When will cruise ships start sailing again? Latest news on cruise lines and holidays

Deck of a cruise ship
It's a challenging time for the cruise industry – but ships are slowly coming back into service Credit: Getty

Prior to the pandemic, the cruise industry had been enjoying a new ‘golden era’. Passenger numbers from the UK and Ireland topped two million in 2017, and accounted for the largest market in Europe after Germany, and this year 19 new ships, including Richard Branson’s $710 million (£563 million) Scarlet Lady, were due to launch.

Then Covid-19 hit. Amid the challenges of getting passengers and crew home, ships have been left to float empty when they should have been full of people enjoying holidays at sea.

In August, Norwegian cruise line, Hurtigruten, halted its expedition cruises after at least 40 crew members and several guests aboard Roald Amundsen tested positive for Covid-19. In July, British operator Cruise and Maritime Voyages went into administration. Most recently, Cunard, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises have cancelled planned world cruises.

And while many countries are beginning to open up to tourism – and Europe is seeing a slow resumption of cruising – many lines continue to delay their returns. Updated guidance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in July dealt a major blow to Britons hoping to sail, advising against all cruise ship travel.

On July 16, the FCO revised its advice once again and gave the green light to river cruises, which are considered lower risk than their ocean counterparts, due to shorter itineraries and fewer passengers on board, meaning new health and safety protocols are easier to manage.

But on October 31, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans for a second lockdown in England, putting an end to holidays until at least December 2.

Here’s a summary of when each cruise line expects to resume cruises again, as well as the refunds and other compensation being offered to guests booked on cancelled cruises.

Andy Harmer, UK and Ireland director of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), said: “As we face the prospect of new restrictions impacting our daily lives, we are all being tested, and I’m proud that our cruising community has been stepping up to the challenge. I know that everyone is working around the clock to adapt to the new landscape we find ourselves in, and are making every effort to keep customers informed with updated information, even as developments are seeming to occur so rapidly. Our customers should feel assured that our industry remains focused on their safety, health and well-being.” 

Viking was the first cruise operator to announce it was suspending its river and ocean cruises for a temporary period on March 11, closely followed by Princess Cruises. Practically all other major cruise lines then made similar announcements. On June 1, river cruising returned to Europe as NickoVision set sail in Germany; ocean cruises returned on June 16 as Hurtigruten's Finnmarken set sail along the Norwegian coast.     

AmaWaterways has cancelled its entire 2020 season (other than AmaKristina, which is sailing in Germany)

Amadeus River Cruises – began sailing July 2020

A statement on Amadeus’ website says: “The first cruises of the Amadeus fleet took place successfully in July and we can assure you that our relaxing and wonderful atmosphere on board is guaranteed as per usual, even during these unique times.

Passengers booked on cancelled sailings can change without penalty to a 2020/21 sailing. “The well-being and safety of all guests, crew members and employees have top priority for us. That is why we have developed a comprehensive health and safety concept for all Amadeus ships that further extends our safety standards, which have always been very high.”

Christmas and New Year cruises are still going ahead as planned. Amadeus has a risk-free booking guarantee that allows guests to transfer their cruise to a 2021-2022 voyage for free upto 48 hours before departure (when booked before December 31, 2020).

Mississippi river cruises are also on hold

AmaWaterways – proposed restart 2021

All river cruises sailing in Europe, Asia and Africa have been suspended until next year with the exception of voyages on AmaKristina in Germant. Guests who were booked on a river cruise that is being cancelled have the option of receiving a future cruise credit equal to 115 per cent of the value of all services purchased through AmaWaterways or receiving a full monetary refund. The future cruise credit is applicable on all European or Mekong River cruise sailings any time before December 31, 2022. There is further information at amawaterways.co.uk.

American Cruise Lines – proposed restart January 2021

The small-ship specialiste was one of the first cruise line’s to voluntarily pause operations in March and all 2020 cruises currently remain suspended.

