Carnival Looks at China for Relaunch as CEO Defends Safety Record

Carnival is looking at China as one of the first locations to restart its operations once the coronavirus pandemic eases.

Carnival  (CCL) - Get Report has looked at China as one of the first locations where it will restart its operations once the coronavirus pandemic eases.

The company's stock price has tumbled since January, but shares were climbing 6.9% to $12.66 Friday in premarket trading.

CEO Arnold Donald said in a conference call that China was starting to open up to some types of social gatherings, Bloomberg reported.

The company earlier had announced that it would extend the suspension of all of the trips of its Princess Cruises through June 30. Carnival is also planning to limit guest capacity and implement pre-boarding temperature checks once it resumes its operations.

Separately, Donald defended the company against allegations raised in a Bloomberg Businessweek article that accused Carnival executives of allowing partying to continue on ships amid the risk of the coronavirus. 

"We followed protocol," Donald said. 

Outbreaks occurred aboard the Diamond Princess and Grand Princess in February, ultimately leading to 815 passenger infections and 15 deaths.

Regarding the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined in the port of Yokohama, Japan, Donald said, "We did exactly what we were told to do, because we cooperated with the Japanese Ministry of Health."

The Centers for Disease Control issued a "no sail order" for all cruises on March 14.

The CDC recently extended the "no sail order" for cruise ships for nearly three months in order to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Carnival won't receive funding from the the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) because it is incorporated outside of the U.S. 

Donald said there were no plans to re-incorporate elsewhere and he hopes to extend some existing debt in Germany, the U.K. and Italy.

The cruise industry is currently working on a proposal to submit to the CDC, which will include enhanced sanitization and health safety protocols, according to the industry trade group CLIA.

Meanwhile, a Texas woman whose husband died of the coronavirus filed a lawsuit against Carnival's Princess Cruises, KXAS-TV reported, charging that she and her spouse were allowed on board even though the crew knew they’d be exposed.

Princess Cruises' Ruby Princess is part of a criminal investigation in Australia and Carnival's Costa Cruises subsidiary is facing multiple passenger lawsuits regarding its Covid-19 response.

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