COVID-19: P&O Cruises UK extends sailing suspension to October 15

P&O Cruises.
If your cruise has been cancelled, you'll get a credit with an additional 25 percent value. Photo credit: P&O Cruises

Cruise ship company P&O has extended its suspension of sailings in Europe until October 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Customers with bookings on newly cancelled sailings will be given a credit to use on a later cruise which gives an additional 25 percent on top of what they paid for their holiday, the company says.

P&O Cruises Australia has confirmed to Newshub that the P&O Cruises UK postponement doesn't change the currently planned restart dates for cruises into and out of New Zealand and Australia.

The suspension of cruise operations in this part of the world is currently scheduled to end on September 17 for Australia and August 31 for New Zealand.

But customers wanting to take a P&O cruise in Europe will have to wait longer.

"Unfortunately, as the world continues to adapt to this global crisis, we have made the decision, difficult as it is, to extend our pause in operations for all sailings," said P&O Cruises UK president Paul Ludlow in a Facebook video.

He goes on to explain that the delay is not due to continued restrictions by international authorities, but rather the company taking its time in developing a plan for how its different services will operate differently when it restarts. 

"As a business, our operational focus is not 'when can we resume sailing?' but instead 'how can we develop a comprehensive restart protocol that will keep everyone - or crew and guests - safe and well and still give our guests an amazing holiday?'" said Ludlow.

"All of this, as you can imagine, is no simple task and takes time and we need to ensure that we get it right. There simply is no margin for error."

Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean cruises still has the "goal of resuming operations on August 1".