A spokesperson for American Cruise Lines told The Telegraph that the company is “looking ahead to a full 2021 season, with many new ships and itineraries for cruising across the USA, February through December next year."

Customers on officially cancelled 2020 cruises can opt to receive a full refund, or a 125 per cent cruise voucher/credit for a 2021 cruise.

American Queen Steamboat Company – proposed restart January 2021

American Queen Steamboat Company has suspended sailings onboard American Duchess, American Empress, American Queen, and its newest ship, American Countess until December 31.

The line’s newest ship, American Countess which will sail the Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee rivers, has also extended its suspension until October 1. Those affected are being offered a future cruise credit for 125 per cent of the cruise fare or they can seek a full refund. 

APT – proposed restart March 2021

The APT Travel Group (ATG) has suspended all international touring and cruising up to and including February 28, except for Myanmar river cruises. For those affected, APT and sister brand Travelmarvel are offering a future holiday credit equal to the full value of the booking, which will be valid up until the end of 2021. Anyone booked to travel in 2020, APT has introduced a new ‘Covid Flexible Booking Cover’ which gives customers the option to change their booking up to 100 days before departure free of charge. See more information here.

Chris Hall, managing director, said: "As a business, we have a 90-year-history and a strong position in the travel and tourism industry, and we will do all we can accommodate our guests and provide them with the flexibility required for them to be confident to travel with us again, in the future."

Arena River Cruises – proposed restart date January 2021

Arena has postponed all river cruises for the rest of this year. If your holiday is affected the company will have been in touch, or will be very soon, to discuss alternative dates of travel.

“We very much hope that these will be able to go ahead if permitted and if deemed to be safe – at this stage we are closely following the government guidance and listening to the concerns and needs of our customers,” said Steve Goodenough, managing director at Arena Travel.

A-Rosa – began sailing June 17

A-Rosa resumed cruises on the Douro on June 17, along the Rhine on June 19, on the Danube on June 20 and on the Rhone on July 11. However, autumn European travel restrictions – due to a spike in Covid-cases – have caused A-Rosa to suspend all voyages along the Danube and Rhine until November 30, and cancel all sailings on the Douro, Rhine and Seine for the remainder of 2020. Further information is available at arosa-cruises.com.

Aurora Expeditions – suspended until 2021

Aurora Expeditions will commence exploration voyages in spring 2021 with a Patagonia and Chilean Fjords voyage (March 31, 2021) and a Costa Rica and the Panama Canal voyage (April 23, 2021). In May 2021 the Greg Mortimer will then sail to the Arctic to commence the summer season with a voyage to West Greenland.

However there is a chance there could be some sailing this year as the company has said it continues to review the upcoming Antarctic season commencing November 2020, closely following travel restrictions around the globe.

Avalon Waterways – proposed restart February 2021

Avalon Waterways, along with sister companies Globus and Cosmos, has suspended operations until January 31, 2020. Travellers affected by the suspension can reschedule their holiday in 2020, 2021 or 2022, to any destination, on any brand, without cancellation fees. Avalon river cruise customers will also be offered a credit of up to £150pp when they reschedule their plans. Further information is available at avalonwaterways.co.uk.

Carnival Cruise Line – proposed restart February 2021

Carnival Cruise Line has extended its sailing suspension until the end January 2021, with cruises from some ports not likely to return until at least March. More information, including rebooking and refunds, is available at carnival.com.

The operator had laid out plans to embark on a phased return service from August 1, with eight ships sailing from three US ports – Miami, Galveston and Port Canaveral. However, in an interview with The Telegraph in June, the CEO of Carnival said the restart is "obviously dependent on what’s in the best interest of public health".

All 27 ships in the Carnival Cruise Line fleet have returned to port or anchored at sea Credit: Getty

Celestyal – proposed restart date March 6, 2021

The Greek and Med specialist had planned to recommence from July 30 but on June 30 announced it was cancelling all of its 2020 sailings and would wait until March the following year to resume operations.

