By CBSLA Staff

SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA) – Princess Cruises, whose ships saw major COVID-19 outbreaks early this year, announced Friday that it will extend the pause on its sailings through at least March of 2021.

FILE — The coronavirus-stricken Grand Princess cruise ship is docked at Pier 35 in San Francisco, Calif., on April 7, 2020. (Jane Tyska/East Bay Times/Getty Images)

The Santa Clarita-based company, a subsidiary of Carnival Corp., announced that all cruises would be suspended through March 31.

Furthermore, all cruises longer than seven days sailing out of U.S. ports would be suspended through Nov. 1, 2021.

All cruises in and out of Japan are paused through at least June 25, 2021.

Princess Cruises’ global ship operations have been paused since mid-March when the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

“We are focused on preparing our ships to meet the CDC health and safety requirements for our eventual return to service,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, in a statement Friday. “We also appreciate the continued support we have received from our guests, partners and travel advisors, reinforcing for all of us why we do what we do.”

In early March, two Princess Cruise Lines’ ships, the Diamond Princess, which sails through Asia, and Grand Princess – which sails between California and Mexico — each had dozens of passengers test positive for coronavirus, prompting the quarantine of both ships at sea for days.

Thousands of people were quarantined, and at least seven passengers from the Grand Princess died of COVID-19.

A passenger on the Grand Princess was California’s first confirmed death due to the virus: a 71-year-old man from Northern California.

Princess Cruises operates 15 cruise ships, which prior to the pandemic, saw about two million guests per year, according the company.

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