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P&O Cruises extends suspension of sailings until mid-October

The UK’s biggest cruise line had previously cancelled trips up to the end of July.

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PandO Cruises has paused its operations until at least October 15 (Andrew Matthews/PA)

PandO Cruises has paused its operations until at least October 15 (Andrew Matthews/PA)

PandO Cruises has paused its operations until at least October 15 (Andrew Matthews/PA)

P&O Cruises has extended the suspension of sailings until mid-October as it seeks approval for enhanced safety and hygiene measures.

The UK’s biggest cruise line had previously cancelled trips up to the end of July.

It announced that it has paused its operations until at least October 15 as it is working with bodies such as Public Health England and the equivalent body in the US “to approve further enhancement of the company’s already stringent health and safety protocols”.

Customers with affected bookings will automatically receive credit for a future sailing worth 125% of the cost of their original trip.

Those who request a cash refund are being warned it will take up to 60 days to process payments.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow explained that the firm is focused on developing a way of keeping everyone on board “safe and well, and still give our guests an amazing holiday” rather than what date it can resume sailing.

He said it is reviewing “every aspect” of its holidays to “establish a framework of policies and procedures”.

He went on: “Our aspiration is to be adopting best practice in managing Covid-19 within the travel industry.

“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.”

Mr Ludlow told the PA news agency in April that future sailings will require passengers to pass “rigorous” health screenings before they are allowed to board.

All cruise ships operated by major companies around the world stopped commercial trips in April due to the collapse in demand and travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Southampton-based Carnival UK last month announced plans to cut 450 jobs across P&O Cruises and its other cruise line, Cunard, to “ensure the future sustainability” of the business.

PA