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CoronaVirus Impact on the Cruise Industry


Hlitner
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There is a difference between the cruise industry and the current owners of the cruise industry.  Cruising, as we know it, will be impacted for some time.  At some point - perhaps after a vaccine is developed - perhaps after effective treatment protocols are developed -things will go back to “normal”.  But for the time being, when it is seesntial to control spread by maintaining social distancing, loading thousands of people on to cruise ships just does not make sense.

 

Calling for a “bailout” does not solve the problem - it will only help the equity investors. There are too many more urgent demands on available government assistance:  small businesses which employ many US citizens and tax payers who are suffering;  all the individual US citizens (also tax payers) who are unemployed and using ups their reserves;  local governments which are picking up huge additional expenses, etc.

 

The cruise industry as structured just sucks money out of the US economy - recreational travel will just have to be set aside until we as a society address these serious problems.   Then, when cruising is again safe, the ships will still be there.  If the current owners can start running them again — great.  If they can’t, then they will have to sell them to people who can.  That’s why we have a Bankruptcy Code.

 

 And, whatever happens, the US Internal Revenue Code needs tweaking so that a business which draws so much money out of the US economy, and pays so little in taxes, while largely employing citizens of other countries -  winds up supporting the government which they now want to subsidize it.

 

And we cruisers simply need to suck it up - things are not the way we want them to be: we need to do without cruising until more important things can be taken care of.

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There is absolutely no way the government will allow the big cruise lines to go under. They simply provide too much to their local economies. So many people's livelihood depend on it.

 

With that said, I do think of the irreversible damage caused by this. How much so is hard to say. I would imagine more people are scared away from cruising vs this attracting new customers. I think of the financial damage and what that means for future offerings like new ships, refurbs, entertainment, etc. We are basically already in a recession, which isn't going to help. It should at least mean cheaper fares for all of us.

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10 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

Are you suggesting that Barbados ought to open up immigration?

 

Barbados never closed to immigration.
You are welcome to come. But you will face 14 days quarantine!

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2 minutes ago, Joebucks said:

There is absolutely no way the government will allow the big cruise lines to go under. They simply provide too much to their local economies. So many people's livelihood depend on it.

 

With that said, I do think of the irreversible damage caused by this. How much so is hard to say. I would imagine more people are scared away from cruising vs this attracting new customers. I think of the financial damage and what that means for future offerings like new ships, refurbs, entertainment, etc. We are basically already in a recession, which isn't going to help. It should at least mean cheaper fares for all of us.

When you say “local economies” to what localities are you referring?

 

US Government support is essential - to the local businesses: hotels, restaurants, domestic transportation, etc. which are impacted by decline in cruising- but not to the off-shore cruise companies which do not make any significant contribution to the US economy.

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When I started this thread, it was with the intent of keeping the discussion to the impact of the virus on the industry.  Lets try to stay on topic rather then go off into other issues such as death rates.

 

In that vein, I just had a terrible thought, which unfortunately is all about the negative thinking that has taken over the world...and what this will mean to the cruise industry in the foreseeable future.  Looking ahead, what will happen as the world governments start to ease the current restrictions and folks gradually return to travel and tourism?

 

This morning I was just catching-up on the situation with two HAL ships, the Zaandam and Maasdam.  Both those ships are still sailing with passengers and trying to find a way to disembark the folks on those vessels.  The Zaandam is a very sad story as it has over thirty sick passengers who have flu-like symptoms.  But being off the coast of Chile, they do not have access to COVID-19 testing and have been denied permission to disembark anyone anywhere in South America.  According to HAL they will move towards Ft Lauderdale....but even that assumes they can get reservations to transit the Panama Canal....which has yet to be approved.  At best, they would not get to Ft Lauderdale until March 31 which means those folks would have been stuck aboard, and now confined to their cabins, for 15+ days.  

 

So hear is my very negative thought.  While many of us would happily go on a cruise in the next few months, this virus is not going to disappear in the next few months and may well continue to be an issue until the development, testing, and approval of a vaccine...which is likely a year or more in the future.  So, if folks take a cruise anywhere and a single person on that ship develops flu-like symptoms, they will find themselves on a prison ship...perhaps for many weeks.  

 

My question is, who is going to take a cruise when it means risking weeks stuck on a vessel?

 

I am trying to find a positive way to spin this last question, but a solution now escapes me!

 

Hank

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Hlitner, back on subject I see two things or possibilities. The first question you have touched on is will people WANT to cruise in the foreseeable future. If this virus or something simelar hangs around unless a vaccine is found and can be produced in the volume required for the world, people may not want to risk cruises.

