Carnival is considering cutting passenger capacity on its cruise ships as it looks for ways to improve safety in wake of coronavirus outbreaks, sources say
Carnival Corp. is considering temporarily limiting the number of passengers on its ships when they begin sailing again, two sources close to the matter told Business Insider.
The company would do so by preventing passengers from booking certain cabins, the sources said.
Two possibilities include allowing passengers to only book cabins with access to fresh air or making sure there are empty cabins between occupied ones, sources said.
Before Carnival halted new sailings in March, the novel coronavirus spread to over 1,000 passengers and crew members on Carnival-owned ships like the Diamond Princess, Ruby Princess, and Costa Luminosa. The company was in some cases criticized for the way its ships handled the virus, but Carnival's CEO, Arnold Donald, has argued that the company has consistently followed guidelines established by the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Carnival also plans to continue checking passengers' temperatures before they board their ships when cruises resume, the sources said. The company had previously introduced pre-boarding temperature checks across its nine brands in response to the coronavirus.
Carnival declined Business Insider's request for comment.
The novel coronavirus has shut down the cruise industry for the past month as many cruise lines, including those owned by Carnival, have decided to voluntarily cancel new cruises until May at the earliest. Last week, the CDC issued an order that could ban cruises in US-controlled waters until July.
While Carnival lost $781 million between December and February, compared to the $336 million profit it made during those same months a year earlier, a little under half of the customers who reached out to the company regarding canceled cruises during the first two weeks of March chose to receive credits for future cruises instead of cash refunds, suggesting Carnival's customer base will not abandon the company when it is allowed to resume sailing.
Donald said in an interview with CNBC on Tuesday that the company has enough money to survive a scenario in which it earns no revenue for the rest of this year after drawing $3 billion from its credit lines and raising over $6 billion in debt and equity. The company has also cut the pay of executives and some ship-based workers.
Since the beginning of this year, Carnival's stock price has declined by around 75%, as of Wednesday afternoon.
Jim Hepple is an Assistant Professor at the University of Aruba and is Managing Director of Tourism Analytics.