Princess Cruises Suspending Operations For 60 Days

Filed Under: Travel

Arguably cruise lines might just be the hardest hit by the current situation, and one cruise line has just voluntarily temporarily ceased operations.

Princess Cruises suspends operations

Today Princess Cruises, which is owned by Carnival, has announced a voluntary and temporary pause of global ship operations for 60 days, from March 12 through May 10, 2020.

As it’s described, this is being done out of an abundance of caution, as a proactive response to the unpredictable circumstances evolving from the global spread of COVID-19.

Those booked on a canceled cruise can have their deposit transferred to a future cruise with a “generous future cruise credit benefit” for onboard expenses. That can be used for any cruises through May 1, 2022. Alternatively, guests can request a 100% cash refund.

Cruises currently underway that are expected to end in the next five days will continue as expected. Meanwhile those that extend beyond March 17 will be ended at the most convenient location for guests, factoring in operational requirements.

As Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises CEO, describes this move:

“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. 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.

Here’s a video from the CEO:

I chose a bad year to start cruising…

As a kid I used to be obsessed with cruise ships, in the same way I am with planes now. However, that passion quickly changed, and I’ve had zero interest in going on a cruise for nearly two decades now.

However, my mom loves cruising, so a few months ago we agreed to go on a European cruise this coming summer with my mom, on Celebrity Cruises. Go figure we’ve had to pay in full for the cruise, and it’s scheduled for late May, and involves travel to Italy, Spain, etc.

At this point it seems fairly certain we won’t be taking that cruise, though I also think a refund is unlikely.

Celebrity Cruises is offering a “Cruise with Confidence” pledge, where you can cancel your cruise departing through July 31, 2020, as close as 48 hours to departure, and you’ll get a credit towards a future cruise, valid through December 31, 2021. I guess that’s better than nothing, but…

Bottom line

While airlines are being hit hard, I imagine cruise lines are being hit even harder. Personally it seems likely to me that the effects of this will impact cruises much longer than they impact airlines, especially in light of the “quarantined” cruise ships we’ve seen in recent weeks.

It’ll be interesting to see if any other cruise lines also temporarily suspend operations…

Anyone else booked on a cruise, and if so, how are you feeling about it?

  1. Was supposed to depart last Saturday for a 2-wk cruise out of Dubai. Canceled 48 hrs before, and received no future cruise credit. We also have a big family cruise scheduled out of Galveston in mid-May. Taking a “wait & see” attitude for now.

  2. Its at least 2 weeks too late.

    They should have done this voluntarily 2 weeks ago when their customers were dying on a ship. They might have done their industry serious harm by their inactions.

  3. And yet the cruise industry is filled with greed.

    Notable exception for the “cancel 48 hours before the cruise” is charted cruises.

    I’m supposed to be on one next week – there are no solutions for those. Either go and risk your health, or don’t go and lose all your money. No budging, not “cruise if confidence” – more like too bad for you.

  4. I think this will decline the cruise industry on a whole (was already unpopular with younger crowd) and will never fully recover

  5. Princess has been very forthcoming and proactive during this whole ordeal. Unfortunate that they have had the highest profile COVID-19 ships (Diamond and Grand Princess).

    Their guest profile tends to skew older, so I am not surprised by the decision. Many more pax with higher risks than a younger/party cruise line such as Carnival.

    Been on 18 cruises with Princess and won’t hesitate to go again. They may not be top of the line, but consistently deliver a great experience across the board. Their crew members are the best out there. Glad the company is taking measures to help them during this time of unemployment.

  6. Have a Caribbean sailing in about a month on Celebrity. We live in San Diego, so air travel would be required as well. We’re taking a “wait and see” approach. That’s really the most level-headed option for right now.

  7. Family was scheduled to take an Alaskan cruise out of Seattle on Celebrity at the end of June and decided to take advantage of the Celebrity Cruise with Confidence waiver to cancel. Nonrefundable deposits will be emailed in 4-6 weeks in the form of a future cruise credit (like a coupon) valid through December 2021. We’re hardly concerned about COVID-19 ourselves, but the risks of getting it and passing to others, getting denied at ports-of-call, getting quarantined at sea, dealing with extensive health screening precautions, or having United cancel and rebook us on flights 24 hours later to/from SEA (because now they can w/o offering a refund) doesn’t sound like an enjoyable vacation.

  8. I’m supposed to be on a Celebrity cruise in Southeast Asia right now, but obviously that’s not happening now. Rebooked the same cruise for February 2022 when hopefully this will all be over. Depending on how bad things get, some of these cruise lines may not even survive.

    Also booked on a Caribbean cruise in June. We’ll wait and see what happens with that one as it gets closer to the date.

  9. @Ben, I’m curious why you think “At this point it seems fairly certain we won’t be taking that cruise”?

    It seems to me there’s at least an even chance this thing will be waning ten weeks from now, and travel will be on the rise. I may be biased though, because I too will be visiting Italy + Spain then. Maybe it’s wishful thinking….

  10. I’m suppose to take my first cruise trip from Denmark to see fjords in Norway this summer. But now with all the craziness, maybe it’s not such a good idea. If I do go, I’ll probably just stay few nights in Bergen and rent a private boat to see Fjords. Who knows if there are any flights from US to Europe then…?!

  11. I hope this destroys the cruise industry for good. They are monstrous polluters and a cesspool of disease. Worker abuses are a constant. No thank you.

  12. Lucky,

    I wouldn’t give up on the May cruise. Things could change quite a bit by then. Also refund policy may change.

    I’m on a cruise of of Venice in August on Norwegian. First of all that is farther out and more time for things to settle down. But Norwegian also has IMHO the best policy in the cruise industry. I can cancel up until 48 hours before the cruise and use the credit for a future cruise through 12/31/22. Since I have to make the final $9000 payment in April (2 bedroom suite) that policy helped me decide to stay w the cruise and, worst case, use the money for a cruise in 2021.

  13. @BrewerSEA – my thoughts exactly. These ships are massive polluters, the crush of tourism is destroying the soul of many communities, and the employee abuses are rampant. Travel is a wonderful thing but I fail to see the beauty of having only 6-10 hours in port only to return to eat buffet food, drink overpriced booze, and miss the best part of many ports of call – dinner and the nightlife. I was dragged on one cruise by an ex and cringe at the experience years later.

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