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Cruise lines in mass suspension of operations

A number of cruise lines have announced temporary suspensions of operations as the cruise industry takes on the significant challenges presented by coronavirus.

Princess Cruises said it would “voluntarily pause global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months (60 days), impacting voyages departing March 12 to May 10”, in a “proactive response to the unpredictable circumstances evolving from the global spread of COVID-19 and in an abundance of caution”.


“Princess Cruises is a global vacation company that serves more than 50,000 guests daily from 70 countries as part of our diverse business, and it is widely known that we have been managing the implications of COVID-19 on two continents,” Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz said. 


“By taking this bold action of voluntarily pausing the operations of our ships, it is our intention to reassure our loyal guests, team members and global stakeholders of our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all who sail with us, as well as those who do business with us, and the countries and communities we visit around the world.” 


Celestyal Cruises in Mykonos (Image Supplied)


Viking Cruises has also announced it would temporarily suspend river and ocean cruise operations until 1 May 2020. In a letter and video to booked guests, Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said the risks associated with cruising at present “could diminish the travel experiences for which our guests have been planning”.  


“As a private company with strong finances, we do not have to worry about quarterly profit expectations – and that flexibility allows us the ability to do what is best for our guests and our employees, as we have always done,” he said.


“Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations of our river and ocean vessels embarking from 12 March to 30 April 2020 – at which time we believe Viking will be in a better place to provide the experiences our guests expect and deserve.” 


In a statement, Mediterranean cruise specialists Celestyal Cruises said that it would be taking preventative measures and suspending cruise operations until 1 May 2020. 


“As the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently said, every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight against COVID-19 and Celestyal Cruises is following this advice and that of health professionals and regulators around the world, and acting accordingly in order to reduce the risk of quarantine or medical detentions for our guests and crew,” it said.


While other companies like Norwegian Cruise Line and Cunard are still operating, some have released updated cancellation policies that allow booked passengers to cancel cruise holidays at short notice without penalty.


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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 13 March 2020

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