Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Costa Cruises are the first cruise lines to publicly announce that they will be extending the suspension of operations for further several weeks, amid the expectation that the rest of the industry will follow suit.
With the Coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread globally, with Europe and North America now suffering more cases than the rest of the world combined, it is inevitable that the cruise industry will remain in lay-up.
How long that lasts for is unknown, but Royal, Celebrity and Costa have all announced the end of April to mid-May as the date on which they will return to service. May 12th is the date that Royal Caribbean has set for its Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises brands.
“We are working with our guests to address this disruption to their vacations, and we are genuinely sorry for their inconvenience,” the cruise line said in a statement. “We are also working with our crew to sort out the issues this decision presents for them.”
It’s Alaskan seasons meanwhile will resume at an even later date.
“Because of announced port closures, we expect to return to service for Alaska, Canada and New England sailings July 1, 2020,” the statement added.
Costa Cruises meanwhile had planned to resume operations on April 3rd, but announced this week that it will instead return its ships to service on April 30th.
“Due to the protracted emergency situation for the global pandemic of Covid-19 and the further introduction of containment measures – such as ports closure and restrictions on the movement of people – which do not actually allow to operate, Costa Cruises has decided to extend the voluntary suspension of its cruises until April 30, 2020,” the cruise line said in a statement.
“As previously communicated, the cruises currently underway are ending their current itinerary only to allow guests to disembark and return home,” it added. “Costa Cruises is taking steps to inform travel agents and customers affected by the changes, that they will receive a voucher equal to what the Company has earned, as a form of greater guarantee for travelers.”
The Coronavirus pandemic has been the most disruptive global emergency for the cruise industry in its history, forcing the global suspension of all cruises earlier in the month when the virus first began to impact Europe and the United States, the industry’s two largest markets.