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Will COVID-19 sink the cruise industry?


commodoredave
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On 4/21/2020 at 9:16 PM, commodoredave said:

And yet, it appears that people are ready to return to cruising in droves, and at a higher clip than in 2019. I don't get it, but that is what several media are reporting including in this story in the Los Angeles Times. Can anyone explain this behaviour?!

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-04-09/despite-covid-19-pandemic-cruise-fans-are-booking-trips-for-next-year

are they new bookings? or are they people booked for 2020 who have postponed because it was too difficult to get a refund?

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The cruise industry is racing to come up with more rigorous health measures that will make cruise ships less likely to become floating petri dishes in future, and satisfy the CDC so they will lift their "no sail" order. Here are my thoughts in my latest blog called "Cruising will survive, but it may get weird." 

https://gentlemansportion.com/2020/05/04/cruising-will-survive-but-it-may-get-weird/

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3 hours ago, commodoredave said:

The cruise industry is racing to come up with more rigorous health measures that will make cruise ships less likely to become floating petri dishes in future, and satisfy the CDC so they will lift their "no sail" order. Here are my thoughts in my latest blog called "Cruising will survive, but it may get weird." 

https://gentlemansportion.com/2020/05/04/cruising-will-survive-but-it-may-get-weird/

 

3 hours ago, commodoredave said:

According the article, both. 

 

3 hours ago, commodoredave said:

According the article, both. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8284983/Carnival-plans-restart-North-American-cruises-August.html

Carnival to commence cruises August 1. Comment section does not have one positive reaction.

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29 minutes ago, CannyScotToo said:

 

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8284983/Carnival-plans-restart-North-American-cruises-August.html

Carnival to commence cruises August 1. Comment section does not have one positive reaction.

Not surprised. I will certainly not be cruising again for at least a year if not longer. However, there are people out there who can't wait to get back on cruise ships. I just had an email on Saturday from a friend in Florida advising they were looking at a New England Canada cruise for October. Just when health experts say we will have a second spike! Go figure.

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3 hours ago, nosapphire said:

Slightly different perspective from this website, which is more in line with comments I have seen from the people who buy cruises, rather than the ones who sell them.

https://globaldata.com/cruise-industry-faces-uphill-battle-to-attract-customers-post-covid-19-says-globaldata/

I find this really interesting.  I have, for the most part, gone on cruises with my mother (who is in her 70s).  It was our yearly "Girls' Getaway," a little cruise to the Caribbean.  She used to go on cruises with my father several times a year, before he passed away.  They loved it.

 

Well, as to my mother, I spoke to her recently about future travel, and she said to me, bluntly, and with some finality, "You can take me to Europe.  I will get on a plane, but never again will I get on a cruise ship.  They are filthy."  That her perception of cruise ships has deteriorated so much so quickly says quite a bit.  I suspect that there are many in her generation who feel the same way.

 

My husband and I were planning on going on a quick cruise this month.  It was cancelled (we had already cancelled, when the CDC put out its initial statement, back in March).  We had gone on our first Atlantic crossing last year, which we loved, and had  booked another this year (that one is up in the air, as it is in October, but it is doubtful we will go, even if the voyage occurs, which does not look likely at the moment).  We had even been looking into the Queen Mary for a crossing next fall/winter.  Now, of course, there is no way we will be going.  

 

The bottom line, I think, is that we don't feel comfortable going on a cruise ship (or on an ocean liner) any more than my mother does.  Perhaps our perception will change as time goes on, but, for now, I just don't see it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This was the question we asked ourselves before canceling our Alaska cruise sailing summer, 2021.  We canceled because we were not confident that Norwegian will be able to weather the storm; we didn't want to get into an FCC situation and be stuck with 4K out of pocket and nothing to show for it.  Broke my heart, too...Alaska is #1 on my bucket list!  We have never gotten sick and will definitely cruise again but right now we're taking a wait-and-see attitude.  The cruise industry will look much different a year from now and I'd like to see what the changes will be before booking.  In 10 years, we have never not taken a vacation and it's no fun to have nothing to look forward to!

