PREDICTIONS: The Future of the Cruise Industry

Predictions on the future of the cruise industry post coronavirus
Predictions on the future of the cruise industry post coronavirus

Here is my prediction of the future impacts of the coronavirus on the cruise industry in the months / years ahead.  Basically the damage has been done and it will be a long time before cruise passengers have confidence to return to the ships.

In the near term 1-6 months:
  • When cruise lines resume operations after a temporary suspension, a good number of their ships will remain laid-up. They just will NOT be able to fill all the ships right away.
  • The number of cruise ports that prohibit cruise ship calls will increase. Bergen, Norway just joined the list of  destinations saying - "No Thanks" to the cruise lines.
  • Ships will be laid up due to the lack of demand. 
  • Itineraries will be altered based on the health of those onboard. Potentially sick passengers will cause ports to be skipped or passengers to be quarantined.
  • Cruise capacity in Europe will be ratcheted back significantly.
  • Additional cruise lines will sporatically lay up ships, especially in seasons where demand is normally low. (Early December).
  • Cruise lines will defer or cancel options for new cruise ships not yet built. 
  • And finally, some cruise lines may file for bankruptcy or for financial protection.
On board changes:
  • The cruise industry now knows it is under  a microscope and any issues are going to cause unwanted media attention. Some anticipated changes will be:
    • Extensive screening of passengers at the time of embarkation for signs of illness.
    •  The cruise lines will develop an aggressive cleansing program to sterilize the ships, passenger areas and common surfaces.
    • More frequent anti-bacterial mandatory hand washing.
    • Increased use of single use items - plates, glasses and utensils. 
    • Elimination of buffets OR the crew will dispense all food. You will NOT be able to touch the serving spoon or utensils. 
    • Cruise lines will beef up the ability to handle large scale illnesses onboard. 
    • Crew will be assigned to as single ship and not moved between ships in the fleet. 
    • Additional Passenger - Cruise Passenger release statements - releasing the cruise industry from liability for health related situations and results.
Looking ahead into 2021
  • Less demand for cruises in Europe and Asia causing ships to become available for reassignment. 
  • More ships will be based in the United States including New York.
  • Close to home cruising will become more popular since people will want to avoid air travel and minimize their risks should a cruise get cancelled.  
  • Some older ships will remain laid up or sold for scrap. 
It will be 3-5 years before cruising returns to normal.

Only time will tell if any of these items will prove true but I believe the items above will have a high probability of occurring.

Other Related Articles

Cruise Industry Predictions Part 1
Cruise Industry Predictions Part II
Cruise Industry Predictions Part III
Cruise Industry Predictions Part IV

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