Celestyal Cruises has extended the suspension of its cruise operations until next year as a result of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding travel to Europe this summer.
The company’s 2021 season is scheduled to begin March 6, 2021.
Athens-based Celestyal Cruises, which specializes in the Greek Islands and the Eastern Mediterranean, originally suspended sailings in mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted ongoing travel restrictions and temporary port closures.
The cruise line is offering impacted guests a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) valued at 120 percent of original booking value that they can redeem by December 2021 on any sailing through the end of December 2022. If passengers don’t redeem their FCC by the end of December 2021, they will automatically receive a full refund equal to the original amount paid.
Celestyal Cruises will automatically send the FCC voucher directly to guests or their travel advisors so there’s no need to contact the cruise line other than to rebook travel.
“As the core of our season runs from the spring through the autumn, we were optimistic that we would be able to resume our cruise operations later this summer,” said Celestyal Cruises chief commercial officer Leslie Peden in a statement accompanying Tuesday’s announcement. “However, given the prevailing uncertainty regarding travel restrictions through the balance of our operating season from our largest international source markets coupled with the continuing discussions at the European Union level regarding the enhanced health protocols that will apply to EU cruise operations, we made the difficult but prudent decision to postpone resuming cruise operations until the scheduled start of our normal spring season next year.”
Peden said the company has already “put our travel partners and guests through enough date changes on when cruising could return safely.”
“By voluntarily pausing operations until our scheduled departures of next year, Celestyal will be better positioned to offer more clarity and certainty to our valued partners and guests, as well as peace of mind,” he added. “We will now shift our full attention to developing both 2021 and 2022 business where we are already seeing encouraging signs of pent-up demand and be well prepared to implement all enhanced health protocols that will ultimately be established by the EU and the countries where we operate.”
“While we appreciate and share in the disappointment this decision has on our guests, their wellbeing, as well as that of our loyal crew and the local communities we visit is always our top priority,” Peden concluded.