Taking a cruise should be a time to relax and get away from it all. Fresh air, open waters, no hustle and bustle. However, it’s also a great place for viruses to spread, with hundreds of people mingling in relatively close proximity for a week or more without the possibility of getting away. Sometimes referred to as “floating Petri dishes,” cruise ships can sometimes help disease spread quicker, and the coronavirus has already wreaked havoc on the cruise industry. Genting Hong Kong, which operates casino cruise company Genting Cruise Lines, is now feeling the pressure from Covid-19, as well, canceling certain routes and forcing a reduction in pay on some upper-level executives.
According to GGRAsia, Genting Hong Kong acknowledged that the ongoing battle of the coronavirus “will continue to be challenging” to the cruise industry. The company added in a filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Friday, “The ultimate economic damage from this ongoing epidemic in the People’s Republic of China is still under assessment, but efforts have been made to mitigate the impact to the group.”
Genting Dream, one of the company’s casino ships, halted departures from Singapore starting yesterday “to help curtail the spread of Covid-19 and because of tightening travel restrictions by various countries.” If there are no further issues, it will make its next voyage on March 27. Any ship that had a scheduled stop in ports in Taiwan will be missing those stops “until further notice,” and Michael Goh, the president of Dream Cruises, said last week that any customers who had already made reservations for any cancelled trip will be “contacted and provided with a variety of compensation options including to defer their cruise to a future sailing or, if needed, to cancel their cruise for a full refund.”
Senior staff personnel are going to have to tighten their belt for a little while, as well. Genting Cruise Lines is reducing salaries of certain high-level employees from 30%-50% as a result of the loss in revenue incurred by the company. However, the company remains optimistic about the future, explaining in its filing with the Hong Kong bourse, “However, the group is confident and committed to long-term growth in the Asian cruise market – which it has been operating in for more than 26 years,” and that it is “proactively responding to the challenges to ensure the overall progress of its business operations is not derailed beyond temporary inconvenience.”