(1:50 a.m. AEST) -- Royal Caribbean Group has announced it will be cancelling the entire 2020-2021 cruise season in Australia and New Zealand for its Celebrity and Azamara cruise brands.
In addition to suspending all sailings through November worldwide, Royal Caribbean Group also announced its Azamara brand would not return to service until next spring, with cruises through Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South America affected.
Cruises scheduled to depart Australia aboard Royal Caribbean's ships are suspended until at least January 1, 2021.
The Group released the following statement:
"Our primary goal continues to be a healthy return to service for our guests, crew and the communities we visit. As we work with the CDC and others toward this shared goal, Royal Caribbean Group will be extending the suspension of sailings to include those departing on or before November 30, 2020, excluding sailings from Hong Kong.
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"Celebrity Cruises will also be suspending their full 2020/21 Winter program in Australia and Asia. Additionally, Azamara will be suspending their 2020/21 Winter sailings throughout Australia & New Zealand, South Africa and South America."
The news is particularly poignant for Melbourne, which loses the 2,852-passenger Celebrity Eclipse that was due to be based out of the city for the 2020-2021 season. The ship, which would have operated out of the city between December and April, would have been the first Celebrity Cruises vessel to be homeported in Melbourne.
The region also loses the 690-passenger Azamara Pursuit, which would have made its Australian debut in December.
In August, Cunard also announced it would not send its Queen Elizabeth to Australia and New Zealand for the upcoming cruise season, preferring to keep the vessel closer to the UK for a spring restart.
The latest round of cancellations by Royal Caribbean Group follows Carnival Cruise Line, which recently suspended all global sailings through the end of 2020 with the exception of a few sailings from Miami and Port Canaveral.
On Monday, Norwegian Cruise Line also announced it would halt global sailings through November 30.