What is behind the new Norwegian Cruise Line cancellations?
Welcome back to this week’s cruise news update. Just when we thought it was going to be a quiet week in cruise news, things changed. In this cruise news update we’re talking about NEW Norwegian Cruise Line Cancellations, good news for cruisers headed to French Polynesia, and something that hit a NERVE for us, big time!
Of course the big news is the new Norwegian Cruise Line cancellations this week. Honestly this came as a bit of a surprise for us. I know, the way things have been going, we should have been expecting something like this, but we weren’t. Let’s get into the details first, and then let’s talk about what may be behind the new Norwegian Cruise Line cancellations.
Here’s what Norwegian Cruise Line said in their news release
Your safety is our #1 priority—both on and off our ships. Due to the current global environment, we are extending the suspension of 2020 cruises to include:
- All sailings through August 31st
- All sailings in September except Seattle-based Alaska cruises
- The select October sailings listed below
|Destinaton||Affected Ship(s)||Suspended Voyage Dates|
|Alaska||Norwegian Bliss||October 12|
|Alaska||Norwegian Joy||October 4|
|Canada/New England||Norwegian Breakaway||October 4 – October 11|
|Canada/New England||Norwegian Gem||October 2 – October 9|
Guests who had an active reservation on a suspended cruise listed above will automatically receive a refund of their cruise fare in the form of a Future Cruise Credit for 125% of the amount paid to date on June 25th. The FCC must be used one year from issued date for ANY Norwegian Cruise Line voyage embarking through 2022.
Guests who prefer to not take advantage of a future cruise credit can elect to receive a lesser refund equal to the amount paid to date to the original form of payment 90 days after form submission for sailings originally scheduled to embark.
What We Found Perplexing
Interestingly, the line stated that they hope to resume some cruises to Alaska in September. “We are hopeful that through the support of the Alaska delegation, and openness of Mayors of Alaska port towns, we have the potential to resume voyages in September.”
BUT HOW: One of two things would have to happen: Transport Canada rescinds the no-sail order, or the U.S. modifies the PVSA to either make an exemption for Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy; The Passenger Vessel Services Act.
Those two things seem unlikely in the current climate. We will keep an eye on the situation, and hope for the best. We have more to say about this news, but let’s touch on some seemingly good news first.
Good News: Gene Sloan from The Points Guy is reporting that French Polynesia is re-opening.
Yes, we are frustrated about the new Norwegian Cruise Line cancellations, but it’s not all bad news this week. French Polynesia isn’t the biggest cruise destination in the world. But it’s about to be at the forefront of the cruise industry’s move to get ships sailing again.
In the wake of the South Pacific destination’s announcement that it would reopen to tourists on July 15, one of the region’s best-known cruise operators, Paul Gauguin Cruises, on Tuesday announced plans to restart operations on July 11 — just 24 days from now.
Owned by international line Ponant, Paul Gauguin Cruises said its one ship, the 332-passenger Paul Gauguin, initially would offer sailings for the local French Polynesian market only. Trips for international travelers will start on July 29.The announcement comes as another one of French Polynesia’s main cruise sellers, Aranui Cruises, prepares to resume voyages for tourists on July 18. Aranui Cruises sells trips to little-visited French Polynesian islands year-round on an unusual vessel that is half-freighter, half-cruise-ship.
CDC’s treatment of cruise industry UNJUST? The View of an analyst:
Shares of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. and other cruise operators tumbled Wednesday, after the announcement of new Norwegian Cruise line cancellations, and the extended suspensions of ship departures by at least two months, but Instinet analyst Harry Curtis said investors should blame it on government bias, not the company.
Norwegian said late Tuesday that it was halting cruise voyages through Sept. 30, and is also canceling some departures through October, which is a change from previously announced suspensions through July. Norwegian said it would continue to work with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal government and public health authorities to ensure safety of employees and guests.
According to Curtis, that’s the problem.
“This issue is NOT that the industry has been passive in developing health protocols. Quite the contrary,” Curtis wrote in a note to clients. “In our view, the hurdle lies with the CDC’s unwillingness to discuss, deCurtis said the CDC seems to be telling cruise operators to not even think about resuming operations, even as many businesses have started reopening, including resorts and casinos. And airlines have let many flights take off at near capacity “with not a peep” from the CDC.
Instinet Analyst Harry Curtis Says
“It would seem that the cruise industry, its passengers and employees have been viewed by the CDC in the same vein as meat packing plants, nursing homes and prisons,” Curtis wrote. “In our view, there is something unjust about such unilateral treatment.”
He’s worried that at the current pace, it could take the CDC three to six months to respond to expert panel recommendations, which by then the 2020 cruise season would be over.
He said Norwegian has for many weeks, submitted suggestions for new protocols, but the CDC has shown “limited interest” in holding discussions about resuming cruises. Yet the company has little recourse but to wait for approval, as Curtis said the CDC has the power to impound or quarantine ships.
This Hit A Nerve
To us Harry Curtis’ view explains a lot. We have been following the efforts of all cruise lines to implement new precautions and procedures, and we know how hard they are trying make things safe. Of course, safety is the primary concern here, but when we look at other industries the CDC’s treatment of the cruising industry seems at best arbitrary, and at worst biased.
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