Viking cruises axes all holidays until 2021 in new blow for hopeful holidaymakers

The cruise industry has been served another blow following the news that global cruise line Viking is axing all planned sailings until 2021. Amid the ongoing pandemic, the cruise line cited “complicated overseas travel” as its reason for halting holidays.

All sailings are cancelled through December 31, 2020, at which time chairman Torstein Hagen states “we believe the world will be in a better position, and international travel will be less complicated.”

Guests due to sail on suspended trips can claim a full refund but must do so by August 24, 2020.

Alternatively, the cruise line is offering 125 percent future cruise credit to be used towards another holiday.

The credit must be used within 24 months, with both 2021 and 2022 holidays on sale now.

It can also be used across Viking’s holiday offering, including river, ocean and expedition cruises.

In a letter to passengers, the Viking Cruises chairman said: “When we became the first cruise line to temporarily suspend operations at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I would not have imagined that in August we would still not be sailing.”

He continued: “Recent events have shown us that the recovery from this pandemic will be sporadic, and the ability to travel freely across borders remains some time away.

“As keen as we may be to get back to exploring, for now, international travel must wait.”

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He also emphasised the importance of keeping passengers safe when onboard.

However, Mr Hagen showed hope for the future of the industry.

He said: “Every day I am encouraged by the scientific advancements toward COVID-19 therapeutics and a vaccine.”

Cruises with the line have been suspended since March 11.

Viking follows suit of a number of other global providers including P&O and Seabourn who both recently took steps to cancel further holidays amid the ongoing pandemic.

Britain-based P&O Cruises has paused operations until November 12.

They are also cancelling two long cruises due to depart in January 2021.

Both Aurora’s Caribbean & South America Adventure and Arcadia’s World Cruise have been axed.

The cruise line said the move was made in relation to the continued guidance from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advising against cruise holidays.

Similarly, Seabourn made the decision to cancel several of its sailing – some until 2022.

The luxury travel specialist has cancelled cruises onboard Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation are both cancelled until the winter, with restart dates planned for November 25 and December 20 respectively.

Meanwhile, the World Cruise planned for Seabourn Sojourn will now no longer go ahead until 2022.

“We’ve been saying for some time that our resumption of service will come gradually, and this action reflects that discussion.

“The health, safety and well-being of our guests, crew and the people in destinations we visit remain a top priority,” said Josh Leibowitz, president of Seabourn.

Both cruise lines are offering full refunds or credit towards future sailings.

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