Guests booked on affected cruises will be offered the choice of either a future cruise credit valued at 120 per cent of the original booking value or a refund of the original amount paid.  Guests will have until the end of December 2021 to use their future cruise credit against any of Celestyal’s itineraries in 2021 or 2022. If they do not use their credit within the specified period, they will automatically receive a refund equal to the original amount paid to Celestyal. See celestyalcruises.uk for further details. 

CroisiEurope – began sailing July 13; suspended until January 2021

CroisiEurope resumed sailing along France’s River Seine on July 13 and recommenced activities on the Rhône on July 16. Rhine river cruises restarted on July 20 and cruises on the Loire returned on July 31. However, the line has now cancelled all remaining cruises for 2020 after France returned to lockdown.

Customers affected by cancellations can rebook their cruise or receive a refund credit note valid for 18 months from the date of issue, which can be redeemed against bookings made before December 15, 2021, on any cruise subject to availability. See croisieurope.co.uk for more information. 

CroisiEurope's Amalia Rodrigues on the Douro

Cruise and Maritime Voyages

UK cruise operator Cruise and Maritime Voyages has gone into administration, with the “global pandemic of seismic proportions” being blamed for its demise.

Christian Verhounig, chief executive of CMV, said he was “truly sorry” to staff, partners and customers, adding that last year – the company’s 10th anniversary – was a record year for the business. CMV had been expecting to introduce two more ships, Ida Pfeiffer and Amy Johnson, into its fleet next year.

The cruise line had been due to resume sailing on August 25. All future bookings have been cancelled. Customers who had trips booked can find out how to get their money back on Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ website. The company mainly sold cruise packages, which are protected by ABTA, and a smaller number of flight-inclusive packages which are protected by ATOL.

Crystal Cruises – proposed restart date March 15, 2021

A statement on Crystal’s website reads: “The uncertainty surrounding this global health crisis hinders the ability for all cruise lines to operate, and it is with deep regret that we have had to cancel all voyages [...].

“We extend our deepest apologies for this situation that is beyond our control and remains a great frustration to us all. Everyone at Crystal, along with the officers and crew of our ships fleetwide, are very disappointed that we are compelled to take this action, but we will only return to cruising when it is deemed safe to do so by governing health authorities, and when international travel constraints allow.”

Affected guests are being offered a full refund or future cruise credit equal to 125 per cent of their cruise fare, valid on any Crystal experience (ocean, river, yacht or expedition) before December 31, 2023. See crystalcruises.co.uk for more details. 

Cunard – proposed restart date March 25, 2021

Cunard has announced an extension to its operational pause, saying it will halt all sailings until spring 2021. In June, the company stated it would suspend cruises until November 2020, citing Covid-19 concerns and the FCO’s advice against cruise travel, but now says voyages will not resume until next March – at the earliest. 

Cunard currently has three ships: the Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth. The Queen Victoria is now slated to resume service in May 2021, and the Queen Mary 2 in April 2021. The Queen Elizabeth will begin its season in March 2021. 

Simon Palethorpe, president of Cunard, said the decision had been made in light of the latest Covid-19 travel restrictions: “After very careful consideration, we simply do not feel it would be sensible to start sailing again with our current schedule.”

The chatter in the fine dining restaurants of cruise ships across the world has fallen silent Credit: Seabourn

Discover Egypt  – proposed restart date January 1, 2021

Discover Egypt expects to operate Nile river cruises from January 1, provided that UK quarantine restrictions are lifted. If you wish to cancel a cruise which is still operating, the company’s booking terms and conditions would apply. See the Discover Egypt website for up-to-date travel information. 

