2 of the world’s biggest cruise lines extend shutdowns into May
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Cruise giant Royal Caribbean has become the first of the four major cruise lines to suspend operations all the way into May due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Miami-based line said late Tuesday it had cancelled all sailings worldwide through 11 May. Royal Caribbean’s two U.S.-based sister brands, Celebrity Cruises and the smaller Azamara, also extended their shutdowns through 11 May.
Until Tuesday, the three brands only had cancelled sailings through 11 April.
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Nearly all cruise lines around the world suspended operations earlier this month as coronavirus cases surged around the globe. But, initially, most lines said they planned to resume sailing after 30 days. Many had hoped to return to service by April 10 or 11.
While Royal Caribbean is the first of the biggest cruise brands to extend its shutdown into May, a handful of small operators, such as Crystal Cruises and river cruise specialist AmaWaterways, already have extended their shutdowns to the middle or end of May. River line Avalon Waterways has extended its shutdown through the end of June.
In addition, Princess Cruises had suspended all operations through 11 May as of early March.
Royal Caribbean is the world’s biggest cruise line by number of berths, and its announcement will affect hundreds of thousands of travellers with bookings for the second half of April and early May. The brand accounts for nearly one of every five cruises taken worldwide.
Royal Caribbean said passengers on affected sailings could choose between a full refund or a credit for a future cruise in the amount of 125% of what they paid for the cancelled sailing.
For now, the line is saying that mid-May is its new target date for a return to service.
“Our goal is to resume operations for most of our ships on May 12,” the line said in a statement posted on its website.
That said, Royal Caribbean suggested that sailings that include calls in Canada, such as Alaska cruises, could be shut down for longer. It noted Canadian ports have been ordered to turn away cruise ships through 1 July.
Royal Caribbean also noted that Singapore will remain closed to cruise ships through May, which could have an impact on the resumption of sailings in that region.
With travel restrictions around the globe expected to remain in place for many weeks, it’s likely that more cruise lines will follow Royal Caribbean soon in extending their shutdowns.
Here, a look at the current status of operations at major cruise brands:
AmaWaterways has cancelled all sailings through 31 May.
American Cruise Lines has cancelled all sailings through 30 April.
Avalon Waterways has cancelled all sailings through 30 June.
Azamara has cancelled all sailings through 11 May.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has cancelled all sailings through 8 April.
Carnival Cruise Line has cancelled all sailings through 9 April.
Celebrity Cruises has cancelled all sailings through 11 May.
Celestyal Cruises has cancelled all sailings through the end of April.
Cunard Line has cancelled all sailings through 11 April.
Crystal Cruises has cancelled all river cruise departures through 25 April as well as Crystal Esprit’s 10 April and 26 April sailings. Sailings on Crystal’s two larger ocean ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, are cancelled through 3 May and 18 May, respectively.
Disney Cruise Line has cancelled all sailings through 12 April.
Emerald Waterways has cancelled all sailings through 30 April.
Holland America has cancelled all sailings through 14 April.
MSC Cruises has cancelled all sailings through 29 April.
Norwegian Cruise Line has cancelled all sailings through 11 April.
Oceania Cruises has cancelled all sailings through 11 April.
Princess Cruises has cancelled all sailings through 11 May.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises has cancelled all sailings through 11 April.
Royal Caribbean has cancelled all sailings through 11 May.
Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours has cancelled all sailings through 30 April.
Seabourn has cancelled all sailings through 14 April.
Silversea has cancelled all sailings through 14 April.
Viking has cancelled all sailings through the end of April.
Featured image courtesy of Royal Caribbean.