Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced Thursday it would cancel all voyages in Asia across its three cruise brands through the summer months due to the coronavirus outbreak, and that it will temporarily remove the company’s ships from the region.© Getty LISBON, PORTUGAL – OCTOBER 20: Norwegian Pearl, a Jewel class cruise ship of Norwegian Cruise Line, sails on the Tagus River while leaving harbor on her way to Ponta Delgada, in the Azores, at the end of the afternoon on October 20, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. Norwegian Pearl is the third of NCL’s four Jewel-class ships. She was preceded by Norwegian Jewel in 2005, and Pride of Hawaii (now Norwegian Jade) in 2006. She was followed by Norwegian Gem in 2007. (Photo by Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio announced on the company’s earnings conference call that 40 voyages have been canceled or modified through the end of the third quarter — 24 voyages on Norwegian Cruise Line, 10 on Oceania Cruises and six on Regent Seven Seas Cruises have been affected.
The Norwegian Spirit accounts for 21 of the canceled Asia voyages, and the ship will be redeployed to the eastern Mediterranean for summer. The ship just underwent a $100 million refurbishment.
Del Rio said the company is making the moves out of an “abundance of caution.” Among the key factors in the decision, he said: “uncertainty surrounding port entry and berthing availability in destinations through the region” and consumers’ reluctance to travel to Asia.
“Trepidation by American and other Western consumers resulted in increased cancellations and a slow down in new bookings for sailings in the region,” Del Rio said, also mentioning concern over the Diamond Princess quarantine.
The Princess Cruises ship was quarantined in Japan for 14 days and had 621 confirmed cases among its 3,711 passengers and crew, and two people who had been on the ship died from the virus.
Del Rio said any passengers or crew who have traveled to China, Hong Kong or Macao in the past 30 days, regardless of nationality, will not allowed to board a cruise.
Norwegian and Royal Caribbean International cruise lines had both previously announced they would bar passengers holding passports from China, Hong Kong or Macao. These measures are in addition to screening and other preventative protocols adopted by trade association Cruise Lines International Association, which represents about 90% of the ocean-going cruise ships in the world.
Customer refunds, incentive compensations and redeployed voyages are expected to mean a financial hit for Norwegian that is still being quantified, Del Rio told investors.
CruiseCritic notes that many cruise lines have canceled Asia voyages, though most of the cancellations are just through the spring.