Cruising is back. Here’s the future for the business

Speaking of which – Get weakt is a new CNN travel series that explores some of the most exciting topics in the travel world. In April, we set the class for the different worlds of cruise ships. If you’re looking for travel promotion or insider information, Ticket Monthly will take you there.

(CNN) – After two years of navigating stormy seas, the cruise industry – one of the most epidemic -stricken parts of tourism – is projected to move forward.

Facing the pressures of chronic illness and the urgent demands associated with climate change, innovation and changing the name of the game.

After a 15 -month suspension, ships resumed from U.S. ports last summer, but not without a return (the CDC has released its most powerful cruise line). on a cruise ship during the Omicron surge of December, for example).
According to the executive director of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), more than 75% of its member vessels have returned to service, with almost all returning to the water. end of summer.
Virgin Voyages ’Valiant Lady began its first production in March 2022.

Virgin Voyages ’Valiant Lady began its first production in March 2022.

Gregg Wolstenholme / Bav Media / Shutterstock

CLIA has predicted that not only will the number of passengers increase but be ahead of the pre-pandemic level by the end of 2023. And according to Cruise Industry News’s cruise ship order for cruise ships , nearly 40 new ships will line up starting this year alone, with more than 75 ships on order by 2027.

People in the industry said there was a demand for a pent-up cruiser.

“The industry will only be in use for two and a half months in 2020, and partly in 2021, so there are 20 months of sailors who don’t get their vacation,” explains Monty Mathisen. editor for Cruise Industry News.

Colleen McDaniel, editor of the cruise review website Critic Critic, said, “We’re seeing sales and cruise bookings increase every week, which is good news for the industry. ”

Of course, the journey is back, if with a different perspective. Here’s where the future of travel now stands for 2022 and beyond.

Continuing protocols led to disease management

CNN’s Natasha Chen reported from Celebrity Edge, the first cruise ship to sail out of a U.S. port in less than 15 months.

The cruise lines have implemented health and safety measures in response to the disease, which CLIA spokeswoman Laziza Lambert said “is one of the highest levels of Covid-19 mitigation compared. as well as other areas of business. ”

McDaniel says customer confidence is high because of the outcome.

“Among the cruise ships, we were told that sailing was more enjoyable than flying, staying in a hotel, going to an indoor event, or traveling. to a house party with some guests outside of their family, ”the editor said.

Such activities include medication prescriptions, pre -flight testing, advanced ventilation systems, deep cleaning protocols, and removal of high pressure areas (e.g., buffets are run by the groups rather than self -service). Some lines call for masking and encouraging social movement through the potential to be reduced, while those policies are declining.

“I’ve heard positive comments about ships being smaller than full, and how that has led to a better experience on board,” Mathisen said, adding however, “It will be over soon.”

But some of the new mass reduction processes are still in place, and are proving to be a relaxing value – additions to the journeys, such as the slow pace of running and changes in human training routines. and virtual objects.

Sailors review their cruise in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on June 26, 2021. Celebrity Edge is the first cruise ship to leave a U.S. port since coronavirus infection brought the industry to about 15 months.

Sailors review their cruise in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on June 26, 2021. Celebrity Edge is the first cruise ship to leave a U.S. port since coronavirus infection brought the industry to about 15 months.

Marta Lavandier / AP

“A lot of the painful areas of cruise knowledge relate to the first day – viewing, meeting, etc.,” Mathisen said, “And those things are kind of new. all over. ”

What’s more, it’s the ongoing impact of the disease on itineraries, given the patchwork of changing world boundaries related to cruise ship access. Promising the industry, some major cruises are launching cruise lines in 2022 for the first time in two years, including Canada and Australia.

Many ports will continue to require registration or Covid -19 reports that are not good for passengers to leave – and port policies could move in the opposite direction. ebb and flow of disease waves.

