(CMR) Carnival Cruise Lines is changing its itinerary and bypassing Jamaica and Cayman in what some are calling a “retaliatory strike” since these ports refused ships to disembark last week because of fears over the coronavirus. This comes after Carnival expressed displeasure at the decision.
However, the cruise company is claiming that they are attempting to avoid destinations that “continue to work through their policies with regards to cruise ship visits.”
After the denials, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. shares dropped more than 7%.
It was initially reported in industry news that today Caribbean governments had denied entry:
“Today, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands informed two Carnival cruise ships that they are prohibited from calling on ports in these countries over concerns with coronavirus, according to crew members and passengers on the Carnival Freedom and Carnival Horizon who wish to remain anonymous.”
However, they later clarified that:
Update – evening of March 2, 2020: Comments on another Facebook page suggest that it was not the decision of either Jamaica or the Caymans to block these Carnival ships from calling on their ports. Rather it was Carnival’s decision alone to change ports.
Carnival Horizon which originally was scheduled to call on Jamaica, Cozumel and Grand Cayman will instead be heading to the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos and Nassau. Meanwhile, passengers aboard the Carnival Freedom received notification that instead of Grand Cayman and Montego Bay, they would instead be visiting Key West and Belize.
After Jamaica and Cayman refused MSC Meraviglia was denied entry to Ocho Rico and George Town last week the cruise line made a public statement castigating these Caribbean countries. A brawl broke out on the cruise ship afterward and some guests had to be peppered sprayed to contain the situation. The Caribbean is not the only region to have taken such drastic measures as last week both Australian faced a similar fate.
Cruise companies have canceled or modified upcoming Asia trips for at least 27 cruise ships, according to trade publication Travel Weekly, with some abandoning the region completely for the remainder of the year.
Meanwhile, the cruise lines were impacted as well in Japan where four persons who traveled on Princess Cruises' Diamond Princess cruise ship have died.
No word at this time as to how many ships will ultimately see itinerary changes, or how long these changes may be in effect.