Is it sink or swim for cruise companies?
London - There is no easy short-term future for cruising. Ships have been docked since March and will remain so for the foreseeable future.
But that could work to the industry’s advantage, as it will allow plenty of time to bring in new safety procedures.
The long-term future looks bright. Cruising is a growing market because people are living longer, travelling later in their lives than ever before, and there’s a big push to attract younger passengers, as epitomised by the launch of Virgin Voyages last year.
Worldwide, the industry is worth around £123-billion and, if it hadn’t have been for the pandemic, more than 32 million passengers would have taken a cruise this year, including two million from the UK.
Cruise companies are already busy enticing customers for 2021 holidays with some great deals. No-fly cruises are proving especially popular.
Companies know that stringent new measures will have to be in place to restore confidence, especially since the debacle of the Diamond Princess, which witnessed an outbreak of Covid-19 at the start of the crisis.
Travel Weekly reported this week that Asia and Europe may open to cruising before the US, said Royal Caribbean International CEO Michael Bayley.
“It’s a very different story by region and by country. We will see different markets come back at a different pace, and I think our global infrastructure and the strength of our brands will power us through those opportunities," added Bayley.
The Cruise Line Association, which represents major cruise companies in the UK, is working on measures such as pre-cruise testing of passengers, temperature testing (this may also apply in every port), increased sanitising and social distancing on board.Daily Mail