P&O Australia has been forced to cancel all cruises until June 15 under government restrictions – but is hoping to get back to sailing on June 16.

Line President Sture Myrmell told his line’s Facebook page: “We are sorry to have to bring you more news today. However we must let you know that the Australian Government has extended its ban on cruise operations until June 15, 2020 as we work together as a nation to slow the spread of coronavirus.

“We are naturally disappointed on your behalf that we must now cancel more cruises to adhere to the extended pause in operations but P&O must continue to support the authorities in their efforts to protect the community’s health and wellbeing.

“We look forward to resuming cruising from June 16 when we can begin normal operations and deliver amazing cruise holidays on our fleet.”

Mr Myrmell added the line would begin explaining options to passengers early next week, and asked passengers to wait for contact rather than calling already over pressed P&O services.

Other lines are expected to follow.

Cunard has announced it has extended its cruise pause a month to May 15 – though there is no explanation as to why this date has been chosen.

The line’s statement says: “Cunard will continue to monitor government guidelines and travel restrictions in ports of call around the world, and this may mean there are further changes to the timing of when each of the ships returns to service.”

Line president Simon Palethorpe said: “It is too soon to know exactly how this situation will evolve.”

Cunard guests who were due to sail between April 11 and May 15 will automatically receive a 125% Future Cruise Credit. This can be redeemed against any new booking, on any voyage sailing before the end of March 2022, providing the booking is made by the end of December 2021.

Carnival has now also moved its resumption to June 15, and has also announced a raft of new hygiene measures.

Says the line’s website: In addition to our existing rigorous daily cleaning regimen and standards, we have established additional sanitation/disinfection/cleaning measures:

  • More frequent sanitising of tables, chairs, menus and other surfaces in restaurants and bars before use.
  • More frequent open deck sanitation of sun loungers, outdoor furniture, mini-golf, sports equipment, handrails, etc.
  • Additional sanitising of frequently hand-touched surfaces in all public areas and lounges, all restaurants, lobbies, elevators, handrails, public phones, counters, public displays, medical centres, gangways, casino chips, games, slot machines, fitness machines, children’s toys, and security screening equipment, among others.
  • Wherever possible, staff is serving guests at food stations, including the Lido buffet and ice cream machines. Where not possible due to layout restrictions or other locations such as condiment set-ups and salsa bars, dedicated personnel are posted to monitor these stations and service and ensure they are cleaned and sanitised in a timely manner. In any self-service areas that remain, serving utensils are replaced on a more frequent basis.
  • Stateroom surfaces and fixtures are thoroughly cleaned up to twice daily with particular attention to bathrooms and surfaces frequently touched. All guest corridors including handrails and stateroom door handles are frequently sanitised. During instances that guests display flu-like symptoms, the stateroom will receive additional deep cleaning.
  • Hand-washing sinks and/or hand sanitising applications are available at the entrances to all dining rooms and the Lido buffet. A roster of guest communications detailing proper hand-washing techniques are visible throughout the ships and reiterated by staff and officers onboard.
  • Additional hand sanitisers/dispensers have been placed in highly trafficked locations where there may not be hand-wash sinks available.
  • The temperature in our washers and dryers has been increased for enhanced disinfection of laundered goods, including bedding, tablecloths, towels, napkins, etc.
  • At night, a deep cleaning and disinfection process is conducted utilising electro-static applications through specialised machines in highly-trafficked public areas (including all restaurants, the fitness centre, spa, lido deck areas, promenade, casino, medical centre, public restrooms, lounges, bars, lobbies, elevators, atrium, youth activity centres, arcade and all crew public areas).

The Government is expected to change its advice on the resumption of cruising shortly.