Princess Cruises announced will temporarily and voluntarily pause all ship operations for 60 days, calling it a proactive response to the unpredictable circumstances evolving from the global spread of COVID-19 and in an abundance of caution.
The company will voluntarily pause global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months (60 days), impacting voyages departing March 12 to May 10.
“Princess Cruises is a global vacation company that serves more than 50,000 guests daily from 70 countries as part of our diverse business, and it is widely known that we have been managing the implications of COVID-19 on two continents,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “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,” added Swartz.
Those currently onboard a cruise that will end in the next five days will continue to sail as expected through the end of the itinerary so that onward travel arrangements are not disrupted. Current voyages that are underway and extend beyond March 17 will be ended at the most convenient location for guests, factoring in operational requirements.
Princess will do everything possible to return each guest home with the greatest amount of care possible, the company said.
For those who are impacted by this business decision, Princess is offering guests the opportunity to transfer 100% of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice. To add a bonus incentive for guests to accept this offer, the company will add an additional generous future cruise credit benefit which can be applied to the cruise 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. The future cruise credit can be used on any voyage departing through May 1, 2022.
Princess will protect travel advisor commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises that were paid in full and for the total amount of the future cruise credits, in recognition of the critical role they play in the cruise line’s business and success.
If the future cruise credit option does not work for some guests, they will be able to complete an electronic form on Princess.com to request a cash refund. Princess asks guests not to call the Reservation Call Center due to the possibility of high call volumes and the potential of long on-hold wait times due to this unprecedented action. Guests and their travel advisors will be sent communications on how to manage cancellations and desired compensation. Information and instructions for requesting a refund are available online at Princess.com
Princess Cruises plans to be back in operation beginning with cruises departing May 11, 2020.