Cruise holidays were severed a fresh blow following the latest update from the Department for Transport (DfT). Furthermore, big-name cruise lines including P&O have further suspended sailings in recent weeks.
In a statement, P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “With hopeful news headlines clearly we do not want to extend our pause in operations any further than absolutely necessary, but given the ever-changing guidance around international travel and the varying regulations in many European ports of call we felt it prudent to cancel these additional dates.
“In addition, as the final payments are due for these cruises very soon we felt it was the right thing to do for our guests.
“We are so sorry to disappoint those who were due to travel but really hope they will re-book for later in the year or for our new programme of 2022 holidays which went on sale earlier this month with strong demand, showing great confidence in cruising in the future.”
Meanwhile, the latest report from the DfT stated: “The cruise sector, with Government support, has spent the last seven months learning lessons from the pandemic and putting in place new protocols and industry guidance to create a COVID-19 safe environment on board.”
It added: “However, since then there has been a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in the UK and abroad.
“Against this context, it was rightly considered that now is not the right time to see the resumption of cruise operations from the UK and the FCDO continues to advise against sea-going cruise travel based on the latest medical advice.”
Earlier in the week, P&O announced the suspension of its cruises until April 2021.
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Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line has proposed a restart date of February 2021.
Passengers are being given the option to rebook onto a future cruise or to receive a refund in full.
Celebrity Cruises, which is part of the Royal Caribbean brand, has put its restart date back until January 1, 2021.
All other sailings are suspended until the end of the year.
Customers whose holidays have been impacted will be offered a 125 percent future cruise credit, but this must be used by December 31, 2021,
Alternatively, they can opt for a full refund.
Internet, drinks and any shore excursion packages purchased in advance will be automatically refunded.
Cunard has extended its operational pause into spring 2021.
The new proposed restart date is March 25, 2021.
Simon Palethorpe, president of Cunard, said: “After very careful consideration, we simply do not feel it would be sensible to start sailing again with our current schedule.”
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line has further suspended sailings, axing its planned festive voyages in December.
The cruise line has set out a new preliminary resumption date of February 2, 2021.
Passengers due to sail affected voyages who have paid their reservation in full will be offered the choice of a cruise credit to be used for a future sailing or a full refund.
Passengers who have not yet paid off their reservations in full will automatically be sent a refund of what the amount they have paid so far.
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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines
Fred Olsen is due to resume sailing in 2021.
Two of its new ships are set to take on an array of itineraries spanning March and April.
Its ship Balmoral is due to sail in February 2021.
Customers who have been impacted by cancellations will receive a future cruise voucher which can be spent on top of any payment already paid.
The voucher is valid for 24 months.
Customers can also move their sailing to a future date with no admin fees or loss of deposit, however, they must give at least two weeks notice. A full refund is also available.
MSC Cruises has already returned to sailing in the Mediterranean.
The MSC Grandiosa resumed operations on August.
A second ship, the Magnifica set off on a 10-day voyage in October.
However, due to an outbreak of coronavirus infections in Europe, it was forced to temporarily pause sailing against until December 18.
Princess Cruises is not due to restart until next year.
It has set out a preliminary date of March 1.
Guests who are booked on cancelled sailings can receive a credit worth 125 of the price they have paid.
All customers can also apply for a full refund.
Royal Caribbean, and all of its brands, are not due to restart sailing until January 2021.
Passengers who are impacted by the suspension will receive a 125 percent credit for a future cruise.
This must be used by December 31, 2021. A full refund is also available.
Saga has proposed a new restart date of April 2021.
Passengers who are due to sail on cancelled cruises are being contacted by the cruise line’s team to discuss their options.
Virgin Voyages was due to make its maiden voyage in 2020, however, dreams were dashed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The cruise line has since cancelled all plans for 2020.
It is likely it will not restart until some time in 2021.
All impacted guests will receive a 200 percent credit for a future voyage.
Sir Richard Branson’s cruise line is also offering up to $500 (£374) in onboard credit for those who rebook holidays before June 30 2021.
Holidaymakers can alternatively claim a 100 percent refund of the voyage fare for an impacted sailing, plus a 25 per cent future voyage credit.