Cruise Ship News: COVID-19 updates, Crew member illness concerns, the future of the cruise industry

Posted on Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 at 3:02 am    

Hope for Norwegian Cruise Lines Amid the Pandemic

Four months after the first reported case of Covid-19 in the United States, the economy started to reopen. Businesses suffered greatly during this pandemic, and some ended up having to close their doors permanently. With so much uncertainty looming, Norwegian Cruise Line can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Its parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, issued a statement that they received financing that could potentially last for a whole year. If they can’t resume business any time soon, they’re not worried about their financial standing. The bailout gives them a cushion of funds that will ensure their survival until they can resume normal business operations.

This ray of hope came just after the popular cruise company notified investors of their money troubles. After filing the report, shares of NCLH stock plummeted 20% and continued to fall throughout the day. Norwegian withdrew $1.55 billion early on in the pandemic, causing their credit rating to drop and making it tougher to find new funding. Fortunately, NCLH was able to gather enough cash to last well beyond the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s no-sail order.

Crew Members Suffer from Coronavirus Outbreak

Approximately 2,500 staff members aboard the MS Norwegian Epic still can’t leave due to Covid-19. At first, funny posts on social media platforms seemed to brighten the crew’s mood during a traumatic situation. Now, weeks later, Norwegian Cruise Line is prohibiting their employees from sharing any information about the ship’s condition with the public.

Leaked audio obtained from Business Insider uncovered an announcement made by the cruise ship’s leadership team. They said any written, verbal, photographic, or video material detailing what’s happening on board without the company’s permission is a violation of their policy and could result in legal action.

This outrageous threat came just weeks after the cruise line had to halt operations and keep their employees quarantined to prevent further spread of the virus. Everyone still has access to their phones and can communicate with friends and family. Yet, if they post to social media without expressed permission from Norwegian Cruise Line, they could face prosecution by shoreside authorities. The warning is just another unpleasant circumstance following pay cuts, contract terminations, and fatalities.

CDC Issues Requirements for Disembarking Crew Members

Around 80,000 crew members working on 120 different haven’t been able to find their way home because of the outbreak. With the CDC recommending self-isolation for anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms, operations halted, and employees ended up staying out at sea for weeks or months.

Now that things are calming down and there are various plans in place, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean started to disembark its crew and help them get home safely. However, the CDC is requesting that all staff entering through U.S. ports take private transportation home. Many companies complained that it’s too expensive to arrange private transportation for all their employees, halting disembarking efforts.

Crew operators and the CDC continue to be in limbo regarding foreign crew members and how to send them back to their families. Without the option of public transportation, the task of flying them back home has been a challenge. Although some companies were willing to comply with the CDC’s requests, others are now at a standstill and trying to agree on how to disembark the remaining workers safely.

Death Tolls Rise Among Cruise Ship Employees

The harsh reality of the situation is that the outcome is out of their control. Staff stuck on various cruise ships are sleep-deprived and stressed. Everyone is on edge because of the unknown. They don’t know how long they’ll be on the ship and how long it will take to get home. Those infected with the virus don’t know if they’ll survive. Others worry if they catch Covid-19, it could extend their time aboard because of the required self-isolation.

Some deaths raised questions about the effects of quarantining on a person’s mental state. An employee aboard the Regal Princess in the port of Rotterdam jumped off the ship and died. In a separate incident, a crew member from Jewel of the Seas went overboard. Deaths like these are traumatic. A former guest manager from Norwegian Cruise Line said she received Facebook messages from some workers saying they were suicidal.

Many people on these ships had to self-isolate in their small cabins for two weeks and spend even longer isolated from their families and friends. That can lead to stress, loneliness, and depression. Additionally, some felt momentary relief thinking they could finally go home only to find out their flights got canceled. The emotional highs and lows are starting to impact everyone.

The Future of Cruises

There still isn’t a definitive date for when cruise lines can resume normal operations. With so many people continuing to quarantine aboard the ships and no plans for getting them all to their home countries, there’s no way of knowing when the companies will start offering cruise services again.

Some planned on reopening by now, but the CDC keeps extending the shutdown. Cruise lines like Royal Caribbean say they want to get back on the water by June 12. Others are shooting for reopening in July or August. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict precisely when cruise-goers can take their next trip. The coronavirus is in control of everyone’s schedules at this point. When the world returns to normal depends on how much longer this pandemic affects businesses and whether researchers can find a cure.

Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A. for a Free Consultation

If you contracted Covid-19 while working on a cruise ship, the experienced attorneys from Louis A. Vucci P.A. might be able to help you. You probably incurred expensive medical bills and without a source of income, worry about how you’re going to pay. If you got sick because of the cruise line’s negligence, you could file a lawsuit for financial compensation.

You deserve to seek justice against those responsible for your suffering. The attorneys from Louis A. Vucci P.A. will help you get through this devastating time in your life. You can count on us to be by your side from beginning to end of your case. To find out how we can help you pursue legal action after your diagnosis of Covid-19, call (786) 375-0344.