January 1, 2021
In this Issue
Here are some of the news articles we are following:
- Carnival Cruise Ships Arriving Back to U.S. West Coast
- Expert advice on how ports need to prepare now for cruise resumption
- Cybersecurity: is the cruise industry prepared?
- Covid Scare on Cruise Ship Shows Perils of Resuming Tourism
- What You May Have to Do to Get Back on a Cruise Ship
- Why cruise ships are setting sail again as COVID-19 rages
- St. Lawrence Cruise Lines awarded #SafeTravelsStamp
- More Cruise Ships Poised to Resume Service
- How Can Cruise Lines Attract New Cruisers in 2021?
- Bar Harbor, Maine Looking to Limit Cruise Ships
- Cruise lines are looking to innovate and stay afloat in a post-pandemic world
Cover Image by:
Carnival Cruise Ships Arriving Back to U.S. West Coast
Miami has all the fun lately, but not today! Carnival Miracle arrived in Long Beach, California, today, while Carnival Panorama is currently not far from Cabo San Lucas and has also set a course to Long Beach, which you can track on our cruise ship tracker. Californians, you can rejoice; you will soon have a view of two Carnival ships in the Port of Long Beach. The rest of us can also be happy; after many months of speculation and uncertainty, we finally see progress towards a resumption of cruising. Mind you; we are not there just yet.
Expert advice on how ports need to prepare now for cruise resumption
As cruise lines navigate the challenges of complying with US rules to resume service, ports need to wake up to the critical role they play. If they don't take a leadership stance, they may be left out — either bypassed because they can't provide the kind of health safety assurances needed, or missing out on economic impact as lines craft their own 'bubbles.' A safe return to operations doesn't just entail the ships; it's a journey — and the port call is the most complex part of the journey, according to Luis Ajamil, president and CEO, Bermello Ajamil & Partners (B&A). Ajamil is alerting ports: 'There is not much time left,' adding 'There's so much work to be done.' Recently B&A has laid out the considerations in presentations to Skagway and Ketchikan in Alaska, the American Association of Port Authorities and Cruise Europe members. Upcoming presentations are planned for Destinations Together on Dec. 2 and Cruise the Saint Lawrence on Dec. 30. Under the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's framework for resuming cruises, lines need to have a plan agreed with US port and local health authorities that addresses several points. These include evacuation to onshore hospitals for passengers and crew in need of care and a housing agreement with one or more shoreside facilities for isolation and quarantine of COVID-19 cases and their close contacts.
Cybersecurity: is the cruise industry prepared?
With multiple cyberattacks recorded already, some against major cruise companies like Norwegian and Carnival, it is time the industry takes storm warnings seriously. So why is the industry a target for cybercriminals and how should companies take a proactive approach? Following speculation that a cyberattack may have been the cause of a collision between a US warship and oil tanker back in 2017, government advisors warned that there was potential for cybercriminals to sink cruise ships. In the three years since, attacks launched against the maritime industry have grown by more than 900%, according to maritime cybersecurity company Naval Dome. However, rather than sinking ships, attacks against the industry have largely focused on gaining access to data and extorting money.
Covid Scare on Cruise Ship Shows Perils of Resuming Tourism
The optimism on display just two months ago when Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung pledged to reopen the city-state and its tourism-reliant economy has taken a beating after a possible local coronavirus case was found aboard one of Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd.’s ships. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the 1,680 passengers on Quantum of the Seas -- enjoying day three of a four-day cruise to nowhere -- and 1,148 crew were alerted to an announcement that a suspected case of Covid-19 had been discovered, the voyage was being cut short and everyone should remain in their staterooms.
What You May Have to Do to Get Back on a Cruise Ship
By the time cruising resumes, nearly a year will have passed since last ships sailed, leaving many of us downright desperate to get back on board. But one thing some will have to ask themselves is what they are — and aren’t — willing to do in order to do so. Already, we know that cruising will be different in many regards, and that some of those changes have caused a bit of debate. Some have said they won’t cruise until we are past the point of having to wear masks in public venues, others aren’t thrilled with the idea of buffets going from self-serve to crew-member served. However, even as vaccines began to be distributed — bolstering both consumer confidence in cruising’s return and, not coincidentally, the stocks of several battered cruise lines — a new controversy erupted….. Certainly, cruising is not the only segment of the travel industry looking into the possibility of requiring proof of vaccinations. “There is talk beginning to emerge from different corners of the travel industry,” Del Rio elaborated, “of requiring some kind of immunity passport demonstrating that you’ve had the virus or been vaccinated so that you are good to go.”
Why cruise ships are setting sail again as COVID-19 rages
WHEN YOU TAKE a cruise during a pandemic, daily activities look and feel quite different from pre-COVID-19 times. Breakfast is served at socially distanced tables after a pre-meal temperature check. At night, you can dance at a club, provided you cover your face and give other passengers a wide berth. The pool is open, kept clean by staffers in face shields and protective jumpsuits who also spray the lounge chairs with disinfectants. Before March, a cruise ship worker in a hazmat suit would’ve seemed straight out of a high-seas horror movie. But for people traveling during a pandemic, like Victoria Balabaeva, such precautions seem assuring. “It made me feel safe seeing how seriously the ship is taking health protocols,” said Balabaeva, who, in September, after months of lockdowns in her native Italy, joined 3,000 or so other passengers for an eight-day trip on MSC Cruises’ MSC Grandiosa. The ship set off from Genoa to destinations including Naples and Malta, one of the first sailings since the pandemic started.
