Viking Cruises is extending the suspension of operations until August 31.

The line became the first to cancel both ocean and river cruises on March 11 in response to the Coid-19 pandemic.

Chairman Torstein Hagen announced the further extension on Thursday.

He said: “We were the first cruise line to announce a temporary suspension of operations.

“We have continued to evaluate the situation, responding accordingly.

“While restrictions related to Covid-19 are beginning to ease in some countries, travel remains complicated.

“Therefore, we have made the decision to extend our temporary suspension of operations through August 31, 2020.”

The line is offering 125% future cruise credits. Passengers requiring cash refunds are being advised to contact the company’s UK office by June 12.

The company is developing additional health and hygiene protocols, with details to be released “very soon”.

“Also, during this time of non-operation, we are further training our crew and preparing our fleet to welcome you on board again.” Hagen said.

“Since our first announcement, many of you have expressed concern for our crew, and I want to reassure you that we are continuing to take good care of them.”

He confirmed that fleet expansion plans remain in place

“We are looking to the future and the expansion our fleet,” Hagen added.

“Early next year, we will launch Viking Venus; and, in 2022 we will welcome our new expedition vessels, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, that will sail the Arctic, Antarctic and North America’s Great Lakes and, of course, Viking Mississippi.”

banner28may