Princess Cruises has cancelled the majority of its 2020 Alaska programme, and will delay the launch of Enchanted Princess – which had been due to be named in Southampton this summer.
The line has extended its pause in global operations through to 30 June in response to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s decision to impose its "no sail order" for at least a further 100 days.
In a video message, president Jan Swartz revealed all of Princess’s Alaska Gulf cruises and cruise tours are to be cancelled; its five Alaskan wilderness lodges will not open this summer, and its trains and buses will not operate – impacting 3,500 seasonal roles.
"We that know these decisions will have a large adverse economic impact on the state of Alaska, which relies on tourism," said Swartz."Our thoughts are also with our small business partners throughout Alaska, who we’ve supported every summer for decades."
Swartz stressed she was, however, hopeful Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess would still be able to offer round-trip cruises from Seattle to Alaska in the late summer.
She further revealed that owing to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Princess’s shipbuilding partners in Italy, the launch of the line’s newest ship, Enchanted Princess, would be delayed.
A Princess spokesperson added: "Princess Cruises confirms the delivery of Enchanted Princess is delayed. A new delivery date has not been determined since the Fincantieri yard in Monfalcone, Italy, remains closed. Voyages through July 31 have been cancelled.
"The delivery delay is due to the country-wide lockdown imposed by the Italian government and public health officials in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
"The naming ceremony scheduled to take place in Southampton on 30 June has been cancelled. Inaugural activities are under review in conjunction with changes to the ship deployment."
"This global outbreak continues to challenge our world in unimaginable ways," said Swartz. "We recognise how disappointing this is to our long-term business partners and thousands of employees, many of whom have been with us in Alaska for decades.
"We hope everyone impacted by these cancellations – especially our guests, travel advisor partners, teammates, and the communities we visit – understand our decision to do our part to protect the safety, health and wellbeing of our guests and team. We look forward to the brighter days and smooth seas ahead for all of us."
Each ship will have a unique return to service date, said Princess. These are based on previously published cruise itineraries, with some modifications, departing after July 1.
Princess has vowed to protect agent commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises paid in full "in recognition of the critical role travel advisors play in the cruise line’s business and success".
Princess Cruises is offering two cancellation options: