Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an ongoing pandemic disease that started with the outbreak in Wuhan China in December 2019. WHO (World Health Organization) officially classified the outbreak as a "worldwide pandemic" on March 11, 2020.
NOTE: If you want to skip the following statistical information (including financial), this link jumps down directly to CruiseMapper's table with Coronavirus-impacted passenger ships (2022-2021). Follow this CruiseMapper link for Norovirus outbreaks on passenger ships.
For 1 year (March 15/2020-2021), on cruise ships, Coronavirus affected 3519 people (passengers plus crew, only officially confirmed cases) of whom 73 passengers died. The first epidemic outbreak occurred on Diamond Princess (February/ 712 infected, including 14 deaths). The second outbreak was on Grand Princess (February-March/ infected 132 with 7 deaths). The third/largest outbreak was on Ruby Princess (March/ 852 infected with 22 deaths). Followed a long month of altered or canceled cruises, ship quarantines/in-port lockdowns, port closures (bans on incoming vessels) - mainly in Southeast Asia, Europe, the Caribbean.
The next table shows statistics on the top-pandemic countries (confirmed cases/registered patients and deaths per million) caused by COVID-19 / SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). FOR 1 YEAR (March 8/2020-2021) were reported TOTAL DEATHS 2,6M, TOTAL INFECTED 117,148M, TOTAL RECOVERED 66,38M. In brackets (per million) is the number of Coronavirus-related DEATHS PER MILLION (country inhabitants).
|Country||Infected/COVID cases||Deaths||Deaths per million||Total population|
Annually, common flu infects ~11% of Earth's total population (~800 million), with influenza deaths varying between 0,5 million and 1,2 million (each year). The main issue with COVID-19 is its much longer incubation period (time between the infection and developing the symptoms) which is 7-14-days (compared to influenza's 1-2-days). Statistically, most Coronavirus patients (~98%) develop the symptoms within 12 days after the infection.
Coronavirus deaths vary greatly by region/country, with the mortality rates being influenced by the volume of testing and population characteristics (average age, overall health, quality of the country's healthcare system). Many countries (including Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, UK, USA, Canada) report statistical data that includes deaths from suspected COVID-19 cases (including of non-tested people) which results in higher deaths in comparison to countries (like China, Russia, Germany, Japan, Ireland) that report deaths of only confirmed COVID-19 cases.
In early-May 2020, according to Johns Hopkins University (private research facility in Baltimore MD), the global average death-to-Coronavirus ratio was 7,1% (7 deaths on 100 cases treated). Nearly all Coronavirus deaths were elderly people aged 70+ (Italy's average age is 79,5) and the majority had previous health conditions. On June 5, AstraZeneca (British-Swedish biopharmaceutical, 1999-founded) announced that it started manufacturing a potential COVID vaccine. The production (~2 billion doses) was ahead of the human trial results.
- Coronavirus spreads similarly to common influenza (via droplets from coughing/sneezing), with exposure-symptom onset time 2-14 days. Predominant symptoms include fever, dry cough, fatigue, sputum production (saliva+mucus), anosmia (smell blindness), breathing problems (shortness of breath), muscle/joint pains, sore throat, headache. Illness complications include pneumonia (lungs inflammation) and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).
- Russia successfully treats patients with blood plasma taken from Coronavirus survivors. On April 1, 2021, Russia's Health Ministry registered "COVID Globulin" - the world's first immunoglobulin against the virus. The medicine was developed by Nacimbio (National Immunobiological Company, part of the state-owned Rostec Corporation) and based on blood plasma donated by recovered patients in Moscow. For the production was used 2,5 tonnes of biomaterial. The drug was intended for treating medium (Stage 2) and strong (Stage 3) cases.
- In December 2020, following controlled clinical trials at 3x Hubei hospitals (Zhongnan, Leishenshan, Taihe), China confirmed that ICU patients started to recover after receiving HDIVC (high-dose intravenous Vitamin C). For 7 days, the critically ill COVID patients received 12 g (50 ml, at a rate of 12 ml/hour) HDIVC every 12 hours. The results were improved oxygenation. This study was not evaluated by the USA.
