Bad news for those looking to take a cruise in the new year: both Cunard and Princess have begun to cancel some itineraries in 2021 owing to Covid-19. While the rate of cruise cancellations has started to slow down in recent months, that does not mean that every cruise line feels safe to start sailing again. Many companies are still taking a path of extreme caution, a choice which makes sense in light of the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the details you need to know about the recent cancellations.
Cunard is not following the growing European trend of allowing cruise lines to resume operations. None of the three ships in their fleet will be sailing until 2021, with each vessel pausing its operations for different periods of time. The Queen Elizabeth, their newest ship, will now wait until March 25th, 2021 to sail. Its sister ship, Queen Victoria, will suspend its operations until May 16th, 2021. Finally, Queen Mary 2, their largest ship, won’t sail until April 18th, 2021. Additional sailings have been cancelled as well: all sailings to Australia, Japan, and Alaska on Queen Elizabeth are cancelled until December 13th, 2021. It’s not great to hear, but Cunard has been around long enough that we have no worries about their being able to make it through the duration of the pandemic..
Princess Cruises has cancelled two of its planned world cruises in 2021. The Island Princess world cruise and the Pacific Princess world cruise are both now cancelled. The company cited the uncertainty of borders and general travel safety. Their president, Jan Swartz, added, “We share in the disappointment of this cancellation for guests of our world cruises because it’s a pinnacle cruise vacation experience, booked by some of our most loyal guests.” Those loyal guests can expect a 125% refund in credit that they can use on some of the other Princess world cruises.
In other news, MSC Cruises also announced some delays to their plans, though in a far less extreme sense than Cunard and Princess. They were hoping to bring the MSC Magnifica back onto the ocean by the end of August, but they are now looking at September 26th, 2020 as the date that it will be possible.
Seeing 2021 itineraries being cancelled is worrisome, but travelers should remember that these decisions can always be reversed if the coronavirus situation is looking better before that time. Cross your fingers!