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TORONTO — The list of cruise lines announcing suspensions of their operations grows as both the Scenic Group, including Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises, and Costa Cruises say they are pausing operations amid the coronavirus outbreak.
A statement from Scenic says: “The Scenic Group has today announced it will temporarily suspend all European river cruise operations on its Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Emerald Cruises and Evergreen Cruises & Tours brands until April 30, 2020 as part of its ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. SE Asia river cruises are suspended for the remainder of their season, which ends mid-May.”
Lisa McCaskill, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Scenic Group Canada, said: “With the news of increasing COVID-19 cases in countries around the world, the health and safety of guests and crew is our primary focus. We will continue to ensure they come first and foremost in all our decisions.”
For passengers with river cruise departures within the period of suspended operations, the Scenic Group is offering the choice of either a Future Travel Credit valued at 125% of the booking, or the option of a refund to the value of the amount paid.
Passengers choosing a Future Travel Credit will have up to 24 months to travel on a Scenic Group river cruise. All change fees have been waived.
The Scenic Group says it is also committed to protect travel advisor commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises that have been paid in full and for the total amount of the Future Travel Credits – whether the guest takes a refund or Future Travel Credits.
Full details of the cancellation policy can be found at scenic.ca and emeraldwaterways.ca.
Meanwhile Costa Cruises says it will voluntarily put on hold the global operations of its ships, impacting voyages until April 3.
“As an industry leader, we feel it is our responsibility to be ready to make hard choices when times require it,” said Neil Palomba, President of Costa Cruises. “At Costa, we always have the health and safety of our guests and crew members at heart. Now that these unprecedented circumstances require unprecedented actions to make sure that people across the world stay healthy, we are ready to play our role.”
Cruises currently underway will end their current cruise only to allow guests to disembark and return to their home. Costa Cruises says it is informing travel agents and customers who were looking forward to boarding one of Costa ships, who will receive a voucher for a future cruise credit.
Scheduled dates of return in operations: April 3, Costa Magica (from Barcelona); April 4, Costa Smeralda, Costa Pacifica; April 5, Costa Luminosa, Costa Diadema; April 8, Costa Fortuna; April 10, Costa Favolosa, Costa Mediterranea; May 3, Costa Fascinosa.