Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an ongoing pandemic disease that started with the outbreak in Wuhan China in December 2019. WHO (World Health Organization) officially classified the outbreak as "worldwide pandemic" on March 11, 2020.
- NOTE: If you want to skip the following information, this link jumps down directly to CruiseMapper's table with all Coronavirus-impacted passenger liners.
So far, on cruise ships, Coronavirus had affected 3232 people (passengers plus crew, only officially confirmed cases) of whom 73 passengers died. The largest Coronavirus outbreak occurred on Diamond Princess (February) resulting in 15-day ship quarantine (in Port Yokohama) and 712 infected (including 14 deaths). The second-largest Coronavirus cruise outbreak was on the ship Grand Princess (February-March, 2 consecutive voyages (back-to-back), total infected 132, including 7 deaths). Followed a long month of altered or cancelled cruises, ship quarantines/lockdowns and port closures (bans on incoming vessels), mainly in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Caribbean islands. The third most affected ship (Ruby Princess) had 852 cases (passengers plus crew, incl 22 deaths) but those were confirmed days after the debarkation in Sydney NSW and also while the ship was quarantined in Australia.
The next table shows statistical data about some of the most affected / top-pandemic countries as confirmed cases (registered patients) and deaths caused by COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). LATEST UPDATE (July 10, 2020): TOTAL DEATHS 553K, TOTAL RECOVERED 6,698M. In brackets (per million) is the number of Coronavirus-related DEATHS PER MILLION (country inhabitants).
|Country||July 10 (infected)||Deaths||Deaths per million||Total population|
Annually, common flu infects ~11% of Earth's total population (~800 million people), with influenza deaths varying between 0,5 million and 1,2 million (each year). The main issue with COVID-19 is its much longer incubation period (time between the infection and developing the symptoms) which is 7-14-days (compared to influenza's 1-2-days). Statistically, most Coronavirus patients (~98%) develop the symptoms within 12 days after the infection.
- Coronavirus deaths vary greatly by region/country, with the mortality rates being influenced by the volume of testing and population characteristics (average age, overall health, quality of country's healthcare system). Many countries (including Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, UK, USA, Canada) report statistical data that includes deaths from suspected COVID-19 cases (including of non-tested people) which results in higher deaths in comparison to countries (like China, Russia, Germany, Japan, Ireland) that report deaths of only confirmed COVID-19 cases.
- In early-May, according to Johns Hopkins University (private research facility in Baltimore MD), the global average death-to-Coronavirus ratio was 7,1% (7 deaths on 100 cases treated). Nearly all of the Coronavirus deaths are elderly people aged 70+ (Italy's average age is 79,5) and the majority had previous health conditions.
- On June 5, AstraZeneca (British-Swedish biopharmaceutical, 1999-founded) announced that it started manufacturing of a potential Coronavirus vaccine. The production (~2 billion doses) is ahead of the human trial results. Works on the vaccine started at Oxford University ( England) in late-April, with clinical results expected by August.
Coronavirus spreads similarly to common influenza (via droplets from coughing / sneezing), with exposure-symptom onset time 2-14 days. Predominant symptoms include fever, dry cough, fatigue, sputum production (saliva+mucus), anosmia (smell blindness), breathing problems (shortness of breath), muscle/joint pains, sore throat, headache. Illness complications include pneumonia (lungs inflammation) and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). China successfully cures COVID-19 patients with Vitamin-C. Russia successfully treats patients with blood plasma taken from Coronavirus survivors.
The financial impact on the ship cruising industry
According to UNWTO (UN's World Tourism Organization), the ship cruise industry's recovery could be expected by 2020-Q4 (mainly in the USA-Caribbean), but mostly in 2021-Q2. UNWTO expects for 2020 the industry's levels to drop by 70-80% (over 2019), which generally depends on the duration of intercountry travel restrictions and border closures (especially within Europe). According to UNWTO, the financial impact on the industry (projected loss) is between USD 0,85-1,1 billion. The global tourism industry is expected to lose export revenues between USD 0,91-1,2 trillion, affecting between 100-120 million jobs/employees. The cruise travel industry employs ~200,000 shipboard personnel (service staff and maintenance crew).
Between March 12-15, all major cruise shipping companies (ocean and river) suspended operations fleetwide (all vessels in the fleet remained docked/anchored and crewed) for periods ranging from 30 up to 60 days. All cancelled cruises were fully refunded in FCC (future cruise credit).
