The cruise industry is back

Several cases of coronavirus have been identified on cruise ships since the restart of US operations in June, testing cruise lines’ new C...


Several cases of coronavirus have been identified on cruise ships since the restart of US operations in June, testing cruise lines’ new Covid-19 protocols, which include isolation, contact tracing and testing of passengers to prevent the spread of the virus. Most ships were able to complete their route without a problem, but American Cruise Lines, a small shipping company, halted a crossing to Alaska earlier this month after three people tested positive for the virus.

The recovery of the industry is far from guaranteed. The highly contagious Delta variant, which is causing virus outbreaks around the world, could hamper industry recovery, especially if large outbreaks occur on board. But analysts are generally optimistic about its outlook and the potential for passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels, perhaps as early as next year. This optimism is fueled by what could be the industry’s best asset: an unwavering and loyal customer base.

Even during the pandemic, a large number of people who had booked chose not to accept refunds, instead converting payments already made into credit for future travel, which companies often offered at a higher value as an incentive. Last fall, Carnival reported that about 45% of customers whose trips had been canceled opted for credit instead of cash back. About half of customers in a similar position with Royal Caribbean Cruises did the same at the end of last year, the company said at the time.

“The demand is there,” said Jaime Katz, analyst at Morningstar. “You know there have been 15 months of people who have booked cruises that have been canceled.”

In April 2020, the industry was in crisis. Cruises have been halted around the world after alarming epidemics on ships, resulting in shipping bans by the CDC and other global authorities.

Although they employ many Americans, the major cruise lines are all incorporated overseas and were ultimately excluded from the $ 2 trillion federal stimulus package known as the CARES Act, with lawmakers get angry at the prospect of bailing out foreign companies that are largely exempt from income taxes. Environmentalists have lobbied against aid, citing the industry’s poor track record on climate issues. And criticism of how companies handled the first virus outbreaks aboard ships have undermined any remaining political will to help. Huge losses accumulated as questions arose over whether cruise lines could avoid bankruptcy.

“All of our conversations here were, ‘At this rate of cash consumption for each of these companies, how long can they survive? “Said Pete Trombetta, cruise and accommodation analyst at Moody’s.

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Newsrust - US Top News: The cruise industry is back
The cruise industry is back
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