The cruise industry has been experiencing a boom for years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic came causing travel shutdowns and social distancing all around the globe. So the question remains, can the industry recover this year? And if so, what changes are in store long-term?
The business had been a boom for years with an increasing number of passengers and newer, bigger liners. With the coming of COVID-19 things changed. Most cruise liners laid in anchor while older models were being sold off. A lot of older models were sold to generate money and save costs because maintaining a cruise ship is quite expensive. Due to the losses suffered by the industry, most stakeholders have lost billions and made it a total catastrophic year.
Can the industry recover?
The cruise companies are just in the starting blocks this year, but most are slightly optimistic that this year they will be able to hoist anchor again. Although, like the rest of the traveling industry they put their hopes on the effectiveness of the vaccine that has been developed and approved. So if the vaccine distribution succeeds, the ships should be able to set sail in high numbers by spring and summer.
What changes are in store?
Reworked hygiene concepts
Because the cruise companies want everything to run smoothly on board, most have employed strict hygiene concepts. The idea is to avoid the COVID-19 case like those that took happened on numerous cruise liners at the beginning of the pandemics. That is why the rule is to get a test before you board the ship. It will also be mandatory for the passengers and staff to wear the mask. Of course, this cost will be borne by the cruise providers.
One advantage that cruise ships have is that they are a closed system. So unlike guests in hotels on land, passengers can’t go and come as they please. Plus, they can be constantly monitored which will be able to facilitate tracing contacts in contacts in the unfortunate case of an outbreak.
Trying to establish trust
A few months ago there were some “cruises to nowhere” that aimed to show that cruises were feasible even during the pandemic. However, the fact was that the maximum of passengers allowed on board was just 60% of the normal, and strict hygiene measures were put in place. At first, the rule was that passengers were not allowed to leave the ship. As of now, if the authorities allow, passengers can be allowed to disembark.
Without vaccination, no recovery
The recovery of the cruising industry will depend on the effectiveness of the vaccination process. The reason the financial backers are still on board because they know how lucrative the business is under normal circumstances with the customer remaining loyal as well.
Cruise companies remain under the pressure in 2021 to operate in a way that will be sustainable from all sides. With critics demanding that the billions in government aid which the cruise providers have benefited from so far should be invested in sustainability as well as the continuous slamming because of the harmful over-tourism the industry encourages.
This press the industry receives could lead them to concede to their critics. But together with the cities they visit and their residents, there is hope that a sustainable plan can be formed and implemented.