Disney Cruise Line – proposed restart date February 2, 2021

Disney Cruise Line is suspending all sailings onboard Disney Fantasy, Disney Dream, Disney Wonder and Disney Magic until February next year as the operator “carefully reviews the guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Those booked on affected sailings who have paid their reservation in full will be offered the choice of a cruise credit to be used for a future sailing or a full refund. Those who have not paid their reservations in full will automatically receive a refund of what they have paid so far. Find more information on the Disney Cruise Line website.

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines – proposed restart 2021

The Norwegian-owned cruise line’s two new ships, Bolette and Borealis, will take on the existing itineraries for Boudicca and Black Watch, as well as offering some exciting new sailings, and alongside Braemar will take to the waters again in March and April 2021.

Balmoral is set to sail even sooner than that and will be returning to the water on February 21.

Fred Olsen Jr, chairman of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We have really missed taking our guests on their holidays this year. Without our guests, there is no vibrancy, no life and no fun on board our ships, and we can’t wait to be able to offer them the award-winning cruises for which we are renowned once again.”

For guests who may be concerned about their upcoming cruise, Fred Olsen has introduced a Plain Sailing Guarantee. If your cruise is cancelled and you would like to transfer to a new one, you’ll receive a future cruise voucher to spend on top of any money you have paid, valid for 24 months. If customers don't feel comfortable travelling in 2020, the cruise can be moved with no admin fees or loss of deposit, to any other on sale – as long as the cruise line is given two weeks’ notice. A full refund is also available.

Fred Olsen's Balmoral in Olden, Norway

G Adventures – proposed restart date January 1, 2021

G Adventures has suspended all tours departing up to and including December 31. Any traveller booked and fully paid on a cancelled tour will receive a 110 per cent travel credit on all booked tour services, including pre- and post-night accommodation and transfers, to be used on any tour departing up to two years from the end of the month of their tour’s suspension. Travellers who haven’t yet made their final payment will have their life time deposit kept on file to put towards a future tour. There's an FAQ section on the tour operator's website with more details. 

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises – began sailing August 1; suspended until December

Hapag-Lloyd Cruises resumed sailings at the start of August onboard Europa 2, accepting passengers from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. However the German cruise line has paused November sailings following Germany's decision on October 28 to impose further restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus.

A spokesperson for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said:“The current situation remains an enormous challenge for us. Due to the current development and increasing number of cases in Germany, the federal government has decided on far-reaching measures to curb the infection. We strongly support the additional measures to contain the pandemic. This has included significant restrictions on public life, gastronomy, hotels and travel. Therefore, the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet will have to pause until the end of November, to our great regret. All guests booked on the affected cruises are offered rebookings on the cruises in December.”

Guests affected by cruise cancellations are being offered credit to use for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises bookings made by December 31, 2021 (the booked cruise can start after this period).  

Holland America Line – proposed restart April 2021

With the continuation of travel and port restrictions due to global health concerns, Holland America Line has extended its pause of cruise operations and cancelled departures on all ships until March 31, 2021. The pause extension affects Caribbean, Mexico, Panama Canal, Pacific Coastal, South America, Antarctica, Hawaii, South Pacific, Australia and Asia itineraries. Passengers booked on cancelled cruises will receive a future cruise credit, valid for 12 months from the date of issue, which may be used to book sailings departing up to December 31, 2022. Guests who prefer a full refund must fill in a cancellation preferences form by September 15.

Hurtigruten – proposed restart January 2021

Hurtigruten began cruising again on June 16 with a journey from Bergen along the Norwegian coast to Kirkenes for Norwegian and Danish passengers.

The Norwegian operator line then announced that it would sail six-, 11- or 21-day itineraries around the UK in September, departing twice from Liverpool as well as Portsmouth and Glasgow. Ports of call include Fort William, Oban, Waterford and Scilly.

However in a new blow for cruising the Norwegian shipping line has halted expedition cruises after 36 crew members and several guests aboard the Roald Amundsen tested positive for Covid-19, and has no plans to recommence sailing this year. The company said in a statement:"Our goal is to resume operations in January 2021."

