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US Florida AG investigating allegations Norwegian Cruise Line misled customers about coronavirus

00:50  26 march  2020
00:50  26 march  2020 Source:   cnn.com

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A leading cruise line is being investigated following “disturbing allegations ” that it misled customers about the threat of coronavirus in order to Florida ’s attorney general, Ashley Moody, has confirmed she is conducting a thorough investigation of the claims made against Norwegian Cruise Line ( NCL ).

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody is investigating " misleading and potentially dangerous sales pitches by Norwegian Cruise Lines " regarding coronavirus .

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody's office is investigating allegations that Norwegian Cruise Line gave "misleading and potentially dangerous sales pitches" to customers that downplayed the risks of coronavirus.

a boat sitting on top of a building: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 14: The Norwegian Jewel cruise ship is in lock down while health authorities test a man for Coronavirus on February 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. The ship is docked in Sydney this morning following a 10 day tour of New Zealand. It is unclear where the passenger who has fallen ill boarded the vessel, but he is being tested as a precaution. Authorities around the world are imposing travel bans and extra health screening measures to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus. The death toll from the flu-like virus which originated in Wuhan in the Hubei province of China is now at 1,371 More than 60,420 people have now been infected around the world, mostly inside China. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images) © Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Image SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 14: The Norwegian Jewel cruise ship is in lock down while health authorities test a man for Coronavirus on February 14, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. The ship is docked in Sydney this morning following a 10 day tour of New Zealand. It is unclear where the passenger who has fallen ill boarded the vessel, but he is being tested as a precaution. Authorities around the world are imposing travel bans and extra health screening measures to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus. The death toll from the flu-like virus which originated in Wuhan in the Hubei province of China is now at 1,371 More than 60,420 people have now been infected around the world, mostly inside China. (Photo by Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

The investigation, announced Monday, comes after the Miami New Times published a story based on leaked internal emails from managers to employees about how to speak to the public about coronavirus.

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has launched an investigation into allegations that Norwegian Cruise Lines intentionally mislead customers about the dangers of the highly contagious coronavirus , according to a news release from Moody’s office.

According to recent reports by numerous media outlets, Norwegian Cruise Lines sales managers encouraged sales staff members to downplay the risks posed by the COVID-19 ( Coronavirus ) Employees were also told not to mention the Coronavirus unless customers brought it up first, and

According to the New Times report, Norwegian provided its sales force with inaccurate or misleading one-liners that downplayed the severity and contagiousness of coronavirus to customers, Moody's office said.

Bing COVID-19 tracker: Latest numbers by country and state

The whistleblower-leaked emails included lines such as, "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," according to Moody's office.

"We are in the thick of a public health crisis like our modern world has never experienced," Moody said in a statement. "My Consumer Protection Division is conducting an extensive investigation to get to the bottom of the disturbing allegations against Norwegian Cruise Line.

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As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread in the U.S. and abroad, Norwegian Cruise Line has reportedly been pressuring its employees to lie to customers about the dangers of setting sail amid the outbreak. The Miami New Times reported Wednesday that an anonymous Florida -based

Senators Warn Norwegian Cruise Line CEO to Stop Misleading Customers . This week, New Times broke the story about Norwegian Cruise Line managers in Miami directing salespeople to mislead customers about coronavirus to protect the company's bookings.

"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."

Norwegian did not immediately respond to a CNN request for comment. Norwegian released a statement to the Miami New Times on March 12, saying, "We remain committed to operating with integrity and providing our guests with the best possible vacation experiences across the globe. We are aware of the article in question and are looking into the matter."

Moody's office said Norwegian is fully cooperating with the investigation. The company's corporate headquarters are in Miami.

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Norwegian was among more than 50 cruise lines that suspended operations to and from US ports because of the coronavirus pandemic. The suspension, announced two weeks ago, will last for 30 days, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, a cruise line trade association.

"This has been a challenging time, but we hope that this decision will enable us to focus on the future and a return to normal as soon as possible," said CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead.

Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Harry Sommer said the cruise line planned to resume cruises April 12.

The cruise line said voyages underway will conclude as soon as possible, though that has proven difficult. The Norwegian Jewel, which first embarked from Sydney on February 28, docked in Hawaii on Sunday after several countries refused to allow it to dock for fear of spreading coronavirus. There are no confirmed cases on board.

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