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On 5/4/2020 at 11:15 AM, commodoredave said:

Not surprised. I will certainly not be cruising again for at least a year if not longer. However, there are people out there who can't wait to get back on cruise ships. 

 

Well I guess I would be one of them.  I'm actually booked for a cruise out of Tampa on HAL for January of next year.  More than the virus, what I fear is the cruise lines changing the experience so much, that I just won't enjoy it.   For example, I see RCL is floating the trial balloon of not having a buffet.  

 

Last year when Carnival changed from Coke to Pepsi, I could not believe the absolute uproar that caused among a lot of cruisers. I couldn't really relate to the angst.  I asked myself at the time, what could a cruise line do relative to food and beverages that would make me say "Nope."   Well I guess not having a buffet is it.  LOL

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On 5/17/2020 at 10:44 AM, ghjcmo said:

 

Well I guess I would be one of them.  I'm actually booked for a cruise out of Tampa on HAL for January of next year.  More than the virus, what I fear is the cruise lines changing the experience so much, that I just won't enjoy it.   For example, I see RCL is floating the trial balloon of not having a buffet.  

 

Last year when Carnival changed from Coke to Pepsi, I could not believe the absolute uproar that caused among a lot of cruisers. I couldn't really relate to the angst.  I asked myself at the time, what could a cruise line do relative to food and beverages that would make me say "Nope."   Well I guess not having a buffet is it.  LOL

If the COVID-19 virus is still around and there is no vaccine, would you still be in favor of maintaining buffets on cruise ships? Before responding, have a look at this video from CNN about how fast a virus can spread in a buffet-style restaurant.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/13/health/japan-black-light-experiment-coronavirus-trnd-wellness/index.html?fbclid=IwAR1id5r_BQTifUxH3bgmY7kAnhOhsQmf0qo_DbO_YKlzcpOGBU9ILaIWw70

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A relative of mine, who had two months ago landed a great job with Holland American, was just laid off.  Fortunately, that relative has another gig with a tech company in Seattle.  The mainstream cruise lines are laying off massive numbers of employees:

https://cruiseradio.net/cruise-lines-continue-to-layoff-employees-while-not-sailing/

 

I would not feel comfortable giving deposits to any of them right now.  I don't want to find myself on the list of creditors in a bankruptcy.  It's been enough of a hassle getting a refund from United for flights we booked and they cancelled.

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4 hours ago, commodoredave said:

If the COVID-19 virus is still around and there is no vaccine, would you still be in favor of maintaining buffets on cruise ships? Before responding, have a look at this video from CNN about how fast a virus can spread in a buffet-style restaurant.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/13/health/japan-black-light-experiment-coronavirus-trnd-wellness/index.html?fbclid=IwAR1id5r_BQTifUxH3bgmY7kAnhOhsQmf0qo_DbO_YKlzcpOGBU9ILaIWw70

 

Yes because they can do exactly what HAL did on my last cruise.  They had a buffet, but they had staff to serve the food.  Passengers didn't touch the serving spoons or anything.  At least most of it, there may have been a thing or two that was self serve.  But that could be changed to all served by staff.   

 

There may very well NEVER be a vaccine.  Obviously we all hope there is, but there's no guarantee.  It's also possible this damn thing may become seasonal and sticks with us.   So either we're going to have to live life or not.   IF they change cruising so much that it's not cruising any more, why bother?  And for me, the buffet is part of the experience.  Your mileage may vary.  When buffets on cruise ships are ended, I will end my cruising because it will not longer be the experience I've enjoyed for the last 20 years.  

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As it seems to be crowds, especially indoor crowds, with people touching surfaces etc., that is a major problem, simply having all buffets served by crew would not be enough. I forsee that it may still be called a buffet, but it will be crew-served (which means they'll either need more crew, or less variety in the buffet) plus limited seating - think time-slots/allocated seats, etc.

