Carnival Cruises, operator of P&O, Princess Cruises and Cunard, is selling six of its cruise ships after reporting a US$4.4 billion loss in Q2 of 2020. The firm added that this loss was in part due to around half of Carnival’s customers requesting a cash refund rather than pausing their bookings for a future date. Carnival said that it was ‘unable to definitively predict’ when it can resume its normal operations.
Elsewhere, many of the Royal Caribbean owned cruise lines have now extended their suspension to 15 September. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's ‘no-sail order’ is scheduled to expire on 24 July, Canada’s ban on cruises in the country’s waters is not due to expire until 31 October this year.
Meanwhile, cruise staff remain stranded onboard cruise vessels. In mid-June, it was reported that as many as 42,000 crewmembers were still stuck out at sea, yet to be repatriated. And in the UK, port authorities recently boarded cruise ships docked in Bristol and Essex over concerns for crewmembers wellbeing.
One thing’s for certain, the cruise industry is in dire need of change. From health and safety protocols to employee benefits, and from insurance cover to onboard medical facilities, the Covid-19 pandemic has underscored a number of issues that cruise lines need to address before passengers will be confident enough to resume their cruise plans.