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Carnival's Princess Cruises face further pandemic delays

Oscar Williams-Grut
·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
Aerial view of the "Caribbean Princess" cruise docked at the port of Colon, in Panama, on May 28, 2020. - About 25 Panamanians crew members from different cruise ships that were stranded all over the world due to the covid-19 pandemic, arrived on Thursday on the "Caribbean Princess" cruise after been at sea for more than 60 days in some cases. (Photo by Ivan PISARENKO / AFP) (Photo by IVAN PISARENKO/AFP via Getty Images)
Carnival said its sub-brand Princess Cruises would be extending a pause on operations in Asia and the Americas until 15 December Photo: Ivan Pisarenko/AFP via Getty Images

Cruise operator Carnival (CCL.L) has confirmed further delays to restarting operations at one of its key subsidiaries, citing the continued spread of COVID-19 worldwide.

Carnival said in an investor update on Thursday that its sub-brand Princess Cruises would be extending a pause on operations in Asia and the Americas until 15 December. Voyages departing from Australia will be paused until 31 October.

“We share in our guests’ disappointment in cancelling these cruises,” Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president, said in a statement.

“We look forward to the days when we can return to travel and the happiness it brings to all who cruise.”

Stock in Carnival was trading marginally higher in both London and the pre-market on Wall Street despite the announcement.

Cruise ships became notorious in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic due to high-profile outbreaks of on some vessels, including two operated by Princess Cruises. The Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess both faced outbreaks, with thousands of passengers trapped on board and infections running into the hundreds.

READ MORE: Carnival CEO: 'We are doing what we need to do' to start cruising

The US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) put in place a “no sail” order earlier this year, which is set to expire on 30 September.

However, COVID-19 infections in the US have begun to climb rapidly in recent weeks, which makes restarting operations in the Americas challenging for Carnival. The US recorded over 71,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to the John Hopkins University tracking project, close to the record high of 77,300 recorded last week.

Chief executive Arnold Donald told Yahoo’s All Market Summit this week: “We are doing what we need to do. Our priority is public health... there is so much yet to learn about COVID-19.”

Carnival’s share price has collapsed by 70% since the start of the year and the company has been forced to raise $10bn (£7.9bn) through a mixture of debt and equity.