December 30, 2020
In this Issue
Here are some of the news articles we are following:
- EDITORIAL - Last Leader-SHIP Issue for 2020!
- Port of Gothenburg, Sweden rethinks procedures to ensure successful cruise ship calls
- Another Cruise Line Planning Restart in May
- Sunstone Ships is getting ready to return
- MSC Confirms Four Ship Lineup for North America
- NCLH to Install Air Purification System on 28 Cruise Ships
- Seabourn Changes 2021 Alaska Season to 7-Day Cruise Program
- Latest Predictions: When Royal Caribbean Ships May Start Sailing Again
- Viking Health & Safety Programme
- Gus Antorcha of Holland America Talks Rotterdam, New Excursions
- Cruise Industry Contribution to U.S. Economy Grew to $55.5 Billion in 2019, Generating More Than 436,000 American Jobs
- Port Canaveral will be forced to make budget adjustments with continuing halt to cruises
- Cruise Industry Continues to Extend Pause till Spring 2021
- Why testing won’t save the cruise industry from the coronavirus
- Cruise industry expects delay to 2021 season in Maine
- 11 Ways the Cruise Industry Will Change in 2021
- Crypto Cruise Ship Project Dead; Ship Sold for Scrap
- Good news on horizon for cruise industry as COVID-19 vaccine rolls out (Video)
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EDITORIAL - Last Leader-SHIP Issue for 2020!
Wow… we have come a long way from the first issue of the Leader-SHIP which was released in late January, 2020 when the coronavirus just started to impact the global cruise industry, and now with this Issue, we have released 209 Newsletters (featuring nearly 3300 articles to date, or 300 articles per month!). Along the way, we reported on the early developments of coronavirus and its devastating impact on the Cruise Industry; we watched as one after another cruise lines stopped sailing and laid off crew - so many unknowns during the summer / fall months as to what the Industry of the future will look like, and now more positive News as the Industry slowly recovers. I’m confident that as we enter into 2021, the global cruise industry will eventually re-commence sailings in North America and in other parts of the world. I want to thank you all for your support and encourage you to get the message out to your friends and colleagues by promoting our Leader-SHIP e-Newsletter. We appreciate your feedback – send us a message through the website.
Be Safe and Stay Informed…. Gus
Port of Gothenburg, Sweden rethinks procedures to ensure successful cruise ship calls
2020 was set to be a record year for the port of Goteborg (Gothenburg, Sweden) in terms of calls and passengers with 80+ calls originally planned. However, everything was put on a hold after the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In September the season slowly returned to life at America Cruise Terminal, Gothenburg with the arrival of liners from Germany. In August, when EMSA (European Maritime Safety Agency) presented its guidelines for the restart of the cruise industry in the European Union, the work with planning took off. Since Swedish ports have not been closed, there were no particular guidelines from Swedish authorities about cruise ship calls, except for the general guidelines for Swedes and tourists visiting the country. Instead, the ports of Helsingborg, Malmo, Stockholm, Visby, and Gothenburg, collaborated on creating a COVID-19 Port Management Plan, based on EMSA guidelines. The plan was sent out to agents and cruise lines so that they could come back with feedback.
Another Cruise Line Planning Restart in May
Another cruise line has announced plans to resume Caribbean cruises in May while canceling all Alaska, U.S. and Mexico port stops for 2021. Windstar Cruises, one of the highest rated small ship cruise lines, will now return to cruising on May 15 with their ship Star Breeze. The cruise line added a new itinerary for the ship that will depart from St. Martin and sail to the Caribbean. Windstar will use its Watersports Platform (which opens directly into the sea) as well as its watersports crew to offer exploration by small boats with trips to remote beaches, kayaking, snorkeling, water skiing, and stand-up paddle boarding. Stops include Norman Island, an island at the southern tip of the British Virgin Islands reputed to be the inspiration for Treasure Island; two days at Prickly Pear Beach, a white-sand beach with turquoise waters ideal for snorkeling on Virgin Gorda; and Soper’s Hole on the quiet island of Tortola.
Sunstone Ships is getting ready to return
With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing cruise operations around the world to a halt, shipowners and operators have had to find solutions to the range of new challenges that the industry now faces. For SunStone Ships, the largest tonnage provider of small cruise ships in the world, this has meant laying up its fleet at the port of Las Palmas, Spain, while preparing for the resumption of cruising in a post-pandemic world. “We have six ships laid up in Las Palmas,” says Niels-Erik Lund, president and CEO of SunStone Ships. “There are 50 crew members, who are maintaining the ships ready for a return to service.” With the possibility that the pause in sailing could extend into next year, SunStone has looked to ensure that its crew members will be able to return following the crisis. “Our biggest concern right now is our crew,” says Lund. “We’ve provided crew with interest-free loans for five months of salary up to this point, as we anticipate that they could be out of work for up to 12 months. We depend on our crew to operate, and we felt that it was important to support them during this time.”