In March 16-29, Fincantieri (one of world's largest cruise shipbuilding companies) suspended all activities at its shipyards and offices in Italy. In Europe, several intercountry ferry routes were suspended and numerous major seaports closed - at least through April 1. On March 16, the ferry company STENA LINE announced 950 Scandinavia job redundancies (shipboard and offshore jobs) due to Coronavirus-related drop in Baltic Sea's passenger shipping traffic. On April 7th was announced the furlough of 600 employees and 150 job redundancies in Ireland-UK.
On March 16, Carnival Corporation (world's largest cruise shipowner) loaned USD 3 billion (~EUR 2,77 B) with maturity in September 2020. On March 31, Carnival Corp announced plans to issue USD 6 billion (~EUR 5,49 B) in stock and debt - including USD 1,25 B (in shares), USD 3 B (in secured notes due 2023, assets-backed loan) and USD 1,75 B (in convertible notes due 2023, debt that converts into equity). On April 2, were issued Carnival Corporation common stocks for USD 0,5 billion (reduced from the announced USD 1,25 B) or a total of 62,5 million ordinary shares at USD 8 per share. In mid-May, to further strengthen its liquidity, Carnival Corporation announced a combination of (company-wide / including senior management) furloughs, layoffs, reduced workweeks, salary reductions. These moves resulted in hundreds of millions in cash conservation. For 2020-Q2, Carnival reported an average USD 650 million cash burn (vessel operations, administrative expenses, capital expenditures / export credit facilities, loans' interest expenses). On June 30, Carnival UK laid off 1/3 of its shore-based staff.
On March 23, RCCL-Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (world's 2nd-largest cruise shipowner) loaned USD 2,2 billion (~EUR 2,03 B) with maturity in March 2021 and an optional extension for 364 more days (till March 2022). With the new financing, RCCL now has USD 3,6+ billion of liquidity (cash deposits plus undrawn credit facilities). The money was secured term-loaned from 3 US banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Corporation, Goldman Sachs Group) plus the French banking group BNP Paribas. In mid-April, RCCL announced that ~26% of its USA-based employees (~1300 Americans, out of 5000+) will be permanently laid off or 90-day furloughed (with paid benefits). In early-June, RCCL issued Senior Notes (due 2023, fully and unconditionally guaranteed) to aggregate up to USD 1 billion.
On March 12, NCLH (world's 3rd-largest cruise shipowner) borrowed USD 1,55 billion (~EUR 1,43 B) via two loans - USD 675 M (final payment Mar 2021) and USD 875 M (maturity in Jan 2024). On May 6, NCLH successfully secured USD 2,225 billion of additional liquidity. The capital transactions (by Goldman Sachs) consisted of USD 400 M (public offering of common equity/shareholders), USD 750 M (exchangeable senior notes/bonds), USD 675 M (senior secured notes/debt) and USD 400 M (private investment from L Catterton/USA-based equity capital investment company). On completion, NCLH expects ~USD 3,5 billion of liquidity.
On March 27, TUI AG (owner of 3 cruise companies - TUI, Marella UK, Hapag-Lloyd) loaned from KfW Bank (state-owned, Germany's 3rd largest) EUR 1,8 billion (~USD 2,01 B) to its existing credit - to total EUR 3,1 billion (cash and Revolving Credit Facility). Besides its cruise shipping services, TUI AG also temporarily suspended its flight-, hotel- and tour divisions operations.
On April 9, CDC announced that 20 cruise liners currently docked/anchored in the USA have confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases among their staff-crew. In the same statement, CDC extended its "No Sail Order" for 100 more days (through July 24).
- Carnival Corporation spends monthly on no-sail operations ~USD 1 billion. Carnival's global fleet includes the brands/subsidiaries AIDA, CCL-Carnival, Costa, Cunard, HAL-Holland America, P&O UK, P&O Australia, Princess, Seabourn.
- RCCL-Royal Caribbean spends ~USD 250-280 million monthly on fleetwide no-sail operations. These monthly expenses (operating plus administrative) were reduced from ~USD 400 after employment reduction (shipboard and ashore). RCCL's global fleet includes the brands/subsidiaries RCI, Azmara, Celebrity, Marella, Pullmantur, Silversea, TUI.
- NCLH-Norwegian spends ~USD 70-110 million monthly on fleetwide no-sail operations. NCLH's global fleet includes the brands/subsidiaries NCL-Norwegian, NCL America, Oceania, RSSC-Regent Seven Seas.
