Costa Cruises follows rest of industry with extension of shutdown until May

After holding out for a few weeks, Costa Cruises has followed the rest of the cruise industry in announcing it will suspend operations globally until May 30th, 2020.

The cruise line had planned to resume operations in late April, but with the Coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread, and with cruise ships being seen as particularly vulnerable to an outbreak, ports around the world remain closed to cruise lines.

Costa Venezia at the cruise terminal in Hong Kong earlier this year.

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“Costa announces the further suspension of its cruises until May 30, 2020,” the cruise line said in a statement.

“Due to the continuation of the emergency situation linked to the global pandemic of COVID-19 and with the continuation of containment measures such as closing ports and restrictions on the movement of people which do not actually allow to operate, the Company extends the suspension to the whole month of May,” it added.

The risk to cruise ships from the virus has been laid bare in recent weeks, with outbreaks aboard Holland America Line’s Zaandam and Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess, which saw both ships turned away from multiple ports despite passengers’ failing health.

Eventually, the ships were evacuated in Florida after long repositioning journeys.

They are two of several cruise ships on global voyages to have been struck by outbreaks of Coronavirus onboard, while at least 21 cruise ships operating in the United States have reported incidents of the virus.

Costa Diadema in port in Dubai during the recent 2019/2020 cruise season.

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Both Dubai and Cape Town have also been affected, with both ports temporarily quarantining cruise ships over Coronavirus fears last month.

In Dubai, Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas was ultimately cleared and allowed to disembark guests, while in Cape Town, South Africa, AIDA Cruises’ AIDAmira was temporarily held for a health inspection after COVID-19 symptoms were reported onboard.

When those tests came back negative she was allowed to sail.

Both ports then suspended all cruise operations, leaving up to ten cruise ships docked in Dubai at one point, the most the port has ever held.

Costa Cruises is taking steps to inform both travel agents and guests affected by the changes. In its statement, the line said guests will be guaranteed a reprotection in accordance with applicable legislation, “which offers the greatest guarantee in this contingency situation”.

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