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March 17 updates: Zaandam, Braemar, Palm Beach helps resident line, MedCruise message, Grand Princess goes

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Plans are being finalized to repatriate passengers on Fred. Olsen's Braemar via British Airways flights from Havana, departing overnight Wednesday

Keep checking back. This is being continuously updated.

Punta Arenas turns away Zaandam

Holland America Line had expected to disembark Zaandam Monday in Chile but the ship was turned away from Punta Arenas. HAL said there are no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 on board, and it is working on options for passengers to disembark and travel home as soon as possible.

Zaandam is now en route to San Antonio, Chile, for a service call to take on fuel and provisions. This was a 14-day South America voyage scheduled to end March 21 before HAL announced a 30-day pause in operations.

Braemar holding off Havana

Fred. Olsen's Braemar is positioned about five miles off the coast of Havana, awaiting the finalization of disembarkation and flight schedules. It is planned that most passengers will fly back to the UK overnight Wednesday on three British Airways flights. Those with flu-iike symptoms will be on a separate flight, being coordinated with the British governnment. 

Palm Beach assists resident cruise line

In an emergency meeting, the Port of Palm Beach Board of Commission voted to provide Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line approximately $7,000 per day toward the ongoing costs of maintaining Grand Celebration in port. This will be in the form of advance payments to be returned to the port over time, once operations resume (planned for April 10).

'As a family-owned business, this financial support from our friends at the port means more now than ever ... and we are eternally grateful,' said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line.

MedCruise: Calm and solidarity

MedCruise Association voiced support for all its 73 port members representing more than 135 ports, 33 associate members from 21 countries and the cruise industry community and partners.

MedCruise President Airam Díaz Pastor also sought to transmit a 'message of calm. Right now, it is time to assist your clients, support them and try to find solutions to their challenges,' he said. 'This situation will have a big economic impact in our companies as well as in our communities. However, I am pretty sure that with our work and commitment, we will get over this challenging but also temporary period.

'We need also to encourage our companies and societies to help in mitigating this slow down on the cruise industry. I believe this will make us even stronger and we will learn from this situation.'

Grand Princess leaves Oakland/care team support

Princess Cruises confirmed all passengers and more than half of the crew members have disembarked Grand Princess. The ship has left the Port of Oakland and is anchored in San Francisco Bay. 

When the US Department of Health and Human Services began the disembarkation process March 9, Princess activated its care team operations to provide support services and family assistance in the transition to shoreside care and quarantine facilities.

Care team services cover a multitude of things, from assisting with procurement of items such as toilet paper, soap, cell phones, baby food, walkers, shower chairs and more at military bases, to regular phone calls, help with medication needs, care packages and providing hotel stays after the quarantine ends for passengers whose family or traveling companions tested positive so everyone can travel home together.  

Bermuda

Cruise lines serving Bermuda have voluntarily suspended travel through at least April 14. Thus far, that represents nine cruise calls and what was estimated to be about 20,000 passengers, according to Glenn Jones, interim CEO & chief experience development officer, Bermuda Tourism Authority.

Silver Shadow in Brazil and Silver Explorer in Chile

Two Silver Shadow passengers were earlier medically disembarked in Recife, Brazil. One tested positive for COVID-19 and the other negative. One passenger on Silver Explorer who tested positive was medically disembarked in Tortel, Chile.

'We are in close coordination with the governments and local health authorities to determine next best steps,' Silversea Cruises said. 'We have asked guests on the ships to temporarily remain in their cabins in accordance with our medical isolation protocols.'

Hurtigruten's flexible policy

Hurtigruten is allowing travelers booked on departures from March 12 through June 20 to change their bookings to any cruise — expedition or coastal — from July 1, 2020, to July 1, 2021. The offer is also valid for any new bookings made by April 30 this year. A future cruise voucher in the amount of 100%, including Hurtigruten-booked extras like flights, plus a 10% discount on the future trip will be given. 

Hurtigruten's Americas office is also offering a reduced $500 deposit for new bookings, valid for bookings made between March 1 and April 30.

 

UBS assesses Big 3 cash flow/liquidity in zero-revenue scenario

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CCL: $1.3bn short but lowest leverage/most capacity to raise debt

The brokerage assumed Carnival Corp. could delay 75% of newbuild progress payments and lower discretionary capital expenditure by $500m. By doing so, after CCL's $3.6bn in export credit financing for newbuild deliveries, its $2.8bn of revolving credit capacity (excluding commercial paper backing) could still be approximately $1.3bn short of funding part of the other capital calls this year, UBS said in a note.

