Princess Cruises suspending all cruises for 60 days in response to coronavirus spread

Princess Cruises is temporarily pausing all of its cruises for 60 days following the coronavirus outbreak on two of its ships – the Diamond Princess and Grand Princess, where 700 and 21 people onboard tested positive for the virus, respectively.

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Princess Cruise lines announced Thursday it is suspending all travel of its 18 cruise chips for two months out of “an abundance of caution.” The pause will impact voyages departing March 12 to May 10, the liner said in a press release. Those currently onboard a cruise due to end in the next five days will continue as per the itinerary. However, any passengers aboard ships with travel planned beyond March 17 will end early.

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“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.

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“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, via press release.

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In a video posted by Princess Cruises, Swartz described the business move as “perhaps the most difficult decision in our history,” noting the “incredible impact it has” on its guests, employees and ports around the world.

The Grand Princess, which had maintained a holding pattern off the coast for days, was carrying multiple people who tested positive for COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The Grand Princess, which had maintained a holding pattern off the coast for days, was carrying multiple people who tested positive for COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Those affected by the pause will be able to transfer the money spent on the canceled cruise to a future cruise through May 1, 2022. Passengers will also receive “an additional generous future cruise credit benefit” to be applied to on-cruise expenses.

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Guests will also be allowed to request a cash refund via the Princess.com website.

The cruise line company plans to be operating normally by May 11.

Previously, the CDC had recommended passengers postpone travel when sick and self-isolate if feeling ill while onboard. For those still on ships, it is advised to wash your hands with soap and water consistently, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and limit interactions with those believed to be sick.