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NCLH secures additional $675m liquidity amid coronavirus uncertainty

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Secured by Norwegian Epic

This is in the form of revolving loans secured by Norwegian Epic. Funds drawn would bear interest at an annual rate of LIBOR plus a margin of 0.8%. According to a filing, this Norwegian Epic Credit Agreement will be used for general corporate purposes and the maturity date is March 4, 2021.

JPMorgan Chase Bank is administrative agent and collateral agent.

No borrowings drawn to date

As of March 9, no borrowings were drawn under this agreement nor the company's other $875m senior secured revolving credit facility, resulting in availability under these revolving credit agreements of $1.55bn.

Health screenings delay departure of Ruby Princess from Sydney

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NSW Health’s new screening procedure for cruise ship arrivals delayed Ruby Princess

Sydney was the turnaround port for Ruby Princess which was due to sail at 6.45p.m. on Sunday on a 13-night round cruise to New Zealand with around 4,200 passengers and crew.

Processing new arrivals

There was a delay in processing the passengers who had arrived that morning from a round cruise to New Zealand and the ship sailed at 10.45 p.m.

Princess Cruises’ director of public relations, Meg Koffel, said the company’s questionnaire is ‘in line with our commitment to maintain a healthy onboard environment.’

NSW Health 

Seatrade Cruise News has contacted NSW Health for details of the new screening procedure for cruise ship arrivals.

Celebrity Edge's all-female bridge and onboard leadership team make history

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Captain Kate McCue (left) and First Officer Rachel Arnold

Led by captain Kate McCue, the first American female cruise ship captain, who was accompanied by 26 other women representing 16 different countries, Celebrity Edge sailed out of Port Everglades on a seven-day Caribbean sailing.

Retiring pilot boat captain Cheryl Phipps, one of only a few female pilot boat captains in the US, led the ship out to sea.  Against the night sky, the cruise ship was lit up with a vibrant purple glow, the colour associated with International Women’s Day.

#BRIDGEthegap

Only 2% of the world’s seafarers are women. Celebrity made it a priority to #BRIDGEthegap and to growing the number of women on its bridge teams from 3% to nearly 25% over the last few years, ultimately, making this historic moment possible.

‘I fell in love with cruise ships at age 12 when my family took its first cruise vacation. At the end of the trip, I asked my Dad if he thought I could be a cruise director someday and he replied that I could drive the ship, if I wanted to. Five years later, I enrolled at the California Maritime Academy and nineteen years later I became a captain,’ said captain McCue.

‘I firmly believe that you have to see it, to be it. My hope is that today we inspire a new generation of young girls and women to chart their own course of pushing boundaries and breaking barriers to be whatever it is they want to be.’

Manning the bridge with 100% women

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO, Celebrity Cruises commented, ‘To “man the bridge” with 100% women and to fill every leadership role on board with women is truly significant. I am so proud of these accomplished women, who worked tirelessly to be the best person for the job in a traditionally male-dominated industry and I am honoured to work alongside them.’

Guest relations director Julie Sherrington one of three officers onboard from the UK said: ‘All women officers, a full women bridge, we’re making a mark on the industry!’

 

 

Royal Princess cruise from Los Angeles is canceled

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Royal Princess is pictured on a past arrival to San Pedro, Port of Los Angeles

The March 7 seven-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera was canceled.

Passengers on prior cruise disembarked

Prior to the ship's arrival, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had requested information about the crew member who had transferred to Royal Princess 15 days earlier. After that was provided, the CDC on Friday OK'd the vessel to dock at San Pedro Saturday, where passengers disembarked.

However, before embarkation could begin, the CDC decided to issue the 'no-sail' order until the crew member was tested for COVID-19.

On Saturday, Princess Cruises said it was not able to obtain the test given the lateness of the request.

Crew member had no signs of illness or exposure on Grand Princess

'The crew member is past the maximum incubation of COVID-19, has been evaluated and has never developed any respiratory symptoms or fever,' Princess said, adding that the crew member had no known contact or exposure to other guests or crew who were ill on Grand Princess and underwent a precautionary screening by the medical staff upon boarding Royal Princess to test for respiratory symptoms, including fever.

Due to the unknown timing of obtaining the test and results or anticipated response, Princess canceled the cruise.

Assistance with hotels and 100% future cruise credit

Guest services and ground operations teams were working to assist passengers who purchased air independently by providing lists of local hotels with availability. The line is reimbursing passengers up to $300 per booking for one night’s hotel costs in Los Angeles and booked its EZair guests in a Los Angeles airport hotel.

