Changes are coming to cruise lines; Norwegian warns it may go bankrupt

Cruise industry is full of questions as it tries to survive the coronavirus outbreak

Cruise lines are scrambling to stay afloat after COVID-19, and they know that more safety measures will be needed.

MIAMI, Fla. – Norwegian Cruise Line warned investors Tuesday that bankruptcy could be in the company’s future.

The world’s third-largest cruise line — like so many others — is now hurting for cash after passenger operations were forced to stop because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That news comes one day after rival Carnival Cruise Line announced plans to resume sailing this summer.

The head of Royal Caribbean says they too are working on a similar plan to continue sailings — while also working closely with health experts to develop new policies and procedures.

“Looking forward to restarting, health and safety are absolutely paramount,” Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., said in a video sent to their travel partners. “Good enough just isn’t good enough. We need to raise the bar to new heights and we have teams of doctors and scientists. ... Charting the safest and the surest path forward.”

But what will those changes include — and just how different will cruising be?

Stewart Chiron, a cruise industry expert, says the most likely change will include stepped-up health screenings before passengers board their ships.

“What I think is going to wind up happening is, I think there’s going to be enhancements made to the boarding process,” he said. “There’s going to be thermal body scanners at the port. I think we’ll wind up seeing individual passengers being subjected to individual body temperature checks.”

In a statement, Carnival declined to share specifics of their plan, saying, “There will obviously be changes once we begin sailing again. We are continuing to discuss our plans internally and with government officials and public health experts, including the CDC, as we build new operational protocols, enhanced health and sanitation measures and service offerings.”

Local 10 has reached out to Norwegian Cruise Line on Tuesday and is still waiting to hear back.

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About the Author:

Trent Kelly is an award-winning multimedia journalist who joined the Local 10 News team in June 2018. Trent is no stranger to Florida. Born in Tampa, he attended the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he graduated with honors from the UF College of Journalism and Communications.