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Princess, Viking cruises halt operations due to coronavirus

Princess, Viking cruises halt operations due to coronavirus
The Grand Princess cruise ship sails into San Francisco Bay on Monday in San Francisco, Calif. Princess Cruises said Thursday it will suspend operations for 60 days due to the coronavirus outbreak. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

March 12 (UPI) -- Two major cruise companies have announced they will suspend operations worldwide for a few weeks amid growing concern about the coronavirus outbreak.

Princess Cruises said Thursday it will suspend operations for 60 days and Viking Cruises will halt activity through April 30.

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The cruise industry has been heavily affected by the spread of the coronavirus disease, as dozens of cases were confirmed among passengers on cruise liners and others were ordered into quarantine.

Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of cruise giant Carnival, said its suspension begins Thursday and will run through May 10.

"It is widely known that we have been managing the implications of COVID-19 on two continents," Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said in a statement. "It is our intention to reassure our loyal guests, team members and global stakeholders of our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all who sail with us."

Viking Cruises said Wednesday there will be no more river and ocean cruises from Thursday through the end of April. The company is offering affected passengers a voucher or a full refund.

"The situation has now become such that operating as a travel company involves significant risks of quarantines or medical detentions," Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said in a message to passengers.

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Also Wednesday, Royal Caribbean said it will cancel its Jewel of the Seas tour on March 16 and all Quantum of the Seas tours in April. The company said passengers will receive a full refund.

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