Analyst Robin Farley calcuated CCL would still have approximately $1.9bn in progress payments and other capex, about $1.6bn in debt maturities (not counting $0.2bn in commercial paper), $345m in first quarter dividends and $250m in interest.

But Farley noted CCL's leverage is materially lower than that of RCL and NCLH, 'so they likely have the most capacity to raise additional debt and have communicated that they are currently pursuing additional financing options.'

RCL: $0.6bn short but investment-grade/may secure new financing

UBS assumed Royal Caribbean could delay 75% of newbuild progress payments and lower discretionary capex by $1.4bn. By doing so, after the company's $1.8bn in export credit financing for newbuilds, its $2.4bn of revolver capacity (excluding commercial paper backing) could still be approximately $0.6bn short of funding part of the other capital calls this year, Farley said.

RCL would still have $1.3bn in progress payments and other capex, $1.2bn in debt maturities (excluding $1.4bn in commercial paper), $160m in Q1 dividends, and $400m in interest. Farley noted RCL still has an investment grade rating and while the company has exercised its accordion features of its revolver, it has not secured new financing as NCLH has. That may still be a possibility.

NCLH: Revolving credit should meet needs

UBS assumed NCLH could delay 75% of its progress payments and lower discretionary capex by $200m to $300m. By doing so, after $0.5bn in export credit financing for new deliveries, the company's $1.5bn of revolver capacity could roughly fund other capital calls this year.

Farley said NCLH would still have about $0.6bn in remaining progress payments and other capex, $750m in debt maturities and $260m in interest, so its $1.5bn of revolving credit should roughly meet these needs.

 

NCLH begins drawing from credit facilities totaling $1.55bn

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Financial flexibility amid coronavirus uncertainty

This is a precautionary measure, the company said, to increase its cash position and facilitate financial flexibility in light of current uncertainty in the global markets resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.

As previously disclosed, NCLH is party to an $875m revolving credit facility dated Jan. 2, 2019, and maturing Jan. 2, 2024, and a $675m revolving credit facility dated March 5, 2020, and maturing on March 4, 2021. JPMorgan Chase Bank is administrative agent and collateral agent for both, and other lenders are involved in each.

Beginning on March 12, the cruise operator borrowed under both facilities. The proceeds are to be used for working capital, general corporate or other purposes permitted by the lending agreements.

March 16 updates: Braemar to Cuba, more European ocean, river cruise lines 'pause,' Tortola port closes

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Britannia and all other P&O Cruises ships will return to Southampton, with their passengers

Keep checking back. This will be continuously updated.

Cuba allows Braemar

Cuba is allowing Fred. Olsen's Braemar to dock so passengers can be flown back to the UK from there. Flights will depart Wednesday on British Airways.

The ship has been turned away from Caribbean ports since five people on board tested positive for coronavirus at Curaçao March 10. Twenty-two passengers and 21 crew are in isolation with influenza-like symptoms. On Sunday the Bahamas permitted two doctors and two nurses, plus food, medication and supplies, to be delivered at anchor a distance from Freeport.

P&O Cruises and Cunard

P&O Cruises and Cunard Line are suspending any new cruises until April 11. P&O Cruises is bringing all its ships and passengers currently sailing back to Southampton. Likewise, for Cunard, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria will return, with their passengers, to Southampton, while Queen Elizabeth's sailings in Australia are suspended.

Both P&O Cruises and Cunard are offering a 125% future cruise credit for any sailing before the end of March 2022 Bookings must be made before the end of 2021. 

TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises

Germany-based TUI Group suspended the vast majority of all travel operations until further notice, including TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. The executive board withdrew its 2020 financial guidance issued Feb. 11 and declared cash and available facilities of approximately €1.4bn.

TUI Group also applied for state aid guarantees to support the business until normal operations resume. 

For Hapag-Lloyd, cruises still running will conclude over a period until March 21. Operations are planned to restart April 18 with departures by Europa from New York, Hanseatic Inspiration from Belem, April 30 for Europa 2 from Lisbon, May 19 for Hanseatic Nature from Sao Miguel and May 23 for Bremen from Otaru.  

TUI River Cruises launch postponed

The launch of TUI River Cruises was postponed, with all sailings canceled until and including May 2. The first revenue sailings were due to depart March 29 with itineraries on a number of European waterways.  Customers can get a full refund or re-book on other available sailings until Oct. 31. If the new cruise is more expensive, the cost will be covered; if it is less expensive, the difference will be refunded.

