One Year Without Cruise Passengers? It Just Happened

On Jan. 25, 2020, the cruise industry saw the start of the events that left the industry with damages it’s still recovering from. Cruise lines started cancelling their sailings due to the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan and around China.

Citing urgent guidelines from the Chinese government to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Costa Crociere, MSC, Royal Caribbean and Genting Cruise Lines all suspended their cruise operations in mainland China on Jan. 25, 2020.

Ships marking a year without passengers:

  • Astro Ocean’s Piano Land.
  • MSC’s Splendida.
  • Genting’s SuperStar Gemini.
  • Costa’s Serena, Atlantica and Venezia, plus the neoRomantica which has since been sold to Celestyal.
  • Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas.

February continued as cruise lines first banned or put in restrictions for passengers from specific countries.

Then countries in Asia started to shut down to tourism and cruise lines issued non-stop itinerary changes for immediate and future sailings, and slowly relaxed booking and refund policies.

Even more, cruises were cancelled in Asia on Feb. 15, 2020, following the outbreak onboard the Diamond Princess in Japan,

Princess Cruises later reacted to the growing spread of the coronavirus in Asia and worldwide by pausing all of its ship operations for 60 days from March 12, 2020. On the same day, Celestyal Cruises also announced it was suspending operations.

AmaWaterways and Avalon Waterways (as well as its sister brands Globus, Cosmos and Monograms) said they were taking a voluntary pause in operations, too.

On March 13, 2020, the Canadian government announced it would be deterring the start of its cruise season (normally in April) to at least July. The ban was then extended twice, the last time until February 2021, which will make Canada cruise less for nearly a whole year.

Also on March 13, 2020, Windstar Cruises stated it would be suspending its sailings through April 30, 2020.

On March 14, 2020, CDC issued a No Sail Order and Suspension of Further Embarkation for cruise ships in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction; the No Sail Order was extended on April 9, 2020, July 16, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020, as cruise lines continued announcing more and more cancelled cruises affected by the order.

July 2020 saw the start of the long-awaited cruise resumptions in Europe with TUI Cruises starting on July 24, MSC on Aug. 16 onboard the Grandiosa and on Oct. 20 onboard the Magnifica, Costa Crociere on Sept. 6, and AIDA Cruises on Oct. 17. Mystic Cruises restarted sailing in early September under its Nicko brand. And in Asia, Dream Cruises’ World Dream has been operating short cruises to nowhere since Nov. 6.

Sadly, the pandemic claimed the lives of the following brands: Pullmantur Cruceros, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, FTI, Blount Small Ship Adventures, and Jalesh Cruises, while a record-high 13 ships were reduced to scrapping in 2020.

However, new brands – such as Swan Hellenic and Tradewind Voyages – were born in 2020, too.

And while safe returns demonstrated by TUI, MSC and other cruise lines give hope already, cruise lovers around the world are still patiently waiting for other brands to join. And, with the No Sail Order being replaced with the Conditional Framework in late 2020, it looks like these times may be just around the corner.

Port Everglades Moving Forward

Celebrity APEX refuelling in Port Everglades

“We are talking with the cruise lines on a consistent basis, there are weekly teleconferences. We are talking about what we are doing with our terminals and understanding what the obligations and criteria will be moving forward,” said Jonathan Daniels, who took over as the new CEO and port director at Port Everglades over the summer.

The 2020-2021 season for Port Everglades was poised to be a good one – the new Enchanted Princess was slated to call the port home, along with the Celebrity Apex and Odyssey of the Seas.

Looking at the new Celebrity Apex outside his office window, Daniels said he was working closely with the Royal Caribbean Group to understand what the terminal experience will look like.

“The difficult part will ultimately be determining where the line of demarcation is for accountability and responsibility,” Daniels said.

Guests will have staggered check-in times, basically appointments to board, and the terminals will need to be re-flowed a bit, meaning various zones for testing, isolation and more.

“Laboratories, testing, how does that translate into space in the terminal?” Daniels asked. “What happens if there is a positive case?”

Asking those questions is part of an unknown, without answers or guidance yet from the CDC.

Head Start

The port’s ferry service to the Bahamas launched for a two-week period in July, as it was not affected by the CDC’s “No Sail” order with a ship under 250 passengers aboard.

That meant Port Everglades had a trial run of sorts, installing plexiglass barriers, signage and hand sanitiser distribution stations in a terminal.

“We’ve been moving beyond that and integrating that into other terminals in anticipation of a restart of cruising,” Daniels said.

50,000

Pre COVID, a weekend in the winter could see upwards of 50,000 people move through Port Everglades on a single day with ships at all the port’s cruise berths.

With the business mounting a comeback in 2021, Daniels said the potential for growth beyond that would be in increasing the utilization of cruise terminals, especially for itineraries leaving mid-week, along with building up more summer business.

With a pivot toward closer-to-home and shorter cruises, the port is well-positioned in Florida to take advantage of that.

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Winter 2020-2021

Carnival CEO Sells Company Stock

Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation, sold 62,639 company shares on Tuesday at a price of $21.12 for proceeds of $1,322,935, according to an SEC filing. 

While the timing was less than ideal as the company remains out of service, the transaction was relatively routine.

Donald sold Carnival shares in mid-January in 2020, although at a much higher per-share price before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.