Viking Cruises cancels sailings until 2021 due to coronavirus pandemic

Viking has suspended all its scheduled cruises until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All guests impacted by the cancellations will be offered a 125 per cent future cruise credit, or they can opt for a full refund, which needs to be applied for by August 24.

In  a statement, the company said: “If itinerary changes are required, impacted guests and their travel agents are notified directly by Viking guest services.”

The firm suspended operations on March 11 and had previously extended its pause in cruising until September 30.

Chairman Torstein Hagen said: “As keen as we may be to get back to exploring, for now, international travel must wait. I have said before that we will only sail again when it is safe to do so.

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Viking hopes to resume operations next year

“We are a private, closely-held company, which means we do not have to rush the decision to return to service.

“It is in that spirit that we are extending our temporary suspension of operations through December 31, 2020 – at which time we believe the world will be in a better position, and international travel will be less complicated.”

In a message to customers, he added: “On March 11, when we became the first cruise line to temporarily suspend operations at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, I would not have imagined that in August we would still not be sailing and that I would be writing this letter to you.

“Every day I am encouraged by the scientific advancements toward Covid-19 therapeutics and a vaccine.

“But as you well know, recent events have shown us that the recovery from this pandemic will be sporadic, and the ability to travel freely across borders remains some time away.



The company suspended operations in March

“As keen as we may be to get back to exploring, for now, international travel must wait.

“Just last week, on August 5, we celebrated our 23rd anniversary.

“Viking is a very different company today from when we started in 1997 with four river ships. But one thing has not changed in the last two decades.

“Since Viking’s very first day, our commitment to the safety and welfare of all those on board our vessels and to our mission – to deliver experiences that focus on the destination, allowing you to explore the world in comfort – has never wavered.

“I have said before that we will only sail again when it is safe to do so. We are a private, closely-held company, which means we do not have to rush the decision to return to service.”

The cruise line had previously hoped to offer a series of cruises around Britain.

The cruise industry was hit hard by the pandemic, with the virus first grounding the Diamond Princess, in Japan, creating headlines around the world, and then the Grand Princess, in the United States.

Other companies that have suspended all sailings include Celestyal, Victory Cruise Line, Crystal and Alaskan Dream Cruises.

The future looks unclear for the industry after one of the first ships in the world to resume sailing again was struck by a coronavirus outbreak.

In July, The Foreign Office updated its travel advice to warn all holidaymakers against going on a cruise ship.

Advice published on March 21 previously only advised Brits aged over 70 or those with underlying health conditions to not travel.

In a statement, the FCO said it “advises against cruise ship travel at this time.”

It continued: “This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.”

source.



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