March 14 ------ Princess Cruises, a cruise liner operator embroiled in the outbreak of the coronavirus on board its ships, will pause global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months, the company announced. The ‘voluntary’ action was announced amid efforts to curb the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the cruise operator’s operations. As informed, the suspension of operations would be impacting voyages departing from March 12 to May 10. The move comes following the infections of passengers and crew on board the company’s two ships, namely Diamond Princess in Japan and more recently Grand Princess currently disembarking passengers in Oakland, California.
“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,” the company said in a statement. “Princess will do everything possible to return each guest home with the greatest amount of care possible. During this time, our operations and medical teams across the fleet will remain vigilant in their care and service for guests and crew onboard.”
Princess is offering guests the opportunity to transfer 100% of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice, with credit benefits included. Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said that “while this is a difficult business decision, we firmly believe it is the right one and is in alignment with our company’s core values.” In order to weather the storm once the company resumes operations, Princess Cruises said that the best way for its supporters and partners to help the company was to book a cruise on board one of its ships.