MSC Confirms Four Ship Lineup for North America
MSC Cruises will deploy four ships in North America next winter – with ships sailings from Miami as well as Orlando (Port Canaveral), a new homeport for the company. In addition, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises’ private destination in The Bahamas, will remain a highlight of cruises from the U.S., with nearly all itineraries including a call at the island. Following her inaugural season in the Mediterranean in summer 2021, the MSC Seashore will head to her new homeport of Miami in November 2021, offering alternating seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries, including stops at Ocean Cay in The Bahamas.
NCLH to Install Air Purification System on 28 Cruise Ships
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. will install disinfection air-purification systems across its 28-ship fleet for its three brands, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The new air-filtration technology from AtmosAir Solutions will feature continuous active COVID disinfection through bi-polar ionization in the air and on surfaces. The all-natural solution uses no harmful chemicals, radiations or by-products. “One of the advantages of the bi-polar ionization process is that it allows air purification to occur within the desired space, treating a larger volume of air, instead of relying on contaminants passing through the air handler unit to be cleaned,” the company said. Tests performed by Microchem Laboratory, which tests EPA- and FDA-registered sanitizing products, confirmed that the presence of coronavirus was reduced by 99.92 percent within 30 minutes of exposure to AtmosAir. The technology is designed to help NCLH ships return to service with protocols that are approved by the Centers for Disease Control.
Seabourn Changes 2021 Alaska Season to 7-Day Cruise Program
Seabourn announced updated itineraries and schedule changes to its 2021 Alaska and British Columbia season between May and September 2021 on the Seabourn Odyssey. The entire season will now consist of 18 seven-day voyages between Vancouver, Canada, and Juneau, Alaska. Seabourn said it revised the itineraries to operate on a seven-day basis to meet the requirements of the Framework for Resuming Cruise Ship Operations order issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for sailings with U.S. port calls. To accomplish this, the line has changed its deployment to rotating seven-day north and southbound itineraries operating from Vancouver, British Columbia and Juneau, AK. A number of these voyages will feature the incredible Glacier Bay experience as Seabourn is one of the only ultra-luxury brands with permits to explore Glacier Bay, according to a press release.
Latest Predictions: When Royal Caribbean Ships May Start Sailing Again
Royal Caribbean International has one ship in service, the Quantum of the Seas, out of Singapore, while the rest of the fleet inches closer to starting in 2021. The latest look at the expected first sailing of each Royal Caribbean International ship as the cruise industry gets back into service (all information is subject to change due to the COVID-19 crisis) …
Viking Health & Safety Programme
As the leading small ship cruise line with 190-guest river vessels and identical all-veranda 930-guest ocean ships, Viking takes you closer to the heart of the places you want to visit. For more than 23 years, we have always had the highest standards for health and cleanliness, and our new protocol enhancements make Viking even safer. Developed in coordination with an international team of scientific and medical advisors, the Viking Health & Safety Programme is one of the most well-researched and comprehensive COVID-19 prevention and mitigation plans in the travel industry.
Gus Antorcha of Holland America Talks Rotterdam, New Excursions
When former Holland America Line President Orlando Ashford stepped down earlier this year, Carnival Corporation decided to promote from within, naming Carnival Cruise Line COO Gus Antorcha the new president. What made Antorcha the right man for the job was his nine years of experience at Carnival Corporation in leadership roles managing key components such as guest services, commerce and on board operations. Antorcha recently joined Porthole Cruise Magazine Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff for an interview where the discussion touched on the latest happenings at Holland America Line, why the line decided to name their new ship Rotterdam, and what guests can expect when they finally get back on board a Holland America ship.
Cruise Industry Contribution to U.S. Economy Grew to $55.5 Billion in 2019, Generating More Than 436,000 American Jobs
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the leading voice of the global cruise industry, announced new economic impact data from its annual report on the contributions of the cruise industry to the U.S. economy. The newly released 2019 U.S. Economic Impact Analysis underscores the tremendous growth of the cruise industry and the corresponding growth of the industry’s contributions to the U.S. economy prior to the global health emergency. In 2019, the cruise industry generated a total of $55.5 billion in economic activity in the United States, a 5.3% increase from 2018. Moreover, growth in economic activity was accompanied by an increase in industry-supported jobs. According to the report, the cruise industry supported 436,600 American jobs paying $24.4 billion in wages in 2019—a 3.5% and 5.4% increase from 2018, respectively. The latest figures follow nearly ten years of continued growth in the cruise industry, fueled by the rising popularity of cruise vacations. Over 13.7 million passengers embarked on cruise ships from U.S. ports in 2019, up nearly 8% from 2018 and 26% from just five years ago.
Port Canaveral will be forced to make budget adjustments with continuing halt to cruises
Port Canaveral Chief Financial Officer Michael Poole has warned port commissioners that he will have to readjust the port's budget, as the cruise industry shutdown is extending longer than first anticipated. Poole last summer prepared the port's 2020-21 budget for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, on the assumption that each of four cruise lines would have one ship resume operations from Port Canaveral in January, and that each line would add a second ship in April. But that assumption proved to be overly optimistic, as cruise lines continue to work to comply with extensive Centers of Disease Control and Prevention requirements for resuming sailing. The cruise industry has been shut down since last March because of the coronavirus pandemic. The major cruise lines serving Port Canaveral have canceled their sailings at least through February. Some analysts believe cruises will not resume until April.
