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Carnival Corp. lays off or furloughs nearly half of US workforce with additional cuts overseas

CRUISE Carnival Corp. headquarters.jpg
The cuts will be at a corporate level and across all of the company's brands
Amid company-wide layoffs and furloughs, Carnival Corp. reduced its US workforce by nearly half.


The company is eliminating 820 positions out of a workforce of roughly 3,000 in its home state of Florida, with another 537 employees going on furlough with the ability to potentially return to work when ships begin sailing. That means 45% of the Florida team is impacted.

A wide range of professional and skilled employment functions are impacted, including senior management. Job eliminations are permanent. The furlough notice is six months, and Carnival potentially could bring people back ahead of that time should operations restart.

California and Washington

Likewise, approximately 50% of the workforce in Washington state and California has been laid off or furloughed, with specific numbers to be reported.

'Our employees are the foundation of our company’s success. Many very talented people are being impacted, through no fault of their own, and we have worked to craft transition plans that recognize their contributions to our company,' the Holland America Group said in a statement.

Remaining employees stateside face a shortened work week and pay cuts.


The state numbers are being reported as required by law, but Carnival isn't currently disclosing details of how many people are affected globally. Outside the US, the timing and nature of the actions vary based on the regulatory requirements of each country.

Hundreds of millions of dollars in annualized savings

The moves are expected to save hundreds of millions of dollars on an annualized basis.

Cuts at Carnival had been anticipated given similar actions at other cruise companies. 

Employee actions deferred until now

Carnival noted that since cruise operations were suspended in early March, workforce changes were largely placed on hold and said it had deferred employee actions beyond those of 'many others in similar situations during this pandemic.'

'Very tough thing to do'

'Taking these extremely difficult employee actions involving our highly dedicated workforce is a very tough thing to do. Unfortunately, it's necessary, given the current low level of guest operations and to further endure this pause,' said Arnold Donald, president and CEO, Carnival Corp. & plc.

'We care deeply about all our employees and understanding the impact this is having on so many strengthens our resolve to do everything we can to return to operations when the time is right,' Donald continued. 'We look forward to the day when many of those impacted are returning to work with us and we look forward to the day, when appropriate, that once again our ships and crew are delighting millions of people at sea and we can be there for the many nations and millions of people who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood.'

Fewer than 38% of travelers requesting refunds

Donald added the majority of travelers affected by changes 'want to sail with us at a later date, with fewer than 38% requesting refunds to date. Our booking trends for the first half of 2021, which remain within historical ranges, demonstrate the resilience of our brands and the strength of our loyal recurring customer base, of which 66% are repeat cruisers. In addition, we plan to stagger fleet reentry to optimize demand and operating performance over time.'

Secured $6.4bn of additional liquidity

Last month the company completed a successful financing effort with a heavily oversubscribed offering of senior secured notes, senior convertible notes and common stock, netting $6.4bn of additional liquidity. The job cuts will further strengthen Carnival's financial position in these uncertain times. 

Follows cutbacks at other cruise companies

Carnival Corp.'s workforce reduction follows furloughs at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and job cuts at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Crystal Cruises, among others. TUI Group on Wednesday announced its plan to reduce overhead by 30%, potentially impacting 8,000 jobs globally.