The financial impact on the ship cruising industry in 2020-2021
According to UNWTO (UN's World Tourism Organization), the cruise industry's recovery could be expected by 2020-Q4 (mainly in the USA-Caribbean), but mostly in 2021-Q2. UNWTO expected in 2020 the industry's levels to drop by 70-80% (over 2019), depending on the duration of intercountry travel restrictions and border closures (especially within Europe). According to UNWTO, the financial impact on the industry (projected loss) was between USD 0,85-1,1 billion. The global tourism industry was expected to lose export revenues between USD 0,91-1,2 trillion, affecting 100-120 million jobs/employees. The industry employs ~200,000 shipboard personnel (service staff and maintenance crew).
Between March 12-15, all major cruise shipping companies (ocean and river) suspended operations fleetwide (all vessels in the fleet remained docked/anchored and fully crewed) for periods ranging from 30 up to 60 days. All canceled voyages were fully refunded in FCC (future cruise credit).
Between March 16-30, Fincantieri (world's largest cruise shipbuilding company) suspended all activities at its shipyards and offices in Italy. For 2020-H1 (first-half), Fincantieri reported EUR 137 million (~$161M) net loss on EUR 2,4 billion (~$2,827B) revenues - compared to 2019-H1's net income EUR 47M on EUR 2,8B revenues. The suspension resulted in EUR 790M (~$931M) loss on revenues, or 17,5% decrease - including 13,5% from cruise shipbuilding which represented 57% of Fincantieri's revenue in 2020.
On March 16, 2020, Carnival Corporation (world's largest cruise shipowner) loaned $3 billion (~EUR 2,77B) with maturity in September 2020. On March 31, Carnival Corp announced plans to issue $6B (~EUR 5,49B) in stock and debt - $1,25B (in CCL shares), $3B (in secured notes due 2023, assets-backed loan) and $1,75B (in convertible notes due 2023/debt that converts into equity).
- As of 2020, Carnival's employees in the USA were ~0,5 million.
- On April 2, were issued CCL common stocks for $0,5 billion (reduced from the announced $1,25B) or a total of 62,5 million ordinary shares at $8 per share.
- In mid-May, to further strengthen its liquidity, Carnival Corporation announced a combination of (company-wide / including senior management) furloughs, layoffs, reduced workweeks, salary reductions. The moves resulted in hundreds of millions in cash conservation.
- On June 30, Carnival UK laid off 1/3 of its shore-based staff.
- For 2020-H1, Carnival reported revenues ($5,5B, with losses $5,2 billion), cash ($6,9B - compared to 2019-H1's $518M), total assets ($49,8B), current liabilities/short-term financial obligations ($11,9B), long-term debt ($4,9B).
- In mid-August, Carnival Corporation reported in a regulatory filing that as of July 31 it had $7,9B (~EUR 6,671B) in cash and cash equivalents, with average monthly cash burn rate (2020-H2) ~$650M (~EUR 550M). This allows ~12 months of cash (with no-sailing ships) to be spent on vessel operations, administrative expenses, capital expenditures/export credit facilities, loans' interests.
- For 2020-Q3 (ending Aug 31) Carnival reported GAAP net loss $2,9B (including $900M non-cash charges), adjusted net loss $1,7B, $8,2B cash and cash equivalents, average monthly cash burn rate $770M (~$17K per minute). A total of 19 older vessels left the 9-brand fleet (~13% of Carnival's total passenger capacity).
- For 2020-Q4 Carnival reported GAAP net loss $2,2B, adjusted net loss $1,9B, cash and cash equivalents $9,5B, monthly cash burn rate ~$500M (~16 months of cash), customer deposits balance $2,2B (mainly FCCs).
- On Feb 10-16, 2021, Carnival priced private offerings in Senior Unsecured Notes for $3,5B (annual interest 5,75%) beginning September 1, 2021, and maturing March 1, 2027.
