Carnival starts cancelling next year’s cruises

The world’s biggest cruise company has begun cancelling next year’s trips in a fresh blow to an industry devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Former FTSE 100 cruise operator Carnival blamed border restrictions and the “continued uncertainty of airline travel” for axing Princess Cruises sailings in early 2021.

Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president, said: “We share in the disappointment of this cancellation for guests of our world cruises.”

The cancellations follow an announcement by Cunard, also owned by Carnival, that services will be suspended until March next year.

All sailings have been cancelled for Queen Elizabeth until Mar 25,  Queen Mary 2 until Apr 18, and Queen Victoria until May 16, Cunard said.

Shares in Carnival, also listed on the New York stock exchange, have plunged over fears that the Miami-headquartered company faces a long road to recovery in the wake of the pandemic.

Smaller operators such as Cruise and Maritime Voyages and German brand FTI Cruises have been forced into bankruptcy. 

Carnival has been forced into tapping investors for billions of pounds of emergency funding.

Analysts from Moody’s, a debt ratings agency, said cruise operators are facing a particularly difficult future.  

“Recovery for the cruise operators relies heavily on government restrictions,” they wrote. 

“The European Union recently published interim guidance for the cruise industry to begin cruising again. These guidelines include contingency plans for onboard breakouts, preboarding health checks, social distancing policies, the use of face masks in publicareas and food safety.”

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