Major cruise lines suspend sailings until mid-May, for now


Spring cruises, including popular voyages through Alaska’s Inside Passage, seem to be off the table this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Most lines decided to extend suspension of cruises by at least a month.

Cruise lines are offering refunds or value-added vouchers for future cruises for those who delay their plans. Many are allowing passengers to change their plans within 48 hours of sailing.

Some of parent company Carnival Corp.’s cruise lines are saying they won’t sail until at least May, extending a suspension that was supposed to expire April 11. Four brands — Holland America Line, Carnival, Seabourn and Cunard — announced their plans Monday. Carnival canceled cruises through May 11; Seabourn and Holland America, through May 14; and Cunard, through May 15.

Princess Cruises, also owned by Carnival Corp., which has had several ships affected by coronavirus-related problems, indicated in mid-March that its ships would not sail for 60 days.

Other lines — including Royal Caribbean, MSC and Disney — have announced they will not sail at least until May. Royal Caribbean extended an offer to allow passengers to cancel up to 48 hours before their departure date to cruises now through Sept. 1. Travelers can postpone a future cruise without penalty for sailings through 2021.


Viking Cruises, with 79 cruise and river ships primarily sailing in Europe, is suspending operations until June 30.

Industry-wide travel restrictions went into effect March 13 when Cruise Lines International Assn., the industry’s largest trade association, announced all its members — totaling about 300 ships — would voluntarily suspend cruise ship operations from and to U.S. ports of call.

The closures have expanded to include many parks and recreational areas. Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, a standing destination on many cruises to the 49th state, is pushing back the start of its season from Memorial Day weekend to July 1, according to a statement by park superintendent Philip Hooge on Monday.

“This rapidly evolving situation and the remote nature of the park with its limited community medical capabilities requires the park to be extraordinarily careful,” the statement said.

In addition, Canada has closed its ports to large cruise ships through July 1. Alaska cruises stop at or start from Vancouver or Victoria ports on Vancouver Island.