As parts the travel world begin to reopen, MSC Cruises has confirmed it will further extend the fleet-wide halt of its cruise operation through to July 31st.
Coupled to an announcement from P&O Cruises that it would delay its return until October, the news adds to fears the cruise sector may be among the last to recover from the Covid-19 outbreak.
Gianni Onorato, chief executive, MSC Cruises said: “While today we have taken the difficult decision to further extend the halt of operations of all our ships, it is important that we also look ahead as we know that our customers are dreaming of travel and are wanting to plan their holidays for next year.
“For this reason, we have now also confirmed our full summer programme for 2021.”
The Swiss-based cruise line reconfirmed its full summer programme for 2021, starting in March next year.
The season will include two new ships currently under construction and a series of new or enriched itineraries and homeports.
“Shorter-term,” added Onorato, “our ships will return to service only when the time is right, in phases and by region, and following guidance from the relevant national and international health and other regulatory authorities and the support of a new operating protocol especially focused on health and safety, which we will announce soon.
“This way, gradually, all of our ships will return to sea between then and the beginning of our summer 2021 season.”