And then they'll have to think about how many people can be allowed in other venues (bars, theatres etc) at any one time....

Can see this at least in the short term, which will certainly stop a lot of people (me included) from wanting to take a cruise.

 

 

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4 hours ago, nosapphire said:

 I forsee that it may still be called a buffet, but it will be crew-served (which means they'll either need more crew, or less variety in the buffet) plus limited seating - think time-slots/allocated seats, etc.

 

 

 

 

Well again that takes me back to it no longer being the cruise experience.   Folks let's just lay it on the line.  Social distancing and the traditional cruise experience are incompatible.  They just won't work together.  So basically one of three things has to happen:

 

1)  Cruising is done until a vaccine/highly effective treatment is created. 

2)  Cruising resumes with all kinds of new protocols that completely change the experience to where it is no longer cruising.

3)  Life goes on and people have to choose their risk tolerance while the cruise lines figure out SOME mitigation strategies without seriously altering the experience.

 

I'm not convinced the cruise lines will survive scenarios 1 and 2 above unless that vaccine happens sooner rather than later.   People may give it a go under #2, but IMHO, it's not sustainable.   

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40 minutes ago, ghjcmo said:

 

Well again that takes me back to it no longer being the cruise experience.   Folks let's just lay it on the line.  Social distancing and the traditional cruise experience are incompatible.  They just won't work together.  So basically one of three things has to happen:

 

1)  Cruising is done until a vaccine/highly effective treatment is created. 

2)  Cruising resumes with all kinds of new protocols that completely change the experience to where it is no longer cruising.

3)  Life goes on and people have to choose their risk tolerance while the cruise lines figure out SOME mitigation strategies without seriously altering the experience.

 

I'm not convinced the cruise lines will survive scenarios 1 and 2 above unless that vaccine happens sooner rather than later.   People may give it a go under #2, but IMHO, it's not sustainable.   

#2 appears to be the strategy being implemented on most cruise lines that will be restarting operations this summer/fall. The reason is that if a serious outbreak of the virus occurs again on cruise ships, the CDC may shut them down again and it may well finish the industry for good. 

But under any scenario, cruise ships will not be sailing full for awhile, and cruise lines may leave some of their fleet in drydock until demand returns. 

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16 hours ago, winegirl said:

A relative of mine, who had two months ago landed a great job with Holland American, was just laid off.  Fortunately, that relative has another gig with a tech company in Seattle.  The mainstream cruise lines are laying off massive numbers of employees:

https://cruiseradio.net/cruise-lines-continue-to-layoff-employees-while-not-sailing/

 

I would not feel comfortable giving deposits to any of them right now.  I don't want to find myself on the list of creditors in a bankruptcy.  It's been enough of a hassle getting a refund from United for flights we booked and they cancelled.

I agree. And it's not just the bankruptcy concern. What if one books a cruise outside the US and can't get to the departure port because of bans on non-essential travel, airlines cancelling flights, travel advisories that invalidate one's travel insurance, etc. This is exactly the scenario I am living through now with our cancelled cruise, and it has been very difficult to get cash refunds from airlines, hotels, train companies, etc. They all want to force FCCs and future use vouchers on us. And it they do agree to a cash refund, they say it will 60-90 days to arrive. 

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48 minutes ago, commodoredave said:

#2 appears to be the strategy being implemented on most cruise lines that will be restarting operations this summer/fall. The reason is that if a serious outbreak of the virus occurs again on cruise ships, the CDC may shut them down again and it may well finish the industry for good. 

But under any scenario, cruise ships will not be sailing full for awhile, and cruise lines may leave some of their fleet in drydock until demand returns. 

 

Well I think they're cutting their own throats, BUT I agree if there is another outbreak they are probably done for good.  Having less people on the ship would actually ENHANCE the experience,  but then they have to manage dining, shore excursions, embarkation, disembarkation.  Again that's just not going to work with social distancing.  It's just not possible.  So they can try it, but it's going to be a miserable experience for everyone involved, passenger and crew alike.

