31. December 2019, the day we first heard about a new virus surfacing in China. Nothing was wrong and cruises around the world continued as if nothing had happened, but for a few months the industry came to a complete halt and has essentially remained that way ever since.
Just 2.5 months later, the situation is very different. Today marks one year since the voluntary hiatus on the 12th. Mars 2020 has begun. It started with Viking Cruises and Princess Cruises, and other cruise lines were suspended the next day, after ships sailed out.
Despite years of preparation, response and outbreak planning, cruise lines have felt the impact a pandemic could have on an industry that has seen its golden years.
A year later, we are still suffering the effects of a virus that devastated the economy and brought the cruise industry to its knees.
Daily vaccinations, millions of people vaccinated in an incredibly short time, infection rates dropping daily, and ships leaving from different parts of the world offer hope for a return. But you can see from all this that we are not there yet.
On the 20th. In January 2020, the Diamond Princess departed Yokohama, Japan with 3,711 passengers and crew. What emerges from this one trip is something few in the cruise industry had anticipated or planned.
One of the passengers landed in Hong Kong on the 25th. of January, was examined and tested positive for KOVID-19. After Japanese authorities conducted six other checks in three countries, on 3. A positive case was reported in February and the vessel was quarantined.
Photo credit: Anotai Y / Shutterstock.com
Two days later, the passengers were quarantined in their quarters; the crew had to continue working. By the end of the year, 712 of the Diamond Princess’ 3,711 passengers and crew had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, 37 (9.7%) required intensive care and nine (1.3%) had died.
The events aboard the Diamond Princess showed the world how unprepared the cruise industry was at the time for outbreaks of KOVID-19 on board. This was the beginning of a discussion that would continue for several weeks until it became clear in the first weeks of March that the trips would have to be stopped.
On the 12th. In March 2020, then-President Donald Trump announced an entry ban on the United States from Europe. The ban caused a chain reaction among cruise lines, all of which began canceling flights around the world. The first two cruise lines to cancel are Princess Cruises and Viking Cruises.
Princess Cruises, which was hit hardest by COVID due to the impact on Diamond Princess, Grand Princess and Regal Princess, has announced a 60-day pause in operations.
Thereupon, Viking Cruises, a private cruise line, cancelled all voyages on all ocean and river ships starting on the 12th. March to the 30th. April. After that, things moved quickly, as our Cruise Hive reports:
No one expected this after the cruise lines’ decision to suspend operations on the 12th and 13th. March 2020 only to voluntarily stop driving a year later anyway.
Photo credits: Russell Otway.
Also read : When will cruises resume in 2021?
Although vaccination is going well in many countries and infection rates are falling, many believe that cruisers face disaster once they set sail again.
Fortunately for those of us who care about the vastness of the ocean, the situation today is much different than it was a year ago.
When the Diamond Princess was hit by the virus, understanding was minimal. Most of this information was based on hearsay, there was little or no medical research, and the cruisers were virtually unprepared for COWID.
Today, several cruise ships with thousands of passengers depart daily on weekdays from Singapore, Italy and the Canary Islands, and soon from Israel and the United Kingdom.
It’s worth a read: Domestic cruises in the UK can start from 17. The month of May will resume.
These ships have proven that navigation can be safe if the right measures are taken on board. Due to testing, social distance, use of technology, and monitoring of passengers and crew, the recreational experience is currently safer than many other places on earth.
We are not out of it yet, and the virus continues to wreak havoc in many parts of the world. But that too will come to an end. And when that happens, we can look forward to returning to the bridge, greeting the captain and finding our favorite spot at the bar.
Main photo credit: Ben Molyneux / Shutterstock.com
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