For those that are not aware, the Big 3, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian had already suspended sailing into May 11th. The CDC had an entire month going forward from last Friday, to work behind the scenes with the cruise lines and no one at risk. This would have allowed the cruise lines to work directly with the CDC, prepare their needed readiness plans and look for a date going forward as to when the ships can sail once again.
As I shared previously, the cruise lines work on a 90 day cycle of cash. By May 11th that would have been about 60 days, but now it is out to 130 days –or approximately July 20th. One of the comments on Slope was, ‘Well cruise lines hire mostly foreigners.’
Perhaps that is a valid statement, but I see cruise lines presenting an opportunity for some of these folks to step up where they may not have had that opportunity in their home country. Regardless of my perspective, it is entirely untrue that somehow the US populace will not be affected by all of this. Millions of people across the US are either directly or indirectly impacted by this edict.
Let me offer the following as to the scope of how great the impact will be because of the announced decision into summer which is peak season. Not only has the COVID-19 event caused major economic disruption ALL across America now it will last into July.
Think about just how far reaching this edict is; in the USA we have the port cities of Anchorage, Juneau, Sitka, Skagway, Ketchikan, Seattle, Astoria, San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Los Angeles, Galveston, Mobile, New Orleans, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Charlotte, Boston, Baltimore, New York, Bayonne, Honolulu, Kahului, Hilo, and Nawiliwili.
Each of these port cities has varying sights to see, including excursions, restaurants, etc. visited on a daily, or almost daily, basis. In addition, you have needed air travel, vehicle transportation, restaurants, hotels and tourism before and after the cruise. Somewhere in there is food service being prepared and loaded onto the ships at each of these cities while the disembarked ship passengers are scurrying about the city.
And lastly, you have agents, at the cruise line or an agency, that are working to provide some continuity of services to these travelers from the moment they leave home until they return. ALL of these businesses will be impacted significantly because of an announced decision that will further the major economic disruption all across the USA into July. Quite a ripple effect to be had going forward.
It was unnecessary intervention here on an industry that is already taking steps as this event continues to unfold. The cruise lines were not opening on Monday and the CDC stepped in. This was an unneeded display by the CDC on an industry that is already closed for another month.
Now, even if on May 1st the CDC tries to walk it backwards to an earlier date the damage is done out toward the end of July. And if this one piece of the economy is such a scourge then what about concerts, casinos, shopping malls, church gatherings, airports and airplanes, weddings and funerals,sporting events – major league, college, high school, martial arts – classes and competitions, yoga classes, gym classes, family reunions, etc.? Wouldn’t a comprehensive plan geared toward precautions in-group scenarios have been a more appropriate step by preparing everyone for next steps as they keep talking about opening the economy?
Yes, the cruise line should have readiness plans so as not to be so reliant on local, state and federal authorities. Just ask! The cruise lines had a month to work on it with the CDC – it’s called working together and far less harmful to the economic impact of this great country.