In what it calls a “proactive response to the unpredictable circumstances evolving from the global spread of COVID-19,” Carnival Corporation’s Princess Cruises brand says it will voluntarily pause global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months (60 days), impacting voyages departing March 12 to May 10.
“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. “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.”
The “implications of COVID-19” that Princess has been “managing on two continents” are, of course, the quarantining of the Diamond Princess in Japan and the holding of the Grand Princess off San Francisco for days until passengers could be disembarked in Oakland to go to either hospital or shoreside quarantine.
Princess says that 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. Princess says it will do everything possible to return each guest home with the greatest amount of care possible. During this time, it says, “our operations and medical teams across the fleet will remain vigilant in their care and service for guests and crew onboard.”
In a video posted on YouTube, Jan Swartz says 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.” She also explains the various cruise credits and refunds being offered passengers affected by the suspension of operations.
Princess Cruises plans to be back in operation beginning with cruises departing May 11, 2020.