The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to mount for cruise line powerhouse Carnival (CCL 1.97%). The company's Cunard subsidiary said on Monday that it is extending the suspension of its voyages for an additional month, through May 15. That pause had originally been set to run through April 11.
Cunard is one of Carnival's smallest brands, with three luxury ships -- the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth -- cruising mainly out of Europe. It accounts for roughly 3% of the company's annual sailing capacity. In a press release, Cunard implied further disruptions ahead that might include more postponements. "The impact of COVID-19 is affecting personal routines and businesses as well as placing significant travel restrictions around the world," said Cunard President Simon Palethorpe explained. "It is too soon to know exactly how this situation will evolve."
Much of Carnival's wider global fleet is set to sit idle through April 16, the company said in a mid-March update, and its Princess line -- on its own, the third largest cruise line in the world -- has paused operations through May 10. These decisions will dramatically reduce revenue for the parent company, and will have a significant impact on the economies of many of its ships' ports of call. However, the sailing pauses look likely to extend at least through the end of the month given the aggressive social distancing efforts now dampening commerce in the U.S.