Royal Caribbean Cruises is to suspend all sailings of its fleet globally from midnight on March 14.
The announcement is a change to its previous statement.
The world’s second largest cruise company, which owns Royal Caribbean International, Azamara Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises, had said it would be pausing its fleet’s US sailings for 30 days. It had confirmed cruises departing US ports before midnight and international cruises would operate their scheduled itineraries.
Podcast: Your coronavirus questions answered
The group has now said that given global public health circumstances it has decided to suspend all sailings across all of its cruise line brands worldwide.
All current sailings will be concluded and passengers assisted to return home safely.
In a statement, the company said: “We will conclude all current sailings as scheduled and assist our guests with their safe return home.”
It said it expects ships to return to service on April 11, 2020.
The decision means that the inaugural sailings from Southampton of new ship Celebrity Apex later this month have been cancelled. This follows the naming of the ship in the UK port being postponed.
Celebrity Cruises chief executive Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said that is was with a “heavy heart” that the Southampton sailings will no longer be going ahead.
“We hold the health and safety of our crew and guests as our highest priority and with that in mind, and with the exciting schedule of events that we have planned, the right thing to do is postpone the celebration util the seas are calmer for us all.”
More at: Coronavirus: Latest news and updates