Viking has announced that it will be suspending all river and ocean cruise operations until May 1, 2020, in response to developments of Covid-19.
In a video message sent to currently booked guests, Viking chairman Torstein Hagen revealed that in recent days, a river guest in Southeast Asia was exposed to the virus while in transit on an international airline. Though she has not yet exhibited symptoms, she and the 28 other guests have been placed in quarantine.
Likewise, ports of call like Venice, Monte Carlo and Bergen have been shut off to cruise ships, while major attractions like the Vatican have also been closed.
“I am writing today because the situation has now become such that operating as a travel company involves significant risks of quarantines or medical detentions, which could diminish the travel experiences for which our guests have been planning,” wrote Hagen.
“Therefore, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations of our river and ocean vessels embarking from March 12 to April 30, 2020 — at which time we believe Viking will be in a better place to provide the experiences our guests expect and deserve. This is a decision we made with a heavy heart, but with present circumstances what they are, we are unable to deliver the high-quality Viking experience for which we are known.”
Affected guests can either request a full refund or postpone their trip and receive a voucher valued at 125 percent of the price paid for their sea voyage.
While Viking has suspended trips, other major cruise companies have modified return policies and implemented stricter screening measures, but many continue to sail.
Princess Cruises also announced Thursday that it would be suspending voyages on its ships worldwide for 60 days.
RELATED VIDEO: Princess suspend global ship operations amid coronavirus spread (provided by KABC-TV)
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