President Trump says four major cruise lines suspended outbound voyages at his request in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
“At my request, effective midnight tonight, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and MSC have all agreed to suspend outbound cruises for thirty days,” Trump tweeted.
He added: “It is a great and important sindustry — it will be kept that way!”
Hours earlier, Trump said during a Rose Garden press conference — where he declared a national emergency over the virus —that he was open to a bailout for the cruise industry, which suffered a dive in demand as COVID-19 spread quickly aboard ships.
“I didn’t suggest that it could happen, but I could tell you that it was an industry that was very badly impacted by what’s going on with the virus, and it’s a great industry, it’s a very important industry,” Trump said in the Rose Garden. “And we will be helping them and we will be helping the airline industry if we have to, assuming we have to. So far people haven’t been asking.”
In a Friday evening statement, the Cruise Lines International Association trade group’s president Kelly Craighead said the suspension was voluntary. “This has been a challenging time, but we hope that this decision will enable us to focus on the future and a return to normal as soon as possible,” Craighead said.
A pair of Princess Cruises ships, owned by the Carnival brand, suffered spread of the deadly virus this year. Last month, the Diamond Princess moored off of Japan after patients came down with the respiratory bug. Quarantine measures on board failed spectacularly, with 696 out of about 3,700 passengers and crew ultimately testing positive, of whom at least six have died.
This month, the Grand Princess docked in Oakland, California, after 21 staff and guests tested positive. About 3,500 other employees and passengers are awaiting results.
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