Adapt or Perish: How COVID Is Changing the Cruise Industryin Trends by Raghib Raza
2020 should be a record year for the cruise industry with 32 million expected passengers, almost double the 2009 numbers of 17.8 million. But unfortunately, the world was hit by the novel coronavirus, and things went downhill, putting the cruise industry in an unprecedented crisis.
As per research: 54 reported infected ships and 2.592 ill crew members and passengers worldwide. 65 people died aboard cruise ships as matters spiraled out of control. Following this, ships were placed on stasis one by one, crewed by minimum possible staff. The now superfluous staff members were sent home on chartered planes, mass bookings, and even aboard cruise ships while the world struggled with convoluted and sometimes closed border crossings.
The cruise industry is remarkably resilient and has endured and overcome many challenges. The new coronavirus, however, has been different. Governments issued advisories against the cruise industry, with some experts calling ships viral incubators and that the industry needs to be shut down. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, issued a direct statement of avoiding cruises on an NBC telecast. There have been indicative signs of industry slowdown, from the prediction of industry experts to shipbreaking yards receiving an increasing number of cruise ships.
Building up of the storm
On March 4th, 2020, the German Federal Government stated an increased risk of infection aboard cruise ships. On March 14th, the CDC of the US issued a no sail order for 30 days. Ships were left fully staffed by the liners, with the intent of salvaging the remaining summer season. On April 9th, 2020, the CDC extended this order for 100 days, prompting drastic and quick revaluation by the shipping industries to survive, leading to loitering ships with minimal staff. The Foreign Commonwealth Office of Britain also recommended no traveling on cruises on July 9th, 2020.
Spreader events aboard the ships started to surface, such as the infamous DIAMOND PRINCESS. Crew unpreparedness led to the mingling of infected and healthy passengers, resulting in more than 700 crew and passengers testing positive and the death of 8. Another case, the RUBY PRINCESS, where 2.700 passengers were released without quarantine or tests, later resulted in more than 900 infected and 28 dead. Such events saturated the media, causing an effect similar to what the 9/11 attacks had on the airline industry; causing unpleasant associations with ships in the minds of people.
National governments around the world put the safety of their citizens above foreign nationals. Ports refused to accept cruise ships. Australia banned cruise ships from arriving on March 15th, 2020, and on March 27th, the country directed all foreign vessels to leave the ports.Read more…