Will the Cruise Industry Sail Through Covid-19 Crisis?
The Covid-19 crisis has impacted the livelihood of millions of people across the globe, including those who were working as part of the cruise industry. The heightened travel restrictions and the need to stay at home have brought the industry to a standstill.
Besides dealing with the dropping revenues, the industry has been struggling to fight against several allegations put by the other sectors. Some claim that its decision to continue sails for weeks even after the virus was first detected on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan, is responsible for the spread of the pandemic.
Some reports also claim that soon after the British government advised citizens over 70 and with chronic health conditions not to travel by cruise ships, the industry voluntarily had restricted operations with immediate effect. The first one to take this initiative was the Princess Cruise on March 12.
Since the protocols of social distancing need to be followed for a long while in the coming times as advised by many global experts, people all over the world are uncertain as to when the cruise industry will make a comeback. The Vice President of Princess Cruises, UK and Europe -Tony Roberts, was recently quoted as saying, “People will return to travel but when they do there will have to be new protocols in place that make it safe to do so. The cruise industry won’t determine what’s acceptable for social gathering. It will be a global issue, not a cruise one, and we’ll follow the guidance of the medical experts in doing so.”
Sources claim that the cruise industry is diligently working with a team of medical experts and coordinating with the industry body, Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) in order to better manage the challenges put forth by the virus in the future efficiently.
At this point, the best way to attract potential cruisers is to follow the government protocols of safety and sanitization properly, as opposed to introducing any new deals to lure them.
Considering that people have been stuck at homes since a long time now, the forerunners of the cruise industry claim that 2021 is going to be a strong year for them. Many cruises are interestingly witnessing a hike in the bookings for year 2021. Records from the British passenger company, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, showed that bookings for European 2021 season are up by 55 percent, which is a positive indication. In order to ensure booking security to customers, the line has expanded its flexible booking policy for the new bookings made till the end of May.
The cruise industry is also hoping to get early passengers from China, primarily because of the favorable progress of the virus situation there. The British, however, are likely to travel close to their homes or opt for shorter cruises for the time being.
Even after the Covid-19 crisis comes to an end, the cruise industry will witness major changes in its overall functioning, much like many other sectors. For instance, the practise of self-service buffet might come to an end, making way for crew-manned service stations and table dining practices. In addition, the industry is sure to include sterilisation robots into its workforce panel and also adopt many other modern gadgets to adhere to social distancing protocols.
While the major players of the cruise industry are anticipating better days ahead, the smaller ones have been badly crushed under the crisis and can only hope for better times ahead once the bigger ones pick up pace.