Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) has warned that the ongoing coronavirus outbreak is having an “adverse impact on business”.
The cruise giant has now cancelled all Asia sailings for the rest of the season for all three of its brands which include Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania.
It said shares in the company have dropped by $0.75 since the outbreak which initially forced the line to pull all 21 Asia voyages on newly refurbished ship Norwegian Spirit.
In its full year results for 2019, NCLH reported a 6.7% increase in revenue of $6.5 billion and a net income of $930.2 million. The company said it entered 2020 in a “record booked position”.
However, it said the coronavirus impact “continues to impact consumer travel sentiment regarding travel for cruises in Asia and throughout the company’s areas of operation worldwide”.
“Due to the fluidity and uncertainty as to the duration and extent of the outbreak, it is too early for the company to fully quantify impacts from broader headwinds to its business resulting from decreased demand for travel and tourism globally,” the company said.
“The company’s financial performance could be materially impacted if travel restrictions and COVID-19 concerns continue for an extended period of time.”
Frank Del Rio, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings’ president and chief executive, said the travelling public is in “near panic” but he was “hopeful” the “healing process” had begun.
“Business was sailing through until the end of January then the virus became headline news,” he said.
“The cruise industry has become the forefront of that and that has become near panic in the travelling public.”
He added: “Business is soft and people are scared to travel. Right now, people are scared and worried until we have the levelling off of new cases and the cruise industry not being the poster child for the virus this may continue for some time.”
But he said since Saturday, there had not been a week after week decline in bookings.
“I am hopeful that we have seen the worst of the booking slow down and we have seen the start the healing process,” Del Rio said. “The healing process normally takes around eight weeks.”
Asked about demand for other destinations seen as “safer” by the US market, Del Rio said: “Across the board, when you peel back the onion, the destinations that are deemed to be safer and are faring better than others are places like Alaska or the Caribbean.
“They are closer to home and they are doing better.”
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