Cruise ship stock tank after CDC warned Americans to stay away from ships over Omicron concerns

Warnings from the CDC about boarding cruise ships amid skyrocketing COVID rates in US waters yesterday resulted in stock values ​​of the three major cruise lines falling on Friday.

Even vaccinated people shouldn’t go on a cruise vacation, the agency said, as COVID cases on board the ships rose 31 percent to 5,013 between December 15 and December 29. Of 108 cruise ships sailing or planning a mission in US waters, 90 are observed by the CDC as a result of COVID infections.

On Friday the shares of Carnival (CCL) lost 2 percent, Royal Caribbean by 0.59 percent (RCL) and Norwegian (NCLH) by 1.33 percent.

On Thursday, the CDC urged Americans - self-vaccinated - to avoid cruises.  As a result, Carnival Cruise shares fell 2 percent on Friday night.  That year, the company's stock was down 7 percent.  The picture shows the cruise ship Carnival Flory arriving in Marseille

On Thursday, the CDC urged Americans – self-vaccinated – to avoid cruises. As a result, Carnival Cruise shares fell 2 percent on Friday night. That year, the company’s stock was down 7 percent. The picture shows the cruise ship Carnival Flory arriving in Marseille

On Thursday, the Cruise Line International Association confused the CDC's recommendation,

On Thursday, the Cruise Line International Association confused the CDC’s recommendation, “given the fact that cases identified on cruise lines consistently represent a very small minority of the total on-board population,” it said in a statement. “Most of these cases are asymptomatic or mild and have little or no impact on medical resources on board or on land.”

In San Diego, the Holland America Cruise Koningsdam was forced to return to port after local officials turned it away from its planned destination in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  On this ship, 21 crew members tested positive for COVID-19.  At least four cruise ships were turned away from their destinations last week

In San Diego, the Holland America Cruise Koningsdam was forced to return to port after local officials turned it away from its planned destination in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. On this ship, 21 crew members tested positive for COVID-19. At least four cruise ships were turned away from their destinations last week

However, the stocks of travel and leisure companies that operate on land have seen a noticeable surge this year. Marriott (MAR) is up 25 percent in 2021, while Hilton (HLT) shares are up 40 percent this year, hitting a new record high on Friday.

All three companies are projected to lose money in 2021 and have had a disastrous 2020. Carnival and Norwegian share prices each fell more than half in 2020, and Royal Caribbean shares plunged nearly 45 percent last year.

Analysts predict small losses for Norwegian and decimated profits for Royal Caribbean in the next year.

“Avoid cruises regardless of vaccination status,” the CDC said on its website Thursday, adding that “even fully vaccinated travelers can be at risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 variants”.

“The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close proximity on board ships, and the chances of getting COVID-19 on cruise lines are very high even if you are fully vaccinated and have a COVID-19 – Received a booster dose of vaccine. ‘

“The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close proximity on board ships, and the chances of getting COVID-19 on cruise lines are very high even if you are fully vaccinated and have a COVID-19 – Received a booster dose of vaccine. ‘

Four large cruise ships were turned away in international ports due to COVID cases on board last week, forcing ships to return on board or plan alternative destinations on the fly.

On Thursday, Royal Caribbean changed or canceled 16 of 331 destinations due to the surge in Covid cases.

The surge at sea comes amid a nationwide surge powered by the highly infectious Omicron variant – with the average daily cases hitting a record 512,533 on Thursday.

There are currently 54,252,612 active COVID-19 cases in the country and 825,311 have died in the US due to complications from the virus.

The Cruise Lines International Association said it was disappointed with the new recommendations, saying the industry was chosen despite the fact that it follows stricter health protocols than other travel sectors.

The decision was “particularly confusing when you consider that cases found on cruise ships consistently make up a very small minority of the total population on board,” a statement said. “Most of these cases are asymptomatic or mild and have little or no impact on medical resources on board or on land.”

In March 2020, when the coronavirus hit the United States, the CDC suspended all cruises for 15 months. Last June it allowed the ships to sail again under new strict new conditions.

In August, when the Delta variant rose, the agency warned people who are at risk of serious illness despite being vaccinated not to take cruises.

The CDC also recommended Thursday that passengers should test themselves and quarantine for five days after docking, regardless of their vaccination status and even if they have no symptoms.

Omicron has catapulted cases to unprecedented levels in the United States, including Florida, the center of the country’s cruise industry. The state set another record for new daily cases this week, with more than 58,000 registered Wednesdays.

US cruise lines have not announced plans to cease travel, despite ships being refused entry in some foreign ports.

US cruise lines have not announced plans to cease travel, despite ships being refused entry in some foreign ports.  The picture shows Holland Americas MS Zuiderdam

US cruise lines have not announced plans to cease travel, despite ships being refused entry in some foreign ports. The picture shows Holland Americas MS Zuiderdam

Carnival Corp. spokesman Roger Frizzell said in an email following the CDC recommendation that the company had no plans to make changes.

“Our improved health and safety protocols have proven effective over the past year,” he said.

Prior to the CDC’s announcement, the Royal Caribbean Group said in a statement that Omicron is leading to passenger cancellations and changes in itinerary, but causing “significantly less severe symptoms than previous variants.”

The company said that since cruising resumed in U.S. waters last spring, 1.1 million guests had traveled on its cruise lines and 1,745 people tested positive for COVID-19, or about 0.16%.

41 people had to be hospitalized and no passengers hit by Omicron were taken to the hospital.

“We don’t like to see a single case, but our experience is a fraction of the comparable statistics of virtually any other comparable location or industry. Few companies are subject to such intense scrutiny, regulation and disclosure by so many authorities, ‘said Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean.

Prior to the CDC's announcement, the Royal Caribbean Group said in a statement that Omicron is leading to passenger cancellations and changes in itinerary, but causing

Prior to the CDC’s announcement, the Royal Caribbean Group said in a statement that Omicron is leading to passenger cancellations and changes in itinerary, but causing “significantly less severe symptoms than previous variants.” The picture shows the hymn of the seas of the cruise company

Most cruise lines require adult passengers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Ships are allowed to relax measures such as wearing masks if at least 95% of the passengers and 95% of the crew are fully vaccinated.

Iris Krysty, 76, from Hamburg, New Jersey, and her husband are due to set out on a 10-day Caribbean cruise on January 19. This latest CDC warning puts travelers like her in an unfair dilemma, she said.

Krysty was told Thursday that they will only be eligible for a refund if they test positive before the trip. So, you will avoid losing thousands of dollars – a decision your daughter and son-in-law are dissatisfied with.

“I know they’re upset that we’re leaving, but that’s a lot of money to lose,” said Krysty. “As far as we know, let’s go and hope we’re fine.”

Janine Calfo, 55, of Salt Lake City, postponed a four-day Carnival cruise from Long Beach, California to Ensenada, Mexico earlier this month when she caught a groundbreaking case of COVID-19 three days before departure. She rebooked the cruise for February and is still ready.

“This is my own personal opinion, but it looks like the omicron will be a quick burn,” said Calfo, who has asthma and plans to have the booster in a few weeks. ‘My cruise is over 40 days away.’

However, she added, “I think I’ll get travel insurance this time.”

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