Princess Cruises made the announcement today that all 18 of their cruise ships will be voluntarily closed for two months. This is a voluntary measure the company has taken while coronavirus spreads around the world.
The entire fleet of 18 ships wil be affected, with voyages from today, March 12th until May 10th, cancelled.
President of Princess Cruises Jan Swartz said the company is taking the “bold action” to reassure investors of its commitment to the well-being of its passengers.
In a statement to Express.co.uk, Princess Cruises said: “In proactive response to the unpredictable circumstances evolving from the global spread of COVID-19, Princess Cruises announced that it will voluntarily pause global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months (60 days), covering voyages departing March 12 to May 10.”
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.”
What will happen to those onboard cruises now?
The company statement continued: “Those currently onboard a cruise that will end in the next five days will continue to sail as expected through to the end of the itinerary so that onward travel arrangements are not disrupted.
“Current voyages that are under way and extend beyond March 17 will be ended at the most convenient location for guests, factoring in operational requirements. Princess will do everything possible to return each guest home with the greatest amount of care possible.
“During this time, our operations and medical teams across the fleet will remain vigilant in their care and service for guests and crew onboard.”
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What should those with an upcoming cruise do?
Princess continued: “For those who affected by this business decision, Princess is offering guests the opportunity to transfer 100 percent of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice.
“To add a bonus incentive for guests to accept this offer, the company will add an additional generous future cruise credit benefit which can be applied to the cruise fare or onboard expenses.
“In addition, Princess will honour this offer for those guests who had made final payment and cancelled their booking on or after February 4, 2020. The future cruise credit can be used on any voyage departing through to May 1, 2022.
“If the future cruise credit option does not work for some guests, they will be able to complete an electronic form on Princess.com to request a cash refund.”
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When will Princess Cruises resume?
Princess Cruises concluded: “In a video posted on YouTube, Jan Swartz shares that ‘while this is a difficult business decision, we firmly believe it is the right one and is in alignment with our company’s core values.
“Rest assured the long-serving and dedicated professionals at our company will make best use of this time to prepare Princess Cruises’ fleet of cruise ships for a successful return to operation to serve our guests by delivering an exceptional holiday experience.’
“Princess Cruises plans to be back in operation beginning with cruises departing May 11, 2020.”
Coronavirus is ravaging the travel industry, with the USA closing its borders to those in Europe, and flights to and from Italy and the UK cancelled.
Martin Lewis appeared on Good Morning Britain today to warn holidaymakers of the liimts of travel insurance in this situation.
The money saving expert advised: “Currently, there are few restrictions on UK travellers entering countries, for example Israel has said you can only travel there if you have a place (not a hotel) where you can put yourself in quarantine for a couple of weeks. This is likely to get more common.
“In most cases, sadly you won’t be covered, so it’s important to be looking again at cancelling only if it’s free (if so note in your diary your last free cancellation date and be prepared).
“Of the eight insurers we checked only three said they would cover in these circumstances, as they’d count this as a regulatory authority, two wouldn’t. And again, if you don’t have insurance yet, do it urgently – especially as travel insurers are starting to change and limiting what’s available.”