Coronavirus: Royal Caribbean agrees $2.2bn loan facility

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Royal Caribbean Cruises has agreed a $2.2 billion loan facility with banks to shore up cash flow as the coronavirus pandemic hits travel companies.

The cruise giant said it has “borrowed the full amount available under the term loan to further bolster its liquidity”.

Royal said it has more than $3.6 billion in cash and has committed financing for all of its new ships on order.

“This is a period of unprecedented disruption for the cruise industry,” said chief finance officer Jason T. Liberty.

“We continue to take decisive actions to protect the company’s financial and liquidity positions as they enable us to keep focused on our guests, our crew and our long-term plans.”

Royal, which owns Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea, suspended sailings earlier this month along with other cruise lines around the world as travel restrictions were imposed globally.

Coronavirus: Cruise lines cancel and change itineraries amid mounting travel restrictions

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Celebrity Millennium

Cruise lines have responded to a wave of travel and entry restrictions from countries across southeast Asia by cancelling and changing itineraries amid the coronavirus outbreak. Harry Kemble rounds up all the latest developments.

Celebrity Cruises has cancelled the final five sailings of Celebrity Millennium’s Asia season and will reposition the ship to the US earlier than planned.

Passengers affected will receive a full refund.

The line has also adjusted the next four Celebrity Constellation itineraries to avoid Singapore and Thailand.

Constellation will instead spend more time in Cochin, Goa and Mumbai.

Princess Cruises has pulled every departure on Diamond Princess, which is currently quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, until March 12.

The sailings were due to call at ports across Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam which all have travel and entry restrictions in place.

Each passenger for the February 13 voyage will receive a refund and 100% future cruise credit equal to the cruise fare paid for the voyage. Passengers booked on the February 23 voyage and beyond will receive a refund and 50% cruise credit.

Holland America Line (HAL) ship Westerdam was allowed to dock in Cambodia on Thursday after Japan, Taiwan, Guam, the Philippines and Thailand had all refused to accept the ship – despite having no sick passengers or crew on board.

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Westerdam finally arrives in Cambodia after 5 ports refused entry.

Guests will transfer via charter flights to Phnom Penh for forwarding travel home. All flights will be paid for by the line along with a full cruise refund and 100% future cruise credit.

Future Westerdam voyage plans are still being finalised. The February 15 cruise scheduled to embark in Yokohama has been cancelled.

No cancellations for cruises with departure dates beyond February 15 have been announced.

“However, we are assessing the impact of current port restrictions in Asia on cruises departing Feb. 29 or later,” the line said in a statement. “We will communicate details as they become finalized in the next few days.”

Royal Caribbean International has cancelled two Quantum of the Seas sailings departing from Singapore on February 15 and February 24.

Affected passengers have been given full refunds, the line said.

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Quantum of the Seas.

A Royal spokesperson added: “Royal Caribbean’s number one priority is ensuring the health and welfare of our guests and crew.

“We will continue to monitor conditions and will share other itinerary adjustments should they become necessary.

“The Singapore market remains of great importance to us and we look forward to returning there very soon.”

Royal Caribbean Cruises has lifted its ban on passport holders from China, Hong Kong and Macau after adopting the controversial policy last week.

A statement from Royal Caribbean Cruises, parent of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea confirmed the reversal on Tuesday.

Every passenger who has travelled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau 15 days prior to the departure date is still banned from boarding any of Royal’s vessels.

Norwegian Cruise Line has pulled its entire Asia programme for the newly refurbished ship, Norwegian Spirit.

All sailings between 15 and December 7 have been dropped and full refunds are being offered, along with 10% future cruise credit.

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P&O Cruises is removing calls into Shanghai on March 5-6 and Hong Kong on March 9-10 as part of Arcadia’s world cruise and will announce alternative ports “as soon as possible”.

The UK line said: “We are very closely monitoring and assessing the impact of the latest developments and health advisories, as well as various travel and entry restrictions which are increasingly impacting ship itineraries and connecting travel.

“We are actively seeking to mitigate these risks to our guests and crew, and are making appropriate adjustments to our operations to protect all onboard our ships.”

Cunard ship Queen Mary 2 is to miss several ports in southeast Asia and will sail direct to Fremantle, Australia, during its world cruise.

The vessel had been scheduled to call into Phuket, Thailand; Pulau Penang Island and Klang in Malaysia; Singapore; and Hong Kong.

Cunard said the “various travel and entry restrictions…are increasingly impacting ship itineraries and connecting travel” across the world.

Royal Caribbean To Sail Free Cruises for Crisis Responders with Displaced Tonnage

Spectrum of the Seas and Celebrity Millenium
The spectrum of the Seas and Celebrity Millennium

Royal Caribbean Cruises announced it will dedicate two ships to “humanitarian efforts in Australia and California” to support those affected by recent crises in both areas.

Both the Spectrum of the Seas and Celebrity Millennium, which is out of service due to the coronavirus outbreak, will redeploy for these sailings.

The 2019-built Spectrum of the Seas will move Australia and be deployed on complimentary cruises sailing from Sydney in support of Australia’s first responder community, according to a statement.

The ship has been out of service since mid-January due to the coronavirus outbreak, with cruises cancelled through mid-March.

“When things go wrong, this is a company that wants to find a way to help,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises. “At Royal Caribbean, we consider ourselves fortunate to be able to use our ships in a positive way during difficult times.”

“We are in a fortunate position to offer these brave and selfless members of the Australian community the opportunity to join us for a few days and let them relax and unwind in the company of other volunteers and first responders,” added Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “By welcoming and accommodating them aboard Spectrum of the Seas, we hope to recognize their contribution and offer them our hospitality.”

Fain said Royal Caribbean was working with its suppliers to deliver one million N-95 protective masks into China for government distribution into affected areas.

“We admire the all-out efforts of the Chinese government and people to address this crisis, and we want to bring our resources to bear to help their efforts,” Fain said.

In addition, the Celebrity Millennium is moving to the West Coast of the U.S. earlier than previously scheduled ahead of her Alaska program and will offer a series of “Cruising for Heroes” voyages in support of California firefighters, other first responders and veterans.

These voyages will run through March and April. A variety of three-, four- and five-night sailings have been added to the brand’s offerings to travel the breathtaking Pacific Coast. The sailings will leave from Los Angeles and details will be announced soon.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and CEO of Celebrity Cruises, said, “While the circumstances have not been what any of us would have wanted, we now have the opportunity to show the State of California our stunning Celebrity Millennium and do some good in the process by honouring and helping our everyday heroes who do so much for so many. Celebrity Millennium is a beautifully appointed ship and was recently revolutionized. It’s exciting to share it with this market and to honour the men and women who come to the aid of others every single day.”

Royal Caribbean also announced it plans to dedicate a ship in China to a series of complimentary sailings to thank first responders and medical personnel when the outbreak is under control.