Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line investigated for alleged downplaying of COVID-19 risks

Florida attorney general Ashley Moody’s office has launched an investigation into alleged misleading sales pitches from Norwegian Cruise Line about the impact of the coronavirus.

The attorney general’s office said it was looking into media reports of NCL providing inaccurate one-liners to customer concerns downplaying the severity and highly contagious nature of the coronavirus in an effort to close cruise package sales.

According to a whistleblower leaked emails to the media, NCL managers encouraged employees to downplay the risks associated with contracting COVID-19 with lines like, “the only thing you need to worry about for your cruise is, do you have enough sunscreen,” and “the coronavirus can only survive in cold temperatures, so the Caribbean is a fantastic choice for your next cruise.”

Following this news, Norwegian Cruise Line’s stock price fell $ 5.47 per share, or 26.68%, to close at $ 15.03 per share on March 11, 2020.

“My Consumer Protection Division is conducting an extensive investigation to get to the bottom of the disturbing allegations against Norwegian Cruise Lines. Let this serve as a warning to anyone seeking to mislead consumers during these challenging times,” Attorney General Ashley Moody said.

US-based law firm Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP informed that it was also looking into the matter on behalf of investors of Norwegian Cruise Line.

The investors in question purchased NCL’s securities between February 20, 2020, and March 12, 2020, when coronavirus already started impacting the cruise market.

The law firm said that members of the proposed class can move to the court no later than May 11, 2020, to serve as a lead plaintiff in the case.

NCL is said to be fully cooperating with the investigation at this stage.

World Maritime News is yet to receive a statement from the company on the matter.

Norwegian suspended all cruise voyages embarking between March 13 and April 11, 2020, for its three cruise brands: Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

The suspension decision is part of the industry’s joint efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.