Princess Cruises has announced that it will voluntarily pause global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months (60 days), covering voyages departing 12 March to 10 May due to the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis.
Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said: “Princess Cruises is a global holiday company that serves more than 50,000 guests daily from 70 countries as part of our diverse business, and it is widely known that we have been managing the implications of COVID-19 on two continents.
“By taking this bold action of voluntarily pausing the operations of our ships, it is our intention to reassure our loyal guests, team members and global stakeholders of our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all who sail with us, as well as those who do business with us, and the countries and communities we visit around the world.”
Those currently on board a cruise that will end in the next five days will continue to sail as expected through to the end of the itinerary so that onward travel arrangements are not disrupted. Current voyages that are under way and extend beyond 17 March will be ended at the most convenient location for guests, factoring in operational requirements. Princess will do everything possible to return each guest home with the greatest amount of care possible. During this time, our operations and medical teams across the fleet will remain vigilant in their care and service for guests and crew onboard.
For those who affected by this business decision, Princess is offering guests the opportunity to transfer 100% of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice. To add a bonus incentive for guests to accept this offer, the company will add an additional generous future cruise credit benefit which can be applied to the cruise fare or onboard expenses. In addition, Princess will honour this offer for those guests who had made final payment and cancelled their booking on or after 4 February, 2020. The future cruise credit can be used on any voyage departing through to 1 May, 2022.
If the future cruise credit option does not work for some guests, they will be able to complete an electronic form on Princess.com to request a cash refund.
In a video posted on YouTube, Jan Swartz shares that “while this is a difficult business decision, we firmly believe it is the right one and is in alignment with our company’s core values. Rest assured the long-serving and dedicated professionals at our company will make best use of this time to prepare Princess Cruises’ fleet of cruise ships for a successful return to operation to serve our guests by delivering an exceptional holiday experience.”
Princess Cruises plans to be back in operation beginning with cruises departing 11 May, 2020.