We had almost two years with no income, and we are a tiny self-financed company. It was a huge challenge to survive,” Mr. Campbell said.

While the company does not offer refunds, it says that the health and safety of its guests is a top priority and it will be enforcing Royal Caribbean’s health and safety protocols, which includes a mask mandate indoors except while eating and drinking and in crowded spaces outdoors. Royal Caribbean officials say that while the Omicron variant has driven up cases on board its ships in recent weeks, most infections have been mild and have not resulted in severe illness. Still, with a growing number of crew members and passengers contracting the virus, the cruise line, like other cruise companies, has canceled several voyages this month in what it said was “an abundance of caution” as a result of “ongoing Covid-related circumstances.”

Passengers booked on the Atlantis cruise are closely watching the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship, which was chartered by another L.G.B.T travel company this week for a seven-night Caribbean cruise. The capacity for that ship is much smaller, at 2,218 passengers, but coronavirus cases have been reported to the C.D.C. and reached their threshold for an investigation.



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