St. Lawrence Cruise Lines awarded #SafeTravelsStamp
St. Lawrence Cruise Lines has been awarded the #SafeTravels stamp accreditation ahead of the 2021 cruising season. The Safe Travels Stamp is an international symbol designed to help travellers recognize companies around the world that have adopted global standardized health and hygiene protocols – intended to ensure that travellers can experience ‘Safe Travels’. The accreditation was the result of enhanced health and safety measures that were developed and enacted by St. Lawrence Cruise Lines for their fall cruise schedule. The measures are specific to overnight small ship cruising within Canada, and include guest screening, reduced passenger loads, physical distancing, masking, and a ship-wide disinfectant program. In Ontario, the #SafeTravels Stamp is awarded through cooperation between the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) and the World Travel and Tourism Commission (WTTC). “We are delighted to confirm St. Lawrence Cruise Lines has been awarded the #SafeTravels Stamp. Across Canada, tourism businesses big and small are doing all they can to offer Canadians the perfect vacation. More and more Canadians are looking closer to home to escape from the challenges of the pandemic and rediscovering their own provinces,” said TIAO President and CEO, Beth Potter.
More Cruise Ships Poised to Resume Service
The cruise industry will continue its careful resumption of service during December. This will include both the first sailings by Royal Caribbean International in over eight months as well as the first cruises in China. While fears of the resurgence of the virus continue to mount, the cruise lines are moving forward with preparations for their trial voyages from the United States hoping to operate them in the coming weeks.
Royal Caribbean International operated its first cruise over the weekend as a trial trip in preparation for a return to commercial service on December 1. The authorities in Singapore approved the line to resume a limited trial cruise program for residents on cruises to nowhere. Before beginning the cruises, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas cruise ship and its crew have undergone extensive preparation. Crew members have been in isolation for a total of a month, first at home and then after rejoining the ship. During that time, they prepared the cruise ship for its return to service as well as practicing the new onboard protocols. The first trial cruise from Singapore operated this last week with “friend and family” sailing as the passengers. The ship has returned to Singapore and will board its first paying passengers. Under the trial program agreed to with Singapore and being closely monitored by the government, the ship will operate three- and four-day sea cruises from Singapore only for local residents and with no ports of call. Singapore working with DNV developed the protocols for the operation. The ships are restricted to half their normal passenger capacity. Passengers also are required to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing. Foodservice has been adapted and even in the showrooms seating has been blocked off for social distancing. Pictures circulated of the preparations showing the dancers in the production shows wearing face coverings as part of the Las Vegas-style costumes.
How Can Cruise Lines Attract New Cruisers in 2021?
Before the pandemic, the cruise industry was the fastest growing sector of the travel industry, with demand increasing a whopping 20.5 percent from 2013 to 2018, according to a 2018 report by the Cruise Lines International Association. The industry was worth roughly $150 billion that same year. The industry also impacts the lives of thousands of people: More than a quarter of a million individuals worked in the industry in 2018, nearly double from 2016. Everyone from cruise ship entertainers and hospitality staff to travel advisors all depend on cruise lines' success for their livelihood. This January, before European and stateside lockdowns began, the industry expected to have 32 million passengers in 2020, up from 30 million the year before. COVID-19 pumped the brakes this growth—with ships unable to sail from the U.S. for nine months and counting, following an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—but devout cruisers didn’t miss a beat rebooking for next year, with some lines reporting sold out 2021 sailings as early as May, just one month after the no-sail advisory began. While cruising fanatics are eager to return, the expansion of the industry in recent years has depended on attracting new cruisers. A 2016 study by Allianz Global Network showed that two-thirds of Americans have never even been on a cruise. The industry always battled misconceptions—that short stops don’t allow travelers to connect with destinations, that cruisers are a specific (namely older, sedentary) set, and the least fortunate of all, that cruise ships are petri dishes for bacterial outbreaks. The industry is constantly trying to challenge these ideas, but after a pandemic in which cruise ships like the Diamond Princess and Grand Princess became the setting for major coronavirus outbreaks, the question feels more pressing than ever: How do you convince the unconvinced to giving cruising a shot after a year like this?
Bar Harbor, Maine Looking to Limit Cruise Ships
Bar Harbor, Maine, one of the most picturesque destinations in New England, is looking to keep its small-town charm by limiting the arrivals of big cruise ships. The Town Council in Bar Harbor has voted to move forward with a plan that will research whether it can emulate the city of Key West, Florida, which last month voted to curtail the number of cruise ships docking in its port. Bar Harbor is popular for its quintessential New England feel, its slow summer vibe, its proximity to Acadia National Park and, in the fall, its extraordinary foliage that entices leaf peepers. But according to The Maritime Executive, it’s all becoming a little too much. Saying it was responding to an overwhelming level of outreach from citizens, the Town Council said it will review its policies regarding cruise ships.
Cruise lines are looking to innovate and stay afloat in a post-pandemic world
Despite some alarming headlines, cruise-loving passengers are keen to return to sea. roughly 30 million people around the world took a cruise last year; another one million worked in the industry. Those numbers combined come close to the entire population of Canada — sailing across oceans on luxurious, entertainment-filled ships. Cruise vacations have exploded in popularity since the 1970s into a multibillion-dollar global business. But as for so many other industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. The Covid Cruise, a documentary from The Nature of Things explores one dramatic outbreak as it unfolded on a cruise ship — the Diamond Princess — in February 2020. "[Cruise ships] were really one of the first industries to be hit in any sizable way," says Ross Klein, a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland and industry expert on cruises. "In some ways, after Wuhan, they were the leading news item that brought COVID-19 into people's realities." How will cruises evolve in a pandemic-ravaged world? And will they be recognizable to the people that love them?
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the articles above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this e-Newsletter
Having trouble reading?Download this Issue