Carnival Cruise Line has announced it will extend its current suspension of North American cruises until at least May 11. This extension marks a two-month pause in sailing for the cruise line.
In a statement posted on Carnival’s Newsroom, the company said the following:
Carnival Cruise Line is extending our pause of North American operations to May 11.
We are working with our guests to address this disruption to their vacation plans and extend our apologies. For our guests’ convenience, we have automated the customer service process and urge our guests and travel agent partners to please use the online forms as requested in emails being sent. Our offices in Greater Miami remain closed at the direction of local officials and our ability to handle calls has been severely impacted by the ongoing situation. The web address for customers to make a selection is https://www.carnival.com/request-forms/cancellation-preference-v2.aspx. Please note that requests can only be submitted through this link for sailings impacted by these cancellations.
This decision also has implications for the thousands of our crew members who remain on our ships, and just like they have always taken care of our guests, we are working diligently to continue to take care of them and get them home where possible.
We remain committed to our return to service and will use this time to continue to build additional processes, protocols and resources to protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the destinations we serve.
We thank our guests for their understanding and look forward to welcoming them on a future Carnival cruise.
Carnival first announced it was suspending its sailings in the region on March 13. At the time, it hoped to return to service on April 10.
As this crisis has continued to unfold, however, that date proved too ambitious.
Just a few days ago Royal Caribbean announced an extension of its own suspension until May 12, 2020. Carnival’s sister cruise line Princess has also already halted its sailings until mid-May. Meanwhile, the federal government extended its own social distancing guidelines through the end of April, from the original 15-day plan.
It’s not surprising that Carnival decided to extend its cruising suspension. However, only time will tell if the new return to sailing date will hold of if the health crisis will lead to more postponements.
The High Cost of Suspended Sailings
The suspension of sailings comes at a high cost for all cruise lines. We recently looked into the financial reports for the three public cruise companies — Carnival Corporation & PLC, Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD., and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings LTD. — to get an idea of what it might cost them in lost revenue and profit.
While this extension applies to Carnival Cruise Line’s North American sailings (not the entire Carnival company as a whole), we do know that the financial impact is still substantial.
According to recent annual reports, Carnival Corporation & PLC (which includes Carnival, Princess, Cunard, and other lines) brought in $20.8 billion in revenue last year. That comes to an average of about $57 million per day.
In other words, for the entire global fleet to pause around the world for 30 days is an estimated $1.7 billion hit to revenue. While extending the suspension of just Carnival in North America is a smaller hit, it still has a major impact. (See more analysis of the estimated financial cost to cruise lines here.)
That goes to show how much this crisis is hitting the cruise lines and how serious they are taking the safety of passengers in the current environment.