Published On: Fri, Mar 27th, 2020

Cruise lines facing no bail out, no business due to Coronavirus

Cruise ships in Port St. Maarten - 20191128 JH

~ Largest cruises halted for two months ~ 

PHILIPSBURG – Due to the spread of Coronavirus Royal Caribbean International and Carnival’s Princess Cruises have extended the suspension of their operations with another 30 days, until May 12th. Norwegian Cruise Line still focuses on April 11th. All three likely won’t benefit from the $2 trillion coronavirus bailout package the American Senate has passed because the companies are not registered in the United States.

Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line are the biggest cruise lines in the world. Together they control 82 percent of the global market. While they have headquarters in Miami, Florida, these American owned companies domicile in other countries. Royal Caribbean is incorporated in the West African country Liberia. Carnival Corporation is registered in Panama, and Norwegian Cruise Lines in Bermuda. These are all tax havens with questionable legal systems, making it possible to avoid US labor and environmental laws.

Of the largest cruise companies in the world, Carnival Corp. is perhaps the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The company announced today that four passengers have died aboard Holland America’s ‘Zaandam’ cruise ship off the coast of Panama. There are more than 1,800 people aboard the ship, no one has been able to get off since March 14th. Currently 53 passengers and 85 crew members are exhibiting symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.

The Zaandam is the third Carnival-owned ship to become the site of a coronavirus outbreak. The Diamond Princess had more than 700 infected passengers and crew. At least eight people died after disembarking the ship in February. Three weeks ago U.S. officials announced 21 confirmed COVID-19 cases on another Carnival-owned ship, the Grand Princess, which was moored off the coast of California.

A Florida couple that was aboard the Grand Princess now sues the cruise line for $1 million for being put at ‘serious risk of imminent harm’ due to the spread of coronavirus on the ship. The elderly man and woman claim they weren’t made aware of the risk of getting infected ‘at any time before boarding or while they were already onboard,’ according to the lawsuit.

On March 12 Princess Cruises suspended operations for all future cruises on its 18-ship fleet for 60 days. Royal Caribbean announced this week that its ships will not sail again until May 12th. This means that Celebrity Cruises, owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, and Royal Caribbean’s subsidiary Azamara Club Cruises will also remain in ports.

‘’We don’t need a bailout in terms of giving us money. Getting a loan guarantee would be helpful,” Carnival chief executive Arnold Donald said recently on HBO, The Washington Post reported.