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Cruise Line CEO Says People are Scared to Travel Due to Coronavirus



Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio had words of concern and hope, both at the same time, late last week.

Speaking about the coronavirus, which has infected more than 77,000 people and caused more than 2,300 deaths, Del Rio was blunt.

“Business is soft, people are scared to travel,” Del Rio said, then added a qualifier – “until we see the leveling off of new cases.”

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

Fearful and optimistic.

Right now, cruise lines have no choice but to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. As the virus continues to grow, with concerns now shifting away from China and toward Europe, the re-named Covid-19 virus has already taken a bite out of the $45 billion cruising industry.

As Leticia Miranda wrote in a great online article for NBC News, Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean have already combined to cancel nearly 40 cruises and re-route more than 40 more. All three have taken a hit in the wallet, with stock prices down 10% to 16% among the big three since January.

But, to its credit, the cruise lines have responded quickly. After all, this is not their first rodeo when it comes to contagious viruses and health issues.

Cruise lines have increased their cleaning and safety measures, even going to the lengths of denying boarding to passengers who have traveled to infected areas.

“The industry is really erring on side of caution to reduce the risk of introducing (the) virus on board,” Brian Salerno, spokesperson for Cruise Lines International Association trade association, said.

But Salerno also noted that China is an emerging market for cruise lines, which impacts the bottom line for Chinese travelers who fly to Europe then board a cruise back to the mainland.

Still, as Del Rio noted, there is optimism.

“If you look at prior outbreaks what you see is kind of short-lived duration impact on booking trends in the cruise space followed by a return to normalcy over the subsequent months,” Sharon Zackfia, an equity analyst with William Blair, told NBC News. “The cruise industry is really resilient and I don’t expect we’ll be talking about this in 2022.”

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Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line Resumes Sailings Mother’s Day Weekend



Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line announced today that it’s extending the suspension of all sailings through May 6, 2020, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Its ship, the Grand Celebration, is now scheduled to resume operations on Friday, May 8, 2020, with the expectation that it will be able to welcome passengers aboard just in time to celebrate Mother’s Day weekend.

Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, stated, “At Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line, the wellbeing of our passengers and crew is always our top priority. While we understand that this news is disappointing for many of our valued guests, we believe that further suspension is necessary to ensure their continued safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are in communication with all guests booked on a canceled sailing, as well as with our travel advisor partners, and we are offering a 125-percent Future Cruise Credit for all guests booked on a canceled sailing. We wish everyone the very best at this time and look forward to providing you a better way to getaway again soon.”

The Caribbean carrier’s updated “Sail with Ease” policy automatically issues a 125-percent Future Cruise Credit for guests who have two-night cruise and ‘Cruise & Stay’ bookings that need to be canceled due to the extended COVID-19-related suspension. Affected guests need only call customer service at (800) 374-4363 to transfer their booking to any future sailing date through December 31, 2021.

While the cruise line is encouraging guests to opt for the incentivized Future Cruise Credit, those who would prefer their money back are entitled to receive a 100-percent refund of the two-night cruise or ‘Cruise & Stay’ package price, including taxes, fees, charges and any pre-paid amenity or package.

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