On March 12, Princess Cruises announced its intention to suspend operations due to the circumstances evolving from the global spread of COVID-19 .
The release said, “in an abundance of caution, Princess Cruises announced that it will voluntarily pause global operations of its 18 cruise ships for two months (60 days), impacting voyages departing March 12 to May 10.”
As reported by moneymarkets.com yesterday, since reaching more than $51 in the middle of January 2020, Carnival Corp. (NYSE: CCL) has slid 61 per cent since the middle of March.
The Carnival ship Diamond Princess started with one case of the corona virus and rapidly expanded to 700.
“To add a bonus incentive for guests to accept this offer, the company will add an additional generous future cruise credit benefit which can be applied to the cruise fare or on-board expenses.”– Statement by Princess Cruises
Other lines have also been impacted. Royal Caribbean Cruises (NYSE: RCL), the second-largest operator in the world after Carnival, hit $133 per share back in January but has dropped more than 66 per cent since.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NYSE: NCLH) which controls about nine per cent of the worldwide share of the cruise market and is the third-largest in the world was also battered with shares falling more than 74 per cent since the middle of January 2020.
Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises said in the release that “by taking this bold action of voluntarily pausing the operations of ships,“ it is our intention to reassure our loyal guests, team members and global stakeholders of our commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all who sail with us, as well as those who do business with us, and the countries and communities we visit around the world,”
It was indicated that those currently on-board a cruise that will end in the next five days will continue to sail as expected through the end of the itinerary so that onward travel arrangements are not disrupted.
Current voyages that are underway and extend beyond March 17 will be ended at the most convenient location for guests, factoring in operational requirements, it was outlined.
Princess Cruises serves more than 50,000 guests daily from 70 countries.
For those who are impacted by this business decision, Princess is offering guests the opportunity to transfer 100 per cent of the money paid for their cancelled cruise to a future cruise of their choice.
The company stated, “To add a bonus incentive for guests to accept this offer, the company will add an additional generous future cruise credit benefit which can be applied to the cruise fare or on-board expenses. In addition, Princess will honour this offer for those guests who had made final payment and cancelled their booking on or after February 4, 2020. The future cruise credit can be used on any voyage departing through May 1, 2022.”
Princess Cruises plans to be back in operation beginning with cruises departing May 11, 2020.
The company indicates that it operates a fleet of 18 modern cruise ships, carrying two million guests each year to 380 destinations around the globe, including the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal, Mexican Riviera, Europe, South America, Australia/New Zealand, the South Pacific, Hawaii, Asia, Canada/New England, Antarctica and World Cruises.
It indicated that two new Royal-class ships are currently under construction – Enchanted Princess, scheduled for delivery in June 2020, followed by Discovery Princess in November 2021.
Princess previously announced that two new (LNG) ships which will be the largest ships in the Princess fleet, accommodating approximately 4,300 guests are planned for delivery in 2023 and 2025.
Princess now has four ships arriving over the next five years between 2020 and 2025. The company is part of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE:CUK).