On Monday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a Consumer Protection investigation into allegations of misleading and potentially dangerous sales pitches by Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL).
According to reports, NCL provided its sales force with inaccurate one-liners to respond to customer concerns about COVID-19. The sales scripts, which Moody’s office insisted were “misleading,” allegedly downplayed the severity and highly contagious nature of the novel coronavirus in an effort to close cruise package sales.
“We are in the thick of a public health crisis like our modern world has never experienced. 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,” Moody said.
At this early stage in the investigation, NCL is fully cooperating. Information about the sales pitches was first brought to light by media reports in Miami, where NCL’s corporate headquarters is located.
According to reports, a whistleblower leaked emails that show 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.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization and countless health experts, these statements are blatantly false. The CDC states on its website, “the virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community.” The CDC also advises people to “defer all cruise travel worldwide.”