Major Cruise Operators Suspend Cruises. Cruise operator Royal Caribbean Group announced on Monday, 2nd November 2020, that it will stop all its cruises through the end of the year. This decision came as a result of increased coronavirus infection globally. There was an initial no-sail order issued in March, by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The order became necessary as many vessels became spots of infection and some operators faced lawsuits for onboard outbreaks. Times have not been smooth for the Royal Caribbean as they recorded negative revenue for the first time last week as well as a billion-dollar quarterly loss.
In a similar development, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings also announced plans to extend the suspension of its cruises starting December through the end of the year. According to Frank Del Rio, President, and CEO of the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, returning a ship to service is not a drastic action. It isn’t as easy as “turning on a light switch” said Del Rio. It takes at least 60 days to get a cruise ship ready for service particularly when the entire fleet has been harbored for so long. For six months now, the world’s cruise lines have been forced to suspend operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Preparation needs to be done before operations can be resumed. First, crew members need to be brought back on board, as many of them have returned to their home countries. Also, in order to maintain hygiene, a number of technologies need to be installed. Such technologies include air filters, hygiene stations, temperature monitors, and quarantine facilities. Major cruise operators have been forced to suspend cruises. The crew will also need to undergo training so that they can adhere to new health and safety rules.
The Last Free Place on Earth
According to Ernest Hemingway, the sea is the last free place on Earth. This claim is no longer so if recent events are anything to go by. Emergency measures by the government have meant that harbors have to be closed and drastic restrictions have to be enforced. For instance, people who want to travel have to observe mandatory quarantine at every harbor for at least two weeks. Such a situation is very inconvenient, to say the least.
Cruise operators suspended cruises and intend to maximize the wait time by conducting training for their staff. Training would be focused on new health and safety rules. They would also utilize the opportunity to conduct some test sailings in order to stress-test their measures against real-world conditions.
Missing the Seasons
“It’ll be a season to remember, but not for the sailing,” said record-breaking solo yachtswoman Dee Caffari from her home in Titchfield, Hampshire. “I was on a beach walk and, looking out, there was not a single boat on the Solent – it’s unheard of. “There’s been near perfect sailing conditions so it’s frustrating for a lot of people. But it’s understandable – there are lots of potential risks on a boat.”