Cruise ship holidays have long been a popular option for many British holidaymakers. However, the cruise industry has suffered in 2020 as cruise lines come under fire for their handling of coronavirus outbreaks onboard. Now, the CEO of major company Carnival Corporation has defended cruises.
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Carnival is the parent company of both Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line.
CEO Arnold Donald told Axios on HBO that cruises weren’t to blame.
He said: ”20/20 hindsight, could everyone have done something sooner? Perhaps. But it was an evolving, learning situation.”
On March 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that Americans (especially those with underlying health conditions) “should not travel by cruise ship” because there was an “increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.”
Four days later, on March 12, Carnival suspended worldwide cruise operations.
Despite the delay in halting cruises following the health warning, Donald said Carnival followed “every protocol in place.”
“Cruise ships are not a source for coronavirus. We have hundreds of cruise ships out there. Very few had cases on them,” said Donald.
“The one that had the most cases was very early on when no one understood hardly anything.”
The CEO added: “There’s lots of natural social distancing. The ships are large.
“People are not always gathered and clumped together,” he said.
Donald pointed out that passengers on cruises who are unwell as taken to medical isolation.
He said that this “controls the spread.”
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Donald argued that cruise ships are not as risky as people think.
“All I’m suggesting is that a cruise ship is not a riskier environment,” he said.
“People perceive it that way. But the reality is, it’s not.”
The Carnival boss says he anticipates the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will “last all year” and the company is planning for this.
Donald added he was optimistic the cruise industry would eventually recover.
“I think cruises ultimately will be even better than they were before,” he said.
“People love cruising. Up until the day we paused people wanted to cruise.”
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