Both Viking and Princess Cruises have suspended operations over the next few months as the global spread of the coronavirus continues.

Princess Cruises said it will pause its 18 cruise ships for the next 60 days impacting trips from Thursday through May 10. The cruise line plans to be operational again for trips scheduled for May 11.

“Princess Cruises is a global vacation company that serves more than 50,000 guests daily from 70 countries as part of our diverse business, and it is widely known that we have been managing the implications of COVID-19 on two continents,” Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises said in a statement.

“By taking this bold action of voluntarily pausing the operations of our ships, it is our intention to reassure our loyal guests, team members and global stakeholders of our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all who sail with us, as well as those who do business with us, and the countries and communities we visit around the world,” she added.

Princess Cruises said that passengers currently onboard a cruise will continue their trip as planned, with some trips extending past March 17, ending at the “most convenient location” for travelers. The cruise line said it will do everything it can to return each guest home. It will also have medical teams onboard its ships.

Passengers that are on a canceled cruise will be able to transfer 100% of their money to a future cruise of their choice. Princess Cruises will also offer future cruise benefits that can be applied to the cruise fare or onboard expenses. The offer also stands for passengers that canceled their trip on or after Feb. 4. The offer is good on a cruise departing through May 1, 2022.

Princess Cruises is also offering a cash refund for guests that do not want to take advantage of the rebooking option. The cruise line suggests that an electronic form located on the website be completed and submitted rather than calling the Reservation Call Center, which may be experiencing high call volumes with long wait times.

Passengers will receive more information from Princess cruises on have to cancel and be compensated for their trip.

Viking has also announced that it is temporarily suspending operations until May 1 over concerns of the coronavirus after a passenger on a river cruise in Southeast Asia was exposed to the virus.

In a statement, Torstein Hagen, chairman at Viking said, “We have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend operations of our river and ocean vessels embarking from March 12 to April 30, 2020 – at which time we believe Viking will be in a better place to provide the experiences our guests expect and deserve. This is a decision we made with a heavy heart, but with present circumstances what they are, we are unable to deliver the high-quality Viking experience for which we are known.”

Viking is offering passengers that have a cruise booked during the time that Viking will not be operational a choice of a future cruise voucher valued at 125% of the cost of the initial trip or a refund of the equal amount paid. The future cruise voucher is good for 24 months for Viking’s river, ocean, or expedition cruises and is completely transferable. If the voucher expires before use, Viking will automatically send a refund for the full amount paid.

Viking said that passengers that have disrupted travel plans can call the company at 1-833-900-0951 or their travel agent by March 25.

Global coronavirus cases have reached 124,000, with 4,600 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

The Grand Princess belongs to Princess Cruises, the same company which operated the coronavirus-stricken ship held off Japan last month on which more than 700 people on board tested positive
The Grand Princess belongs to Princess Cruises, the same company which operated the coronavirus-stricken ship held off Japan last month on which more than 700 people on board tested positive INTERPRESS / STRINGER