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How the Pandemic Affected the Cruise Industry

Taking your family or friends on a cruise used to be the epitome of fun and glamour, especially in the 1980s, with beloved television shows like The Love Boat gracing the airwaves. However, things have changed considerably since then. The industry has begun to suffer massive losses, primarily due to the pandemic. Although to be fair, cruises have been in the spotlight for less than flattering reasons before the COVID-19 crisis as well. To say that the cruise industry needs a facelift is an understatement.

People are genuinely afraid to gather on a boat with hundreds of other people for days on end, spreading and swapping germs and viruses. The pandemic placed a laser focus on this fear, and what was once thought to be simple disdain shared by a small group of people is now a sentiment fomented by the majority, unable to shake off the worst memories of the early days of the pandemic. The following article will uncover some of the key ways in which the pandemic has affected the cruise industry, in hopes of moving forward.

Less Confidence

One of the major effects the pandemic has had on the industry is that the general public has a general lack of confidence in cruises. The idea of taking a cruise feels terrifying to many, and given how rapidly the virus spread on cruise ships at the height of the pandemic, people aren’t in a rush to book any trips. If you look at the numbers, more than fifty cruise ships had confirmed cases of COVID-19 by the end of April 2020, and at least sixty-five passengers and crew members have died. It is no wonder then that the public has lost its confidence in the industry, and it will take a considerable time for it to recover. 

As of now, the cruise industry has taken stringent measures to not only accept vaccinated passengers solely as patrons of a cruise ship but to also maintain crystal clean vessels so that people feel safe. However, it will take some time before people forget the early days of the pandemic, and the growing spread of the Delta variant makes this possibility even more difficult.

Major Losses

The pandemic has proven to have catastrophic results on the industry’s bottom line, with financial losses of around fifty billion dollars. The Saudi Arabia cruise sector, however, is trying to find ways to rectify this situation for its own gains, and sees the light at the end of the tunnel. So if you’re one of the adventurous ones who miss being out at sea, you can check out their packages and safety measures and see if they fit your standards. 

However, with so much money on the line, there will be a long road ahead for the entire industry. More than one million jobs have been lost, and eighteen cruise ship lines have been sold or put to bed altogether. One of the odder statistics to look at in retrospect is the fact that before the pandemic, a new cruise ship was built every other month since the industry was growing exponentially. Perhaps this robust growth will return soon since countries like Saudi Arabia are looking to get involved with the industry, but that still isn’t very clear.

Stronger Hygienic Standards

Even before the pandemic, the idea of taking a cruise would send diehard germaphobes on edge. Even the most luxurious cruise ships may have some glaring gaps in their hygienic standards; the pandemic has reopened these discussions. The industry understands that if they are to reclaim any percentage of lost profits then they will need to up their game when it comes to hygiene and cleanliness. One of the measures cruise lines has adopted since the pandemic is to test anyone before they board the cruise liner for COVID-19. Ideally, the cruise lines should have their own vaccine mandates for their crew as well as potential passengers. 

The COVID outbreaks that occurred at the beginning of the pandemic should be avoided at all costs. Therefore, even more, strict measures should be in place with regards to cleanliness and social distancing measures onboard in order to gain consumer confidence. The good thing about cruises is that they are self-contained vessels. Unlike hotels, patrons aren’t always coming and going and interacting with many people on the outside, dragging germs back into the space. If enough precautions are taken to ensure that passengers are safe, then the likelihood of another COVID outbreak should be rather slim.

The cruise industry is under a tremendous amount of pressure, and it might take a long time for it to recover. While some of the cruise lines’ passionate fans are excited to come back, some work should be done in order to gain the trust of the general public. Industry insiders know there is a push to make things better, but the coming months are critical.

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