- An MSC's no-sail month costs ~USD 180 million.
During the layup period, on the passenger-free cruise liners, the crew was allowed to use all public areas (including bars and restaurants) and also provided with free and unlimited Internet (available 24 hours).
For the period March 13 through October 31 (previously until June 1 and July 1), Canada banned from docking in its ports all large passenger ships (cruise liners and ferries) which have passenger+crew capacity 500+. The ban effectively cancelled the New England USA-Canada and Alaskan seasons as most non-US-flagged cruise ships are required to visit a foreign port along the itinerary. After July 1 were allowed passenger vessels only in Canadian inland waterways in Nunavut, NWT (Northwest Territories) and Yukon.
New Zealand banned cruise vessels between March 14 - June 30. Australia banned ships with capacity 100+ passengers for the period March 15 through September 17 (initially through June 17).
CLIA member companies (all major cruise brands) suspended departures from US ports through Sept 15. According to CLIA stats, in 2018 the industry supported 421,000+ jobs in the USA, with every 30th cruiser (from US ports) supporting 1 American job. A day of cruise suspension in the USA results in a loss of ~USD 110 million (in economic activities) and up to 800 American jobs.
In June 2020, Pullmantur Cruceros (joint-venture owned by Cruises Investment Holding and RCCL-Royal Caribbean) filed for a supervised reorganization/bankruptcy under Spain's insolvency laws. According to unofficial information, Pullmantur's 3 liners will be dismantled at Aliaga Ship Breaking Yard (Turkey).
Celestyal Cruises Greece cancelled its entire 2020 program (all itineraries scheduled to depart between March 14, 2020, and March 6, 2021).
The RCI-Royal Caribbean's newbuild Odyssey of the Seas was planned for inauguration on November 5, 2020, but due to delayed delivery (from Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany) was rescheduled for April 2021. A total of 25 itineraries/departures were cancelled.
On July 3, Kleven Verft AS (shipbuilding yard in Ulsteinvik Norway) filed for bankruptcy protection. Due to financial difficulties, in 2017 the shipyard was sold to Hurtigruten (Norway), then in January 2020 to DIV Group (Croatia).
On July 6, the Eckero Line (Finland)-owned subsidiary Birka Cruises was shut down. The brand's only cruise ship Birka Stockholm (2004-launched) operated the Sweden-Finland route Stockholm-Mariehamn (Aland). ~500 employees (mainly crew) lost their jobs. Birka Stockholm is planned for drydock conversion.
On July 6, CCL-Carnival announced that the ship Mardi Gras will be delayed by ~4 months, 11x Caribbean itineraries were cancelled.
On July 7, P&O Cruises UK (Carnival Corp) sold the ship Oceana. A total of 190 scheduled itineraries (2020-2021-2022 departures from Southampton and Dubai) were cancelled.
New shipboard safety rules
On July 2 was released the European Union's 49-page document "Interim Guidance for Restarting Cruise Operations". It recommends new safety protocols (approved by CLIA) including:
- EU Monitoring (worldwide epidemiological situation, rules, travel restrictions)
- approved contingency (COVID-19 outbreak management) plan, adequate onboard testing capacity and crew training
- arrangements for onboard medical treatments and ashore ambulance services
- arrangements (repatriation, onboard quarantine of close contacts, onboard isolation of asymptomatic passengers)
- reporting to the next scheduled cruise port of any possible cases
- reduced ship capacity (passengers and crew), no indoor swimming pools, no self-service buffet dining
Using face masks is required (by both pax and crew) on buses, during boarding, in the ship's Casino, Infirmary, elevators, hallways/corridors.
Forced social/physical distancing (at least 5 ft / 1,5 m from each other) to be maintained during boarding, at waiting areas and transport stations. Enhanced shipboard hygiene measures include handwashing with soap or alcohol-based liquids (containing min 60% ethanol or 70% Isopropyl alcohol/isopropanol).
COVID-19 pandemic's progression March-April-May 2020
Next table shows the pandemic's progression in May.
Next table shows the pandemic's progression in April.
Next table shows the pandemic's progression in March when it started to affect the cruise shipping industry.
Note: If even one crew on a cruise liner is tested Coronavirus-positive, on the vessel are immediately implemented the following emergency safety rules.
