Princess Cruises and Viking River Cruises Temporarily Suspend Cruise Operations Amid COVID-19 Outbreak
Princess Cruises and Viking River Cruises have announced that in light of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus both lines will temporarily suspend all ship operations immediately. Statements made from both Princess and Viking indicated that these were difficult decisions to make and done in the best interest of their guests and crew.
In a statement made on March 12, Princess Cruises announced they will voluntarily pause global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months, impacting voyages departing March 12 to May 10, 2020. Those currently onboard a cruise that will end in the next five days will continue to sail through the end of the itinerary. Current voyages that are underway which extend beyond March 17 will be ended at a convenient location for passengers.
"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,” said Jan Swartz, President of Princess Cruises.
For passengers impacted by this change, Princess will offer guests the opportunity to transfer 100% of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise as well as include a future cruise credit for fare or onboard expenses. In addition, Princess will honor this offer for those guests who had made final payment and cancelled their booking on or after February 4, 2020. If the future cruise credit option does not work for passengers, they will be able to complete an electronic form on the Princess Cruises website to request a cash refund.
On March 11, Viking River Cruises announced in a statement they will temporarily suspend all operations of river and ocean cruises, for embarkations taking place between March 12 through April 30, 2020. All operations will resume on May 1, 2020, continuing all further sailings as originally planned.
“This is a decision we made with a heavy heart, but with present circumstances what they are, we are unable to deliver the high-quality Viking experience for which we are known,” said Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen.
For passengers whose cruise falls within this window of suspended operations, Viking will offer the choice of a Future Cruise Voucher valued at 125% of all monies paid to Viking or a refund equal to the amount paid. Passengers will have 24 months to use their Future Cruise Voucher to make a new reservation on any river, ocean or expedition cruise. For additional flexibility for passengers unable to use this Voucher, Viking will automatically send a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking after the voucher expires.