Certain A-ROSA river routes due to French, Austrian restrictions

A-ROSA Flussschiff temporarily halted its Danube, Seine and Rhône itineraries due to restrictions imposed by the French and Austrian authorities. Rhône and Seine cruises will stop until April 15, as French authorities have banned cruise vessels with more than 100 passengers on board from calling. The Danube suspension relates to Austria's prohibition of public assemblies and will last until April 3.

Passengers may rebook on other itineraries in the 2020 and 2021 seasons and receive a €50 voucher for on-board spending. In addition, they'll get a 30% discount on a future cruise.

CroisiEurope full suspension

CroisiEurope is suspending operations through April 15. Passengers may select another departure and will receive a voucher for €150 off a future cruise.

British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands government closed the Tortola cruise port, with immediate effect, for a 30-day period starting March 14.

Buenos Aires delays MSC Musica, L'Austral

Argentine authorities delayed the clearance of MSC Musica and Ponat's L'Austral to Buenos Aires Port, pending a detailed review of passengers' travel history. MSC Musica arrived from Brazil after embarking on a cruise from Buenos Aires March 7; most passengers are Argentines. The Ponant ship came from Patagonia and Antarctica, and is carrying mostly international passengers.

Carnival boosts liquidity with $3bn loan, estimates net loss in 2020

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The company tapped into an existing revolving credit facility, amended last August, to borrow approximately $3bn for a six-month period.

Financial flexibility amid coronavirus uncertainty

This will increase the company's cash position and preserve financial flexibility in light of current uncertainty in the global markets resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The proceeds will be used for working capital, general corporate or other purposes.

As of this borrowing, Carnival Corp. will have fully drawn down the facility agreement with a syndicate of lenders that was amended and restated in August 2019. That was a $1.7bn, €1bn and £150m multi-currency revolving credit agreement with a five-year term and two one-year extension options.

US is open to returning cruise ships, $2.3bn impact seen from 30-day suspension

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This includes passengers who are US citizens, legal permanent residents and foreign diplomats. Non-US citizens are allowed to fly back to their home countries.

Appeal to Caribbean, South America to allow returning ships

As a result of this exemption, Cruise Lines International Association and the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association have requested all ports in the Caribbean, South America and other areas stay open to cruise ships sailing on itineraries related to US ports to allow passengers to return as soon as possible to their homes.

On Friday, CLIA's oceangoing member lines voluntarily suspended operations related to US ports for 30 days as public health officials and the government address the coronavirus. This temporary suspension began at midnight March 14.

National Interest Exemption

Also Friday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a National Interest Exemption from the March 11 Presidential Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

This suspended the entry of 'aliens who were physically present within the Schengen Area, consisting of 26 European states, within the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the United States.'

With respect to all aliens currently aboard cruise ships destined for the United States and who would otherwise be subject to the March 11 entry suspension, DHS determined that their entry would be in the national interest so they are exempt from the Proclamation.

'This exception will permit affected aliens to enter the United States for the purpose of returning to their home countries and may not be utilized to extend their stay in the United States,' the Proclamation stated. 'Accordingly, Department officials will permit these aliens to enter the United States so that they may arrange for their prompt return to their home countries. Department officials will also work closely with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] officials to ensure that these aliens are provided appropriate guidance for taking the appropriate health measures until boarding an aircraft home.'

40 ships and 90,000 passengers

Approximately 40 ships and 90,000 passengers were at sea at the effective date and time of CLIA's voluntary suspension. Of those 40 ships, 29 were in the midst of their itineraries, and 11 had departed that evening. On March 16, 11 of these 40 ships will complete their sailings; the remaining have various dates of return out to March 30.

Over 30 days, 1.2m passengers impacted

Over the 30-day suspension period, approximately 500 cruises and 1.2m passengers will be impacted by the suspension,

Loss of $2.3bn in economic impact to US

The direct impact on the US economy over 30 days will be a loss of $1bn in direct spending, $14m in wages, and 6,500 US jobs. Total economic impact to the United States (direct, indirect and induced) is estimated at $2.3bn in spending, $800m in wages and 15,500 jobs. Numbers are based on the BREA/CLIA Economic Impact Study 2018, the latest available.

