British-headquartered P&O Cruises today announced its extension of paused operations, canceling all of its scheduled sailings through mid-October. In the interim, the cruise line is continuing to work with all relevant public health authorities to further enhance its already strict health and safety practices.
Via a video presentation, P&O Cruises' president, Paul Ludlow, said: "Unfortunately, as the world continues to adapt to this global crisis, we have made the decision, difficult as it is, to extend our pause in operations for all sailings up to and including October 15, 2020. We are so sorry for the disappointment this will cause to so many of our guests."
"As a business, our operational focus is not 'when can we resume sailing?' but is instead 'how can we develop a comprehensive restart protocol that will keep everyone on board, our crew and guests, safe and well and still give our guests an amazing holiday?'" Ludlow explained.
He continued, "We are working with government and industry bodies at the highest possible level, such as Public Health England (PHE) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to review every aspect of a holiday with us and establish a framework of policies and procedures. Our aspiration is to be adopting best practice in managing COVID-19 within the travel industry."
Guests who had booked any of these now-canceled sailings will be issued value-added Future Cruise Credits (FCCs) worth 125 percent of what they had originally paid for the reservation. These FCCs may be applied toward any future sailing P&O departure through the end of 2021.
FCCs may also be applied toward an upgrade or adding a second cabin to any existing booking, or may be transferred or gifted to someone else until the end of December 2021. Ludlow also announced that P&O's online systems have been enhanced to enable guests to redeem their FCCs through the website, making things easier for customers by cutting out the need to phone customer service.
Customers may also request a refund of their booking cost in lieu of an FCC, which P&O has advised can take up to 60 days to process, according to The Sun. Ludlow made a point of apologizing for the potential delay in getting refunds issues, "particularly at a time of financial constraints."
Lastly, Ludlow additionally revealed an incentive being offered on new reservations: "P&O Cruises is also introducing a 5 percent deposit for new bookings made between May 27 and June 29, 2020. The offer is available on applicable Early Saver and Select Price holidays of 19 nights or fewer from January 2021. See website for details."
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