Florida's attorney general launched an investigation into a report that Norwegian Cruise Lines downplayed the risks of the new coronavirus with “misleading” sales pitches to continue to book cruises, officials said Monday.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said the Consumer Protection Division is conducting an extensive investigation into the sales scripts employees received to quell virus fears coming from potential customers and sell cruise packages.
“We are in the thick of a public health crisis like our modern world has never experienced," Moody said in a statement. "Let this serve as a warning to anyone seeking to mislead consumers during these challenging times.”
The Miami New Times reported earlier this month that it obtained emails showing managers encouraged sales employees to use misleading information such as that the new coronaviruscould only survive in cold temperatures.
The news outlet said cruise bookers received scripts instructing them to give wary travelers erroneous information such as “the Coronavirus can only survive in cold temperatures, so the Caribbean is a fantastic choice for your next cruise.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is not clear whether the spread of COVID-19 will diminish when weather becomes warmer. Other viruses spread more during cold weather months, “but that does not mean it is impossible to become sick with these viruses during other months," the CDC states.
Moody said the Miami-based cruise line is cooperating with the investigation. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.