Cruise companies need some luck

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) the international body is a bit like a trade union for cruise companies has extended the voluntary suspension of sailings until the 31st of October.

The Aida Nova in Funchal, Madeira in February 2020

Initially a ban on cruising was issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA but many cruise companies worldwide followed what the CDCP instructed. Then it was extended by CLIA to 15th of September and now it has been extended by a further six weeks.

It wouldn’t surprise others if the extension was moved to the end of the year.

Why?

Because although the CLIA recommendation has an impact some cruise companies have obtained permission from the national governments and have started cruising.

One of the first was Hurtigruten and on its second polar voyage, it had coronavirus outbreaks. A further south seas cruise had a case and then the first Alaska cruise was quickly aborted after a passenger tested positive. The next couple of cruises by UnCruise have been cancelled.

Costa will be hoping for better luck when it re-starts its cruise programme

Un Cruise was unlucky in that he passenger was tested before boarding but the results only came through when the cruise was underway. Faster analysis of the testing would have resulted in the passenger being denied boarding and less damage to the cruise industry as a whole.

People will look at the Alaska incident and be tempted to say that cruises are still not as safe as they might be.

MSC Cruises announced it will resume operations in the Mediterranean starting from 16th August  but with only  five different destinations during a 7-night cruise. The TUI’s German based cruise line hasn’t yet had a passenger contracting the virus but crew members on three of its ships have. Meanwhile another cruise company AIDA has cancelled its early August sailings.

The Italian company Costa will be hoping for better luck.

Yesterday it was given approval by the Italian government to restart cruising but it will do so gradually. It faces not only the challenge of ensuring the health of everyone on board its ships but the fact that some ports are reluctant to see cruise ships.

It means, according to the boss of the shipping company, that passengers can expect shorter cruises, fewer ports of call and activities organised by age groups.

It does also look as though there will be fewer vessels from which passengers can choose. Many have been put up for sale or sent for scrapping and the prices seem very low compared to how companies pay to build them.

What cruise companies really need now is a couple of months of cruises with absolutely not one case of coronavirus on-board. Only then will some people begin to get confidence in this type of holiday.

11th August 2020

Holland America Line has cancelled cruises on all ships until mid-December.

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