Princess Cruises has announced it will voluntarily cancel all upcoming trips in response to coronavirus.
The cancellations will affect voyages departing 12 March to 10 May across its entire fleet of 18 ships.
Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said: “Princess Cruises is a global holiday 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.
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“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.”
As coronavirus continues to spread, cruise ships are increasingly seen as hotbeds for the virus.
Cruises are particularly susceptible to the spread of diseases as people from all over the world, many of them elderly, are put into a relatively confined space together.
In response to several outbreaks on cruise ships, the US has advised its citizens not to go on cruise holidays while the UAE has banned cruise ships from its ports.
Princess Cruises said that those already on trips due to end within the next five days will continue their itinerary as planned.
Those on voyages that extend beyond 17 March will see their cruises finishing early.
The company added that any passengers affected by the cancellations will be able to transfer the money paid to a future cruise of their choice and receive a future cruise credit on top, which can be used on Princess vessels until 1 May 2022.
There is also the option for customers to get a full cash refund.
Princess Cruises isn’t the only cruise company taking drastic measures.
Viking Cruises has also announced cancellations of voyages in March and April.
In a statement on its website, the company said: “As of March 11, 2020, Viking is temporarily suspending operations of our river and ocean cruises, for embarkations taking place between March 12 to April 30, 2020. We believe Viking will be in a better place to provide the experiences our guests expect and deserve after this time and plan to resume operations on 1 May, 2020, continuing all further sailings as originally planned.”
Affected customers will received a future cruise voucher worth 125 per cent of the value they paid or a refund of the full amount they paid.
Earlier this year, thousands of passengers were quarantined on the Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess ship.
Passengers on another ship, the Grand Princess, also tested positive for Covid-19.
Caribbean Princess was held at sea while some individuals were tested for the virus.
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