Reimbursement of additional expenses will be considered on a case by case basis.

Each traveler will receive a 100% future cruise credit.

US warns against travel by cruise ship on increased coronavirus risk

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The warning — issued Sunday by the Department of State — is a blow to cruise operators.

'Unwanted addition' on top of getting plan to Mike Pence

'This is an unwanted addition we have to deal with,' a spokesman from a major cruise company told Seatrade Cruise News. 'We are fully focused on getting a plan to the vice president to ensure we can handle situations related to this outbreak without burdening government resources and that is the best thing we can do to take care of this.'

Vice President Mike Pence is overseeing the US response to coronavirus and met with cruise leaders Saturday

Such an action had been discussed by the government but Sunday's warning appeared to come as a surprise so closely following that meeting. 

'Increased risk of infection in a cruise ship environment'

The Department of State said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 'notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment. In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking. In some cases, local authorities have permitted disembarkation but subjected passengers to local quarantine procedures. 

'While the US government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers in recent weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for US citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.'

Special warning to older adults and those with health issues

The Department of State added: 'This is a fluid situation. CDC notes that older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease. This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding nonessential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.'

The notice advised passengers with plans to travel by cruise to contact the lines directly for further information.

US health officials clear Regal Princess to dock at Port Everglades

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This file photo shows Regal Princess at Port Everglades. On Sunday the ship was being held offshore pending a review of the crew's health records

Regal Princess, due to turn around at Port Everglades today, was being held off the coast of Florida pending review of crew history.

This includes testing of crew who recently served on Grand Princess.

March 8 cruise canceled

The Regal Princess scheduled to sail today has been canceled.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ordered the ship held for the review.

Grand Princess link

Some crew recently served aboard Grand Princess, which is being held off the coast of California with 21 people who have coronavirus. Nineteen are crew. The ship is scheduled to go to the Port of Oakland Monday

Royal Princess in Los Angeles

At the Port of Los Angeles, Royal Princess was held over after arriving Saturday to test a crew member who had transferred from Grand Princess 15 days earlier. Its next cruise was canceled.

Yesterday at Port Everglades cruise line leaders met with US Vice President Mike Pence, the head of CDC and state and local leaders to discuss the cruise industry's coronavirus response. For some outcomes of that, see 'Temperature checks to be instituted as part of more stringent coronavirus screening'

Grand Princess to dock Oakland, guests will go to shore quarantine facilities

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Grand Princess has been directed to the Port of Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, for arrival on Monday

After everyone is ashore, Grand Princess will leave San Francisco. Plans for the crew quarantine are to be determined. 

The US Coast Guard on Sunday transported additional supplies and seven Department of Health and Human Services officials to the vessel to determine the health status of passengers and crew prior to arrival. Additionally, a man in his early 60s with a non-COVID-19 medical emergency was evacuated.

Saturday night update: Officials are directing Grand Princess to the Port of Oakland on Monday, where passengers requiring acute medical treatment will be taken to California hospitals.

Shoreside quarantine facilies

Disembarkation for other passengers will continue Monday, as well. Following health screenings, those who are California residents — 938— will go to a federally operated facility within the state for testing and isolation, while non-Californians will be transported by the federal government to facilities in other states.

Crew quarantine on board

Crew will be quarantined and treated aboard the ship.

Twenty-one people — 19 crew and two passengers — have tested positive for coronavirus. They were among the first 45 tested because they were experiencing flu-like symptoms. 

Everyone has been confined to their rooms. All guest-facing crew, those working jobs like delivering room-service meals, are wearing protective face masks. Ventilation to rooms has been maximized.

Most of the 19 crew have guest-facing jobs. The two passengers who tested positive were not in-transit from the prior cruise.

After that Feb. 11-21 sailing, two people were later found to have the virus. One died in a California hospital, the first person in the state to succumb to COVID-19.

'Index' case likely infected before embarking

According to Dr. Grant Tarling, chief medical officer for Carnival Corp. & plc, the man who died likely was infected shoreside via community transmission before embarking that earlier cruise. This first person identified is referred to as the 'index case.'

The Placer County resident, who had underlying health problems, reported to the ship's medical center Feb. 20 after suffering acute respiratory illness for six or seven days. So onset of illness was Feb. 13/14, and the average incubation period is five to six days.

