Carnival Extends Shutdown of Cruise Operations Through May

Carnival Cruise Line extended its Covid-19 shutdown through May 31, while the company works to resume operations.

A restart date hasn’t been determined, the company said Wednesday. As it has done throughout the shutdown, Carnival is providing guests on canceled trips the choice of a future cruise credit plus an onboard credit package, or a full refund.

The coronavirus has been a major cash drain for the cruise industry, forcing operators to tap financial markets while their ships are docked and trips are on hold. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said earlier this week that bookings for future sailings continue to improve, showing pent-up demand for vacations.

The industry has essentially been on hold since it paused operations in mid-March, almost a year ago, after a series of dramatic and deadly outbreaks at sea. But the companies themselves don’t have the ultimate say in when they sail again.

The Centers for Disease & Prevention, which says the earlier cruise-ship outbreaks drained resources at a crucial time in the pandemic, is essentially the gatekeeper. The agency has created a tentative road map for their return, but no company has won approval to restart.

Carnival Cruise Line is the flagship of Carnival Corp., the world’s largest cruise operator. Competitors including Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. are also shut down.

Shares of Carnival were up 3% to $27.27 at 1:30 p.m. New York time, suggesting investors weren’t surprised by the announcement. The stock had gained 22% this year through Tuesday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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