Greek Islands and Mediterranean specialist Celestyal Cruises has cancelled its 2020 season and will resume sailings on March 6, 2021.

The line had previously extended its suspension of cruises until July 30, but on Tuesday confirmed it would not restart operations until next spring due to “ongoing uncertainty about travel to Europe this summer”.

Leslie Peden, chief commercial officer, said: “As the core of our season runs from spring through the autumn, we were optimistic that we would be able to resume our cruise operations later this summer.

“However, given the prevailing uncertainty regarding travel restrictions through the balance of our operating season from our largest international source markets coupled with the continuing discussions at European Union level regarding the enhanced health protocols that will apply to EU cruise operations, we made the difficult but prudent decision to postpone resuming cruise operations until the scheduled start of our normal spring season next year.”

He added: “We felt that as a company, we have already put our travel partners and guests through enough date changes on when cruising could return safely. By voluntarily pausing operations until our scheduled departures next year, Celestyal will be better positioned to offer more clarity and certainty to our valued partners and guests, as well as peace of mind.

“We will now shift our full attention to developing both 2021 and 2022 business where we are seeing encouraging signs of pent-up demand and will be well prepared to implement all enhanced health protocols that will ultimately be established by the EU and the countries where we operate.

“Whilst we appreciate and share in the disappointment our guests will feel about this decision, their wellbeing, as well as that of our loyal crew and the local communities we visit, is always top of mind.”