Fred Olsen Cruise Lines is extending the cancellation of sailings to an unspecified date beyond May 23 in the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The line will be assessing all upcoming cruises from May 23 in date order.

The first five sailings by European river cruise ship Brabant have also been cancelled.

The company announced on March 13 that all ocean cruise sailings would be paused until May 23.

The ocean fleet of four ships – Balmoral, Braemar, Boudicca and Black Watch – will remain in Scotland’s Firth of Forth, just outside the port of Rosyth, during the company’s pause in cruise operations.

Managing director Peter Deer said: “At this stage I am not able to confirm a date when we can expect to resume normal operations, as what I don’t want to do is set an expectation and not be able to deliver what we promise.

“What I can say is that we are keeping a very close eye on the latest guidance from the relevant authorities, including the UK Government and Public Health England, as well as overseas policies.

“We are very clear on our position that we will not resume cruising until we know that it is safe for us to do so. The safety of our guests and crew is always our utmost priority, and this is especially true now.

“All guests on affected cruises will be notified with at least 30 days’ notice before their cruise was due to depart.”

He added: “It is regrettable that we won’t be welcoming guests back on board at the end of May as we had initially hoped, but we can’t wait to start sailing again as soon as the world is ready for us to do so.”

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