Cruise Lines Suspend Operations Due to Coronavirus

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 10: Passengers disembark from the Princess Cruises Grand Princess cruise as it sits docked in the Port of Oakland on March 10, 2020 in Oakland, California. Passengers are slowly disembarking from the Princess Cruises Grand Princess a day after it docked at the Port of Oakland. …
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Princess Cruises and Viking Cruises announced on Wednesday major delays and suspensions in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“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, president of Princess Cruises, said in the company’s official statement, sent to USA TODAY by spokesperson Negin Kamali.

The voluntary 60-day suspension will not go so far as to refund, but tickets will be transferable to a future trip when cruises resume. Princess will also offer “generous future cruise credit” to sweeten the deal. “Princess will honor this offer for those guests who had made final payment and cancelled their booking on or after February 4, 2020,” the cruise line said. “The future cruise credit can be used on any voyage departing through May 1, 2022.”

Viking Cruises has made a similar announcement but has gone one step further by making the “difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations” for all cruises, beginning on Thursday and going through at least April 30.

“I am writing today because the situation has now become such that operating as a travel company involves significant risks of quarantines or medical detentions, which could diminish the travel experiences for which our guests have been planning,” Viking chairman Torstein Hagen wrote. “As a private company with strong finances, we do not have to worry about quarterly profit expectations – and that flexibility allows us the ability to do what is best for our guests and our employees, as we have always done.”

“This is a decision we made with a heavy heart, but with present circumstances what they are, we are unable to deliver the high-quality Viking experience for which we are known,” Hagen said. “We will stand by our guests, employees and partners in these challenging times and hope that they in turn will stand by us.”

The coronavirus, officially dubbed “COVID-19” by the World Health Organization, has been officially classified as a global pandemic. As states across the nation declare emergencies and look for an appropriate response, President Donald Trump has called for bipartisan unity in efforts to keep America safe and our national economy stable. Despite contact with multiple individuals who later tested positive for the contagion, the POTUS remains optimistic about his personal safety.

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