May 20, 2020
(Updated 3:02 p.m. EDT) -- Editor's Note: As of April 9, all cruise ships over 250 passengers and crew that operate in U.S. waters have been put under a no-sail order by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The order will remain in place until COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency, and supersedes individual cruise line dates for a return to service. For more information, visit our news story.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the parent company of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea Cruises, has extended its sailing suspsensions into the summer, with Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara canceling voyages through July 31, 2020. The extension does not include Royal Caribbean's sailings from China, which will be suspended through June.
Because of the decision by Transport Canada to ban cruise ships, Celebrity has also canceled both its Alaska and Canada/New England itineraries through Oct. 31, 2020.
Suspension dates for Silversea Cruises are slightly different, with the fleet returning to service on a staggered basis beginning with Silver Muse on July 16 and concluding with Silver Wind, which will re-enter service on November 11, 2020.
The move follows the line's announcement of the suspension of all U.S. cruises as of March 13, which extended to a 30-day worldwide suspension on March 17, as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic. That was extended another 30 days on April 10, and was extended through June 11, 2020 on April 16.
The decision has affected the launch of Celebrity Cruises' newest ship, Celebrity Apex, which was due to launch in the U.K. on March 28. The line had already announced the postponement of the christening, which had been scheduled for March 30.
A statement from RCL reads:
"Given ongoing global public health circumstances, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has decided to extend the suspension of most sailings through July 31, 2020, with the exception of sailings from China, which will be suspended through the end of June."
"We are working with our guests and travel partners to address this disruption to their vacations, and we are genuinely sorry for their inconvenience."
"We expect to return to service on August 1."
Royal Caribbean, Azamara and Celebrity are offering a 125 percent future cruise credit to anyone booked on affected sailings for use by December 31, 2021.
Passengers wishing to request a refund of 100 percent of the cruise fare they paid (including any nonrefundable deposits) can do so via this form prior to December 31, 2021. Refund requests will be issued to the original form of payment and will result in the forfeiture of the future cruise credit.
Affected Silversea cruisers will receive either a 125 percent future cruise credit valid two years from issuance or a 100 percent refund of the cruise fare paid, issued to the original form of payment. Refunds can be requested by calling the cruise line directly or by reaching out to your travel agent.
Silversea's Venetian Society (past passenger) members will accumulate Ventitan Society days on voyages cancelled by Silversea from March 1, 2020 onward, as well as on new voyages booked with future cruise credits by June 30, 2020.
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has joined most cruise operators suspending cruise voyages across the world.