Cruising and COVID-19

Cruising has been hard hit by the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, and is set to be the global cruise industry’s most challenging year in living memory. With nations in lock down, the vast majority of the global cruising fleet are sitting idle, devoid of passengers, with only their crews aboard.

With such unprecedented cruise line shut downs, the future of the cruise industry is uncertain – a scary thought not just for the 30 million people who annually take to the seas for a cruise holiday, but also for those who rely on the cruise industry for their income.

The US$150bn global cruise industry accounts for over $50bn in wages and salaries world wide. Cruise lines employ 1.17 million people.

And with cruise ships siting empty around the world, and no end in sight, people are starting to ask whether cruising can survive. But cruising is resilient. Throughout history operators of passenger ships have faced huge challenges, ranging from shipwrecks to the unparalleled danger posed to global travel during both world wars. Yet through each crisis, the cruise industry adapted to become stronger and more resilient.

Can Cruising and Cruise Lines survive 2020 and the COVID-19 crisis?

To find out, let’s look at how resilient the cruise industry is. That is the question Bill Miller and I set out to answer in the below video.

To discuss the resilience of cruising I spoke with Bill Miller. With over 100 books published and hundreds of cruises under his belt, Bill is considered one of the foremost experts on passenger ships. Like me, he is confident cruising will come back when the crisis passes.

The video covers the global impact of cruising and how shipping lines adapted in the past including after the Titanic disaster, after the Great Depression and World War II as well as the response to changes from the Achille Lauro incident in 1985.

The Cruise Lines International Association says that 82% of cruisers are repeat guests – meaning loyalty to cruising is high.

In a recent poll on my instagram channel 95% of respondents (of 127 responses) said they would cruise again, once it is safe to do so.

Perhaps the future cruise line industry will look different to how it did at the start of 2020, but it will survive. Like countless past occasions, cruising will adapt and become a safer and stronger industry for the future.

Media Commentary

I have received multiple requests for insight from journalists, which I welcome. I’ve had past experience with pre-recorded and live television and radio interviews, including Sky News, BBC and LBC. If you’re a journalist, documentary or film maker and want to contact me for interviews please click here.