Local Australian-based expedition ship operator, Coral Expeditions, gave an update on its vessels, since the cessation of operations.
Foe example, ‘Coral Adventurer’ returned back to Darwin early from Sulawesi and all guests were screened by the Australian Border force and then made their onward journeys. ‘Coral Discoverer’ arrived in Sydney from Tasmania and disembarked guests, while ‘Coral Expeditions I’ is in Cairns, following the termination of her last Great Barrier Reef trip.
“Our ships are small and our guest numbers limited”, Coral Expeditions said. ”We had no Covid-19 incidents on any of our ships. We regret that many guests had to re-arrange their travel plans and were inconvenienced, but we are happy that all are safe and healthy.”
All four ships are now berthed in Cairns. They will continue to be maintained ready for commencement of the expedition sailings when health and regulatory conditions permit.
Coral Expeditions has cancelled all departures up to 31st May. Thanks to a strong financial base, support from the company’s Australian bank as well as the authorities, Coral said that it will help as many staff as possible through the difficult times. Most of the salaried staff remain on the payroll.
Disney Cruise line, has announced that it has cancelled all cruises through 28th April, as well as all ‘Disney Wonder’ departures through the end of June.
“Additionally, the Canadian government has announced that it will not allow any ship with more than 500 passengers to dock at any Canadian port until 1st July, at the earliest. Given that we have not been able to secure an alternate homeport, it is necessary for us to cancel sailings scheduled to embark and/or debark in Vancouver,” the company said.
Costa has also announced the further suspension of its cruises until 30th May, 2020, according to a company statement.
Hurtigruten is to extend its temporary suspension of operations on the Norwegian coastal voyages until 20th May, 2020.
For its expedition cruises, all Hurtigruten cruises will be suspended until 12th May. In addition, the company’s Alaska expedition cruise season will be postponed to July, due to the travel restrictions placed by Canadian authorities.
In an open letter, CEO Daniel Skjeldam, said, “A few weeks ago, we made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend our operations worldwide. Following the latest developments in the coronavirus situation we have decided to continue a temporary suspension of our operations.
“In agreement with the Norwegian Ministry of Transport, we will continue to deploy two of our ships in an amended domestic schedule, bringing critical supplies and goods to local communities that rely on Hurtigruten along the Norwegian coast. These sailings are only for cargo and local passengers,” he said.
In an update, Baltic ropax operator Viking Line said that it will continue to keep operating Baltic Sea services but at a reduced level.
Four of the company’s seven ropaxes will primarily sail with cargo between Finland and Sweden, the Åland Islands and Estonia to ensure security of supply.
Passenger traffic has virtually come to a standstill, following the various authorities’ restrictions. However, cargo demand remains high, the company said.
Windstar is start operating cruises on its current schedule with departures beginning on or after 22nd May, 2020, the company announced.
Andrew Todd, CEO, Windstar Cruises, said: “Due to the impact the pandemic has had on Italy where the ‘Star Breeze’ is currently under renovation, we are cancelling our 2020 Alaska programme.
“We anticipate the ‘Star Breeze’ will leave the Fincantieri shipyard in late July. The ship will spend its summer sailing in the Mediterranean before heading to Australia in the fall,” he said.
Elsewhere, Pullmantur Cruises announced that it will extend its cruise ship operations suspension until 29th May.
“For Pullmantur Cruises, the safety and well-being of its passengers and crew members is always its top priority,” the company said.
Finally, Celestyal Cruises has also extended the suspension of its sailings until 29th June, 2020.