P&O Cruises and Cunard have both announced they’re suspending all their sailings until 15 May, an extra month from the originally planned date.

The cruise lines, both owned by Carnival Corp, suspended their sailings due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is currently sweeping the world.

Both P&O and Cunard were meant to resume sailings on 11 April, but with the worsening situation across the globe it is clear this date can no longer go ahead as planned.

Speaking about the extended suspension, P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “It is clear that our original date of April 11 to resume sailings, which would have been a 30 day pause in operations, is just not feasible in light of the government announcements last week.

Cunard Queen Mary 2
Cunard has now suspended all operations until 15 May

 

“Regrettably, therefore, we are now extending this pause until May 15. Given the current guidelines it is prudent and practical to extend the pause until normal operations can be resumed.

“As we work through the evolving restriction on ports around the world future itineraries may be subject to change and so we are looking at how we phase our ships back into service.”

In addition to the delay, the currently global restrictions have also caused the completion of new super ship Iona to be delayed, which is currently being fitted out at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany.

Simon Palethorpe, Cunard’s president added: “The impact of COVID-19 is affecting personal routines and businesses as well as placing significant travel restrictions around the world. Everyone in the Cunard team is aware of the need to support the management and containment of COVID-19 globally.

P&O Cruises Iona, cruise ship
The final fitting of P&O Cruises’ new ship Iona has also been delayed

 

“This includes protecting the health and safety of our guests and crew. It is therefore right we extend the pause in operations.

“It is too soon to know exactly how this situation will evolve. But I do know that we, the Cunard team, will commit all our resources, energy and talent to weather this storm and come out stronger than ever for our guests.

“We have been sailing for 180 years and we look forward to many more. We will get through these tough times together and look forward to welcoming our guests back on board again soon, when the time is right.”

Guests on both P&O and Cunard who were due to sail between 11 April and 15 May will receive a future cruise credit valued at 125 percent of their original booking.

This can be redeemed against any new booking before end of March 2022, allowing them to perhaps upgrade their cabin or even book a more enticing destination.

To receive the cruise credit bookings must be made by the end of December 2021.

For an up-to-date list of all cruise lines who’ve suspended sailings, and what to do if your cruise is affected, read our guide to rebooking and cancelling your cruise.

For the latest advice on coronavirus, visit gov.uk.

Our view: 
The cruise industry is facing an unprecedented and ever-changing situation and we are committed to keeping you informed with the most up-to-date news as we receive it from the sector. However, we firmly believe that the cruise industry will bounce back. When it does, we’ll be on hand to inspire with destination inspiration and exciting cruise itineraries for the years to come.