royal caribbean cruise suspension
Symphony of the Seas, a Royal Caribbean ship.

Royal Caribbean Suspends Cruises Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 14, 2020

Cruise giant Royal Caribbean has announced the suspension of its cruises in the United States for 30 days, as the major cruise lines have shut down their regional operations in the midst of the growing coronavirus pandemic.

The move effectively shuts down cruises to the Caribbean region for at least the next month.

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

Royal Caribbean cruises officially paused at midnight on Friday. 

Cruises that had departed before that time continued their scheduled itineraries, however, with US-based ships already at sea concluding their itineraries as planned. 

“We are reaching out to our guests to help them work through this disruption to their vacations, and we are truly sorry for their inconvenience,” Royal Caribbean said. “We are also communicating with our crew to work out the issues this decision presents for them. We know this adds great stress to our guests, employees and crew, and we are working to minimize the disruption.”

Royal Caribbean (along with its umbrella of brands) s the latest major cruise operator to suspend operations amid the Coronavirus outbreak; another major carrier, MSC Cruises announced it would be suspending all Miami-Caribbean cruises from March 14-May 1, according to a statement from Port St Maarten.

Other cruise giants to suspend operations include Norwegian Cruise Line, which announced the move in a letter on Friday night, along with Costa Cruises, among others. Disney, too, has shut down its cruises.

Norwegian Cruise Line said it was planning to resume cruises beginning April 12. 

“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,” NCL President and CEO Harry Sommer said. “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.”

Carnival was the latest line to announce a suspension, with plans to relaunch April 10.

The Carnival shutdown includes Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and Cunard Line, among others.

A top boutique cruise operator, Windstar, announced it, too, would be pausing operations, with plans to resume May 1.

“Our business is providing great vacations and creating great memories. We look forward to getting back to work as soon as we can,” the company said. 

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