As the global Covid-19 pandemic ramps up, countries are increasingly issuing travel bans and closing their borders.
Cruise holidays have been badly affected, with many countries no longer allowing ships to dock or passengers to disembark for fear they might further enable the spread of coronavirus.
Here are all the cruise lines that have cancelled itineraries so far.
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Viking Cruises was the first major cruise line to announce mass cancellations. All its sailings have been suspended until 1 May.
Guests can request a full refund or a voucher for a future Viking cruise, valued at 125 per cent of the original payment.
Saga, the travel and insurance company for the over-50s, has cancelled all cruises until May 2020.
The brand said its decision was informed by the government’s latest travel advice, which states that people over 70 and those with pre-existing health conditions should avoid cruises after a number of ships around the world were quarantined because of Covid-19 outbreaks onboard.
All cruises are temporarily suspended for six weeks until 1 May. Customers can apply for a full refund or credit for future sailings.
“The health and safety of customers and colleagues is our number one priority,” said a Saga spokesperson.
“We have, therefore, made the decision to temporarily suspend operations of our cruises until 1 May 2020.
“Our customer service teams will be in contact with cruise customers who were due to travel in the next six weeks to offer them either a full refund or a credit for a future departure.”
MSC Cruises has cancelled a number of cruises on eight of its cruise ships.
Cancellations are on itineraries spanning destinations including the Mediterranean, South America and the Caribbean.
All itineraries on board MSC Opera have been cancelled until 26 April, “because of the inability for guests to embark through Italy,” according to MSC.
All cruising in the Gulf region has also been cancelled, following the UAE’s decision to close ports to all passenger ships.
Passengers will be given various options on rebooking or refunds.
Princess Cruises is suspending its global operations for 60 days after two of its ships’ passengers had to be put into quarantine amid the coronavirus pandemic.
All operations will halt until 10 May.
“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,” Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said in a statement.
Passengers who are on cruises now that are scheduled to finish within the next five days will sail as normal; those on cruises scheduled to end after 17 March can expect itineraries to be cut short.
Customers can transfer all money paid to a future cruise booking instead, which will include “generous future cruise credit”.
The Scenic Group
The Scenic Group, comprised of Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours and Emerald Cruises, has announced it will temporarily suspend all river cruise operations until 30 April 2020, as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Glen Moroney, Scenic Group owner, said: “With the news of increasing virus cases in countries around the world, the health and safety of guests and crew is our primary focus. We will continue to ensure they come first and foremost in all our decisions.”
For guests whose river cruise departures are within this period of suspended operations, the Scenic Group is offering the choice of either a Future Travel Credit valued at 125 per cent of the booking, or the option of a refund to the value of the amount paid. Guests choosing a Future Travel Credit will have up to 24 months to travel on a Scenic Group river cruise.
The Walt Disney Company announced that all cruises departing on or after 14 March are suspended until the end of the month. All cast members will be paid during the suspension, the company said.
Richard Branson announced he will push back the launch date of Virgin Voyage’s new cruise ship, Scarlet Lady.
The inaugural sailing for the ship, which was also set to be the first for Branson’s new cruise line, was due to happen in April.
In a joint letter with CEO Tom McAlpin, Branson said they had decided to push Scarlet Lady’s maiden voyage back to 7 August.
For those who rebook, the company has promised a 200 per cent future voyage credit while those looking for their money back will receive a full refund plus 25 per cent in future voyage credit.
Royal Caribbean has cancelled its Jewel of the Seas sailing after two passengers were tested for COVID-19. Although both tested negative, the vessel remained docked in Dubai.
The cruise line has also announced a new policy, saying it will “give guests greater control over their holiday decisions”, allowing customers to cancel cruises as late as two days before departure.
The “Cruise With Confidence” policy allows guests on Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea to cancel up to 48 hours before a sailing. Guests will receive a full credit for their fare, usable on any future sailing of the guest’s choice in 2020 or 2021. The policy applies to both new and existing cruise bookings.
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