Viking Cruises cancels sailings for the rest of 2020, cites coronavirus uncertainty

Viking Cruises has canceled its sailings through the end of the year, citing the ongoing uncertainty about the coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to its customers Wednesday, Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen said the company would suspend its operations through Dec. 31, “at which time we believe the world will be in a better position, and international travel will be less complicated.”

“On March 11, when we became the first cruise line to temporarily suspend operations at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I would not have imagined that in August we would still not be sailing and that I would be writing this letter to you,” Hagen wrote.

In the letter, Hagen cited the inability to travel freely across borders with many countries limiting entry. Hagen suggested that the development of effective therapeutics and a vaccine would be key to the resumption of cruise operations.

“As keen as we may be to get back to exploring,” Hagen wrote, “for now, international travel must wait.”

Viking isn’t alone in canceling its cruise schedule through December. On Tuesday, Holland America extended its pause in operations through Dec. 15.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention imposed a no-sail order on cruise lines in March after several coronavirus outbreaks on cruise ships. In July, the CDC extended it to Sept. 30. Earlier this month, the Cruise Lines International Association, a trade group, committed to resuming cruise operations no earlier than Nov. 1.

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