Daniel Skjeldam, chief executive of Hurtigruten, said that the line would only resume the affected voyages when it was “absolutely confident, we can carry out our operations in line with all requirements from the authorities and with the even stricter requirements we have set for ourselves.”

Guests who are affected by the temporary suspension are being offered a future cruise voucher worth 125 per cent. They will also receive a 10 per cent discount on any future Hurtigruten cruise – Expedition or Norwegian Coast – from July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021.

Marella Cruises – proposed restart date January 1, 2021

Marella Cruises will now not be resuming service until January next year. Meanwhile two of the longest standing and most loved ships in the Marella Cruises fleet, Marella Celebration and Marella Dream, are to retire earlier than planned due to the impact of Covid-19. 

Customers with impacted bookings will be able to amend their holiday to any other Tui package holiday on sale for free via manage my booking on Tui's website. Customers who booked in retail should wait for the company to contact them to discuss their options. See the coronavirus update section on tui.co.uk for more information.

Hurtigruten's Finnmarken, which set sail in the middle of June after the global pause

MSC Cruises – began sailing August 16

The Switzerland-based cruise line’s newest and biggest ship, MSC Grandiosa resumed operations in the Mediterranean on August 16. A second MSC ship, the slightly smaller Magnifica, resumed sailings on October 19 with a 10-night voyage to the east and west Mediterranean before being forced to postpone voyages from November 8 until December 18 due to a spike in coronavirus infections in Europe.

Britons are unable to sail with MSC Cruises due to the current FCDO cruise ban but Antonio Paradiso, MSC Cruises UK managing director, said: “MSC Cruises is ready to welcome British and Irish residents when the guidance changes. We are working closely with CLIA and the relevant authorities to enable British and Irish guests to be welcome back on board our ships when the time is right.”

MSC Cruises has also announced a further suspension of sailings of its US ships until December 31, 2020.

However Northern Europe sailings have been suspended until October 24, with Canada and New England cruises cancelled until November 1 along with all Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises. Asia cruises have been postponed until October 26.

Guests are being offered a future cruise credit for 125 per cent of the original fare paid. The credit can be used on any sailing departing on or before December 31, 2021. Guests who are unable to reschedule will receive a full refund. More information is available at msc.co.uk.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises – proposed restart date January 1, 2021

Voyages across the three sister brands have been cancelled until the end of the year.

Customers booked on affected cruises will receive a 125 per cent refund of the fare paid in the form of a future cruise credit, which can be applied toward any future cruise through December 31, 2022. For guests who wish to not avail themselves of the 125 per cent future cruise credit, a 100 per cent refund of the fare paid will be reimbursed to the original form of payment within 90 days of guests’ request. There's more information on Norwegian's suspended sailings and flexible booking policy here; Oceania Cruises here; and Regent Seven Seas here

P&O Cruises  – proposed restart date 2021

On September 17, the British cruise line announced it was cancelling all planned cruises for 2020. Prior to this, the Southampton-based company, which is part of the Carnival group, had hoped to resume cruises from August, then October, and then November. 

The cruise line had already cancelled Aurora’s Caribbean and South America Adventure and Arcadia’s World Cruise holidays –  two long itineraries which were due to depart next year – and has also taken the decision to cancel the remainder of Azura and Britannia’s spring 2021 Caribbean season, as well as two cruises in Arcadia and Aurora’s spring season.

Their pause in operations has already affected new ship Iona's maiden voyage, which was due to depart for the Norwegian fjords on May 15, 2020, and also the IonaFest cruise experience that had been due to take place following the ship's christening on July 4. For all guests impacted by the temporary suspension, P&O Cruises will provide a voucher worth 125 per cent of their original booking. This credit may be used for any sailing up to the end of March 2022. For more information, see pocruises.com.

