Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced that all its ocean cruise line members have ceased travel for the next 30-60 days due to the spread of coronavirus.
The CLIA’s members include Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises.
“CLIA cruise line members are voluntarily and temporarily suspending operations from the US as we work to address this public health crisis,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO, CLIA.
“This is an unprecedented situation. Our industry has taken responsibility for protecting public health for more than 50 years, working under the guidance of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and prides itself on its ability to deliver exceptional vacation experiences for guests, as well as meaningful employment opportunities for crew. This has been a challenging time, but we hope that this decision will enable us to focus on the future and a return to normal as soon as possible.”
In the US, the cruise industry provides 421,000 jobs and rakes in approximately US$53 billion. The cruise industry also supports travel agencies, airlines, hotels and a supply chain of industries across the US.
“We do not take this decision lightly, and we want the traveling public to know in no uncertain terms the commitment of this industry to putting people first… We know the travel industry is a huge economic engine for the United States and when our ships once again sail, our industry will be a significant contributor to fueling the economic recovery,” Adam Goldstein, CLIA’s global chairman, emphasised.
Even so, several cruise lines have seen their stock prices plummet on global indexes since the spread of coronavirus outside of Wuhan, China. Between January 1 and March 12, the stock prices of the Carnival Cruise declined 57 per cent, Royal Caribbean’s fell by 66 per cent, and Norwegian Cruise’s lost 74 per cent in value.
To exacerbate the situation, countries including those in the Caribbean have refused berthing privileges to cruise ships the world over in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus to their shores. In addition, passengers who previously booked voyages have either cancelled their purchase of tickets or postponed their trips.
According to Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, “…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.”
Princess Cruises has ceased operations of its 18 ships up to May 18. However, a majority of the cruise lines have cancelled voyages for the next 30 days.
Royal Caribbean, in a press release issued last Saturday, March 14, said, “…we expect to resume services on April 11, 2020.”