Princess Cruise Line has voluntarily paused voyages aboard all 18 of its vessels for the next two months amid the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, March 12, the cruise line owned by Carnival announced its “proactive response” to COVID-19 and chose to suspend all cruises in an “abundance of caution” for the next 60 days, effective immediately.
“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,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises.
The news comes just days after the Grand Princess cruise ship docked in Oakland, California. The ship, carrying approximately 3,500 passengers and crew from 24 different states and 54 different countries, had 21 confirmed cases of coronavirus onboard and was forced to remain out in open waters — in quarantine — for nearly two weeks following a 15-day Hawaii cruise.
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After disembarking, many sick passengers were taken to nearby hospitals. Other passengers were taken to various locations by bus where they will remain in quarantine. On Sunday, authorities said that California residents would be quarantined for 14 days at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield and Miramar Air Station in San Diego. Passengers from other states were to spend two weeks at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas or Dobbins Air Force Base in Georgia. Foreign passengers were sent home to their respective countries.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, an elderly passenger, who was on the ship from February 11 through February 21, died after he was diagnosed with coronavirus.
At this time, other major lines — including Disney, Norwegian, Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean — have not stopped cruising. While some itineraries have been altered (Norwegian is not cruising in Asia, for instance), the companies have taken extra sanitary measures to ensure the cleanliness of the ships. On Norwegian, for example, passengers have reported that there are servers at the buffets and additional hand-cleansing has been encouraged.
At this time, just about every cruise line has offered a “peace of mind” deal in which travelers are able to cancel their upcoming cruise to receive a full credit to reschedule at a later date. Cruise line companies continue to monitor the situation and will likely take further action if deemed necessary.