Princess Cruises axes all trips due to virus
Princess Cruises, the cruise line at the centre of recent major coronavirus outbreaks, has announced it is suspending all cruises globally from today.
In a statement released overnight, the premium cruise company announced it will suspend global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months, impacting voyages departing March 12 to May 10.
"Princess Cruises is a global vacation 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," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises.
"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 wellbeing 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," she added.
We have always been dedicated to one truth: the health, safety, & well-being of our guests, teammates, & communities we visit. #PrincessCruises President Jan Swartz shares an update on how our company is upholding this core value during this unprecedented time. pic.twitter.com/5u6pSR62Cb— Princess Cruises (@PrincessCruises) March 12, 2020
Guests currently on a Princess cruise that will end in the next five days will continue and complete their voyages as normal.
But current cruises that are not scheduled to end until after March 17 will be cut short "at the most convenient location for guests, factoring in operational requirements."
Princess is also offering guests the opportunity to transfer 100 per cent of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice.
The announcement comes a day after luxury operator Viking Cruises announced it would be temporarily suspending operations of its river and ocean cruises, for embarkations between March 12 to April 30.
And boutique cruise line, Celestyal, which operates two ships in the Greek Islands and Mediterranean, has announced it is suspending its operations until May 1.
Meanwhile, many other cruise companies have changed their policies by waiving cancellation fees to entice travellers to book.
Princess Cruises have made headlines around the world in recent weeks and months, with coronavirus outbreaks occurring on two of its cruise ships.
Last month, passengers of the Diamond Princess were all quarantined on board the ship for two weeks while it was docked at the Port of Yokohama in Japan. Initially 10 people tested positive to the virus but this number, despite the quarantine efforts, continued to rise into the hundreds.
And last week, thousands of passengers, including four Australians, disembarked from Princess' Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California when a number of passengers and crew testing positive for coronavirus. All passengers have been put into quarantine at different federal government facilities throughout the US.