Norwegian Cruise Line's Leaked Emails Show Company Urging Employees to Lie About Coronavirus

Leaked emails from Norwegian Cruise Line that surfaced Wednesday show that the company provided prepped responses to give customers who asked about the coronavirus.

The emails were leaked to the Miami New Times by an anonymous Norwegian Cruise Line employee. They show managers asking the sales team to provide customers with false information about the coronavirus when asked about it.

"Team, these are one liner's [sic] to help you close your guests that are on the fence. DO NOT USE THESE unless the coronavirus is brought up," part of an leaked email reads, according to the New Times.

The emails go on to suggest a number of different talking points for the sales team to use, which include false facts as well as a script with a made-up customer.

"The coronavirus can only survive in cold temperatures, so the Caribbean is a fantastic choice for your next cruise," one part of an email reads. "Scientists and medical professionals have confirmed that the warm weather of the spring will be the end of the Coronavirus."

Another portion of the leaked emails has managers suggesting the sales team should tell customers that the coronavirus "cannot live in the amazingly warm and tropical temperatures that your cruise will be sailing to."

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "it is not yet known whether weather and temperature" will affect the spread of the coronavirus.

The part of an email that provides the sales team with a fictitious script suggests it should lie to customers and tell them they should book a cruise as soon as possible to avoid spending more money.

Norwegian Cruise Line
The Norwegian Jewel cruise ship, shown on February 14 in Sydney, is in lockdown while health authorities test a man for coronavirus. Lisa Maree Williams/Getty

"Mr Becker, due to the coronavirus we have cancelled all of our Asia cruises on the Norwegian Spirit," the email reads. "This has caused a huge surge in demand for all of our other itineraries. I suggest we secure your reservation today to avoid you paying more tomorrow."

Newsweek reached out to Norwegian Cruise Line for comment on the leaked emails but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Speaking to the Miami New Times, an anonymous Norwegian Cruise Line employee said discussions similar to those advocated in the leaked emails "take place every day."

"And even during out department meetings, managers tell us that it isn't a big deal, that more people die from other things," the anonymous employee added. "[They're] constantly underestimating it."

The leaked emails come just days after the U.S. State Department urged U.S. citizens to avoid traveling on cruises because of concerns about COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

"U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. CDC notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment," the State Department wrote.

The novel coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China, and continues to spread across the world. The outbreak was recently classified as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. According to the WHO, there are over 120,000 coronavirus cases worldwide and more than 4,000 deaths.