P&O Cruises pauses all sailings until 2021

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The P&O cruise ship Britannia (left) and the Cunard cruise ship Queen VictoriaImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Cruises were abandoned in March due to the coronavirus pandemic

Cruise company P&O has extended the suspension of sailings until 2021.

The Southampton-based company, which is part of the Carnival group, had aimed to resume voyages from mid-November.

But its Caribbean cruises are now cancelled until the end of January, and all cruises from and to Southampton are cancelled through February.

President Paul Ludlow said the latest round of cancellations were due to the "evolving restrictions on travel from the UK".

He added: "We are continuing to monitor the overall situation closely and will certainly reintroduce cruises should the opportunity arise and it is feasible to do so."

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Cruise ships anchored off the coast of Weymouth have become an attraction

He said the company was working with the "most brilliant minds in science as well as government at the highest level" on enhanced health protocols for when cruising resumes.

"We cannot wait for restrictions to ease, borders to open and for us to once again be able to set sail for a new beginning," he concluded.

All guests with bookings on cancelled cruises will be notified by the company with refunds available.

In March, P&O Cruises brought its ships back to Southampton as the pandemic worsened.

Two months later Carnival UK said it planned to cut 450 jobs across P&O Cruises and its other cruise line, Cunard, to "ensure the future sustainability" of the business.

In July, P&O Cruises announced it was selling one of its oldest vessels, Oceana.

The sight of idle cruise ships anchored off the south coast became an unusual tourist attraction over the summer.

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