The comment that the Government will not let the cruise lines go is just a wishful thought. The government could possibly bale out big cargo carriers but there will be MANY things ahead of a leisure operation, like food and power supplies, medical facilities and a whole lot more.

 In a bad case scenario the cruise lines will be left to themselves....

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22 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

...

So hear is my very negative thought.  While many of us would happily go on a cruise in the next few months, this virus is not going to disappear in the next few months and may well continue to be an issue until the development, testing, and approval of a vaccine...which is likely a year or more in the future.  So, if folks take a cruise anywhere and a single person on that ship develops flu-like symptoms, they will find themselves on a prison ship...perhaps for many weeks.  

 

My question is, who is going to take a cruise when it means risking weeks stuck on a vessel?

 

I am trying to find a positive way to spin this last question, but a solution now escapes me!

 

Hank

Hank, my inclination is to be positive. I would really like to see status quo ante. To answer your question, I am one who would take a cruise even if it meant "weeks stuck on a vessel." However, I would expect that the ship's staff and crew had the knowledge and resources to cope. Specifically, my plan would be:

   a - systematic and occasional random temperature checks. E.g., on the way into the MDR or buffet, you wash/sanitize your hands and you have your temperature taken. Everyone, no exceptions. Same for crew: temperature checks at least twice daily.  Occasionally someone walks through the bars or casino and does a temperature check on everyone.

   b - Anyone with high temperature or other symptoms is isolated and tested. [I am here counting on the newly announced test which is thought to provide a 45-minute turnaround of results, and am assuming that the ships' medical facility will be able to provide this.]

   c - If a case does emerge, then contact tracing and wider testing. Suspect cases isolated. Everyone else goes on  with business.

 

But of course what I am suggesting deals with how to cope onboard. The larger question of how to open the ports is harder .

 

Stan

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7 minutes ago, Cee_Jay said:

Hlitner, back on subject I see two things or possibilities. The first question you have touched on is will people WANT to cruise in the foreseeable future. If this virus or something simelar hangs around unless a vaccine is found and can be produced in the volume required for the world, people may not want to risk cruises.

The comment that the Government will not let the cruise lines go is just a wishful thought. The government could possibly bale out big cargo carriers but there will be MANY things ahead of a leisure operation, like food and power supplies, medical facilities and a whole lot more.

 In a bad case scenario the cruise lines will be left to themselves....

The government MIGHT step in with a cash infusion - but it would be part of a debtor-in-possession reorganization, meaning they would be repaid just after unpaid salary claims, then trade creditors, then debt holders, and (if anything were left over) the stockholders.  Because the stockholders (through their boards of directors)make the decisions at this time, it is unlikely they would want to rush to put their interests at stake.  

 

One way or or the other it is a virtual certainty that cruising will resume - it is just a question of time and of who will own the ships.

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Gottaknowwhen..

Think of the crew time you are talking of...temperature checks twice daily for what maybe 6,000 people. Cost would be astronomic....and have to be covered by the fare. Even for half that number it would not really be possible

 

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Very difficult for me who has been on over 60 cruises I don’t intend to take a cruise for the foreseeable future. I don’t want to be stuck on board and seeing how the many ports closed up was an eye opener. Cruises are a leisure activity and not a necessity.

I don’t think the cruise companies deserve to be bailed out the way they have operated. Let’s just say they don’t have the most ethical business practices.


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1 hour ago, navybankerteacher said:

When you say “local economies” to what localities are you referring?

 

US Government support is essential - to the local businesses: hotels, restaurants, domestic transportation, etc. which are impacted by decline in cruising- but not to the off-shore cruise companies which do not make any significant contribution to the US economy.

The State of Alaska claims that over half of all visitors to that state do so via cruise ships, which results in around $2 Billion per year into the state economy.

Additionally, $33.3 million was attributed to several forms of direct payments from cruise lines: the Commercial Passenger Vessel Tax, the Large Passenger Vessel Gambling Tax, and the Commercial Passenger Vessel Environmental Compliance Program; plus an additional $17.8 million in dockage and moorage fees primarily from Juneau and Ketchikan.  

That looks rather significant to me.

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10 minutes ago, Cee_Jay said:

Gottaknowwhen..

Think of the crew time you are talking of...temperature checks twice daily for what maybe 6,000 people. Cost would be astronomic....and have to be covered by the fare. Even for half that number it would not really be possible

 

The link below is to one of many such devices found with a quick google search. Note the description indicates a one-second time for a reading...

