Costa, Princess Cruises to halt sailings

Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises, subsidiaries of Carnival Corporation, will be suspending operations in light of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The move comes amid speculations that the economic toll of the virus may sink the US$45 billion cruise industry, which has been weighed down by cancelled sailings, quarantines, travel restrictions and fears of infection.

Costa Cruises suspends cruise operations worldwide

Costa said on Friday (March 13) that it will be cancelling all of its cruises around the world until April 3, marking a broader retreat as the Italian cruise line had previously suspended operations in China and trips departing from its Italian ports.

Several of the company’s liners have been blocked in recent weeks over suspected or confirmed cases of the Covid-19, and it has halted cruises in the Mediterranean.

Costa said that cruises underway will complete to allow passengers to return home, adding that affected customers will be refunded.

A day prior, Princess Cruises said that it will suspend operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months, after it faced quarantines on two coronavirus-stricken ships.

The Grand Princess cruise ship, which had 21 people on board who were infected with the virus, had been quarantined in the San Francisco Bay for days before docking in Oakland on Monday.

Last month, more than 700 passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship tested positive for the virus in what was then the biggest coronavirus cluster outside China. Six of those passengers died.

Princess Cruises said in a statement that it will continue to sail its planned itineraries, while voyages underway that extend beyond March 17 will end at “the most convenient location” for guests to disembark.

The company also said it will provide ticket holders cash refunds or vouchers for future cruises if their voyages are cancelled.

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