The over-50s travel specialist has made the decision following coronavirus advice from the Government
Saga has cancelled all its cruises until May following an update to official travel advice which stated that people aged over 70, and those with pre-existing medical conditions, should avoid cruises.
A number of cruise ships around the world have been in lock down because of coronavirus outbreaks on-board.
The Government published updated travel advice yesterday, based on guidance from its chief medical officer.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson says: “Based on the recommendation of the chief medical officer, we are now advising against all travel on cruise ships for passengers aged 70 years and over, and those with high-risk conditions.
“Our first priority is the safety of British nationals. The nature and design of cruise ships – where passengers are contained and the virus can spread faster – makes them a particularly risky environment for vulnerable people. We’ve already seen the impact a coronavirus outbreak can have on board a cruise ship and we have changed this advice with the safety of British nationals in mind.”
The FCO says travellers with existing cruise travel plans should speak to their operator for further advice.
A statement on Saga’s website says: “Given the Government announcement we have taken the very difficult decision to temporarily suspend our cruise programmes from 15 March 2020 to 1 May 2020. This is a decision we have not taken lightly.”
Can you get a refund?
If you have booked a cruise with Saga you can get a full refund by contacting the company.
However, if you choose to amend your booking instead, Saga will give you additional holiday credit of £100 valid for two years.
If you have booked a Saga Ocean Cruise on the Saga Sapphire or Spirit of Discovery due to set sail before 1 May, Saga is offering an additional future cruise credit to the value of 25% of the cruise price to travellers who amend their bookings to a future date, rather than apply for a full refund.
Saga says its customer services team will be in phone contact with customers with cruises booked over the next few days to discuss their options in more detail.
If you’ve got a cruise booked with Saga due to set sail after 1 May, Saga says it will continue to monitor the situation and will contact customers if there are changes to future cruises.
Rival cruise operator Carnival has also halted all journeys on ships in its Princess Cruises line for two months because of the spread of coronavirus.