Above all else, cruise lines are businesses. They exist to make a profit for their investors and shareholders. Time and time again we have seen the major cruise lines put profit first, even over their passengers' safety. The Costa Concordia and Carnival Triumph come to mind.
The latest news relating to how the cruise industry handled the coronavirus outbreak serves to underscore the industry's profits-first method of operation. Cruise companies have always battled illness outbreaks on their ships. Over the years we have covered dozens of suspected norovirus outbreaks which have affected nearly all cruise lines from time to time. Perhaps it is this combination of the cruise companies' profit-at-all-costs attitude and their familiarity dealing with onboard outbreaks of illness, that caused their severely negligent handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
TheSun.com reports that aboard cruise ships owned by Carnival at least 1,500 people have tested positive for coronavirus and 39 of those people died. This astonishing result was apparently the result of massive negligence on the part of Carnival and its subsidiaries.
For example, the Sun's report highlights how on March 4 Princess Cruises told passengers aboard its ship Grand Princess that the Center for Disease Protection was "investigating a small cluster" of coronavirus cases among people who had sailed on the ship's previous voyage. But despite the warning, the company continued to allow passengers to socialize aboard the ship as normal. The next day the ship ordered passengers to shelter in place, but still some were able to go shopping and to restaurants. Princess Cruises is a subsidiary of Carnival.
In a development that could be key to determining Carnival's responsibilities for its passengers' coronavirus-related illnesses and deaths, recently released reports indicate that Carnival was on notice about coronavirus as early as January.