As COVID-19 hit the globe, everyone began to panic. There were rules set in place by the government and business began shutting down. People started staying inside and social distancing. In the cruise line industry, they were seeing major setbacks immediately. Cruise ships everywhere began shutting down and cancelling their services due to the danger of the virus. When browsing through the news, there are countless articles about cruise lines that are facing difficulties and setbacks.
About 6 weeks ago, Princess Cruises posted an important update on their website that stated they will be voluntarily pausing their cruise ships for two months due to COVID-19. However, they offered their customers the opportunity to transfer their credit from their cancelled cruise to a cruise of their choice for a different time. However, according to an article by FoxNews, “Princess Cruises and Holland America Line, both of which are owned by the Carnival Corporation, announced on Wednesday that they would be extending the “pauses” in their operations through at least the end of the summer season. Holland America, meanwhile, has extended some cancellations into the fall.” According to sources, people were tested on a cruise ship that was stuck at sea, 21 people tested positive for COVID-19 , while 19 of those people were crew members.
When speaking with my boyfriend’s grandmother, she expressed her disappointment with this news. She and her friend were about to embark on a 2 week journey on Princess Cruises to Alaska before they found out their cruise was cancelled due to COVID-19. She said to me, “I wish I would have planned the trip sooner so we could have gone and been back before any of this started happening.” Furthermore, NBC news offers additional insight on Princess cruises, “Earlier this month over 600 Carnival’s Diamond Princess passengers were forced to remain on their ship in “chaotic conditions”after testing positive for coronavirus. Some described their 10-day quarantine like being held “hostage.” Two passengers later diedafter leaving the ship.” After showing my boyfriend’s grandmother this, she was then grateful that they cancelled the cruises just in time. Otherwise, it could have been her stuck on the ship. As for her friend that she was going with, I asked her what her thoughts were about having to miss the cruise and if she would be open to rescheduling. She reported back that she was in fact grateful the cruises closed down for she is a high risk person when it comes to the virus. She also expressed that she does not and will not get on another cruise and does not want to reschedule the trip because she believes it is too dangerous and if someone with COVID-19 gets on the cruise, they would be stuck at sea having to quarantine.
Additionally, cruise ships are said to be “notorious hot spots of COVID-19 outbreaks before they were officially closed down. Of the entire cruise ship fleet, 22 percent have had at least one COVID-19 case before they docked and closed.” Additionally, it was reported that there have been 2,700 confirmed cases on 57 cruise ships. Of those 2,700 cases, there have been 74 deaths on the ships. The coast guard was even telling ships to stay away from the US ports and to stay at sea if they are holding sick passengers.
Additionally, before the outbreak of COVID-19, Princess Cruises were serving 1.7 million guests and sailing to 300 destinations each year. While Holland America cruises were offering 500 cruises to 415 ports. In order to keep their customers safe and healthy. The CDC also offered information and tips for the cruise travelers during this time. They issued a no sail order on March 14th, “to prevent, among other things, new passengers from boarding cruise ships.” As for the crew members still on board ships, they are being asked by the CDC to stay in shelter, practice social distancing and take other precautions to decrease their risk of getting or spreading COVID-19.
The CDC also offers tips for keeping yourself safe and healthy during the spread of the Coronavirus. They encourage you to stay 6 feet away from other people, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, do not gather in groups and crowded places. These are helpful to everyone, not just in regards to people on the cruise ships. These can help people protect themselves and stay as healthy as possible in order to end COVID-19. Although the CDC is recommending that all travelers defer all cruise travel worldwide, Carnival’s CEO made a statement saying, “even as the coronavirus pandemic brings the cruise industry to a global standstill, customers are already booking for 2021. Therefore, although the cruise lines are hurting during this time, people still desire to go on cruise ships when they are finally reopened, giving the cruise industry hope for the future!