Cruise Ships continue to face an enormous challenge with Covid-19. But why? Why are they the last on the list when it comes to easing lockdown? Why are they deemed unsafe? How do they differ from being on a plane or inside a building?
More than 300 cruise ships were docked in 2020 and continue to be docked as we head through 2021 causing many cruises to be cancelled for early this year, but some are still holding out and hoping to set sail again by the end of the year.
Well-managed cruise ships are some of the safest environments in terms of hygiene and disease control practices. From an army of cleaners to hygiene operational levels second to none across any hospitality industry, you can’t even get into the buffets without washing your hands at the wash stations directly before the entrance, teams of cleaners are constantly cleaning 24 hours a day and staff are generally so well trained with robust processes to contain any incidents with immediacy.
What else could cruise ships implement to show that cruises are willing to do everything airlines do and more in order to build up the industry again?
From pre-board testing and daily temperature checks to masks and social distancing. Social bubbles can also be enforced particularly with so many cruise lines operating their own private destinations. New itineraries can be created so that there is no visit to public ports, they have the ability to control the whole infection process. The use of wearable technology can sustain the whole avoidance of touching doors, card machines, for a truly touchless experience. This could also be used to enhance test and trace.
It is already likely in our future that we could be seeing the introduction of vaccine passports. Countries may require you to have the vaccine or you won’t be allowed entry to their country. This could also be replicated on cruise ships. No vaccine, no travel.
The cruise industry also has to present the right message to the public that cruising is not only a safe form of tourism but the precautions are of the highest standard across any hospitality industry.
Even before the pandemic, cruise ships had a reputation for the negative effect on the environment but can this be maintained after the catastrophic loss the industry has suffered. Will they sacrifice environmental protection measures to save money?
It is important that companies don’t rush back as the future is so unpredictable and the pressure placed on them for sustainability and hygiene standards remains at the forefront of countries who require them for tourism.
Should they be pushing for sales this year like airlines when we don’t know what countries will allow us in and where we will be with the vaccine. Their focus should be on getting the messaging right with safety and precautions. Generating excitement and giving the right perception.