- All staff-crew are transferred from their cabins (usually with double-quad occupancy) to passenger staterooms (cabins located on decks above the crew deck) and accommodated one person per room.
- Only on-duty crew are allowed to leave the staterooms - the rest must remain isolated.
- Smoking anywhere on the ship is forbidden.
- Food, water, linens and toilet paper are delivered to the staterooms upon request. Food-beverage items are ordered from a menu via cabin TV's infotainment system.
- The Infirmary (served by a nurse on 24-hour duty) must be called immediately after experiencing flu-like symptoms (dry coughing, high fever, breathing difficulties).
- Temperature screenings are conducted twice daily (in the staterooms).
According to a USCG (Coast Guard) report issued on April 4th, in or near USA's territorial waters were a total of 114 cruise ships carrying mainly crew (~93,000). Another 41 liners (with ~41,000 crew) were en-route and close to the USA. On April 6th, CDC updated its regulations for disembarked cruise passenger transportation stating that those without the symptoms (or experience only mild symptoms) should be disembarked in the USA as quickly as possible and immediately repatriated (via chartered flights) or bussed back home (via private transportation). Using commercial flights and public transportation is not allowed anymore.
|(Cruise Line) Ship||(Dates) Itinerary||Sick Passengers-Crew|
(Royal Caribbean) Adventure Of The Seas
(May) in Falmouth Jamaica, while repatriating RCI's Caribbean crew
19 crew out of 1044
(TUI) Mein Schiff 3
(May) while docked in Cuxhaven, Germany
9 crew out of 2899!
(NCL) Norwegian Gem
(April) while anchored off Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas
2 crew deaths
(MSC Cruises) MSC Preziosa
(April) while anchored off Ocean Cay Bahamas
Costa Asia) Costa Atlantica
(April) while docked in Nagasaki Japan
149 crew (out of 623)
(Celebrity Cruises Galapagos) Celebrity Flora
(April) while anchored off Seymour Island (Galapagos Islands, Ecuador)
48 crew (out of 69)
(Costa Cruises) Costa Fascinosa
(April) while docked in Santos Brazil
43 crew (out of 764), including 3 deaths
(Fred Olsen) Black Watch
(April) while anchored in Firth of Forth, Scotland
(Marella Cruises) Marella Explorer 2
(March-April) while in the Caribbean
19 passengers, 4 crew, 1 passenger death
(NCL America) Pride of America
(April) while docked at homeport Honolulu Hawaii
(Aurora Expeditions) Greg Mortimer
(March 14 - April 5) 21day South Georgia and Antarctica roundtrip from Ushuaia Argentina
128 passengers (incl 1 death), 37 crew
(April 4) while quarantined / docked in Dubai, with 250 staff-crew, no passengers
~125 crew (50% of all)
(Princess Cruises) Coral Princess
(March 31) while docked in Bridgetown Barbados
15 (5 crew, 10 passengers, incl 3 deaths), another 67 (29 passengers + 38 crew) remained quarantined onboard
(Cunard) Queen Mary 2
(March 30) while docked at Port Durban, South Africa
(Disney Cruise Line) Disney Wonder
(March 6-20) 14day Panama Canal from NOLA to San Diego
1 passenger, 46 crew (unofficially ~200 crew, 3 passenger deaths)
(Celebrity Cruises) Celebrity Solstice
(March 20) debarkation in Sydney NSW
20 passengers (including 1 death)
(Royal Caribbean) Liberty Of The Seas
(April 2) while anchored off Galveston TX
(Royal Caribbean) Voyager Of The Seas
(March 31) while anchored off Kembla (NSW Australia)
5 crew, 35 passengers (including 1 death)
(Celebrity Cruises) Celebrity Eclipse
(March 31) upon debarkation in San Diego CA
5 passengers, 63 crew, including 3 passenger deaths
(Royal Caribbean) Symphony Of The Seas
(March-April) while anchored off Coco Cay, Bahamas
32 crew, including 1 death
(Royal Caribbean) Oasis Of The Seas
(March-April) while anchored at Coco Cay Island, Bahamas
17 crew, including 3 crew deaths
(Celebrity Cruises) Celebrity Apex
(March-April) the newbuild ship was docked at Chantiers de l'Atlantique Shipyard (Saint-Nazaire, France) with 1407 crew onboard
(Phoenix Reisen) Artania
(March 28) debarkation in Fremantle Australia
89 (crew+pax), including 1 crew death and 3 passenger deaths
(Celebrity Cruises) Celebrity Infinity
(March 23) two days after debarkation in Tampa Florida
3 crew (incl 1 death)
(Costa Cruises) Costa Victoria
(March 23, debarkation in Civitavecchia-Rome) returning to Europe from Asia (Mumbai, India)
(MSC Cruises) MSC Fantasia
(March 23, debarkation in Lisbon) returning to Europe from South America (Rio de Janeiro)
(MSC Cruises) MSC Splendida
(March 23, debarkation in Marseille) returning to Europe from Dubai UAE
(MSC Cruises) MSC Bellissima
(March 7-14) 7day Oman and UAE roundtrip from Dubai
3 passengers, 2 crew
(Royal Caribbean) Ovation Of The Seas
(March 11-18) 7day New Zealand from Sydney Australia
32 passengers, plus 79 (after debarkation)
(Holland America) Zaandam
(March 7-21) 14day South America (Argentina-Chile) from Buenos Aires to San Antonio
4 passenger deaths, plus 14 confirmed cases (13 passengers + 1 crew), 250 non-confirmed cases (107 passengers + 143 crew / with flu-like symptoms)
(MSC Cruises) MSC Opera
Since March 10, the liner is quarantined in Port Genoa (Italy).
