A mass repatriation of crew is being planned by Royal Caribbean after global cruises were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Various ships and charter flights will be deployed to return crew home to 60 countries.

At least 11 vessels will be involved in the repatriation efforts, including three which will sail to Southampton where charter flights will be organised.

Thousands of staff have been left on board ships operated by different lines around the world with the shutdown of sailings.

Royal Caribbean crew from the Caribbean, Central and South America will be transferred to certain ships and sailed home to the Bahamas, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, St Kitts, Dominica, St Lucia, Grenada, Trinidad, St Vincent and the Grenadines from Saturday (May 9).

Filipino and Indonesian crew will be flown home on charter flights from Barbados and Miami.

Indian crew will transfer to ships that will sail to their home country by June 3.

Canadians, most Europeans and crew from all other countries will  sail to Southampton to be flown home from there, according to the Miami Herald.

Ukrainian and Romanian crew members will be flown home on charter flights from Miami.

The plans follow rival Carnival Cruise Line deploying nine ships to repatriate 10,000 crew to points around the world.