With cruises not yet starting in the United States and the suspensions lasting until 2021, frustration is growing among major cruise lines like Carnival Cruise Line.
Carnival fans will no doubt be following Carnival brand ambassador John Heald. He recently conducted an online interview with Cruise Line Communications Director Chris Chimes and posted it on his popular Facebook page.
Chiames is responding to the growing frustration of guests and a number of issues raised by many, including the mistake of implementing the COVID policy too early, dealing with the CDC and the current situation with Alaska cruises.
CDC and vaccines
The entire U.S. industry is waiting for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to take a cruise. It appears to be a very complicated process that cruise passengers have been waiting for since the Conditional Shipping Order was first announced on October 30, 2020.
Asked by Heild about the current state of affairs and the guests’ disappointment, Hymes said, “I can tell them that they are absolutely right to be disappointed, because of course we are all disappointed with carnival too.”
When the ban on cruising ended, it was hoped that cruises would finally resume and test sailings would begin. However, we have heard virtually nothing and the Carnival cruise line is in the same boat. Himes goes on to say, “Sometimes the answer is really, ‘We don’t know,’ and it’s true when people ask me, ‘When will cruises resume?
The focus now seems to be on the deployment of the vaccine and when it might be introduced. It is not yet known whether only vaccinated guests will sail on SAGA Cruises’ British cruise ships.
Currently, the situation is still very volatile and much emphasis has been placed on vaccine rollout: “A lot of work has been done on protocols, but vaccine uptake, renewed efforts to ramp up vaccine production and distribution, and the goal of rapidly vaccinating more people have taken precedence over a series of interventions and “back to basics.”
Himes said it was not his job to speak on behalf of the CDC. As frustrating as it is for the cruise line, they are just doing their best and waiting like everyone else. He said, “The sooner Americans get the vaccine, the sooner we can get back in service.”
Also read: How important could a vaccine be for cruises in 2021?
An error in carnival policy
When news of Canada’s one-year ban on cruise ships arrived, Carnival quietly revealed the new COVID rules and procedures on its website. This was later repeated by the media, as it was the first glimpse of what cruising might look like once the line reopened.
Image credit: Igor_Koptilin / Shutterstock.com
A few days later, it was revealed that the publication of this information was a mistake. Carnival promptly withdrew them all and in a statement released to Cruise Hive, the cruise line stated, “In our haste to keep customers and travel agents informed, we have released some information that is not yet final. As we have said before, guests should be aware of masking, testing, distancing and other protocols.” We plan to announce more details in the coming weeks as we work toward resuming operations.”
Asked by Huld what happened to the posting of the new papers and the subsequent removal, Himes replied, “We were fooling around. In our haste, we posted things that were wrong. And to be clear, it wasn’t so much about the logs as it was about releasing what the SOLDIERS should have asked for.”
Vaccines may affect all new protocols, and Dr. Haims also noted that all new protocols may be changed in the future.
Canada last week shocked the cruise industry by banning ships with more than 100 passengers for a year. Himes said there is no certainty yet about cruises to Alaska. “We know that the Canadian government has stated that there will be no cruises in Canadian ports until early 2022.” But this came as a surprise to many. Especially government officials and tourism interests in Alaska.”
Image credit: Dee Browning / Shutterstock.com
He continued by saying that “there are different levels of discussion here. Carnival Cruise Line will not have these discussions because we are a relatively small player in the Alaska cruise market compared to our sister brands within Carnival Corporation or our competitors.”
The issue is basically the Passenger and Cruise Ship Act, which requires a stopover in a foreign port when leaving the United States. If that doesn’t change or if something doesn’t magically come out of it, the season in Alaska will likely be canceled.
The cruise lines are still assessing the situation and nothing has been announced yet. Cruise lines have been caught off guard by Canada’s announcement, and it affects many cruises, so it will certainly take time to get everything in order.
Status of cruises longer than seven days
John Heald said in the interview that many of his supporters questioned the status of cruises longer than seven days. This is part of the Conditional Sailing Order (CDC) requirements, and cruise lines have already cancelled these long trips by November 1, 2021.
These options have become more complex as discussions about protocols, vaccines, availability of certain destinations and route adjustments have expanded,” Himes said. He went on to say, “We know that guests are still waiting for answers, and since we cannot give them definitive answers, we are taking the steps we have communicated to these guests today.
This mainly concerns communication with affected customers who have booked yachts for more than seven days. They have the option of canceling them without penalty or even waiting to see if the cruises will not continue in the end.
The conclusion we draw is that the Carnival is disappointed, as are the guests. We are all waiting for the CDC to make the necessary decisions so that the cruises can return safely. The cruise line is doing its best to be fully prepared, but it all comes down to details. The CDC is trying to get the vaccines ready as soon as possible, which means we need to get back to some normalcy as soon as possible.
At the end of the interview with Jonah Hilda, Himes said, “I want to add that while we appreciate the loyalty and daily commitment of our fans – or should I say YOUR fans – we are not always able to answer their questions. Sometimes you don’t have an answer. Sometimes we don’t have an answer”.
Carnival Cruise Line has canceled cruises through April 2021. Currently, US cruises begin in May. However, we have not heard of test cruises from the CDC during the year and they are expected to be the first.
In the meantime, Carnival also gathers crew members on the ships to prepare them and make sure the fleet can be safe for both crew and guests. Everything else is a waiting game.
Frequently asked questions
Are cruise ship employees allowed to sleep with guests?
6. The crew is strictly prohibited from meeting the guests during the voyage. The ship’s security personnel supervise crew members 24 hours a day. This does not mean that an altercation never takes place, but if a crew member has an altercation with a guest, he or she will be thrown into the next port of the ship.
What challenges do cruise lines face in attracting guests?
Geopolitical, terrorist and climatic extremes will continue to be a challenge. Growth in cruise tourism must be environmentally sustainable and supported by adequate port infrastructure, especially since some new ships will need to carry more than 6,000 passengers and 3,000 crew.
Do cruise agents communicate with passengers?
Crew members have strict orders not to meet passengers. This can easily cost them their jobs. Focus on the other passengers, not the crew.
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