Continued restrictions in Norway have affected P&O Cruises' new ship Iona's maiden season

Pandaw – proposed restart date May 2021

Pandaw has cancelled all sailings for the 2020/21 season through to May 2021. Affected customers are being offered credit for a future voyage to the value of 125 per cent of your existing cruise, which can be redeemed on any new booking made within 12 months of your departure. For the latest on the coronavirus situation, visit pandaw.com.

Ponant – began sailing July 11; suspended until 2021

The French cruise line resumed sailling on July 11. More than 60 cruises took place, carrying 2,500 passengers without problems, until November, when the line’s newest ship, Le Jacques Cartier, experienced a Covid-19 outbreak. It is unclear whether the incident, combined with new lockdowns in Europe, has affected the remainder of Ponant’s autumn/winter 2020 season. For more information about cancellations and flexible booking policies, see ponant.com

A message of hope from Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises – proposed restart March 2021

Due to the continued progression of Covid-19 and related decisions of various government, health authorities, and airlines regarding travel restrictions, Princess Cruises has extended its pause in global operations until the new year.

Princess has also cancelled its early 2021 World Cruises and Circle South America cruises onboard Island Princess and Pacific Princess respectively, as well all cruises departing from Australia and New Zealand through May 31, 2021.

Guests booked on cancelled voyages who have paid, are eligible for a credit worth 125 per cent of the price they paid. For passengers who have not paid in full, Princess will double the deposit. However, all customers can also apply for a full refund. For more information, see princess.com.

Riviera Travel – proposed restart January 2021

Riviera Travel has suspended all sailings and international travel until the new year. All customers who have booked onto river or yacht cruises during this time frame have the option to transfer to their trip to 2021 at no extra cost. For customers wanting to take a bit more time to decide their travel plans, Riviera is offering refund credit notes which can be used to book a new holiday up until March 31, 2021 (although the date you actually travel can be any time beyond that). If you choose not to use your refund credit note, Riviera will issue customers a cash refund when the voucher automatically expires on March 31, 2021. See rivieratravel.co.uk for latest travel advice.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd – proposed restart January 2021

Royal Caribbean's brands – Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara – have now put their restart back until December, as well as cancelling all of this year’s sailings to Canada, New England, Alaska and Hawaii as well as European and transatlantic sailings through the end of November.

For those customers affected by the suspension, the cruise lines are offering a 125 per cent future cruise credit to be used by December 31, 2021, or a full refund. Pre-purchased packages such as internet, drinks and any shore excursions will be automatically refunded. The three brands have also extended their Cruise with Confidence policy, allowing cancellations up to 48 hours before sailing, on cruises through to September 1, 2020 for a future cruise credit valid until the end of 2021. 

Saga has introduced Covid-19 cover as standard in its insurance policies

Saga – proposed restart April 2021

Spirit of Adventure’s inaugural cruise has been pushed back until May 4, 2021, with Spirit of Discovery not sailing again before April. Saga’s South American Voyage cruise, which was due to depart in January 2021, has been delayed until January 2022, the year of Saga Cruises' 25th anniversary. Passengers affected by cancelled sailings will be contacted by Saga's guest services team to discuss options.

Saga has introduced a new coronavirus-inclusive travel insurance policy which will cover both treatment abroad for Covid-19 and repatriation to the UK should a guest contract the virus. Guests, including those who have underlying medical conditions, will also be compensated should they fall ill with coronavirus while travelling outside of the UK.

Seabourn – proposed restart January 2021

On October 6, Seabourn announced that it is cancelling upcoming voyages for three cruise ships in its fleet until spring 2021. Seabourn Odyssey has paused operations until January 15, 2021; Seabourn Ovation has suspended sailing until April 18, 2021; and Seabourn Encore has suspended sailing until May 28, 2021.

Seabourn has also revealed a revised delivery date for its new ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, which is now scheduled for December 1, 2021. The delay is because of shipyard closures at T Mariotti earlier this year as part of responses to Covid-19, which resulted in disruptions to the overall construction and finishing process for the ship.

