Norwegian Cruise Lines Suspends Cruises Through May 10

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. is the latest to extend its voluntary suspension of cruises in the face of a health crisis that continues to grow throughout the world.

In a press release on Monday, the company, which is the parent of Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, said it would now return to sailing after May 10, 2020.

Previously, the cruise giant had planned to return on April 12 after suspending cruises on March 13.

Here’s the full statement from Norwegian:

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (“Norwegian” or “the Company”)
(NYSE: NCLH), a leading global cruise company which operates the Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania
Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands, today announced an extension of its previously
announced voluntary suspension of all cruise voyages to include voyages embarking between April 12 and
May 10, 2020 for its three cruise brands. The extended suspension contributes to the global efforts to
contain the spread of COVID-19, which has also resulted in travel restrictions and continued uncertainty
regarding worldwide port closures and availability.

“With COVID-19 continuing to have a significant impact on communities throughout the world, we are
extending our temporary suspension of cruise voyages across our three brands through May 10th,” said
Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “While we
understand this disruption may inconvenience our loyal guests and valued travel partners, we are
committed first and foremost to protecting the safety, security and well-being of our guests, crew, and the
communities we visit. We appreciate their continued understanding as we navigate through these
unprecedented times and do our part to help global efforts to contain this pandemic.”

Guests who are currently booked on voyages with embarkation dates between March 13 and May 10, 2020
on Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises or Regent Seven Seas Cruises are asked to contact their travel
agent or the cruise line for more information.

Many Cruise Lines Extending Their Suspensions

Norwegian is the latest in a number of cruise lines to revise their return to sail dates. Major cruise lines from Royal Caribbean to Carnival, Disney, and MSC have all increased the length of their suspensions further in recent dates.

At this point, most lines have plans to start sailing again in mid-to-late May. However, it still isn’t clear if that date will hold as much of the globe is facing an uphill battle against the health crisis.

Just recently the U.S. government extended its call for social distancing until the end of April. Meanwhile, many states are undergoing restrictive “lockdowns” — including southern Florida, where many cruises depart.

It’s not just the United States, however, that can have an impact on when cruises set sail again. Ports of call must be willing to accept cruise ships.

We’ve already seen this to be an issue. For instance, Canada is not allowing cruise ships until July 1 at the earliest. Meanwhile, a number of cruise ships have repeatedly been denied ports — including a Holland America ship that reportedly has virus cases on board.

Only time will tell if the crisis has subsided enough to allow ships to get back to sailing in mid-May or if future suspensions are in the future.

Considerable Costs to Stop Sailing

While health of passengers and crew is at the top of everyone’s mind, it’s hard to ignore the financial aspect of this crisis on cruise lines. 

In a recent article, we looked at the average daily revenue and profit figures from the publicly traded cruise companies to get an idea of what this suspension means in dollars. In terms of lost revenue, it totals in the billions of dollars across the cruise lines combined.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., for example, saw revenue of almost $6.5 billion last year and a profit of $930 million.

That means each day it saw average revenue of $17.7 million and profit of $2.6 million. Over the course of a month, that comes to about $530 million and $76 million, respectively. By suspending sailings, the cruise line is largely foregoing these dollars.

These figures are just an estimate of what it’s costing Norwegian. Even so, it’s clear that this crisis has had a major impact across the industry. And as of yet, it’s still unclear when things will start to get better.

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