As multiple companies halt cruises, some Alaska entities won't open at all this summer
Princess Cruises and Holland America have paused cruise operations through summer of 2020, according to separate releases from the companies, both dated May 6.
Either group cited reduced air flight availability, closure of cruise ports around the world and other factors impacting international travel.
"Princess Cruises is extending its pause of global ship operations," Princess officials wrote, "and has therefore made the extremely difficult decision to cancel select cruises through the end of the 2020 summer season."
Holland America officials, in part, wrote, "Having sailed to destinations around the globe for 147 years, all of us at Holland America Line share in your disappointment of this news."
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Two major cruise lines, which operate cruises in more than 100 countries around the world combined, have extended freezes of cruises through June 30 and said Tuesday that many of their operations in Alaska won't take place at all in 2020.
Along with canceling cruises that would've otherwise departed before the end of June, Holland America Line - a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation - has cancelled all Alaska sailings for the summer on the Maasdam, Noordam, Oosterdam, Volendam and Westerdam ships. A representative for the company said via email that "decisions regarding the Koningsdam and Eurodam in Alaska have not yet been made."
The company has a fleet of 14 ships, boasting 500 cruises to 415 ports of call in 98 different countries, territories and dependencies, according to the Holland America Line's website. Some locations, however, also house other entities owned and operated by the cruise line. This includes destinations in Alaska.
The same goes for Princess Cruises, which is a separate company from Holland America but also operates under the Carnival Corporation holding group. Princess announced Tuesday that it was cancelling voyages worldwide through June 30. In Alaska, all Princess Alaska Gulf cruise and cruisetours are cancelled for 2020, but the company's round-trip sailings from Seattle to Alaska on the Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess are currently still operating, the company said.
In Denali, Holland America's McKinley Chalet Resort and McKinley Explorer rail cars and tour motorcoaches will not operate at all this summer, the company said in a release. Princess America's five wilderness lodges, trains and buses operated by the company will not open this summer, either.
“This global outbreak continues to challenge our world in unimaginable ways," said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, in a release Tuesday. "We recognize how disappointing this is to our long-term business partners and thousands of employees, many of whom have been with us in Alaska for decades.
“We hope everyone impacted by these cancellations," she continued, "understand[s] our decision to do our part to protect the safety, health and well-being of our guests and team. We look forward to the brighter days and smooth seas ahead for all of us.”
Last year proved to be a record-breaking one for the Alaska cruise ship industry, which saw a
, with hotels seeing more than $300 million in revenue last year, not including almost as much spent by visitors during their stays.
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in 2020 for the fifth consecutive year, with at least 1.44 million cruise ship passengers expected in Alaska, along with 10 new ships and 29 additional port calls.
Instead, those numbers have dwindled to next to nothing.
"Having to delay summer cruising and cancel our land tours for the entire season is the responsible thing to do," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, in a release provided by the company on Tuesday, "yet also very disappointing and a first in our more than 70 years of taking guests to Alaska.
"We look forward to better days," Ashford said, "and returning to a full summer cruising season in 2021.”
Both Holland America and Princess Cruises are offering two main cancellation options. You should contact your cruise line for more information about cancellations, adjustments and refunds.