The cruise line is continuing to assess the timing to resume operations on Seabourn Odyssey in the Caribbean. As a courtesy to guests booked on December sailings aboard Seabourn Odyssey, final payment will now be due 60 days prior to departure.

“Our utmost priority is the health, safety and well-being of our guests, crew and the people in destinations. We recognise the long lead time for planning an ultra-luxury Seabourn experience and with that in mind, we proactively announce the cancellation of these additional voyages,” said Josh Leibowitz, president of Seabourn. “We are working very closely with science and medical advisors as well as our source and destination markets to develop protocols for the ultimate return to operations.”Customers on impacted voyages will receive a 125 per cent future cruise credit, which can be applied to any cruise through December 31, 2021, or a refund of 100 per cent of the original fare.

SeaDream Yacht Club – began sailing on June 20

SeaDream Yacht Club became the first luxury line to resume operations when Sea Dream 1 set sail from Berhen on June 20.

Speaking at the resumption, SeaDream’s Andreas Brynestad said: “We are very proud to be the first luxury line to resume operations. Our preparation has paid off as we are able to maintain the experience of luxury onboard while ensuring everyone’s health, comfort, and safety. Everyone around the world has been affected by the health crisis. This historic moment feels like good news not just to our team, but our industry as a whole.”

The boutique line has also become the first cruise company to resume operations in the Caribbean since Covid shut the industry down back in March. SeaDream 1 departed from Barbados on Saturday, November 7, for a seven-day cruise – although this was cut short halfway through due to a case of Covid-19.

Scenic Group – proposed restart date January 28, 2021

The Scenic Group (Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours and Emerald Cruises) has suspended all land tours, river and ocean operations until the end of February next year. Guests whose cruise departures are within this period of suspended operations are being offered the choice of either a future travel credit valued at 125 per cent of the booking, or the option of a refund to the value of the amount paid. Guests choosing a future travel credit have until June 30, 2023, to travel. Full details of the cancellation policies are outlined here for Scenic and here for Emerald

Silversea – proposed restart date from January 4, 2021

Silversea has extended its global suspension of voyages to include all sailings departing on or before November 30, 2020, with the exception of those departing from the Galapagos, Asia, and South America.

Silver Origin will now welcome guests on February 6, Silver Moon on April 1 and Silver Spirit on  April 20. Elsewhere Silver Shadow will resume sailing on April 28, while Silver Cloud will re-enter the water on May 5. Silver Muse will set sail on May 20 , Silver Whisper on June 20 and Silver Explorer on June 24. 

Silver Dawn will recommence service on November 9, 2021. See details of all voyages here.

Star Clippers – proposed restart date April 3, 2021 

Royal Clipper, Star Flyer and Star Clipper sail dates have all been cancelled until April 2021. Star Clipper is due to resume on April 3, Star Flyer on April 16, and Royal Clipper on April 19. See starclippers.co.uk for more details. 

Virgin Voyages has postponed the maiden voyage of Scarlet Lady

Tauck River Cruises – proposed restart January 2021

Tauck has cancelled all tours and cruises for the remainder of 2020. Affected customers will be contacted by email about their options. More information is available here.

Titan Travel – proposed restart date March 31, 2021

Titan Travel has suspended all cruise departures for the remainder of the year. The company’s first post-pandemic chartered river cruise is due to set sail in the Netherlands on March 31, 2021. Titan also has a brand new chartered river cruise ship, River Discovery II, that will set sail along the Danube on its first ever Titan cruise on June 1, 2021.

More information on Titan’s restart dates and what the operator is doing to ensure all customers are protected can be found on their website.

Tui River Cruises – proposed restart date December 16

Tui has postponed the November launch of its new river cruise programme following the news that England is set to go into a second lockdown from November 5 until December 2, 2020.

A statement on Tui’s website reads: "If you are due to travel during this time, we’ll be contacting you shortly, in departure date order, to discuss your options. These options include amending to another holiday at a later date with a booking incentive, requesting an Atol-protected refund credit note with a booking incentive, or receiving a full cash refund.