March 15 coronavirus updates: Australia ban, Grand Princess crew, Braemar's limbo, Pullmantur

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There is now a plan to repatriate non-essential crew of Grand Princess, which has been docked at the Port of Oakland in San Francisco Bay to disembark passengers into quarantine

Australia bans cruise ships arriving from foreign ports

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced cruise ships arriving from foreign ports will not be allowed for an initial 30-day period. And anyone arriving from abroad, including Australians, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, under penalty of law. 

Repatriation of Grand Princess crew

The US Departments of State and Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state of California, the city of Oakland and the Port of San Francisco have coordinated a plan to disembark and repatriate Grand Princess crew members via charter flights.

This has been extremely challenging due to expanding and evolving air travel restrictions throughout the world.

Princess Cruises applauded this humanitarian effort to assist crew not required for ship's operation and will pay for the ground transportation and charter flight costs.

Disembarking crew will undergo the same health screenings as passengers did, managed by US authorities. Those who are ill (for any reason) or symptomatic will not be allowed to fly. Crew who are asymptomatic but for whom no charter flight is currently available will stay under quarantine on the ship. Those requiring elevated care will be moved to land-based medical facilities.

Fred. Olsen's Braemar waits

Fred. Olsen's Braemar is anchored 25 miles southwest of Freeport in the Bahamas, awaiting supplies and additional medical personnel while diplomatic discussions continue how to get passengers home as quickly as possible.

Twenty passengers are in isolation, having shown influenza-like symptoms, along with 20 crew members, including a doctor. These include five people who tested positive for COVID-19 at the last port, Willemstad, Curaçao, on March 10.

Pullmantur 'pauses'

Pullmantur Cruises is suspending operations until May 2. The company is focused on getting passengers currently on board back to their home cities and in the coming days will contact customers who were booked for the canceled period to explain their options.

March 14 updates: Shouldering coronavirus costs, Miami waives lay-berth fees, more cruise lines 'pause'

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PortMiami is waiving lay berth fees for homeporting cruise ships that request berthing during the next 30 days

CLIA efforts at industry expense, not taxpayers'

Earlier this week, after President Trump pledged to help the cruise industry, some speculated that meant financial support. However, as evidenced in its proposals to the US coronavirus task force, the industry is acting to remove financial burden to the US.

'Our focus is the health and well-being of passengers and crew — at industry expense, not the taxpayer expense,' a Cruise Lines International Association spokeswoman confirmed to Seatrade Cruise News. 'The industry has and will continue to make decisions based on that critical filter during this very fluid situation with rapidly changing circumstances.'

PortMiami

PortMiami is waiving lay berth fees for homeporting cruise ships that request berthing during the next 30 days. The time period could be amended, as needed. 'Our cruise partners have our full support,' Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said.

American Queen Steamboat Co.

American Queen Steamboat Co. is suspending operations, with service planned to resume April 12. Sailings currently in progress will conclude as scheduled.

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line canceled all sailings from March 15 through April 8. Grand Celebration is to resume operations with its April 10 departure.

Port Canaveral

Canaveral Port Authority is operating normally but said the decision by lines to temporarily suspend cruise ship operations from US ports will have 'profound impact,' especially for a cruise port like Canaveral. The world's second busiest cruise port is working to help cruise partners with their operational and berthing needs.

Buenos Aires Port

Asymptomatic persons who have not traveled through sustained transmission areas in the last 14 days may disembark. Ships with even one symptomatic person who has transited an area of sustained transmission in the last 14 days or those with suspect cases, as determined by the health authority, will be quarantined.

Cambodia

Cambodia is blocking international river cruises from Mareh 13 until further notice, according to Destination Asia. The tour operator added that citizens of Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the US will be denied entry to the country starting March 17 for a 30-day period.

Fincantieri yards shelve production for 14 days

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Fincantieri's Sestri Ponente shipyard recently delivered Scarlet Lady, right. Sister Valiant Lady, left, is under construction

Intent to comply with contractual deadlines

With this temporary action, the world's leading cruise shipbuilder also sought to assure customers that deliveries will comply with contractual deadlines.

The move is in line with the Italian government's coronavirus emergency measures and to protect the health of personnel and subcontractors. It also respects trade union requests.

Committed to restart 'at full power'

Once the situation is normalized, production will restart 'at full power in order to protect the future of our company and of our country, without resulting in an economic loss for the workers,' Fincantieri said Friday.

Royal Caribbean group suspends global cruise operations

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This includes Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Azamara.

Current sailings will conclude as scheduled

'We will conclude all current sailings as scheduled and assist our guests with their safe return home,' the company said.

April 11 return

As with RCL's announcement Friday regarding US sailings, the company expects to return to service on April 11.