Carnival Cancels Cruises Amid Coronavirus Outbreak, Princess Cruises Line Suspends Operations For Two Months

The ongoing COVID-19 virus outbreak has seen Princess Cruises cancel all voyages across all 18 of its cruise ships for two months, the company announced.

The California-based cruise line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation, has seen two of its cruise ships (Grand Princess and Diamond Princess), which each carried around 3,000 passengers, report cases of the virus since last month.

The cruise line is planning to resume operations with cruises departing on May 11, the company confirmed in a statement sent to Newsweek.

The president of Princess Cruises, Jan Swartz, said in the statement: "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."

"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 said in a video posted on the cruise line's official YouTube channel.

Passengers currently on a cruise that ends in the next five days will continue the rest of their journey to its destination, while cruises departing after March 17 will end at the most convenient location for guests, factoring in operational requirements, the company confirmed.

Affected passengers can "transfer 100% of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice" and the cruise line will offer "additional future cruise credit benefit which can be applied to the cruise fare or onboard expenses," the company said.

"In addition, Princess will honour this offer for those guests who had made final payment and cancelled their booking on or after February 4, 2020. The future cruise credit can be used on any voyage departing through to May 1, 2022. If the future cruise credit option does not work for some guests, they will be able to complete an electronic form on to request a cash refund," the company added.

Grand Princess coronavirus ship California
Medical personnel help load passengers onto buses as they are disembarked from the Grand Princess cruise ship at the Port of Oakland in Oakland, California on March 10, 2020. Getty Images

Princess Cruises operates from 70 countries and serves more than 50,000 guests per day. Its summer 2020 to 2021 schedule includes various cruise itineraries in North America (including California, Alaska, Hawaii, New England region of the U.S., Canada and Mexico), the Caribbean, Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Tahiti, French Polynesia and Antarctica.

This month, the Grand Princess cruise ship which was quarantined off the coast of San Francisco while several aboard were screened for the virus, saw 21 people test positive. The ship was allowed to dock in Oakland this week, where infected patients were transferred to be treated at a hospital in California while Americans who tested negative were sent to various quarantine stations.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of the COVID-19 virus across the world, as of March 12.

Statista Map Coronavirus March 12, 2020
A chart showing the areas affected by COVID-19 across the world as of March 12 at 6 a.m.

Earlier this month, two crew members aboard the Regal Princess, who were transferred from the Grand Princess, also underwent testing for the virus, the results of which were negative.

Last month, the Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined in Japan for two weeks after a passenger from Hong Kong was reported to be infected. At least 46 of the infected people on the ship were Americans, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of the COVID-19 virus across the world as of March 12.

This article has been updated with comment from Princess Cruises.

Statista Map Coronavirus March 12, 2020
This chart shows the number of confirmed cases and deaths from coronavirus in the United States as of March 12 at 6 a.m

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.