Coronavirus: Cruise companies have started cancelling 2021 holidays
Smaller, charter cruise firms were among the first to start cancelling 2021 sailings last month but now bigger lines have joined their ranks.
Seabourn, the ultra-luxury line owned by the Carnival Corporation has cancelled upcoming sailings on three of its vessels.
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Trips on Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will be cancelled up to 25 November 2020 and 20 December 2020 respectively. But trips on Seabourn Sojourn, which offers the company's World Cruise experience, will be cancelled until 24 May 2021.
The company said that "the decision to cancel additional voyages is a proactive action to deal with the circumstances continuing to evolve from the global response to the COVID-19 situation".
Josh Leibowitz, president of Seabourn, said: “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.
“Like many who watch the travel industry, we are encouraged by the signs emerging around the world that point to travel’s progress toward return. When our expert science and medical advisors and our destinations support the ability to resume travel on Seabourn, we’ll be ready.”
Guests on affected sailings will be refunded, with the exception of those who have booked the World Cruise experience, which will be postponed until 2022.
UK based P&O cruises, which is also owned by Carnival Corporation, has extended its cancellations as well.
All of its trips will be cancelled up to 12 November 2020. However, Aurora’s Caribbean and South America Adventure and Arcadia’s World Cruise holidays, which are longer itineraries, have been cancelled up to March 2021.
In a statement, the company said: "We have acknowledged the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance and extended our pause in operations by a further month. It is clear that whilst the guidance is in place, it’s not advisable for us to resume sailing."
Affected customers will be offered refunds.
The FCO continues to advise against travelling on cruises, although several lines have restarted or are restarting holidays.
Last week, Hurtigruten, the Norwegian shipping line, was forced to stop expedition cruises after 36 crew members and “several guests” aboard the Roald Amundsen tested positive for Covid-19.
The firm’s chief executive, Daniel Skjeldam, said: “The safety and well-being of our guests and crew is Hurtigruten’s number one priority.
“We are now focusing all available efforts in taking care of our guests and colleagues. We are working closely with the Norwegian national and local health authorities for follow-up, information, further testing and infection-tracking.
“In light of the recent increase in new cases of Covid-19 globally, the only responsible choice is to suspend all expedition sailings until we are absolutely confident we can carry out our operations in line with all requirements from the authorities and with the even stricter requirements we have set for ourselves.”
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