Cruise Industry Continues to Extend Pause till Spring 2021
The cruise industry continues to face near-term uncertainties forcing it to further extend its pause in operations. While many people had hoped that cruising might resume in more parts of the world by year’s end, it now appears that the spring or summer of 2021 is becoming the target for many cruise lines. In the latest blow to the cruise industry, Australia’s health minister announced that the country would be extending its limitations on international travel, including cruises, for another three months. The extension of the country’s biosecurity measures till at least mid-March 2021 includes restrictions on all outbound international travel by airplane or cruise ship as well as prohibiting the arrival of international cruise ships. The Australian cruise industry had been calling for actions similar to the United States, establishing a path towards a resumption of cruising. The December to March period covered in the latest announcement is traditional the summer high season for Australian travel with cruises both originating from the major ports as well as numerous international visitors. While Australia has been successful with much of its containment efforts for the virus, the health minister pointed out that the disease is spreading as quickly as ever. As such, he said they felt they had no choice but to extend the ban effectively ending the hopes for a 2021 cruise season in Australia.
Why testing won’t save the cruise industry from the coronavirus
The announcement sounded like every landlocked cruise fan’s dream: Tiny operator SeaDream Yacht Company was promising a safe, luxurious voyage from Barbados, a “much-needed escape” during a brutal year. “The goal is to create a COVID-19 negative bubble, where guests can relax and enjoy the safety of the ship,” a news release said. SeaDream’s bubble burst quickly; seven passengers and two crew tested positive despite multiple tests required before boarding the small ship, where they were not initially required to wear masks. The company canceled cruises for the rest of the year and issued a dejected update: “The company will now spend time to evaluate and see if it is possible to operate and have a high degree of certainty of not getting Covid.” That’s the question the rest of the industry has been asking for the better part of a year, even before global cruising shut down in March. While voyages have restarted in other parts of the world with some success, no mainstream cruises have left from the United States — and probably won’t for many more months as operators and health authorities continue to hammer out plans for what coronavirus-era cruising will look like. One thing has become clear: Pre-cruise testing does not guarantee a safe bubble.
Cruise industry expects delay to 2021 season in Maine
The cruise ship industry in Maine is preparing for a delay to the state’s 2021 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. cruise ship business was placed under a “no sail order” from the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March. A framework for resumption of operations replaced that order in October. CruiseMaine, which is part of the Maine Office of Tourism, met earlier this week to get ready for the coming season. CruiseMaine executive director Sarah Flink said the organization’s goals include helping ports in the state with regulatory compliance amid the pandemic. Flink said “the beginning of our season is still several months away and may very well be delayed further.” Flink also said that resumption of cruise operations in the state will mean co-operating with tour operators, medical facilities, shore-side workers and other stakeholders.
11 Ways the Cruise Industry Will Change in 2021
Cruise Ships Will Have New Protocols. Cruising will most likely make its long-awaited comeback early in 2021, and many people are looking forward to setting sail. In fact, Royal Caribbean saw an overwhelming response for its trial sailings and research shows that travelers are anxious to get back out on the water.
While a majority of Americans 53 percent would wait to take a cruise until it was safe, 11 percent said they would probably sail again right away and 23 percent said they would sail as soon as possible. When cruising restarts, it will look a little different but, based on how some cruise lines are currently operating, the experience will still provide a fun-filled vacation.
Crypto Cruise Ship Project Dead; Ship Sold for Scrap
The MS Satoshi project is dead as the former Pacific Dawn has been sold for scrap, according to a statement from Ocean Builders, which was aiming to setup a floating tech hub for small businesses with the aim to support crypto currency off the coast of Panama. After buying the ship, hiring a vessel management company and even completing a class drydocking, the company said they had hit an insurance roadblock. The ship has since quickly been sold to scrap and will sail to India. "After an exhaustive search for an International Group P&I Club insurance group to insure the Satoshi we have hit the roadblock of having no insurance company willing to insure the MS Satoshi upon dropping anchor in the Gulf of Panama," read a statement from Ocean Builders. "The closest we came was a company toying with us with a million-dollar premium for a maximum of $5 million in coverage. Nothing close to the coverage we would need to be legally compliant. We did not foresee that the big boys club would be against such a small operation such as ours."
Good news on horizon for cruise industry as COVID-19 vaccine rolls out (Video)
COVID-19 vaccine may be signaling hope on the horizon for cruises. It’s been a while since ships like the Norwegian Bliss, Celebrity Millennium, Coral Princess, Ovation of the Seas — among many others — have docked at the Port of Vancouver. While there’s been a lot of uncertainty about whether the pandemic has created new apprehension or greater appreciation around cruising for regular travellers — Bruce Fougner with Lloyds Travel & Cruises says, “the demand is coming back.” Bruce Fougner runs Lloyd’s travel in Vancouver and says he’s seen a noticeable jump in calls from travellers, particularly since news hit that vaccines had been approved and distribution was underway. “There’s a huge pent-up demand from people who are antsy to get back … as of September 2021, they’re going to be good to go.”
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
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