In yet another blow for the beleaguered cruise liner industry, well-known UK-based P&O Cruises has announced that there will be no sailings until early 2021.
The company had been planning to resume at least some of its cruises to the Caribbean in November, but now that is off the table.
Longer voyages were already cancelled
P&O had previously said it would cancel longer voyages, including a round-the-world trip originally scheduled to leave from Southampton in the UK in January 2021.
In a statement, the company said evolving restrictions on travel from the UK made further cancellations necessary. Its President, Paul Ludlow, said it was monitoring the situation closely and would reintroduce cruises as and when feasible.
He added that P&O is collaborating with medical experts and the UK government on new health measures to be introduced on cruise ships when they begin sailing again. “We cannot wait for restrictions to ease, borders to open and for us to once again be able to set sail for a new beginning,” Ludlow said.
P&O and Cunard owned by Carnival
Passengers who have bookings on cancelled cruises will be notified and will receive a full refund or a credit worth 125% of their booking for a future cruise.
P&O is owned by the Carnival Group, which also owns the Cunard cruise brand.
Earlier this week Carnival’s latest quarterly financial results showed a $3-billion loss as a result of the suspension of almost all cruise liner activity due to the pandemic.
Colossal blow for the image of cruising
“The image of cruising took a colossal blow when passengers on the coronavirus-struck Diamond Princess were confined to their cabins in the early days of the pandemic, while another Carnival boat, the Ruby Princess, is believed to have been a major factor in the spread of COVID-19 to Australia,” the Guardian newspaper reported.
“Having put six ships up for sale this year, Carnival now plans to accelerate the disposal of another 12 of its least efficient ships to cut capacity. Ship sales netted $940-million to offset the third-quarter losses.”
Limiting cruising is now starting up. Carnival’s Italian-based subsidiary, Costa, recently completed its first seven-day cruise without incident.