Posted by: Tom Baker | May 3, 2020

The Cruise Industry & Covid-19. Will It Recover?


I am typically not want to rant but I want to make some facts clear as the business I have been in for 36 years has been under incredible and mostly unfair scrutiny by the media. Cruise ships do not create viruses nor are they a petri dish as many media and misled individuals believe based on a media coined phrase. The current Covid-19 virus was carried onto the ships by infected passengers just like any person who travels by airplane (the biggest culprit of the virus spread and least mentioned), sitting in a taxi or UBER, staying in a hotel room, visiting ones favorite restaurant, retail store, drinking from the office water cooler, pushing that elevator button or anywhere else a virus like Covid-19 can exist or be easily passed on as we have all sadly learned…

There were nearly 500,000 Americans on cruise ships when President Trump asked the cruise lines to shut down in March after the unfortunate Princess Cruises incident took place in Asia. There were a large number of ships like Holland America’s Zaandam, also under media scrutiny, who were already under way just before the forced shutdown so don’t criticize the ships for sailing. By the way, almost every ship sailing after the Trump order was denied entry into cruise ports as the international fear factor for spreading of the virus into island nations and other foreign countries created a bizarre fear as if the ships were Covid-19 themselves. The Diamond Princess event which was a primary media focus created this backlash while in fact, the virus had already been widely spread internationally through international travelers and transmitted person to person or by touching infected surfaces wherever those travelers had unknowingly spread the virus. The Zaandam and her sister ship Rotterdam will dock and disembark mostly healthy passengers. Of the four passengers who passed away on the Zaandam, two of the deaths were of natural causes. As I write this, there have been about 2500 reported cruise ship passenger and crew cases worldwide since late February out of well over a 1,000,000 travelers on ships during this peak spring break period and prior to the industry shutdown. While many criticize as to why the shutdown didn’t happen earlier, we need to look at the fact that there were no shutdowns at the time the ships stopped sailing other than air travel to China!!! The Covid-19 virus hit us all when we least expected and was fast and furious. We also had little to no leadership anywhere to make fast decisions on lockdowns or closures until we were deep in it!

The cruise industry has been hit hard and we will see how it recovers. Time will tell… So many negative comments have been made by many “Subject Matter Experts” and our media but most do not realize that 32 million travelers take cruises a year. The industry also employees nearly 500,000 in the USA alone, sources most of its food, provisions, food, stores, fuel from US based and owned companies, creates substantial income for nearly 15,000 travel agencies, and is almost a $150 billion a year industry! The cruise industry also falls under heavy monitoring of governmental health and safety agencies worldwide (more than any other form of transportation) with SOLAS “Safety of Life At Sea” rules, follows IMO (International Maritime regulations) regulations, has regular department of Health public inspections, follows strict CDC guidelines and protocol, has regular Coast Guard inspections, and maintains the highest of hygiene for its crew and cleaning of the ships. While I will not comment in this post as to why ships are registered overseas (this is a post for another time and there is a damn good reason for it), nor their offshore corporations which I won’t comment on, this is a huge and relevant business and vacation provider for the US traveler and the many people it employs…

I hope the cruise industry recovers quickly as I know most of my followers are avid cruisers and enjoy the pleasure this wonderful vacation experience provides.


Responses

  1. I love it.

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Well said, Tom. We have a lot of biased information from the media . The cruise industry is healthy for many countries and countless people. Joy


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