 

digital thermometer

 

I don't think it would be a major burden,for crew or passengers.

 

Stan

 

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These companies lost A LOT of money. Moreover, I am sure they were sued many times. The only one has profited from all this situation are insurance companies. Ohh boy, these guys got away with our money and there are literally no way to get it back lol. Small companies probable scede to exist now, Big companies suffered loses but will be back to work in the end of Spring. Small tourist agencies also suffered a lot.. but noone speaks of them. 

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3 hours ago, navybankerteacher said:

Cruising, as we know it, will be impacted for some time.  

NBT, you know I respect your opinions a lot. Do you think there will be countries that will wind up saying "forget it, we don't need this." Not the Caribbean but Western Europe, South America perhaps. ???

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1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

While many of us would happily go on a cruise in the next few months,

 

1 hour ago, Hlitner said:

My question is, who is going to take a cruise when it means risking weeks stuck on a vessel?

 

So would you really go on a cruise any time soon?

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1 hour ago, Cee_Jay said:

Gottaknowwhen..

Think of the crew time you are talking of...temperature checks twice daily for what maybe 6,000 people. Cost would be astronomic....and have to be covered by the fare. Even for half that number it would not really be possible

 

Temperature checks are not sufficient by the time someone has show a fever they have been contagious for several days and in a close environment like a cruise ship infected multiple people who have also infected multiple people.

 

Only way to resume cruises prior to the pandemic running its course, is to have a test that can be administered at port before boarding to every single person with near instant results.  Unless the test comes back negative you don’t board.  

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5 minutes ago, clo said:

 

So would you really go on a cruise any time soon?

That is now a daily discussion in our home, where we have isolated ourselves.  As I have posted, our next cruise is a TA, from NYC to Southampton, in early August.  Our plan was to use this cruise as a way to see the Tattoo in Edinburgh and then spend a few weeks in Europe...mostly in Paris and Prague.  At this time we have not made any move to cancel these plans, but we will be forced into some decision-making in early May.  So, at the moment, we have the luxury of wait and see.

 

But you mentioned "soon" and no, we would not even consider a cruise until at least July.  But, we now fear that there will be zero cruises in July, August, and possibly through most of the year.  What incentive do various ports have to reopen to cruise ships?

 

Hank

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18 minutes ago, clo said:

NBT, you know I respect your opinions a lot. Do you think there will be countries that will wind up saying "forget it, we don't need this." Not the Caribbean but Western Europe, South America perhaps. ???

I definitely can see Venice using this as the final justification.  

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49 minutes ago, GottaKnowWhen said:

The link below is to one of many such devices found with a quick google search. Note the description indicates a one-second time for a reading...

 

digital thermometer

 

I don't think it would be a major burden,for crew or passengers.

 

Stan

 

 

Well a lot of pax already gripe about having to attend the muster drill and told to "washy washy" when entering a dining facility, 

 

I can't wait to read on CC about folks waiting in line to the theater, only to be sent back to their cabin because their temp is slightly up and how rude the crew member was, was the crew member even medically qualified to operate the thermometer?

 

Also short of having the Captain with Sherpa security guards standing by what crew member is going to stop a pax from just blowing off the thermometer person?  

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15 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

What incentive do various ports have to reopen to cruise ships?

I've wondered about that for the long term.

 

We've rented a house on the Oregon coast for a week in late July to get together with the kids and grands but who knows if we'll still be self-isolating?

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16 minutes ago, ed01106 said:

I definitely can see Venice using this as the final justification.  

Oh, I hadn't thought of Dubrovnik which is already being threatened with loss of their UNESCO heritage status because of the crowds.

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11 minutes ago, Philob said:

 

Also short of having the Captain with Sherpa security guards standing by what crew member is going to stop a pax from just blowing off the thermometer person?  

Attention This is you captain speaking, today two of our passengers refused to use the hand washing station prior to entering the dining room, they were reminded of the requirements and steadfast refused.  They are currently confined to the ships brig and will be disembarked at our next port.  Just in case you were wondering we take your health and safety seriously.  Please follow the necessary protocols and enjoy your cruise.  

 

Nobody else will need to be told a second time.  After 9/11 I recall of one person deciding the rules of remaining seated for the last half hour of the flight didn’t apply to him.  Once the news of his arrest hit the news nobody wanted to test that a second time.  But this MUST be done at the first incident. 

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