P&O Cruises has confirmed that it will no longer be able to cruise from South Africa on the final leg of its grand voyage from Hong Kong to Southampton after SA authorities closed the country’s ports to cruise ships.
“The South African authorities have announced and are enforcing additional entry and travel restrictions because of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Guests or crew are no longer permitted to disembark in South Africa,” the company said.
As a result of this development, Arcadia will no longer visit Cape Town or sail the two-week cruise scheduled from the city. The ship will make a short technical stop in Durban on Sunday to bunker fuel, stores and medication before returning to Southampton.
This is the second major itinerary change for Arcadia amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. She was meant to cruise from Hong Kong to Southampton via Dubai, but had to switch to South Africa and cruise round the Cape after Dubai closed all its cruise ports.
Now, South Africa has done the same and P&O have been left scrambling for an alternative port at which to call. Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to P&O to find out what their plans are.
All guests are remaining onboard until the ship reaches Southampton, where Arcadia is due to arrive on Sunday April 12 as per the original itinerary.
South Africa informed P&O Cruises of the decision to close the country’s ports to cruise ships amid a Coronavirus-scare aboard the cruise ship AIDAmira in port in Cape Town.
The country has reported 116 cases of the virus thus far, but that number is expected to rise rapidly. Earlier this week, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster in the country in order to mobilise funds and government support to prepare for the pandemic to grow worse.
South Africa’s health minister Zweli Mkhize has issued a statement detailing the contact tracing that is taking place for all confirmed cases, according to The South African.
Cruise ships are seen as particularly vulnerable to on-board outbreaks of the virus after Diamond Princess was placed in quaratine in Japan earlier this month, more than 700 passengers and crew were ultimately found to be carrying the virus.
These concerns about cruise ships, along with various countries’ increasingly strict measures to slow down the rate of contagion of the disease through travel and event restrictions, have forced much of the cruise industry to suspend operations globally.
Categories: SA Cruise News