By KAZUMICHI KUBOTA/ Staff Writer
February 10, 2020 at 14:50 JST
The cruise ship Diamond Princess navigates the Uraga Channel in Tokyo Bay on Feb. 8. The city of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, is visible in the background, along with Mount Fuji. (Yasuhiro Sugimoto)
The operator of the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess pledged Feb. 10 to refund all 2,666 passengers due to the onboard outbreak of the new coronavirus.
The vessel carried 1,045 crew members, who are also confined to the ship and cannot disembark during the 2-week quarantine period.
Carnival Japan Inc., the Japanese branch of Princess Cruise Lines Ltd., which operates the ship, said refunds will be offered via travel agencies through which the passengers made their bookings.
The company will ask passengers to submit invoices, along with receipts, after they return home. Carnival Japan said it had notified all the passengers in writing about the offer.
“We hope this will help ease our guests’ stress even just a little bit,” said a company official.
The cruise was initially scheduled for 16 days and 15 nights, with prices ranging from 250,000 yen ($2,280) to 1.38 million yen.
A passenger in his 50s said the notice pledges that the company will shoulder all travel fees the passengers paid, including those not only for the cruise, but also airfares and accommodation prior to and after boarding.
The notice also said the company will inform passengers about transportation arrangements once they disembark following consultations with the Japanese government.
“I was surprised at how quickly the company reached its decision,” the passenger told The Asahi Shimbun in a telephone interview. “I think many Japanese passengers will be satisfied with this (measure).”
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