British cruise line P&O Cruises, a Carnival subsidiary, is canceling all its sailings until Oct. 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic – after a move by Canada to ban cruises and ferries carrying more than 100 people with overnight capacity in its waters through Oct. 31.
Royal Caribbean also announced it would cancel sailings to Alaska, Canada and New England through October.
“As a result of the Government of Canada’s decision to extend its restriction on cruise ships carrying more than 100 guests until Oct. 31, Royal Caribbean 2020 sailings to Canada, New England and Alaska must be canceled,” Royal Caribbean spokesperson Jonathon Fishman confirmed to USA TODAY.
“We are working with public health agencies and governments to ensure a safe return to service, and look forward to setting sail from and to these destinations next year,” he added.
P&O Cruises is working with government and industry groups, including Public Health England and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to review and establish updated health policies and procedures ahead of future sailings, P&O Cruises President Paul Ludlow said in a video.
Guests who were booked on canceled sailings are eligible for an enhanced future cruise credit of 125%, echoing standard protocol across the industry. The credit can now be redeemed without calling the company, according to Ludlow, and are valid through December 2021.
As the world continues to adapt to this global crisis, we have made the difficult decision to extend our pause for all sailings up to and including 15 October 2020. We are so sorry for the disappointment this will cause to so many of you. Here’s P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow: pic.twitter.com/SRXKiVhJ5E
— P&O Cruises (@pandocruises) June 2, 2020
“We want to apologize once again to those guests who wait for refunds, particularly at a time of financial constraints; however, the new technology we have in place is rapidly improving things, though, and we continue to make further progress on a daily basis,” Ludlow added.
Cruise lines slow to issue refunds: Coronavirus ‘dwarfs any disruption we’ve experienced’
While Canada’s ban on cruises has been pushed into the fall, the CDC’s no-sail order is set to expire on July 24, and major cruise companies, including Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Disney, have extended their sailing suspensions just past that date.
Norwegian Cruise Line announces new health initiative
But how can passengers feel safe going forward, once ships resume sailing?
One way to do so is by detailing cleanliness measure updates. Norwegian Cruise Line launched a new health initiative, Peace of Mind, to clue cruisers in on how it will combat the spread of COVID-19 when sailings resume. Sailings are currently canceled through July 31.
Guests and crew members will face an enhanced pre-embarkation health screening, in addition to temperature checks and monitoring during the trip. Such checks will occur before meals in dining venues and activities in public venues. Other measures include social distancing, with the implementation of staggered embarkation and advanced online check-in. Onboard activities may see reduced capacity or be modified to adhere to appropriate distancing.
Guests can also expect a new air filtration system and the inclusion of testing kits and more medical supplies on board, including more medications to treat symptoms of COVID-19.
Several companies are moving ahead with technology that could be implemented on ships so that cruisers can return to sea with less worry – though most cruise lines haven’t announced specific plans. Infrared Cameras announced a partnership with Carnival Cruise Line to screen passenger and crew member temperatures via thermal camera systems. USA TODAY has reached out to Carnival for more information.
Contributing: Morgan Hines
In case you were interested in Canada’s plans: Canada has banned cruises through October to quell spread of coronavirus
What you should know about future cruise credits: What is a future cruise credit and how can you use it if you missed a cruise due to coronavirus?
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus cancels cruises into October; Norwegian has safety updates