McDaniel said because of such volatility, simple termination policies are the number one priority for investors. However, he said: “Cruise lines are starting to change their exhaustion policies from what we previously knew of the disease, so it’s important that you understand the disease. policy of your selection line rather than your book. “

Green ship technology

The fast -growing cruise line has faced increasing scrutiny about its contributions to air and water pollution (a new study found that a single cruise ship the total carbon footprint of more than 12,000 cars).
In November, CLIA’s cruise lines were determined to reach carbon neutrality by 2050, in line with the United Nations global global emissions targets for that year. But the industry’s continued reliance on heavy fuel oil (HFO) is a deterrent to its decarbonization goals.

Pioneer cruise lines are looking for new and more sustainable energy sources for their fleets, such as electricity, biofuels and hydrogen fuels.

Hurtigruten is in Norway behind the world’s first electric cruiser, the three -year -old MS Roald Amundsen; the company has added two more hybrid ships, with three to come, and has announced plans for a zero-emissions ship by 2030. They banned HFO more than a year ago. now, and they are experimenting with biofuels.

Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen in Duse Bay, Antarctica.

Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen in Duse Bay, Antarctica.

Oscar Farrera

Asta Lassesen, Director of Hurtigruten Expeditions, said the company hopes to lead by comparison because “the only way forward for the cruise industry is sustainability.”

“However, we are seeing large parts of the shipping industry dragging their feet, strengthening ships with heavy fuel oil pollution and flooding small communities with thousands of people at once, ”he said.

It includes a number of different cruise lines, such as the beautiful Ponant line, which launched electric cruises last year, and high -end Silversea Cruises, which has a hybrid cruise line lined up. for 2023. Currently, Italy’s largest line MSC Cruises plans to develop. The world’s first cruise ship.

CLIA reports that more than half of the industry’s new cruise ships rely on natural gas (LNG). However, industry watchdogs like Marcie Keever at social media company Friends of the Earth maintain that LNG is just a disgrace and another pollutant.

“The shipping industry is moving to LNG just to keep them with a fossil-fuel technology that hasn’t failed for 30 to 40 years,” he said.

The agency is looking at measures to reduce emissions by adding coastal power, which will allow ships to turn off their engines and spend more time in port. The CLIA will be able to use 174 vessels with the same integration by 2027 – although at least 14 international ports are currently equipped with adequate systems.

Small ships

Even before the outbreak, sailors showed a tendency for smaller and more connected ships, with the boon of rivers and cruise ships now.

Yacht lines such as Viking and Seabourn are growing in the cruise market this year, while newer ones such as Atlas Ocean Voyages and The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are expanding the small yacht space.

Viking’s two new cruise ships have a beautiful Owner’s Suite.

Viking’s two new cruise ships have a beautiful Owner’s Suite.

Viking

While being sold at a bargain price, these small vessels offer independent coverage in a post-pandemic world, such as low population and access to other areas, the bucket list. which was inaccessible to large cruise ships.

They also help tackle overtourism, a serious problem facing the industry before Covid, and have since led popular port cities such as Venice and Key West to put things in perspective. held on board a cruise ship.

“It’s very simple: It’s a big deal,” said Lassesen, of Hurtigruten. “A cruise ship is much smaller than a mega ship.”

Unrelated technology

The disease has accelerated the advent of technology on cruise ships, with new digital features that allow for a more accessible – and contactless – environment on board.

Phones and devices that can be used as bracelets or medallions are doubled as sailing boards and key cards; Some outfits can allow visitors to find travel companions on board.

In restaurants, QR codes are replacing traditional printed menus, while cruise phone apps continue to help sailors book food, spa treatments, shows, activities. and tours with the click of a button.

The bottom line

McDaniel believes the industry is well placed to handle future disease -related problems.

“Because of the patterns we’ve seen on different genres, they have a short -term impact on books,” he says. “So expecting the same trends to continue, we can expect the industry to be in a good position.”

However when it comes to sustainability, the process is much longer, say experts like Keever.

“It’s sad, there’s a lot of greenwashing going on,” he said, adding that there needs to be government regulation and oversight “to require the industry to improve its environment and work. to really protect the communities and the seas they visit. “

Of course, there are high financial implications for the stability of the business.

Prior to the disease, the shipping sector contributed $ 154 billion to the global economy, according to the CLIA – that number is down by about 60%, to $ 63.4 billion for 2020, leading to a loss. half of the work supported by cruise around the world. a total of 576,000).

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