Princess Cruises just suspended its operations for 2 months due to coronavirus
Associated Press/Noah Berger
- Princess Cruises is suspending operations until at least May 11, it said Thursday.
- The cancellations come after two Princess ships were quarantined following positive cases of coronavirus on board.
- Shares of Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruise's parent company, plummeted more than 20% in early trading following the news.
- Viking Cruises also cancelled voyages this week as the spreading virus brings the cruise industry to its knees.
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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."
The company also said that it will provide ticket holders cash refunds or vouchers for future cruises if their voyages are cancelled.
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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