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Published on Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Cruise lines extend cancellations until 2021

Azamara and Seabourn have become the latest cruise lines to cancel more voyages, with operations delayed until 2021.  

Royal Caribbean-owned Azamara said it intends to re-start cruises in March for the 2021 Europe season.

"After very careful consideration, we have made the decision to pause operations until the 2021 Europe season, as we are still confronted with the many global challenges resulting from Covid-19," Azamara Chief Operating Officer Carol Cabezas said.

"We plan to return stronger than ever next season, with reimagined guest experiences that will protect the wellbeing of our guests and crew yet remain true to the Azamara spirit of connecting people to cultures."

On its website, the cruise line added: "We continue to diligently work with international government and health authorities on the most effective return to service plan.

"There are still a number of uncertainties, and in addition to individual country restrictions, our surveys also indicate guests will not be comfortable traveling until later in 2021." 

March 2021 will see the return of Azamara Quest with Azamara Journey resuming voyages on April 9 and Azamara Pursuit re-starting on May 9, 2021.

While the immediate picture looks bleak, Cabezas claimed forward bookings are strong.

"As we look at our long-term plan, we have already seen a strong demand to our 2022/2023 voyages, which was announced in mid-September," she said. "Within the first week of opening for sale, we experienced three times more bookings for new voyages compared to last year's deployment of 2021 and Winter/Spring 2022 itineraries."

The response 'further reinforces traveller's commitment to cruising', she added.

Meanwhile, upmarket cruise line Seabourn has cancelled voyages on three of its ships until the new year.

Seabourn Odyssey will now remain in dock until January 15, with Ovation and Encore not resuming operations until April and May respectively.

The company described the further cancellations as 'proactive action to deal with the circumstances continuing to evolve from the global response to the COVID-19 situation'.

"Our highest priorities are compliance, environmental protection and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, crew and the people in destinations we visit," Seabourn president Josh Leibowitz said. 

Seabourn said refunds can be requested although passengers in the first instance will automatically receive future cruise credits.

Those paid in full will receive 125% credit while customers who have paid a deposit will receive a Future Cruise Credit valued at 125% of the deposit amount paid.

The cruise line said the credit is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and must be used for departures until December 31, 2022. 

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