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Princess Cruises to halt operations worldwide due to coronavirus

March 12, 2020
4 min read
Princess Cruises to halt operations worldwide due to coronavirus
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Princess Cruises is temporarily halting operations worldwide, effective immediately.

The world's fifth largest cruise line early Thursday said it would pause global operations for its fleet of 18 vessels for two months, starting with sailings scheduled to begin today.

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The line cited the global spread of the new coronavirus, which has touched two of its vessels in recent weeks.

“It is widely known that we have been managing the implications of COVID-19 on two continents,” Princess president Jan Swartz 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."

Related: The extreme measures cruise lines are taking as coronavirus spreads

Princess is the second and biggest major cruise line to announce a suspension of operations. It follows Viking, which made a similar announcement late Wednesday. Princess carries more than 50,000 passengers a day.

Of the major cruise lines, Princess is the one that has been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak. One of its Asia-based ships, Diamond Princess, was under quarantine in the harbor of Yokohama, Japan, for several weeks after passengers and crew on the vessel tested positive for COVID-19. Initially, just nine passengers and a single crew member were diagnosed with the illness. But the number of confirmed cases ultimately reached more than 700. At least six passengers have died.

A second Princess ship, Grand Princess, just docked in Oakland this week after a coronavirus outbreak sickened at least 21 passengers and crew members.

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Related: As coronavirus spreads, more ports turns away cruise ships

Princess on Thursday said cruises currently underway that are scheduled to end in the next five days will continue to sail as expected through the end of the itinerary so that onward travel arrangements are not disrupted.

Current voyages that are underway and extend beyond March 17 will be ended at the most convenient location for guests, factoring in operational requirements.

Visit TPG’s guide to all coronavirus news and updates

"Princess will do everything possible to return each guest home with the greatest amount of care possible," the line said in a statement. "During this time, our operations and medical teams across the fleet will remain vigilant in their care and service for guests and crew onboard."

Princess said passengers on canceled sailings can request a full refund. Alternately, they can apply the money they paid for the canceled cruise to a booking for a later sailing. Passengers who choose the latter option get an additional future cruise credit benefit, the line said.

Princess said it would honor the offer for passengers who already had canceled a booking on one of the sailings after making final payment on or after Feb. 4.

Princess said it would resume operations on May 11.

Additional resources for traveling during the coronavirus outbreak:

Featured image by The Princess Cruises ship Grand Princess. (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

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  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more