“We're continuing to monitor the government’s advice, and will be reviewing our holiday programme in line with this.”

Uniworld – proposed restart January 2021

All Uniworld voyages have been suspended until next year. If you have a booking on one of these suspended voyages, a Uniworld representative will be contacting you or your travel advisor (if applicable) to discuss your options. Guests with departure dates through 30 June 2021 can change or suspend their cruise up to 30 days prior to their departure date for European cruises or up to 60 days prior to their departure date for Exotic cruises without penalty and rebook on any future cruise through 2022. Alternatively choose to receive a Future Travel Certificate equal to the amount of funds received by Uniworld at the time of cancellation which can be used towards any 2021 or 2022 departure. See uniworld.com for more details.  

Victory Cruise Lines – suspended until 2021

Victory Cruise Lines, operated by American Queen Steamboat Company (AQSC), a Hornblower Company, announced that it is cancelling all sailings for the remainder of 2020. Those affected are being offered a future cruise credit worth 125 per cent of the cruise fare or a full refund. For more information, see victorycruiselines.com/alerts/

Windstar's six ships will be out of service until 2021

Viking – proposed restart date 2021

On March 11, 2020, Viking was the first cruise line to temporarily suspend operations, for both its river and ocean cruises, through to an original date of April 30. It subsequently extended this suspension through June 30, then again through August 31, and again until the end of September. It has now scrapped all remaining ocean and river cruises in 2020.

There had been a flutter of excitement in June when The Telegraph reported that Viking was looking into whether it can operate round-Britain cruises this summer.

For those guests whose cruise falls within this window of suspended operations, Viking is offering the choice of a future cruise voucher valued at 125 per cent of all monies paid to Viking or a refund equal to the amount paid. Guests will have 24 months to use their future cruise voucher to make a new reservation on any river, ocean or expedition cruise. If they are unable to use their voucher, Viking will automatically issue a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking after the voucher expires. These vouchers will also be fully transferable.

Chairman Torstein Hagen said: “As the world continues its path to recovery from Covid-19, we remain focused on the future. We are committed to maintaining the safest and healthiest fleet in the industry."

For further information, see Viking's website for updates.

Virgin Voyages – proposed restart 2021

This brand new cruise line, dreamt up by Sir Richard Branson, was scheduled to set sail on Scarlet Lady, its first ship, in November from Miami, with the official naming ceremony and maiden voyage for the vessel slated to take place in early 2021.

However Virgin Voyages has now made the decision to cancel all of its 2020 cruises.

Affected guests will receive a 200 per cent future voyage credit, and will also receive up to $500 in on-board credit if they rebook before June 30. It will also be possible to get a 100 per cent refund of the voyage fare for an impacted sailing, plus a 25 per cent future voyage credit. The line plans to launch another three ships after Scarlet Lady. 

Wendy Wu – proposed restart January 2021

Asia specialist Wendy Wu has cancelled all tours and tailormade holidays, which includes Yangtze river cruises, until December 31. Affected passengers will receive a refund credit note of 100 per cent of money paid. See latest travel advice here.   

Windstar Cruises – proposed restart date March 25, 2021

In November, Windstar made the decision to cancel all remaining cruises in 2020 as well as cruises for January and February 2021 across all of their yachts. Windstar’s first yacht to set sail will now be Wind Spirit on March 25, 2021, in Tahiti, follwed by staggered returns in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and northern Europe.

Guests on cancelled cruises will receive a future cruise credit (FCC) valued at 125 per cent of all monies paid on the booking to Windstar Cruises. Guests who prefer a refund can request their FCC be converted to a refund equal to 100 per cent of the monies paid to Windstar once they receive their FCC certificate. Guests will have 24 months from the issuance date of their FCC to book and embark on any available Windstar cruise using their FCC. See windstarcruises.com for more information.