Investment firm UBS has analysed the recent CDC announcement on the lifting of its ‘No-Sail Order’ to estimate when cruises might begin again from US ports.
Analyst Robyn Farley noted that laboratory testing, simulated voyages, risk mitigation and certifications will all have to be rolled out before CDC approvals are given.
“Bottom line is that cruise lines will not be able to offer passenger cruises in December, but January seems possible, though February more likely, in line with what the CDC was reportedly already targeting.
“That leaves a downside risk to our first quarter 2021 estimates, which had assumed 7% of cruise capacity in use, but wouldn’t have as much negative impact on our 2H21 estimates.
“Overall, our 2021 estimates assume about 30% of cruise capacity in service for the year on average, so some downside risk to that from 1H21 adjustments but a February restart would at least give higher conviction in 2H21 and forward.
“We continue to favour RCL over CCL and NCLH because RCL’s private island strategy should give it an advantage when US cruising restarts with short Caribbean cruises,” he said.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) has announced an extension of its suspension of global cruise voyages to include all voyages through 31st December, 2020 for its three cruise brands – NCL, Oceania and Regent.
All of the largest cruise companies operating in the US market, including Carnival Corp, NCLH, Royal Caribbean Group, and MSC Cruises, have now cancelled the remainder of US sailings for this year.
Outside of the US, RCL is proceeding with its preparations for cruises to nowhere with one ship operating from Singapore, although the launch has been delayed until January, 2021.
Due to the deteriorating situation in Germany and Greece, AIDA, Hapag Lloyd and TUI have stopped German cruises, while in Greece, both TUI and Costa have suspended services for the time being.