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Cruises from Shanghai suspended as coronavirus spreads

Cruises from five ships operating from Shanghai's Wusongkou terminal have been suspended
Four cruise lines operating five ships from Shanghai’s Wusongkou terminal announced a suspension of operations Sunday as coronavirus fears intensify.

Astro Ocean Cruise’s Piano Land, Costa Cruises’ Costa Atlantica and Costa Venezia, MSC Cruises’ MSC Splendida and Royal Caribbean International’s Spectrum of the Seas cancelled departures from Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal in the Baoshan district of the city.

Passengers are being offered full refunds or opportunity to take a cruise at a later date and on-board credit.

New Year holiday extended

The cancellations came at the start of the wee long Lunar New Year celebrations, one of Asia's busiest travel periods.

On Monday the government confirmed the number of deaths in China from coronavirus has risen to 81, with almost 3,000 confirmed ill.

The national new year holiday has been extended by three days to February 1 in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. But in Shanghai, the government has stopped businesses from returning to work until  February 10.

Several other cities have imposed travel bans. Chinese media reported cruises from Sanya, Shenzhen and Tianjin have also been suspended.

Estimated financial impact

According to a UBS note, Royal Caribbean has roughly 6% of its deployment in China during 2020, and first quarter deployment is roughly in line with the full year. Carnival Corp. & plc, meanwhile, has roughly 5% of its capacity there in both the first quarter and full year.

‘The cancellations only apply to sailings in the next week. So, as a purely theoretical exercise, we calculate that if operations were to be disrupted for a longer period, we estimate that a quarter of sailings could impact RCL EPS in the 60-cent range or approximately 6% to 7% of our full-year 2020 EPS estimate, and for CCL by 23 cents to 28 cents of EPS or approximately 5% to 6% of our full-year 2020 EPS estimate,’ UBS analyst Robin Farley said.