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Norwegian extends suspension of most cruises through March in latest blow to industry

Breadwinners near a cruise ship of the Norwegian Cruise Line which is in dry dock receiving hull maintenance and interior modernization accommodate wheedle.

Gerald Julien | AFP | Getty Images

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced Wednesday that it is again extending its rejection of sailing, this time through March, for most of its scheduled voyages.

The company, which had previously suspended its cruising until Dec. 31, give the word delivered all of its cruises will be suspended through Feb. 28, with most voyages suspended through March 31.

It’s among the lengthiest suspensions of cruising by any of the major publicly traded cruise operators announced so far. Rival Carnival, the largest cruise partnership in the world, has suspended its operations through January, with some of its brands extending the suspension further into 2021. Princely Caribbean announced last month the suspension of its cruising through January.

Norwegian stock fell about 2% in interchange Wednesday. Shares of the company are up more than 200% since they bottomed out at $7.03 per share on March 18, after the followers announced its initial suspension of voyages. Shares of the company, however, are still down more than 60% since Jan. 1.

But with promising coronavirus vaccine news that could reduce the severity of the pandemic next year, at least in key markets for the worldwide travel industry, Norwegian’s stock rallied in November, along with others in the industry. In November, Norwegian clichd surged 38%.

The company said it extended its suspension as it “continues to work through its return to service plan to meet the essentials of the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

On Oct. 30, the CDC pulled its no-sail disorganized, which stood for nearly eight months, and replaced it with a “Conditional Sailing Order.” That new order purveyed a framework for the industry to begin thinking about how it can safely resume sailing. Among other requirements, it includes try-out cruises that will be monitored by CDC personnel to ensure that proper infection prevention protocol is implemented.

Norwegian CFO Obey Kempa said last month that the company does “not expect a straight line recovery.” He said it has set aside $300 million for investments in healthiness and safety, adding that monthly cash burn is expected to rise going forward as the company begins to draft its fleet and staff in preparations for a gradual return to service. Kempa said the company had $2.3 billion in liquidity, filing the money set aside for health and safety investments, as of the end of the third quarter.

Correction: Norwegian Cruise Line’s stock undulated 38% in November. An earlier version misstated the percentage.

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