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6 hours ago, ghjcmo said:

 

Well I think they're cutting their own throats, BUT I agree if there is another outbreak they are probably done for good.  Having less people on the ship would actually ENHANCE the experience,  but then they have to manage dining, shore excursions, embarkation, disembarkation.  Again that's just not going to work with social distancing.  It's just not possible.  So they can try it, but it's going to be a miserable experience for everyone involved, passenger and crew alike.

It's certainly going to be different! Maybe more so in the first six months after operations get restarted. But if there are no serious outbreaks, and if an effective treatment or vaccine is eventualy developed, some precautions will be relaxed.

As for me, I don't think I will take a cruise until at least the summer of 2021. And I think we will pass on the mega-ships and sail only on small ships.  We won't be able to afford to cruise as often, but the smaller ships seem to offer a safer, and more luxurious experience.

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My sister and I had put our non refundable deposit for a trip on princess to Hawaii in November It is a 15 day trip. My thoughts are it might be a great experience if the ship is only half full On our previous cruises we eat our meals in the main dining room as it is harder for her to get her food from the buffet. She is over 70 and her doctor told her she would be given a note that it is safe for her to travel. I don’t mind being a test subject as long as I can feel the breeze on the ocean. It looks like they are booking for October 24th as resuming service of that trip. So I really hope we are able to go and have a wonderful trip. Covid virus is real, we will practice safety to the best we can.


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My sister and I had put our non refundable deposit for a trip on princess to Hawaii in November It is a 15 day trip. My thoughts are it might be a great experience if the ship is only half full On our previous cruises we eat our meals in the main dining room as it is harder for her to get her food from the buffet. She is over 70 and her doctor told her she would be given a note that it is safe for her to travel. I don’t mind being a test subject as long as I can feel the breeze on the ocean. It looks like they are booking for October 24th as resuming service of that trip. So I really hope we are able to go and have a wonderful trip. Covid virus is real, we will practice safety to the best we can.


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We put our reservation in right before covid was called a pandemic. Just wanted to clarify.


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It really doesn’t matter what the cruise industry does. What I haven’t seen addressed here is the travel insurance business. Who is going to go on a cruise where your policy states Covid is not covered. I had a friend whose partner contracted pneumonia on a cruise, he had to pay $20,000US before disembarkation. He was covered and reimbursed. Can you imagine being on the Med and having to be cared for and then repatriated to the US and your insurance says no coverage. This will be the litmus test for cruise companies, on top of angry customers still waiting on rebates. Sorry I just don’t see it.

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15 hours ago, rattanchair said:

I agree with Mr Moorcroft . The only point of umbrage I have is he insulted the intelligence of all my fellow baristas.

The punch line was meant to be critical of the doctor in question. On reflection, I wouldn't trust him to make me a Latte! So appologies to all baristas!

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14 hours ago, CannyScotToo said:

It really doesn’t matter what the cruise industry does. What I haven’t seen addressed here is the travel insurance business. Who is going to go on a cruise where your policy states Covid is not covered. I had a friend whose partner contracted pneumonia on a cruise, he had to pay $20,000US before disembarkation. He was covered and reimbursed. Can you imagine being on the Med and having to be cared for and then repatriated to the US and your insurance says no coverage. This will be the litmus test for cruise companies, on top of angry customers still waiting on rebates. Sorry I just don’t see it.

The travel health insurance is a very real and valid issue. Perhaps the cruise lines can provide it at a reasonable cost so that people will feel more comfortable while the pandemic is still an issue. 

I have some other concerns as well. For example, might flights be cancelled; might borders for non-essential travel be closed;  might there be a second wave of the pandemic in the fall that would make travel unsafe?; might a smaller cruise line go bankrupt; how long will it take to get refunds (if at all), etc.

And I'm not confident that we could buy trip cancellation insurance that would cover most of these reasons, and at a reasonable cost. 

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