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More cruise ship visits cancelled

Eight more cruise ship visits to Bermuda have been cancelled following Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd's decision to extend a suspension of its cruise operations until June 11.

The company, which operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Cruises, has halted voyages for a further one-month period beyond its previously stated pause to May 11. The move came a few days after another company, Carnival Corporation, announced it would not be resuming cruises in the North American region until June 27.

The total number of cancelled cruise ship visits to Bermuda by all operators is now 41. At the start of the year it was expected that 192 cruise ships would visit the island this year.

Royal Caribbean, in a statement, said: “Given global public health circumstances, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has decided to extend the suspension of sailings of our global fleet through June 11. We are working with our guests to address this disruption to their vacations, and we are genuinely sorry for their inconvenience.”

The decision brings to 13 the number of cruise voyages to the island the company has cancelled this year as a result of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd is said to be working with investment bank Goldman Sachs Group to explore financing options that could include the sale of a stake in the company, according to a report by Reuters.

The company has operating headquarters in Florida, but is domiciled in Bermuda. It is unclear if it will be eligible for a share in a $2.3 trillion stimulus package in the US aimed at supporting the economy and provide aid to troubled companies. To be eligible for relief, a company must be “created or organised in the United States or under the laws of the United States” and “have significant operations in and a majority of its employees based in the United States.”

A number of other major cruise ship companies are also incorporated outside the US.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which operates Norwegian Cruise Lines, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises has, due to the global pandemic, suspended all voyages embarking before May 11.

Norwegian and another cruise line that sails to Bermuda, MSC Cruises, have yet to update their suspension dates following a 100-day “no sail order” on cruise ships in the US, imposed by the US Centres for Disease Control and dated April 9, which could continue until July 17. The CDC order states that cruise ships can't board passengers and return to their sailing schedules for 100 days, or until either the Department of Health and Human Services declares that Covid-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency, or the CDC director modifies the no sail order.

MSC Cruises has halted its cruise ship departures through to May 29.

In addition, the Marella Explorer 2, operated by TUI Group and originally due to start a two-day visit Bermuda on May 1, was among cruises cancelled by the German travel company last month.

Cruises cancelled: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, which operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises, has extended a suspension of its cruise ship operations to June 11. This has resulted in an additional eight voyages to Bermuda being cancelled (File photograph)

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Published April 20, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated April 19, 2020 at 6:58 pm)

More cruise ship visits cancelled

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