Princess Cruises just suspended its operations for 2 months due to coronavirus

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Princess Cruises just suspended its operations for 2 months due to coronavirus

grand princess cruise

Associated Press/Noah Berger

Passenger aboard the Grand Princess celebrate as they arrive in Oakland, Calif., on Monday, March 9, 2020.

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Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival, said Thursday that it had suspended all sailings on its 18 ships effective immediately through at least May 11.

The cancellations come as the spread of the novel coronavirus - of which there are now127,749 cases worldwide, and 1,323 in the United States - decimates travel for cruises, airlines, and more. Two Princess Cruises ships were placed into quarantine in recent weeks, including the Grand Princess, which sat quarantined in the San Francisco bay for days before docking in Oakland after passengers tested positive for the virus.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a new 30-day travel ban on non-US citizens arriving from most European countries, sending airline stocks plummeting.

In a press release, Princess Cruises said that passengers currently onboard a cruise that is set to end within five days will sail as expected. Voyages currently underway that are scheduled to conclude after March 17 will be ended at "the most convenient location."

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The company also said that it will provide ticket holders cash refunds or vouchers for future cruises if their voyages are cancelled.

Shares of Carnival Corporation fell more than 20% in early trading Thursday after the cancellations were announced. Across the board, markets in Europe and Asia plunged Thursday, causing American trading to hit a pre-market halt.

On Wednesday, Princess competitor Viking Cruises also suspended operations as the spreading coronavirus all but cripples the industry.

Earlier this month, analysts at JPMorgan said that the economic impact of the virus to cruise lines is likely to be worse than any of the other sectors that the bank covers.

"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," Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, said in the press release.

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