Carnival Corp. offers the use of ships as floating hospitals

Carnival Corp. offers use of ships as floating hospitals

Carnival Corp. has offered the use of its ships as temporary hospitals for non-coronavirus patients to free up space at land-based hospitals to treat patients with Covid-19.

President Trump announced at a press conference on Thursday that he had spoken with Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison on Thursday morning. “He’s going to make ships available,” he said.

The president has already ordered that two Navy hospital ships are deployed to areas hits hard by coronavirus. The USNS Comfort will head to New York Harbor and the USNS New York will be dispatched to a location on the West Coast. If needed, the Carnival ships could supplement those efforts.

“In addition to the big medical ships that you have coming, if we should need ships with lots of rooms, they will be docked at New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco, different places, so I want to thank Micky Arison. That’s Carnival Cruise Line,” the President said.

In a statement shortly afterwards, Carnival Corp. said that select ships from its many brands — including Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia — would be made available to help with a possible shortage of land-based hospital beds.

“As part of the offer, interested parties will be asked to cover only the essential costs of the ship’s operations while in port,” the company said.

“If needed, cruise ships are capable of being quickly provisioned to serve as hospitals with up to 1,000 hospital rooms that can treat patients suffering from less critical, non-Covid-19 conditions,” Carnival Corp. said.

Temporary cruise ship hospital rooms can be quickly converted to accommodate remote patient-monitoring devices over the ship’s high-speed WiFi network, the company said. The ships would be capable of providing cardiac, respiratory, oxygen saturation, and video monitoring capabilities. Rooms have bathrooms, private balconies and isolation capabilities if needed.

The company said the ships would be able to provide up to seven intensive care units in their onboard medical centres with central cardiac monitoring, ventilators and other medical devices.

Carnival said various decks could house multiple medical functions, the company said.

Carnival Corporation agrees $3bn in borrowing as cruises halted

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Carnival Corporation is to borrow $3 billion under a credit agreement for six months as the coronavirus crisis triggered a shutdown of global cruise operations.

Tapping the credit facility will increase the group’s cash position and “preserve financial flexibility in light of current uncertainty in the global markets resulting from the Covid-19 outbreak”.

The proceeds from the borrowings will be available to be used for working capital, general corporate or other purposes, the corporation said.

The move to bolster the world’s largest cruise company’s financial position came as its UK brands, P&O Cruises and Cunard, suspended operations until April 11 after other brands such as Princess Cruises paused operations.

Carnival Corporation said: “Due to the spread and recent developments, including growing port restrictions around the world, related to the Covid-19 outbreak, the corporation previously announced a voluntary and temporary pause of its fleet cruise operations by its continental Europe and North American brands.

“Subsequently, the corporation implemented a temporary pause of its global fleet cruise operations across all brands. Each brand has separately announced the duration of its pause.

“Significant events affecting travel, including Covid-19, typically have an impact on booking patterns, with the full extent of the impact generally determined by the length of time the event influences travel decisions.

“The corporation believes the ongoing effects of Covid-19 on its operations and global bookings will have a material negative impact on its financial results and liquidity.

“The corporation is taking additional actions to improve its liquidity, including capital expenditure and expense reductions, and pursuing additional financing.

“Given the uncertainly of the situation, the corporation is currently unable to provide an earnings forecast, however, we expect results of operations for the fiscal year ending November 30, 2020, to result in a net loss.”

The group’s cruise lines operate 105 ships with 16 new vessels due to be delivered by 2025.

Princess Plans for Florida Fleet: Anchorages and Princess Cays Visits

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With six ships sailing from South Florida, Princess Cruises has put together a detailed plan for what to do with its ships and crew during its temporary suspension of service, according to crew aboard the ships.

The Caribbean Princess, Sky Princess, Regal Princess, Emerald Princess, Crown Princess and Island Princess are in the Caribbean sailing from South Florida and will spend the immediate future at anchorages in the Bahamas with weekly calls into Princess Cays, the brand’s private island.

A substitute port could be Port Everglades, according to a company document.

Calling it an immediate, low-cost layup proposal, the plan keeps the ships ready to return to service on short notice and defers repositioning decisions, according to a letter sent to crew aboard the ships.

The company plans to have the ships stay at Great Isaac Anchorage.

Crew disembarkation plans are pending, and the company plans to have each ship call at Princess Cays once a week, where the crew will be able to use the island.

In its letter sent to the crew, the company also notes operations at Princess Cays will include making space for operations from Carnival Cruise Line vessels.