Norwegian Cruise cancel voyages amid omicron spike

Coronavirus

FILE – Cruise ships float at PortMiami, on April 7, 2020, in Miami. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now warning people not to cruise regardless of their vaccination status because of an increase in cases fueled by the omicron variant detected in ships. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)

(Reuters) — Norwegian Cruise Line on Wednesday canceled sailings amid rising fears of omicron-related coronavirus infections that have dampened the recovery of the pandemic-ravaged cruise industry.

Norwegian Cruise Line halted the trips against the backdrop of the United States reporting the highest daily tally of any country for new coronavirus infections on Monday.

“Due to ongoing travel restrictions, we’ve had to modify a few sailings and unfortunately have had to cancel,” the 17-ship strong cruise operator said, with the embarkation dates for a few canceled sailings as far out as late April.

The cruise line, which requires everyone on board to be vaccinated, has also had to cut short a 12-day round trip from Miami on its Norwegian Pearl ship, citing “COVID-related circumstances.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised people last week to avoid cruise travel after launching investigations into onboard cases on more than 90 ships.

Norwegian Cruise Line said guests, who were supposed to travel on the canceled sailings on the eight ships, will receive full refunds and bonus credits for future bookings.

The omicron-led travel uncertainty is also causing guests on other sailings to cancel their bookings as a few ships have also had to skip ports due to onboard infections.

“We booked the cruise last March and assumed that things would be getting back to normal… by mid-December, I was mentally prepared for a change of plans,” said Holly Bromley, a consulting arborist, who canceled her booking on Norwegian Epic.

Meanwhile, bigger rival Carnival said it has not canceled any upcoming voyages.

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