Coronavirus: Royal Caribbean extends suspension of sailings

Coronavirus: Royal Caribbean extends suspension of sailings

A suspension of sailings by all brands under the Royal Caribbean Cruises umbrella has been extended until the middle of May.

The world’s second-largest cruise company originally paused all global operations on March 14 until April 11.

That date was last night changed to an expected return to service on May 12.

But Alaska, Canada and New England sailings will not resume until July 1 due to port closures.

The group’s global fleet includes Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea Cruises.

The company said: “Given global public health circumstances, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has decided to extend the suspension of sailings of our global fleet.

“We are working with our guests to address this disruption to their vacations, and we are genuinely sorry for their inconvenience.

“We are also working with our crew to sort out the issues this decision presents for them.

“We expect to return to service on May 12, 2020. Because of announced port closures, we expect to return to service for Alaska, Canada and New England sailings July 1.”

P&O Cruises pulls Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme

Image result for Oceana in dubai

P&O Cruises has scrapped its entire Dubai and Arabian Gulf 2019-20 winter programme amid rising fears for British-flagged vessels sailing in the region.

The cruise line’s president Paul Ludlow said it had sought advice from “external authorities” have been monitoring the friction between the West and Iran before announcing the decision.

Last month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz, which lies between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

The majority of the 49 departures between October to next March on Oceana were due to pass through the Strait.

All bookings will be cancelled and guests will be given a full refund.

Ludlow said: “The increased tension in the region highlighted by the attacks on tankers in the strait and the detention of a British-flagged tanker by the Iranian authorities means as a British company flying the Red Ensign it is not advisable for us to maintain our planned Dubai and Arabian Gulf programme this winter season.

“We have therefore taken the unusual step of withdrawing Oceana from the region for the upcoming season.

“Whilst we appreciate our guests will be disappointed, the safety of our guests and crew is absolutely paramount and given our UK status, coupled with the uncertainty in the region, we have had to make this difficult decision.”

Strait of Hormuz

Strait of Hormuz

New itineraries for Oceana are currently being put together and will be put on sale from 9am on August 20.

The line added that the new programme will include ex-Southampton departures to Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands, plus a 35-night pre-Christmas sailing to the Caribbean.

Affected passengers have also been given an exclusive offer on 2020-21 Dubai and Arabian Gulf cruises and well as this season’s Caribbean fly-cruises.

P&O launched its first Arabian Gulf programme this year, basing Oceana in Dubai for a series of fly-cruises to destinations such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Oman from January and April.

P&O Cruises launched a new advert in March starring comic Rob Brydon to promote its 2020-21 Arabian Gulf programme.

Carnival cancels more Galveston cruises

Image result for Galveston cruise port
Galveston Cruise Port.

Carnival Cruise Line has now canceled two cruises from Galveston that it had hoped to offer in a shortened format.

Based on the uncertainty of the port reopening, Carnival said the Aug. 26 sailing of Carnival Freedom and the Aug. 27 departure of Carnival Breeze have been canceled.

Carnival, which had previously canceled the five-day Carnival Valor sailing from Galveston departing Aug. 26, also canceled the next Carnival Valor cruise leaving Aug. 31.

Guests will have a full refund processed to the original form of payment within three weeks, and will receive a 25% future cruise credit if a reservation is made in the next 60 days.

Coast Guard and port officials can’t say with any certainty when the port will reopen, Carnival added, but suggested it won’t be until late this week at the earliest.

The three Carnival ships will make stops in New Orleans during the next two days to let guests disembark if they want to make independent arrangements to return home. They can also wait and sail back to Galveston, Carnival said.