For at least one major cruise line, the coronavirus pandemic has begun to impact business into next year as well, with Carnival (CCL 4.61%) (CUK 3.91%) shutting down sailings scheduled for the start of 2021. While the company had already delayed resumption of some cruises several months into 2021 or even as far as 2022, these cruises were actually scheduled and booked, then canceled Tuesday, Aug. 25.
The affected sailings fall under the umbrella of Carnival's Princess Cruises brand, and involve two vessels, the Pacific Princess and the Island Princess. The specific voyages are the 2021 World Cruise, which was to embark from the U.S., and the 2021 Circle South America cruise, departing from Australian ports.
Customers booked on either cruise will be automatically reimbursed with a refundable credit amounting to 125% of the original fare they paid when reserving their cabins. Direct refunds are also available. Travel agents who arranged bookings will also be allowed to keep the commissions they received.
Princess Cruises said it is canceling the cruises because of "restrictions and limitations with border and port access determined by government and health authorities and the continued uncertainty of airline travel." Differing health requirements and travel restrictions in various countries are hampering efforts to restart cruises. One solution Carnival is planning for some September 2020 European sailings are "cruises to nowhere," which begin and end in the same country and simply involve sailing around on the ocean.
Earlier this year, Princess saw approximately 800 coronavirus cases on board, while The Washington Post reported that some of its vessels contributed to the virus' swift spread worldwide.