This means it's likely he was exposed before coming on the ship.

His waiter among those testing positive

One of his waiters was among the 19 crew who tested positive. 

Princess Cruises had been informed on March 2 that shoreside public health officials were investigating a 'small cluster' of coronavirus cases in Northern California that were linked to the ship. 

The other person who had been diagnosed shoreside after the cruise, a Sonoma County resident, was among a party of two couples who had traveled together. 

Grand Princess is carrying 3,531 people, including 2,440 passengers and 1,111 crew. On Saturday, a passenger who was who critically ill — unrelated to coronavirus — was evacuated by a US Coast Guard cutter, along with a traveling companion.

Temperature checks to be instituted as part of more stringent coronavirus screening

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Temperature checks will be instituted at embarkation for all. Saturday, cruise leaders discussed enhanced coronavirus measures with Mike Pence during a meeting at Port Everglades, pictured here

Dr. Grant Tarling, chief medical officer for Carnival Corp. & plc, said the checks were beginning at US ports this weekend as the industry ramps up to do checks on all guests at ports worldwide.

This will take a little time, Tarling added, given the need to acquire and install thermal scanners at cruise terminals.

As earlier reported here, lines in the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. group and Carnival Cruise Line gave notice on Friday that they were instituting the temperature checks.

Mike Pence meeting

On Saturday, cruise line leaders met with US Vice President Mike Pence at Port Everglades to discuss the industry's coronavirus response.

'It is critical Americans continue to travel'

In brief public remarks before the meeting got under way, CLIA Chairman Adam Goldstein said that given the significance of travel and tourism, it is 'critical Americans continue to travel' and yet COVID-19 is an 'unprecedented situation.'

More stringent screening, paying for treatment of sick guests/crew

Goldstein pledged the industry's commitment to work closely with the government and to 'go above and beyond, to screen even more stringently [for] those who should not be aboard; to monitor, test and care for those who are on board; and to transition and help pay for any sick guests or crew to move to locations staffed and equipped to handle COVID-19 cases.

'We will work aggressively with government to further develop and strengthen all necessary protocols for prevention, for detection and for care,' he added.

 

NCL, Oceania Cruises, Regent adopt 48-hour cancellation policy

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The policies are aimed at giving travelers the peace of mind to book a cruise — such as one on Pride of America to Hawaii, pictured here

'Peace of Mind' policy

NCL's new 'Peace of Mind' policy lets travelers who book voyages through Sept. 30 the opportunity to cancel up to 48 hours prior to the sailing date and receive a 100% future cruise credit.

Rebook on sailings through 2022

This can be used on any cruise through 2022.

The offer applies to all new bookings and existing bookings on voyages beginning March 10.

Oceania's 'Traveler's Assurance'

Oceania Cruises' 'Traveler’s Assurance' policy is effective immediately for all existing and new bookings made by April 30 for any voyages departing from March 10 to Sept. 30.

As long as they cancel at least 48 hours before departure, travelers will get a future cruise credit equal to 100% of the cruise fare paid,

The credit is valid for redemption one year from date of issue for travel departing no later than Dec. 31, 2022.

Best price guarantee

Also, up to the day of sailing, should there be another applicable public promotion that offers a better value through amenities or price, travelers can take advantage of that promotional offer and/or price, the line said.

'Regent Reassurance'

'Regent Reassurance' includes voyages embarking March 10 through Sept. 30. Passengers who have paid in full may cancel up to 48 hours prior to sailing and receive a 100% future cruise credit, which can be applied to any new reservation within one year on a sailing between today and Dec. 31, 2022.

The offer is applicable to existing and new reservations made by April 30.

Earlier today, the Royal Caribbean group announced all its brands were moving to a 48-hour cancellation window. 

Royal Caribbean group, Carnival brand mandate temperature screenings for all

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The temperature check applies at embarkation for all sailings and all ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet

Applies to all people, all sailings

Effective today, these apply to passengers, crew and visitors on embarkation day.

Digital, non-touch scanners

Royal Caribbean said digital, non-touch scanners are used for the screenings.

If temperature registers about 100.4°F (38°C), the person and any travel companions will be referred to a secondary health screening. Travelers who are denied boarding due to screening results will receive compensation, Royal Caribbean said.

The temperature checks are in addition to a host of other actions already in place and reviewed daily.

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival also outlined a number of actions including the temperature checks. Details are here