Princess Cruises has confirmed that its plans to cruise in South America and Antarctica for the first time are going ahead, despite the need to reshuffle ships and itineraries due to the ongoing disruption from the coronavirus pandemic.
Princess Cruises will now be sending Diamond Princess to South America and Antarctica in autumn 2021 and spring 2022, replacing Sapphire Princess on the same deployment from December through March next year.
South America has emerged as a new hotspot for the pandemic, with cases rising rapidly in several countries, especially Brazil, the continent’s primary cruise market. Without a reduction in the spread of the virus, the continent will not be a viable cruise destination, forcing Princess to push back the itineraries.
The new itineraries in the maiden season include:
December 1, 2021 Andes & South America
December 1, 2021 Antarctica, Andes & Cape Horn Grand Adventure
December 19, 2021 Antarctica & Cape Horn
January 4 and 20, 2022 Antarctica & Cape Horn
February 5, 19 and March 5, 2022 Cape Horn & Strait of Magellan
March 5, 2022 Andes & Cape Horn Grand Adventure
March 19, 2022 Andes & South America
Diamond Princess will also sail two new Pacific Crossings to and from Asia in autumn, 2021 and spring,2022 and sail the North Pacific Ocean with either Southeast Asia and Hawaii or Hawaii and Japan as potential destinations.
These sailings will be between Los Angeles and either Singapore or Yokohama (Tokyo), the cruise line said in a statement.
As a result of the change, three Sapphire Princess Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez cruises and three Hawaiian Islands cruises in autumn, 2021 and spring, 2022 will be cancelled. Princess Cruises said it is contacting booked guests to offer a refund or cruise credit.
The global coronavirus situation is evolving constantly, with some countries struggling to bring the pandemic under control, while others, such as New Zealand, which looked to be through the worst, seeing new outbreaks, while previous hotspots, such as Europe, are opening back up to cruising.
Princess says it is monitoring all developments and adapting its onboard health and safety protocols accordingly.
“We are currently enhancing our health and safety protocols with input from global health leaders in light of COVID-19 and assessing how they may impact our future itinerary offerings,” it said in a statement.