Cruise Line companies have seen a sharp rise in the number of people who want to take cruises. However, they are facing growing pressure from regulators and environmental groups as well as their own customers over concerns about how much fuel is used on board ships.
With the new testing requirements before debarking, cruise lines are in a difficult position. The requirement for the new testing process is that all ships must be booked at full capacity. This puts pressure on the cruise lines to make sure they have enough passengers for their trips. Read more in detail here: are cruise ships booking at full capacity.
Several ports have deviated from their usual protocols in recent weeks, enabling cruise ships to dock and passengers to disembark. New laws that require passengers to undergo further testing before being allowed to disembark the ship are putting cruise operators to the test.
In the past few days, we’ve seen ships from Holland America Line, Carnival Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean affected by the abrupt introduction of testing requirements in Mexico, the Cayman Islands, and Puerto Rico. As reports emerge that Omicron’s symptoms are less severe, cruise ports are raising their health and safety barriers, leaving cruise ships with nowhere to go.
Carnival Panorama Postpones Visit to Puerto Vallarta
Authorities required Carnival Panorama to submit a negative antigen test for all guests intending to exit the ship at the popular cruise destination on December 27, causing problems for the cruise line.
Carnival Cruise Line is seen.
On December 24, the ship set sail from Long Beach, California. There were five confirmed COVID-19 cases among the crew at the time; by the time the ship landed in Puerto Vallarta, the number had climbed to 69 coronavirus infections. According to local media reports, there were 5386 passengers and staff members on board, with the total cases accounting for little over 1% of those on board.
When the cruise company learned of the testing requirements, it cancelled the call to Puerto Vallarta and headed for Mazatlan.
A Growing Number of Cruise Lines Have Been Affected
The findings from Carnival Panorama are not conclusive. The Koningsdam cruise ship of Holland America Line was forced to depart Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on December 23 after passengers were refused permission to disembark owing to COVID cases on board.
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On December 26, Puerto Rico enacted a new law requiring all cruise ships that want their passengers to depart to produce a negative test result taken no more than 48 hours before landing. This prompted the Symphony of the Seas to postpone its visit, and additional cruise ship visits to the island become more doubtful.
The Nieuw Statendam’s first call to the Cayman Islands was also canceled after officials revised their pre-arrival testing standards. The criteria for visitors to submit a negative test result conducted within 24 hours of arrival has been strengthened.
What Will Cruises Look Like in the Next Few Weeks?
There’s no doubting that many of these places’ excessively cautious responses are placing a pressure on cruise companies. Not only are customers dissatisfied when ports of call are missed, but the arbitrary closing of ports for ships with less than or just over a percent of cases aboard will make cruise companies appear awful for all the wrong reasons.
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Every week over the last six months, we’ve observed instances aboard cruise ships. This isn’t a new problem, and cruise companies have dealt with it in the past. In virtually every instance, the patients were asymptomatic or had just minor side effects.
Cruise ships carry 100% or almost 100% vaccinated passengers, and thorough testing is done before the cruise begins. There is no indication that cruise ships are contributing to an increase in caseloads in the islands and locations that have begun enforcing the new guidelines.
Also see: Why Cruise Ships Aren’t Floating Petri Dishes
Fortunately, practically all cruise companies have private islands that are available and will likely stay accessible in the future. In the next days, we may anticipate cruise companies to come to their own conclusions and change their schedules.
Perfect Day at CocoCay, Castaway Cay, Half Moon Cay, or any of the other private beach destinations will more than likely replace the destinations that have closed down now; or ports of call that understand that COVID does not go away by closing ports; especially when airports remain open with little to no testing requirements.
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The “cruise ship capacity” is a new testing requirement that has been put into place by the cruise lines. This puts the cruise lines in a difficult position, as they are now unable to accommodate passengers who have booked their cruise before this change was made.
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