Princess Cruises has decided to stop operations amid the coronavirus outbreak, ceasing tours on all 18 of its cruise ships for two months until May 10.

Yesterday, the virus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation after the confirmed cases exceeded 134,000 and around 4900 died.

Those on board Princess Cruises' journeys ending in the next five days would continue to sail as expected until the end of their itinerary.

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However, current voyagers under way and extending beyond March 17 would be ended at the most convenient location for passengers.

Passengers impacted by the decision would be offered the chance to transfer all funds of the money paid for a cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice.

The safety and wellbeing of those who sailed with them were why the cruise ship company decided to stop sailing, Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz said.

Viking cruise line yesterday announced it would temporarily suspend river and ocean cruise operations until May 1.

Its fleet of 79 vessels offers cruising on lakes, rivers, and oceans around the world, including in New Zealand.

Pasifika Festival had been cancelled because of concerns about coronavirus, Auckland Mayor Phil Goff announced this morning.

The festival at Western Springs was set to run tomorrow and Sunday.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff said it was with "much regret" that the festival has been cancelled: "We were simply not prepared to take the risk."


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern also expected New Zealand's border restrictions would become even tighter today.

Earlier this week, any Kiwis booked on a cruise in the coming months were urged to contact their travel agent or cruise operator for specific information.

"The virus can spread quickly on board cruises due to the close contact between passengers," Safe Travel said.

"Some cruise ships have been put into quarantine, and countries have denied entry to ports, which can have significant consequences for travellers."

Elsewhere, Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Voyages had decided to delay its heavily promoted maiden voyage until August.

It would postpone the launch cruise of its adults-only cruise ship the Scarlett Lady until August 7, 2020, after it was originally planned for later this month.

The virus continues to wreak havoc on stock markets, in the skies, on sporting arenas - and even close to the US President, Donald Trump.

A Brazilian official who met Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday has tested positive for coronavirus, though Trump said he "isn't concerned".