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Carnival Plans to Limit Passenger Numbers When It Starts Cruising Again

By Rhian Hunt - Apr 16, 2020 at 2:50PM

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Reports indicate it won’t have any trouble filling its passenger lists.

Already looking forward to the moment when its vessels can weigh anchor again with fresh rosters of vacationers aboard, Carnival Corporation (CCL 1.10%) says it might reduce the number of passengers on board each ship for a time to improve safety in the era of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The temporary measures would supplement existing health protocols such as checking passengers for fevers as they board.

The plan might use one or several methods to reduce both the total passengers on board and their potential contact with each other. One proposed method is booking only cabins with direct fresh-air access. Another would consist of allowing booking of alternate cabins only, leaving empty cabins as "spacers" between occupied berths.

A view of workers refreshing the paint on a Carnival ship.

Image source: Carnival Corporation.

Despite the major outbreaks that occurred on several of its cruise ships, Carnival may have little difficulty filling its available cabins once it rolls out the gangplank to welcome cruise-seekers aboard again. The Los Angeles Times reports travel agents are seeing strong booking trends for 2021 cruises as people deprived of the ocean breezes by the coronavirus make their plans for future maritime fun. At least one online cruise agent reported a 40% jump in 2021 bookings compared to 2019.

Carnival has offered both common stock shares and bonds to raise capital, measures intended to help it survive the long mandated suspension of cruises and numerous refunds. Its CEO Arnold Donald says it has enough money on hand to sustain it through the rest of 2020 even if it doesn't earn any more revenue during that period, though the company hopes to open for business again long before next year arrives.

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