Cruise companies are suspending operations amid coronavirus pandemic
Carnival’s Princess Cruises has canceled its global operations for 60 days amid the coronavirus pandemic. Quarantines on two of the operator’s ships have been at the center of news around the outbreak of COVID-19.
The cruise line’s spokesperson told USA Today all operations are suspended from March 12 through May 10. Passengers will be refunded for 100% of the cost of the cruise, either through cruise credit or cash, the company promised.
The cancellations come after the U.S. State Department issued a statement on March 8 urging people not to take cruises. “U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship,” the statement reads. “[The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.”
Princess has more than 50,000 guests a day on its ships under normal circumstances, USA Today reported.
Viking Cruises has also temporarily halted its cruises through May 1. The company has suspended river and ocean cruises embarking from March 12 through April 30. Viking is offering passengers a 125% refund toward “Future Cruise Vouchers” or a refund.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line canceled its Asia cruises in February.
That company is now in hot water, however, for leaked emails that reveal its management encouraged its sales staff to lie to passengers about the severity of the coronavirus threat in order to protect bookings.
Management at the cruise line gave salespeople misleading lines to read to potential passengers. “The only thing you need to worry about for your cruise is do you have enough sunscreen?” a manager wrote in an email leaked by a whistleblower to the Washington Post.
Passengers on Princess Cruises that end in the next five days will cruise at stops as expected. Everyone on a longer cruise, past March 17, will disembark early.