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Carnival Cruise Line, which is owned by Carnival Corp., said it informed travel agents on Monday that eight of its ships would resume operations on August 1. Three of its ships would set sail from Galveston, Texas, the company said. three more will leave Miami. The company said two of its ships will depart from Port Canaveral, Florida.
“We are committed to supporting all public health efforts to manage the Covid-19 situation,” the company said in a statement. “We are taking a measured approach, focusing our return to service in a number of home ports where we have larger operations that are easily accessible by car for the majority of our customers. “
The company said all other North American and Australian cruises will be canceled until August 31. The company said it would use the time to “hire experts, government officials and stakeholders on additional protocols and procedures.”
Representatives of Carnival Cruise Line and owner Carnival Corp. did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Carnival’s actions reduced news losses. The stock recently rose less than 1%, but traded as low as $ 14.40 and as low as $ 12.75 on Monday.
In early March, while the virus was spreading rapidly among some cruise lines, the State Department warned Americans against cruise ship travel. On March 14, the CDC issued a “non-navigation order” for cruise ships and extended it from April 9 to July 24.
The extension order stated “that cruise ship travel is exacerbating the global spread of Covid-19 and that the scope of this pandemic is inherently and necessarily an international and interstate problem and has not been adequately controlled by the cruise ship industry or by individuals. National or local health authorities. “
The CDC currently “recommends that travelers postpone cruise travel around the world,” according to its website.
CDC officials did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
The US House Transport and Infrastructure Committee on Friday asked Carnival Corp to hand over a series of documents related to its response to the coronavirus outbreaks on its ships that have infected more than 1,500 people and killed dozens of people.
The committee, which claims to have jurisdiction over shipping matters, described cruise ships as “fertile ground for infectious diseases”.
“We hope that the reality of the Covid-19 pandemic will put renewed emphasis on public health and passenger safety, but frankly, this has not been seen so far,” said the letter sent to the CEO. of Carnival, Arnold Donald. “It appears that Carnival Corporation and its portfolio of nine cruise lines, which represent 109 cruise ships, are still trying to sell this cruise line fantasy and ignore the threat to public health. “
Representatives of the Cruise Lines International Association, of which Carnival is a member, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Jackie Ceren, a Florida-based travel agency, said it had customers who had been waiting for weeks to book despite public health concerns. She added, however, that she was not sure if the ships would leave so early and would be reluctant to advise clients to book.
“It will all depend on what is going on with this virus. I have people waiting. People really want to go back to the ships, ”she told CNBC. “But if people book and end up having to cancel these cruises, no one will be happy. [Carnival is] make matters worse, I think. “
The company is looking forward to resuming service. In an interview with CNBC on April 14, Donald said he had high hopes for how the industry will rebound after the coronavirus pandemic.
“The trip will come back, the trips and the hobbies, and when it does, we will come back with it. The social gathering will come back at some point, and when it does, people will want to go on a cruise, “he said on CNBC’s” Closing Bell “. . “
With the industry stalled, Carnival and its competitors have taken steps to ensure liquidity in what could turn out to be a prolonged low or no-income situation. In March, the company fully withdrew its $ 3 billion revolving credit facility. Last month, the company announced that it is raising about $ 6 billion by issuing a mix of debt and equity.
In early April, the Saudi sovereign wealth fund revealed an 8.2% stake in the cruise line, which temporarily pushed stocks up amid a larger freefall. Carnival stocks, which have a market value of $ 10.5 billion, have been down almost 73% since the start of the year.