Princess Cruises Pauses Ship Operations for 60 Days Due to Coronavirus — What to Know (Video)
Princess Cruises is putting all sailings on hold for two months as coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world.
As part of the new initiative, the cruise line said it will cancel all upcoming itineraries on its 18 ships from March 12 to May 10 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The news follows two highly publicized quarantines on the cruise line’s ships in California and Japan and days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. State Department warned travelers against getting on a cruise.
“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," Jan Swartz, the president of Princess Cruises, said in a statement provided to Travel + Leisure.
“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,” she added.
Anyone who is currently on a cruise with the company scheduled to end in the next five days will continue on as normal. However, Princess said itineraries that are longer and not previously scheduled to end before March 17 will finish early “at the most convenient location for guests, factoring in operational requirements.”
The cruise line vows to “remain vigilant” while ships are still sailing.
Customers who were set to sail during the temporary shutdown will be able to transfer the money they paid to a future cruise and receive a future cruise credit or request a cash refund on the cruise line’s website. Previously, Princess Cruises offered passengers who sailed up to May 31 up to $200 per cabin in an onboard credit.
The announcement comes after the quarantine of the Grand Princess ship, which was locked down off the coast of California after a passenger who had taken a previous cruise on the same ship passed away from coronavirus. The ship, which was carrying more than 3,500 passengers and crew, docked in Oakland, Calif. earlier this week and began disembarking guests. In total, 21 people —19 crew members and two passengers — were diagnosed with coronavirus on the ship.
As of Tuesday evening, a total of 1,406 people had disembarked the Grand Princess, according to the cruise line.
It also follows the weeks-long quarantine of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan last month, which was locked down after a passenger from Hong Kong contracted the virus.