Carnival announces layoffs and furloughs as cruise industry works to stay afloat

Carnival is the world’s largest cruise line

In this Monday, March 9, 2020 photo, the Carnival Liberty leaves Port Canaveral, Fla. Carnival Cruise Line announced the suspension of all of their cruises in North America through April 9, 2020, in response to the coronavirus threat. (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP) (Joe Burbank, Orlando Sentinel)

MIAMI, Fla. – Carnival Corp. will implement layoffs, furloughs, reduced workweeks and salary reductions across the company, the Miami-based company announced Thursday.

It’s the latest move in hopes of keeping the cruise industry financially afloat after it was rocked by the coronavirus pandemic, and it follows similar announcements by other lines.

Carnival, the world’s largest cruise line, will cut 820 positions in Florida and furlough another 537 out of an in-state workforce of about 3,000, according to the Miami Herald, which cited a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That amounts to about 45% of the local workforce affected.

The report says that Carnival had about 120,000 workers worldwide before the start of the coronavirus outbreak and that furloughed employees could potentially return when cruising resumes.

“Taking these extremely difficult employee actions involving our highly dedicated workforce is a very tough thing to do. Unfortunately, it’s necessary, given the current low level of guest operations and to further endure this pause,” Carnival Corp. President & CEO Arnold Donald said in a news release.

“We care deeply about all our employees and understanding the impact this is having on so many strengthens our resolve to do everything we can to return to operations when the time is right. We look forward to the day when many of those impacted are returning to work with us and we look forward to the day, when appropriate, that once again our ships and crew are delighting millions of people at sea and we can be there for the many nations and millions of people who depend on the cruise industry for their livelihood.”

Carnival has said that it plans to start cruising again from Florida and Texas beginning in August.

Norwegian Cruise Line has furloughed 20% of its staff and has warned that it could face bankruptcy. Royal Caribbean has cut about a quarter of its 5,000 corporate employees.

Both of those lines are also based in Miami.

Carnival says that its refinancing efforts last month netted $6.4 billion.

Donald also noted in the news release that fewer than 38% of the company’s customers who have had sailings affected by schedule changes have requested refunds, signaling their plans to sail again.

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David Selig is the Digital Executive Producer at WPLG, overseeing