Florida’s Attorney General is looking into claims that Norwegian Cruise Line instructed employees to mislead consumers about the risks of coronavirus.
The cruise industry has been hit hard by this situation
It goes without saying that along with the rest of the travel industry (and much of the world, for that matter) the cruise industry has been hit extremely hard by this current situation.
Many cruise lines have suspended operations for 30 days, and it seems likely that those suspensions may be extended, given that things aren’t really getting any better globally.
Norwegian Cruise Line downplayed coronavirus
This investigation comes after some Norwegian sales employees in the Miami area shared communication that managers at the company were sending to employees. This is all per Miami New Times.
During department meetings, employees were told that coronavirus wasn’t a big deal, and that more people die from other things. But perhaps what’s worst is what employees were instructed to tell guests who were either concerned about coronavirus, or who were in the process of finalizing a cruise.
Employees were given several one-liners to share:
“Team, these are one liner’s [sic] to help you close your guests that are on the fence. DO NOT USE THESE unless the coronavirus is brought up.”
For one, for those who were in the process of booking a cruise, the company encouraged employees to use the following sales technique to get people to book:
“Due to the Coronavirus we have cancelled all of our Asia cruises on the Norwegian Spirit. This has caused a huge surge in demand for all of our other itineraries. I suggest we secure your reservation today to avoid you paying more tomorrow.”
For customers who were concerned about coronavirus, staff were instructed to use the following one liners to reassure them:
- “The only thing you need to worry about for your cruise is do you have enough sunscreen?”
- “The Coronavirus can only survive in cold temperatures, so the Caribbean is a fantastic choice for your next cruise.”
- “Scientists and medical professionals have confirmed that the warm weather of the spring will be the end of the Coronavirus.”
- Coronavirus “cannot live in the amazingly warm and tropical temperatures that your cruise will be sailing to.”
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody released the following statement about the investigation:
“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. I will do everything within the power of this office to hold accountable those who would prey on Floridians during this health crisis.”
Ouch. It’ll be interesting to see what Florida’s Attorney General determines, and what kind of punishment Norwegian will face for this…