Viking has announced it will temporarily suspend river and ocean cruise operations.
All sailings will be put on halt until May 1st in response to the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak around the world.
The announcement was made in a video by Viking chairman Torstein Hagen.
Addressing guests, he said the safety of 10,000 staff and half a million annual passengers was the top priority.
“I am sure you recognise that Covid-19 has made travel exceedingly complicated.
“An increasing number of ports, including Venice, Monte Carlo and Bergen, have temporarily closed to cruise ships; major attractions such as the Vatican and other museums have been closed; and some countries are imposing restrictions on public gatherings and visitors,” Hagen explained.
“The situation has now become such that operating as a travel company involves significant risks of quarantines or medical detentions, which could diminish the travel experiences for which our guests have been planning,” he added.
Hagen explained, as a private company, Viking was well positioned to overcome the suspension.
“As a private company with strong finances, we do not have to worry about quarterly profit expectations – and that flexibility allows us the ability to do what is best for our guests and our employees,” he continued.
Guests impacted can request a full refund in cash or vouchers valued at 125 per cent of the value of monies paid to Viking, to be used within two years.
Viking was founded in 1997 with the purchase of four ships in Russia.
Designed for discerning travellers, the line currently operates a fleet of 79 vessels, offering scenic cruising on rivers, oceans and lakes around the world.
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