P&O Cruises and Cunard have extended the suspension of sailings until at least the end of July

The cruise lines had previously cancelled all trips up to May 15

Coronavirus has forced cruise companies to extend their sailing suspension.

P&O Cruises and Cunard have extended the suspension of sailings until at least the end of July.

Customers with affected bookings will automatically receive credit for a future sailing worth 125% of the cost of their original trip.

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Statements issued by the firms, which are both part of the Carnival group, did not mention if cash refunds would be offered.

The announcement means the launch of Iona, the latest ship to be operated by P&O Cruises, will be delayed.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: "With the current lockdown in place and Government guidelines around the world advising against travel, it is necessary to extend the pause in our operations for all sailings up to and including July 31 2020.

"We are so sorry not to be able to give our guests amazing holidays at the moment, but we will do so as soon as global guidelines will allow."

Sailings for Cunard's Queen Elizabeth have been cancelled up to September 8 as it would not have been viable to operate a shorter summer season, according to the company.

Cunard president Simon Palethorpe said: "These are extraordinary times and this global outbreak continues to challenge Cunard and the travel industry as a whole.

"We would love nothing more than to bring our fleet back into service, and give our guests the holidays they deserve and long for but, with the lockdowns and travel restrictions in place around the world, this is simply not possible at this time."

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