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Cunard scraps cruise sailings until November

Ben Birchall

By Neil Lancefield, PA Transport Correspondent

Cunard has extended the suspension of its cruise sailings until November due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Simon Palethorpe, the president of the luxury British line, said the ability for people to move “freely and safely across borders remains seemingly some way in the distance”.

All sailings have been cancelled for its ships Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria up to November 1, and for Queen Elizabeth up to November 23.

Cunard had previously cancelled trips up to the end of July.

Mr Palethorpe said the firm needs to “better understand the implications Covid-19 will have on board our ships” and will only resume operations when it has developed enhanced health and safety regimes approved by “the most trusted and informed sources”.

He added the company is working with bodies such as Public Health England and its equivalent in the US “to review every aspect of a holiday with us”.

Customers with affected bookings will automatically receive credit for a future sailing worth 125% of the cost of their original trip.

Those who request a cash refund are being warned it will take up to 60 days to process payments.

Southampton-based Carnival UK last month announced plans to cut 450 jobs across Cunard and its other cruise line, P&O Cruises, to “ensure the future sustainability” of the business.