(Princess Cruises) Ruby Princess
(March 8-21) 14day New Zealand from Sydney NSW
852 (passengers plus crew), including 22 passenger deaths, ship quarantine in Australia
(Costa Cruises) Costa Magica
(March 13-20) 7day Caribbean from Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe
3 passengers, 7 crew
(Costa Cruises) Costa Favolosa
(March 9-16) 7day Caribbean from La Romana, Dominican Republic
3 passengers, 10 crew (incl 1 death)
(Silversea) Silver Shadow
(March 7-27) 20day South America and Caribbean from Rio de Janeiro to Fort Lauderdale
2 passengers (incl 1 death), ship quarantine in Recife Brazil
(Costa Cruises) Costa Luminosa
(March 5-22) 17day Caribbean and Transatlantic from Fort Lauderdale to Naples
46 passengers (incl 2 deaths), 48 crew (incl 1 death)
(NCL) Norwegian Breakaway
(March 7-14) 7day Western Caribbean from Port Canaveral
(NCL) Norwegian Bliss
(March 1-8) 7day Florida and Bahamas from NYC
(Silversea) Silver Explorer
(March 4-18) 14day Chilean Fjords (Ushuaia to Valparaiso-Santiago)
1 passenger, ship quarantine off Chiloe Island Chile
(Royal Caribbean) Jewel Of The Seas
(March 9-16) 7day Oman and UAE roundtrip from Dubai
2 passengers, ship quarantine off Dubai UAE
(Fred Olsen) Braemar
(Feb 27 - Mar 12) 14day Caribbean from La Romana to Bridgetown (Dominican Republic-Barbados)
1 passenger, 4 crew
(Princess) Grand Princess
(Feb 21 - Mar 7) 15day Hawaii and Mexico from San Francisco CA
132 (including 7 deaths), ship quarantine off San Francisco
(Princess) Diamond Princess
(February) 8day Japan and Taiwan cruises from Yokohama-Tokyo
outbreak with 712 infected (including 14 deaths), ship quarantine in Port Yokohama
(GHK-Dream Cruises) World Dream
(January 19-24) 5day China to Vietnam, roundtrip from Nansha-Guangzhou
12 passengers, ship quarantine in Hong Kong
On March 19, Carnival Corporation, in a press release, offered its permanently docked at ports cruise liners (during the lockdown period) to be used as hospitals for treating non-Coronavirus patients (not as quarantine facilities). These large liners have a minimum cabin capacity of 1000 (per vessel). Each stateroom has an en-suite bathroom (shower-washbasin-toilet) and can be quickly fitted with various medical and remote monitoring equipment (cardiac, respiratory, oxygen saturation, CCTV). All onboard operations (machinery maintenance, food and beverages, cleaning services) are provided by the staff and crew already on the vessel. Carnival stated that the monthly cost per vessel is ~USD 1 million (prolonged ship layup) and ~USD 2-3 million (warm ship layup). Prolonged layup means that the vessel is manned by a reduced crew, which lowers operational costs but adds time (1-2 weeks at least) to restart service. Warm layup means that the vessel remains fully crewed and operational.