All floating hotels all quickly returned to port, disembarked their passengers and the cruise vacation was halted. The cruise industry has not only been shut down, a coronavirus was the storm that made all cruise ships dock permanently. The industry, which grew into a sector worth $ 46 billion a year, with 26 million passengers a year, came to a complete standstill.
Ironically, the industry was well prepared for the outbreak of diseases on board its ships, as has often happened, usually the norovirus "vomiting virus". This time it didn't go as expected, says Christopher Muller, a professor at Boston University, who explains further.
“The worst thing you can do when passengers get sick is to keep people on board,” he says. "The plan is always to go to the nearest port, drop everyone off and then disinfect the ship."
Normally this means that the ship will be ready to go back to cruising in a few weeks and can start a new cruise vacation, but this time "the governments forced them to keep people on board," added Prof. Muller. "This was not the fault of the industry, they would not normally have done that."
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many modern cruise ships have relatively small cabins, as the sector's economic model relies on getting as many passengers as possible to spend money in the ship's spas, restaurants, bars and shops .
The industry's poor publicity for the cruise vacation over the past month, as quarantined passengers on board ships had to remain within sight of the coast, will weigh heavily on the industry and this can hardly shake the industry.
Not only that, but many of the destinations of their passengers hardly miss the cruise ships. Nobody is willing to save them because of the negative effects they have on their destinations. They contribute very little to the local economy.
Cruise ships are notorious for dropping off thousands of tourists in busy, low-spending cities, looking around for five or six hours with a packed lunch, and then boarding again for dinner.