Cruise lines announce suspensions of sailings in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Royal Caribbean Cruises on Friday announced that it is suspending cruising in the United States for 30 days in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

"We understand the gravity of the public health crisis confronting the country. And this is our part to play," the company said in a statement.

Beginning at midnight on Friday, Royal Caribbean will be pausing the fleet’s U.S. sailings.  They are reaching out to our guests to help them work through disruption to their vacations.

"We are truly sorry for their inconvenience," Royal Caribbean said.

The company is also communicating with crews to resolve issues the decision presents for them.

"We know this adds great stress to our guests, employees, and crew, and we are working to minimize the disruption. Our business is providing great vacations and creating great memories. We look forward to getting back to work as soon as we can."

Read more from Royal Caribbean about the response to the COVID-19 pandemic on their website.

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Carnival Cruise Line is pausing operations immediately across its fleet of ships based in North America and will resume them on Friday, April 10, the company said on Friday evening.  All ships currently at sea will continue their voyages and return to their homeports as scheduled.

"Throughout this COVID-19 situation that has now turned into a global pandemic, we have implemented higher and higher levels of screening, monitoring and sanitation protocols to protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve. While Carnival has not had a diagnosed case linked to our operation we realize this situation is bigger than the cruise industry and we will continue to do our part to support public officials to manage and contain this unprecedented public health challenge," the company said in a statement.

Carnival says it will be contacting booked guests directly regarding their cruise and their options. 

Norwegian Cruise Line decided after collaboration with federal officials to voluntarily suspend cruise voyages across our fleet, effective immediately. This action is in effect for voyages with embarkation dates from March 13 to April 11, 2020.  One of those sailings was supposed to depart from Port Canaveral, where passengers were asked to disembark after boarding. 

"As I have said many times before, the health, safety, and well-being of our guests and crew is our highest priority. While we have not had any confirmed cases across our 17-ship fleet and are taking this measure in an abundance of caution, we felt it necessary to do our part. Working closely and in partnership with local, state, federal and global agencies, we are committed to taking all appropriate steps and actions to combat the spread of COVID-19," said Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Harry Sommer.

The full letter from Sommer and information about future bookings and refunds can be found on Norwegian's website.

We will plan to recommence and operate with embarkations beginning April 12, 2020.

Disney Cruise Line on Thursday decided to suspend all new departures beginning Saturday, March 14, 2020, through the end of the month. This precautionary measure applies to all four of Disney’s cruise ships.

The Disney Dream departed on a three-night cruise from Port Canaveral as scheduled on Friday and will return to Port Canaveral on Monday, March 16. The Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic will return to port on Saturday, March 14. The Disney Wonder, which is currently in the midst of a westbound Panama Canal cruise, will continue on its scheduled itinerary, with guests disembarking in San Diego on Friday, March 20.

Disney Cruise Line will offer guests affected by this decision a future cruise credit or a full refund, the details of which will be provided directly to them. 

Read more about Disney Cruise Line's coronavirus response and cancelation policy updates on its website.

Princess Cruises announced on Thursday that it will voluntarily pause global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months (60 days), impacting voyages departing March 12 to May 10.

For those who are impacted by this business decision, Princess is offering guests the opportunity to transfer 100% of the money paid for their canceled cruise to a future cruise of their choice. To add a bonus incentive for guests to accept this offer, the company will add an additional generous future cruise credit benefit which can be applied to the cruise fare. In addition, Princess will honor this offer for those guests who had made the final payment and canceled their booking on or after February 4, 2020. The future cruise credit can be used on any voyage departing through May 1, 2022.

Read more about Princess Cruises' coronavirus response and cancelation policy updates on its website.

This story was written out of Lake Mary, Florida.