Due to the continued global pandemic outbreak, various government advisories still in force and the lockdown of many countries and ports worldwide, several cruise operators have announced extensions to their operational suspension policies.
For example, Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) has extended the suspension of all the worldwide cruises from 25th May to 30th June, 2020.
There were no reported cases of Covid-19 on any of CMV’s small to medium-sized ships, the company claimed. Passengers and crew have been safely repatriated on board the vessels, returning to their home ports in the UK & Germany.
The company also said that it continues to employ shipboard officers and crew members throughout the suspension period, while the vessels are in layup, many of which are berthed at Tilbury in the UK.
TUI-owned Marella Cruises has announced that it will commence its summer 2020 programme in July 2020, with three of its five ships, as long as it is safe to do so.
In addition, both Holland America Line (HAL) and Princess Cruises announced that they were extending their cruise suspensions through the summer of 2020.
HAL has cancelled all Alaska, Europe and Canada/New England cruises in 2020. In addition, it announced that that the ‘Amsterdam’ will not operate her 79-day Grand Africa voyage, due to depart in October.
In a statement, Princess Cruises said that due to reduced air flight availability, the closure of cruise ports worldwide, and other factors impacting international travel, it would be cancelling all of its sailings to Alaska, the Caribbean and Europe, as well as the Australia and Canada & New England cruises scheduled for this summer.
In addition, Princess has cancelled sailings into the Autumn from Japan, as well as sailings to Hawaii and French Polynesia.
Royal Caribbean International (RCI), has issued a statement saying that while its goal is to resume operations for the majority of the fleet on 12th June it has now also cancelled both the ‘Vision of the Seas’ 13th June, and ‘Anthem of the Seas’ 20th June sailings, as both of these ships have been assisting with the repatriation of crew.
Local travel restrictions and commercial flights have made it extremely challenging to get the crew safely home. RCI said it had been working with partners at Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and the CDC for months to get the crew home, and sailing to their home country was the best option.
MSC Cruises has also announced a further suspension extension fleetwide through 10th July.
Elsewhere, P&O Australia has suspended its sailings through August, while Spanish operator Pullmantur has said sailings will not resume before 3rd July.
Seabourn also announced that it will extend the voluntary pause of global operations for its five cruise ships through October and November.
Meanwhile, Norwegian coastal and expedition cruise company Hurtigruten updated is suspension policy this week.
For example, Norwegian Coastal Voyages operations will be suspended until 16th June.
“We are two months into what is a truly extraordinary situation. In one way or another, the consequences of the pandemic impact us all,” Hurtigruten CEO, Daniel Skjeldam (pictured), explained.
Skjeldam also said that Hurtigruten hoped to gradually restart cruises from mid-June. “There is still a lot of uncertainty in what the next weeks and months will bring. However, we do see international restrictions gradually being lifted. Step by step, the pandemic is being brought under control. Businesses are re-opening and everyday life is slowly getting back to a degree of normality.
“Gradually restarting operations within Norwegian waters are natural first steps towards a normalisation for us. The size and scale of our step-by-step restart is dependent on national and international travel restrictions, government support and other external factors outside of our control. But we are eager to welcome guests on board our ships again,” he added.
Hurtigruten also planned to gradually restart Arctic expedition cruises this summer, according to Skjeldam “in areas where restrictions are lifted – where and when we believe it is safe.
“We are working closely with all relevant authorities, experts and agencies to ensure a safe and sensible restart of our expedition cruises,” Skjeldam said.