Carnival Corporation has announced further job losses and reduced hours for staff among cost-cutting measures as cruises remain on hold owing to the coronavirus.

The company said the steps will save it ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’.

It reported that fewer than 38% of passengers have so far requested cash refunds and that bookings for the first half of 2021 “remain within historical ranges”.

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The parent of Carnival Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Costa Cruises and Aida Cruises paused its operations in March.

Since then it has added a $6.4 billion of extra liquidity and extended its suspension of cruises into the summer.

In a statement today, the corporation said: “To further strengthen liquidity, Carnival Corporation and its brands are announcing a combination of layoffs, furloughs, reduced work weeks and salary reductions across the company, including senior management.”

It added: “Since the company paused its guest cruise operations in early March, workforce changes were largely placed on hold, even in the face of no meaningful revenue, to forestall the financial impact on its employees while still meeting its fiscal responsibilities – deferring employee actions beyond that of many others in similar situations during this pandemic.”

The statement pointed out that travel agent commissions have continued to be paid on cancelled cruises and on future cruise credits when guests rebook.

It added that it has repatriated thousands of crew members to their homes countries, and developed health and safety protocols for when cruising returns.

President and chief executive Arnold Donald said: “Taking these extremely difficult employee actions involving our highly dedicated workforce is a very tough thing to do. Unfortunately, it’s necessary, given the current low level of guest operations and to further endure this pause.

“We care deeply about all our employees and understanding the impact this is having on so many strengthens our resolve to do everything we can to return to operations when the time is right. We look forward to the day when many of those impacted are returning to work with us and we look forward to the day, when appropriate, that once again our ships and crew are delighting millions of people at sea and we can be there for the many nations and millions of people who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood.

Donald also thanked guests for their “many thoughtful notes and overall outpouring of support”.