P&O Cruises Australia has today followed a long list of lines in pausing its cruise itineraries for 30 days “following advice from the country’s public officials that mass gatherings should be limited to no more than 500 people”.
Says the line in a statement: “The 30-day pause takes effect from today until P&O’s planned resumption of cruising on April 12. The pause will affect cruises on Pacific Explorer, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria that were scheduled to depart Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide respectively.”
Carnival quickly followed, announcing a pause until April 13 for all five vessels in the combined fleet.
P&O has also offered the most generous refund policy yet for those who find their cruise has been cancelled due to the pause but who choose to rebook – a Future Cruise Credit equal to 200% of the cost of their original cruise. Passengers can get a 100% refund of their cruise fare if they don’t was a cruise credit.
President of P&O Cruises Australia, Sture Myrmell, said the cruise line was confident in its existing public health measures.
“Cancelling or reducing the length of a cruise is the last thing we would ever want to do but these are extraordinary times and we have no hesitation in putting the health and well-being of our guests, crew and the wider community first,” he said.
Mr Myrmell added the responsible course was for P&O to support the efforts of federal and state governments and their senior health experts as they work to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also advised Australians to reconsider their need to travel anywhere in the world.
The pause means:
Pacific Explorer’s scheduled call to Eden tomorrow has been cancelled and the ship will return to Sydney for arrival as planned on Monday.
Pacific Dawn’s cruise from Brisbane today will not proceed.
Pacific Aria currently on a cruise to Tasmania will now return to Adelaide on Monday.
P&O will resume normal cruise operations from 12 April with a 10-night cruise on Pacific Aria from Auckland to the South Pacific (subject to the New Zealand Government’s clearance at that time).
It will be followed two days later (14 April) with Pacific Explorer departing Sydney on a 10-night cruise to the South Pacific. On 18 April, Pacific Dawn will depart Brisbane on a three day Comedy Cruise.
Carnival said in a statement: “While Carnival has not had a diagnosed case linked to our operation we realise this situation is bigger than the cruise industry and we will continue to do our part to support public officials to manage and contain this unprecedented public health challenge. ”
Other lines like Cunard and Ponant have also announced that they will halt operations.
Ponant has also stopped the operations of their entire fleet from March 15, until further notice. All our global teams are also mobilized in order to best manage the cancellation of future cruises, at least until April 19, says Ponant CEO Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée in a letter on the line’s website.
Guests will be contacted personally by Ponant and offered a Future Cruise Credit, valid over a period of 18 months to allow you to reschedule your cruise.
Cunard has also suspended new cruises on its ships until April 11.
”Having reviewed all of our ship operations and industry recommendations, we have decided no new guests or crew will be joining our ships as we suspend operations until April 11, 2020.
“This pause in operations has been done in an abundance of caution to support the global effort to contain the spread of Covid-19.”
All guests impacted directly by this temporary suspension are being contacted regarding their voyage and their options.
Crystal Cruises say that no further changes will be made to their ocean fleet which has announced cancellations earlier.
Crystal Cruises have cancelled sailings on Crystal Serenity which was on a world cruise and Crystal Symphony which was scheduled to sailing Asia out of Singapore.
Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony are set to recommence sailing on April 21 and May 8 respectively.
The line’s yacht Crystal Esprit’s April 10 sailing has also been cancelled.
All guests on these cancelled sailings will receive a 100% refund of the cruise fare paid along with $500 per person for air consideration. Guests will also receive a Future Cruise Credit of 25% of the base cruise fare paid per segment as a gesture of goodwill. The FCC can be used on any of Crystal’s experiences including Ocean, River, Yacht and Expedition for voyages commencing on or before December 31, 2021. Port charges will be refunded to the original form of payment made.