Cruise line customers are questioning their travel plans after coronavirus forces Princess Cruise Line to shut down operations for 60 days

Grand Princess passengers were quarantined after a COVID-19 outbreak onboard the Princess Cruises ship. Kate Munsch/Reuters
  • Princess Cruises is shuttering operations for two months in response to the coronavirus.
  • Prospective customers of Princess or its parent company the Carnival Corporation took to Twitter to react to the news.
  • Other posters discussed what the COVID-19 pandemic means for their own vacation plans.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the travel and tourism industries, as well as individual vacationers’ best-laid plans.

After COVID-19 outbreaks on the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess, Princess Cruises opted to suspend all cruise operations for two months starting Thursday. The move comes after Carnival Corporation, which owns Princess Cruises, has predicted that the outbreak will be harmful to its bottom line in future earnings. Previously, the company had taken steps in order to mitigate coronavirus fears, including offering screening and banning passengers who’d recently visited mainland China.

In response to the news, Princess and Carnival customers immediately took to social media to discuss the current impact of the coronavirus on their personal travel plans. One such poster was Robert Dennis, who just cancelled his a five-day Carnival cruise to the Bahamas.^tfw

Dennis told Business Insider that he felt Carnival handled the situation well, given the circumstances. He received an email from the company on March 6, offering guests worried over the outbreak a potential out.

“We continue to implement increased monitoring, screening, and sanitation protoocls to protect the health of our guests, crew, and the residents of the destinations we serve,” Carnival guest service VP Colleen Oliverio wrote in a memo to guests viewed by Business Insider.

Passengers who chose to retain their booking “as currently rescheduled” would receive onboard credits between $US100 and $US200 per cabin depending on the length of their cruise.

For guests booked on cruises between March 9 and March 31, Carnival offered to “move your booking to a future date up to 3 days before sailing.” Meanwhile, anyone booked on a cruise setting sail between April 1 and may 31 had the option to “move your booking to a future date by March 31.”

Dennis and his party ultimately decided to rebook, after US President Donald Trump’s speech on March 11. They called and waited on hold for about an hour before giving up and submitting a rebook request via Carnival’s website.

He said he felt the company was handling things well, given the circumstances.

“I feel bad for them because this is the kind of thing that just absolutely just kills their industry,” Dennis told Business Insider. “I know that they probably are completely overloaded with people wanting to change and what not. It’s not their fault that all this has happened and everybody wants to change their trip.”

Dennis said he would have preferred to have talked to a Carnival representative, but understands that the company likely “had thousands and thousands of people calling in” and “only so many people manning the phones.”

Other prospective Carnival guests chimed in on Twitter to ask questions, praise the cruise line operators, and discuss their updated travel plans – or lack thereof.^tfw^tfw

But the reactions aren’t limited to just Princess or Carnival customers. Plenty of others have taken to social media over the past few days to post about their vacation plans. Some social media users took travel disruptions in their stride, posting humorous observations about the epidemic’s impact on travel plans.^tfw

Others expressed disappointment and anxiety, saying they either had been forced to cancel trip itineraries or were considering pulling the plug on plans.

Are you an employee for Carnival Cruise Lines or Princess Cruise Lines? Have you been a passenger on a cruise ship recently, or did you have your trip cancelled? Business Insider wants to hear from you. Email [email protected]