Princess Cruises has cancelled its Aussie season until November, and other cruises until December 15, in an announcement that means some itineraries may see no sailings for the rest of the year.
Blaming “continued progression of COVID-19 and related decisions of various government, health authorities, and airlines regarding travel restrictions”, Princess Cruises said it is extending its pause on all sailings in and out of Australia on Majestic Princess, Regal Princess, Sapphire Princess, Sea Princess, and Sun Princess until October 31, 2020.
In Asia, Caribbean, California Coast, Hawaii, Mexico, Panama Canal, South America and Antarctica, Japan, and Tahiti and the South Pacific there will be no Princess cruises until December 15, 2020.
Given the fact that negotiations with health authorities both here and around the world are at an early stage, some commentators are pointing out only a handful of 2020 voyages on Princess ships based in North America, Asia and South America will remain on the books.
Princess’ President Jan Swartz said: “We share in our guests’ disappointment in cancelling these cruises. We look forward to the days when we can return to travel and the happiness it brings to all who cruise.”
Passengers booked on cancelled voyages who have paid Princess in full will have the option to receive a refundable Future Cruise Credit equivalent to 100% of the cruise fare paid plus an additional non-refundable bonus FCC equal to 25% off the cruise fare.
Princess will Double the Deposit, providing a refundable FCC for the money currently on deposit plus a matching bonus FCC that can be used on any voyage through May 1, 2022 for those who haven’t paid in full.
The matching bonus FCC is non-refundable, will not exceed the base cruise fare amount of the currently booked cruise, and will have a minimum value of $100 per person.
To receive the above FCCs, no action is required. Guests can request a full refund for all monies paid on their booking through this online form.
Requests must be received by August 31, 2020 or guests will be registered for the Future Cruise Credit option.
Princess’ sister brands, Carnival Cruise Line and P&O Cruises Australia also both announced that they would extend the cruise pause in Australia until 29 October.
P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said while everyone hoped sailings would resume soon, it had become increasingly clear that more time was needed for society to reinstate many modes of travel and community gatherings.
“The path to society reopening fully is continuing to evolve – and cruising will return when science and public health align and people again feel comfortable to meet. With this in mind, we have reviewed the current end date of our pause in cruise operations,” Mr Myrmell said.
“We will continue to use this time to liaise with authorities, public health experts and others in the industry to develop enhanced public health measures for when the time is right to resume sailing.
“This is by far the most challenging time the travel sector has ever experienced. However, like so many of our loyal guests and partners, we look forward to better times ahead when we can cruise again. We thank everyone for their unswerving loyalty, patience and goodwill.”
Both lines are offering guests full refunds or bonus onboard credit if they choose a future cruise credit.