Carnival to lay off hundreds in California, other states amid pandemic

Carnival Cruise Line - which has a major subsidiary, Princess Cruises, headquartered in SoCal - is announcing hundreds of layoffs.
MIAMI (KABC) -- Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise company, announced on Thursday it will lay off hundreds of employees in California and other states due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The company has a major subsidiary, Princess Cruises, that is headquartered in Santa Clarita.

The majority of affected employees in the U.S. will be in Florida, California and Washington state, Carnival Corp. said in an email. The company is eliminating 820 positions and furloughing 537 employees for up to six months in Florida out of a workforce of about 3,000 employees.

Carnival did not disclose how many of those layoffs would be in California or how its corporate subsidiaries would be affected.

Princess Cruises has already announced cancellations for most of its cruises through the end of the 2020 summer season.

Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said the combination of layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts were "necessary" as the pause on cruise travel enters its third month. The moves were expected to save the company hundreds of millions of dollars.

"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," Donald said in a statement.

Cruise lines announced they were halting sailing on March 13 due to the spread of the coronavirus. Several cruise ships saw outbreaks of COVID-19 cases and found themselves stranded at sea after being rejected by port authorities who were worried they would import more cases.

Donald said the majority of Carnival passengers with canceled trips want to sail with the company at a later date and only 38% have requested refunds. The company is still seeing bookings for 2021.

Companies have been trying to repatriate tens of thousands of crew members who are still on ships in or near U.S. waters due to the increase in restrictions by health authorities in the U.S. and abroad.

RELATED: Tens of thousands of cruise ship workers still stuck at sea

Carnival Cruise Line, one of the company's brands, announced earlier this month it will start cruising again beginning in August to Caribbean destinations from Florida and Texas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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