The global cruise industry is taking an unprecedented break from operations as travel restrictions due to coronavirus take hold around the world, including advice against all non-essential travel from the UK Government, which is still in place despite other lifted restrictions.
The Foreign Office currently warns: “British nationals aged 70 and over, and those with underlying health conditions like chronic diseases and diabetes, are advised not to travel on cruise ships.”
For years the cruise holiday industry has steadily expanded, with almost every cabin on almost every vessel filled.
New cruising passengers continually take up the space vacated by old cruisers who have taken their final voyage, and before coronavirus the industry showed no signs of slowing down.
The industry is most popular with the older generation, with cruise holiday’s designed to be as catered for as possible.
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It also appeals to the older generation because of the amount of time a cruise takes – some cruises can take months to complete, so not best designed for those still in work.
But, cruises made the headlines earlier in the coronavirus crisis as 100s of cases were reported onboard cruise ships, leading to holiday-goers being confined to quarantine in their rooms.
Since the Diamond Princess was quarantined in Yokohama on February 4, cases of COVID-19 were been reported aboard dozens of vessels, and tragically a number of passengers have died onboard cruise ships.
The first cruise operator to announce it was suspending its river and ocean cruises for the lockdown was Viking on March 11, closely followed by Princess Cruises.
Practically all other major cruise lines then made similar announcements since then.
Some 30 million people embark on a cruise every year, and cruises provide a crash course in seeing some of the world’s most beautiful sights.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which represents the owners of nearly 300 big cruise ships, the industry also sustains 1.2 million jobs.
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Which cruise lines have announced reopening?
There is no industry-wide ban on cruising, however, the companies have been forced to shut down in the face of international travel restrictions.
A handful of cruise lines have announced dates and time frames in which they hope to be back on the oceans.
Among those opening earlier, Riveria Travel will resume services on June 1.
Amadeus River Cruises, ATP Cruises, Saga Cruises, Star Cruises and Marella Cruises have a proposed resumption date of July 1.
P&O Cruises, AmaWaterways and Royal Caribbean Cruises have both proposed a restart date on August 1.
Princess Cruises have not outlined a date but hope to be active again in the autumn.
However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently has a travel advisory out against travelling anywhere in the world outside of the UK.
Cruises are still available to book at heavily discounted prices, although travel restrictions apply worldwide.
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