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Carnival suspends cruise service through end of September

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Carnival Cruise Line's ships in North America won't sail again until October at the earliest. The company said Monday it is extending an "operational pause" in the region through September 30, citing guidance from public health, government and industry officials.

Until then, all scheduled cruises have been cancelled. When service does resume, Carnival "will take all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety" of its guests, crew members and the communities it visits, the company said in a statement. Cruise line president Christine Duffy also apologized for disrupting customers' vacation plans.

The decision comes after Carnival in mid-March announced a 30-day suspension of operations — a pause the company has had to extend three times because of the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Guests who wish to rebook their travels are being offered Carnival vouchers worth up to $600 that can be redeemed on-board ships.

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The pandemic has slammed Carnival and other cruise operators, including in the form of litigation. Earlier this month, passengers who sailed aboard a Carnival-owned Princess Cruises ship filed a class-action lawsuit against both Princess and Carnival, alleging they were negligently exposed to the coronavirus.

A spokesperson for Carnival's Princess Cruises said in a statement the company does not comment on pending litigation. Carnival lost $4.4 billion in the second quarter, while its shares have fallen 66% this year.

The company on its website indicates that it has improved its ship-cleaning standards including more frequent sanitizing of common areas and regular deep cleanings.

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