Cruise lines are planning to return to the seas but most of the countries and destinations have extended the ban on ships. Countries are concerned about visitors who could interfere with the efforts to control the pandemic. They say exposure is potentially increased and the risk is higher if cruises are allowed.
Canada and Australia have imposed bans until the year-end. Canadian transport minister Mark Garneau said that he will be announcing updated measures for passenger and cruise ships in Canada. This will prohibit cruise ships from operating in Canadian waters till October 31. This will apply to ships that carry more than 100 people.
According to the Australian Border Force, the cruise ban is extended till September 17.
Seychelles, an archipelago situated in the Indian ocean which welcomed about 39 ships that brought nearly 67,000 people last year has extended the cruise bans till 2022.
The Cayman Islands has extended the ban till later this year after a cruise ship passenger got infected. Tourism Minister Moses Kirkonnell has announced that the top priority of the government is to make sure that COVID-19 has the least impact on the destination.
As the pandemic has initiated worldwide shut down since mid-March, it seems to have grounded the industry indefinitely. Many voyages are called off even before they start. Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean are two such cruises.
It will be highly complicated for the cruise industry to resume as they mostly rely on governments and public health agencies. Though they are constantly in touch with the government authorities and local ports so as to evaluate when and from where they can set off in the near future.
Apart from this, the cruise industry is bound to face a big planning challenge. This includes arranging for customers if cruise tickets are put up for sale. Since most of the itinerary plannings are done years before, cruise lines find themselves in a dilemma of when and where they’ll be allowed to sail in the coming months. Thus planned itinerary trends are subjected to change and the timetables are expected to vary in different countries.
The reluctance of countries to allow ships can cause ships to spend more time in destinations like private islands.
At the same time, many destinations around the world such as Las Vegas, think about restarting in early June and have started promoting tourism by giving out incentives and assurances. This will surely benefit travelers who can take advantage of easing travel restrictions.
Resuming the industry is followed by many hassles as the crew has to be moved to ships keeping in mind public health protocols.
Many countries are yet to come up with policies to move the crew members in and out. Ports turning away cruise ships, not allowing them to disembark is another issue that is to be taken care of.
CLIA global chair Adam Goldstein is of the opinion that industry now has enough time to prepare and dialogue. He says that with a better understanding of COVID-19, things might turn easier.
Travel advisor education is crucial as per Kelly Craighead, CLIA CEO that includes coming up with good true facts and associations to represent the wider cruise industry.
Reference: washingtonpost.com | travelweekly.com