Our industry has been hit hard, and really unfairly so. The industry I am referring to is the Cruise Ship industry. Unfortunately, ONE case was discovered on the Diamond Princess, and instead of removing everyone off the ship the Japanese government decided to quarantine them on the ship. Not smart, but at the time probably nobody knew what to do.
Fast forward to the Grand Princess. This time more indecision and politically motivated decisions “to limit the numbers of cases that would be shown to be in the US”. Really? Finally common sense prevailed and the cruise-liner docked off America’s west coast. However, thanks to the media hysteria, people watching this second saga unfold fully expected to see hundreds of sick people removed from the ship shipped off to quarantine to suffer, but nothing like that happened; as far as I know, while many were infected, only two people over 80 succumbed. Everyone else is absolutely fine.
Fast forward again to the Norwegian Cruise Line ship currently not being allowed access to South African ports. There is not one single sick person on-board, and there is no possible way for the COVID-19 virus to reach the ship. It’s mass social distancing and a safe place to be. But noticeably, because its not terrifying news, this scenario gets no attention.
The Cruise Ship industry is a huge contributor to the economy. I can say with a fair amount of certainty, that in future a Cruise Ship is one place you will be required to prove you are in excellent health before you can begin your vacation. With proper pre-screening and strict controls being required (no different to getting your travel shots to visit Kenya for example), these will be disease free places to spend a vacation. 26 Million passengers per year visiting cities worldwide, with money to spend, are going to be needed to help us recover from the economic disaster we are living through right now.
The Cruise Ship companies have suspended all travel without being asked, and at their own peril. There are at least 1000 crew on-board stranded vessels that have no known cases of the virus, and will all be quarantined. Life will return to normal, so lets work together to minimize the damage to ALL industries instead of beating any one particular industry to death for something that nobody saw coming. If we are going to report on situations, we need to keep the reporting balanced. Economic disaster, on a scale not seen since the great depression, will result in far more deaths and destruction than this virus will ever cause. Lets keep perspective!
Just like people will not be afraid to fly again, or visit Italy or China, the Cruise Ship business will be ready to welcome passengers again, safer than ever!