Operations suspended across cruise industry in ‘extraordinary times’

A number of major cruise operators have announced they are cancelling cruises as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

P&O Cruises Australia has suspended operations for 30 days from Saturday affecting cruises by Pacific Explorer, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria. The company plans to resume operations on April 12.

“Cancelling or reducing the length of a cruise is the last thing we would ever want to do but these are extraordinary times and we have no hesitation in putting the health and well-being of our guests, crew and the wider community first,” P&O Cruises Australia president Sture Myrmell said.

The move came ahead of Australia banning ban cruise ships from foreign ports and New Zealand banning all cruise ships until June 30.

Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Seabourn have also suspended cruises for 30 days, while Cunard has suspended its North American cruises. Princess Cruises also announced a global suspension for 60 days.

Other international cruise companies that have suspended operations include Windstar, Disney and Viking. Royal Caribbean has suspended all US cruises, while Richard Branson’s Virgin Cruises also announced it would suspend the inaugural season of its Scarlett Lady.

“These are unprecedented times, and while no guests or crew have tested positive for COVID-19 on any of our ships, we must take a leadership position as a global citizen and ensure that we are doing everything we can to help stabilize the situation,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line.

“We know this decision will be disappointing and also inconvenience guests currently in transit, and for that we sincerely apologise. All of us at Holland America Line are fully committed to supporting all our guests through this change.

“We look forward to welcoming our guests back on board soon.”