Viking Cruises temporarily halts all voyages amid coronavirus pandemic

Sunday, 15 Mar, 2020

The cruise operator Carnival is halting the journeys of all ships in its Princess Cruises line for two months because of the global spread of coronavirus.

In a press release, Princess Cruises said that passengers on a cruise set to end within five days would sail as expected and that voyages underway that are scheduled to conclude after next Tuesday would be ended at "the most convenient location".

"The cruise company, MSC Cruises, has made the decision to keep passengers on board while in port, to ensure their health and safety, in response to potential risk of COVID-19", TasPorts said.

Several of the Italian company's liners have been blocked in recent weeks over suspected or confirmed cases of the coronavirus and it has already halted cruises in the Mediterranean.

Princess Cruises, the cruise liner compelled to halt its worldwide operations after two of its ships confirmed outbreaks of coronavirus on board, has now confirmed a knowledge breach.

The company announced its cruises will be suspended for two months from March 12 to May 10.

Cruise news site www.cruisehive.com said older passengers "will have a much harder time getting on their cruise" based on the restrictions, which initially affect cruises leaving March 13 through March 16.

More than 700 people fell ill and eight died, as the ship became the site of one of the first outbreaks outside of China, The New York Times said.

"The cruise industry has been very proactive in trying to make cruises safer by offering alternative itineraries if that's what their passengers want, and on the hygiene side of things or cruise lines has always been exceptionally high and they're increasing even more".

But, the cruise said, the potentially affected data is not "specific" for each guest. Passengers were then quarantined on the ship.

The company also said it would provide ticket-holders cash refunds or vouchers for future cruises if their voyages are cancelled.

USA states including Nevada and New Mexico have called for their citizens to be allowed to undergo quarantine at home if they test negative.

Some of the Bay Area outbreak, the scientists suggest, could have been fueled by the other Grand Princess passengers who also arrived home on February 21 and unwittingly carried the virus with them.

Once someone has caught the virus it may take between two and 14 days for them to show any symptoms.