P&O Cruises and Cunard are extending their suspension of operations up to and including July 31 as a result of the continued impact of COVID-19.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Unfortunately these dates also include the much anticipated Ionafest and we are looking to re-schedule that as soon as possible.
“In the meantime, pending more clarity on the longer term impact of Covid-19 and timing on the world’s return to normality, we are considering the evolving advice as well as potential restrictions in ports of call as we look at how and when we phase our ships back into service.
“We are working hard to make sure that a holiday with P&O Cruises adheres to relevant measures and guidelines to protect everyone on board without compromising our guests’ enjoyment and experience.
“These new stringent measures will be in place as soon as we reintroduce our ships and we will all get used to them in the same way as we got used to airline hand luggage restrictions. They will become the new normal and they will give our guests and crew reassurance and peace of mind.”
All guests with a holiday booked up to and including July 31 this year will automatically receive a 125% Future Cruise Credit (FCC), which can be used for any sailing up to the end of March 2022 for any sailing (subject to availability) with bookings to be made before the end of December 2021.
Ludlow added: “I am pleased to say that in order to give our guests maximum flexibility FCCs can now be used against a second cabin so guests may bring friends or family or else they can upgrade an existing booking. In addition and following feedback, guests can also now gift or transfer the FCC by simply contacting either their travel agent or us, if they booked direct.
“We are seeing strong demand for 2021 and guests looking for a specific date, itinerary or ship should book early as there is limited availability.”
Meanwhile, for the Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, Cunard is also cancelling all sailings that were due to depart up to and including 31 July.
Cunard said for Queen Elizabeth, maintaining a shorter summer season in Alaska would not make these voyages viable, so the cruise line has taken the practical decision to cancel the entire Alaska season and all departures up to and including the 8 September, 2020.
Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said: “These are extraordinary times and this global outbreak continues to challenge Cunard and the travel industry as a whole. We would love nothing more than to bring our fleet back in to service, and give our guests the holidays they deserve and long for, but with the lockdowns and travel restrictions in place around the world, this is simply not possible at this time.”
He added, “We have been sailing for 180 years and we look forward to many more. We will get through these tough times together and look forward to welcoming our guests back on board again when the time is right.”
Cunard will be communicating with all guests, and their travel advisors, who are booked on affected voyages.
During this ‘pause period’, guests who are booked on cancelled voyages will automatically be given a 125% Future Cruise Credit.
This may be used on any sailing before the end of March 2022. This covers all the departures currently on sale.
Guests may now also use their Future Cruise Credit for a second cabin to bring friends or family or to upgrade an existing booking.
Cunard said it will continue to monitor government guidelines and travel restrictions around the world, and this may mean there are further changes to the timing of when each of the ships returns to service.