- For 2021-Q1, Carnival reported GAAP net loss $2B, cash and short-term investments $11,5B, 90% higher booking volumes (over 2020-Q1).
- For 2021-Q4, Carnival reported GAAP net loss $2,6B, Adjusted net loss $2B, liquidity $9,4B, annual interest expenses ~$400M, cruise deposits $360M, ship occupancy 58%, monthly cash burn $510M.
On March 23, 2020, RCG-Royal Caribbean Group (world's 2nd-largest cruise shipowner) loaned $2,2 billion (~EUR 2,03B) with maturity in March 2021 and an optional extension for 364 more days (till March 2022). With the new financing, RCG had $3,6+ billion of liquidity (cash deposits plus undrawn credit facilities). The money was secured term-loaned from 3 US banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Corporation, Goldman Sachs Group) plus the French banking group BNP Paribas.
- In mid-April, RCG announced that ~26% of its USA-based employees (~1300 Americans, out of 5000+) will be permanently laid off or 90-day furloughed (with paid benefits). In early-June, RCG issued Senior Notes (due 2023, fully unconditionally guaranteed) to aggregate up to $1B.
- In early-August, RCG amended a $1,55B unsecured revolving loan (due 2022) with Nordea Bank Abp, $1,925B unsecured revolving loan (due 2024) with Scotiabank, and $1B unsecured loan (3-year) with Bank of America Corporation.
- As of June 30, RCG had liquidity ~$4,1B (cash and cash equivalents) considered enough to survive until the end of 2021 without any income. On August 12, RCG secured a $700M term loan from Morgan Stanley (investment bank) at 3,75% interest and maturing on Aug 12, 2021. The loan was guaranteed by RCI Holdings LLC (RCG's subsidiary that owns all vessels).
- For 2020-Q3, RCG reported Adjusted Net Loss $1,2B, Adjusted Net Income $896,8M, ship expenses $308,6M (down from $680,4M for 2020-Q2), average monthly cash burn ~$270M (~EUR 230M - loan interests, ships-administrative expenses, hedging costs, capital expenditures, but excluding cash refunds of cruise deposits, cash inflows from bookings, agent commissions, debt obligations). As of September 30, 2020, RCG had liquid assets ~$3,7B ($3B in cash and cash equivalents).
- In late-August 2020, Awilhelmsen AS (Norwegian investment company) sold 2 million RCL shares (~$126,91M). Awilhelmsen still owns ~18 million RCL shares.
- Between December 3-31, 2020, RCG exhausted its entire $1 billion ATM (at-the-market) offering (~13M RCL stocks/average sale price $76,65 per share) diluting the company by ~5,8%. ATM is when a company raises money through gradual stock exchange sales instead of selling at once large blocks of stock to big investors (usually at a discount).
- In mid-January 2021, RCG sold the Azamara brand to Sycamore Partners (US private equity firm) for $201M (~EUR 166M / ~GBP 148M).
- After selling 8 ships - 3x Pullmantur (Horizon, Monarch, Sovereign), 3x Azamara (Quest, Journey, Pursuit), 2x RCI (Empress, Monarch), RCG's global fleet capacity decreased by 12316 berths (5984+2138+4194).
- RCG's 2020-Q4 financial report revealed US GAAP Net Loss $5,8B / EUR 4,774B (or $27,05 per share), Adjusted Net Loss $3,9B / EUR 3,21B (or $18,31 per share), $400M in cruise deposits. In 2020, RCG raised ~US$9,3B (~EUR 7,655B) through bond issuances, loans, public common stocks) and as of Dec 31 had liquidity ~$4,4B (EUR 3,62B, including $3,7B in cash-cash equivalents plus $0,7B from a year loan).
- For 2021-Q1 RCG reported Adjusted Net Loss $1,1B (EUR 907M), monthly cash burn ~$330M.
- For 2021-Q2 RCG reported Adjusted Net Loss $1,3B (EUR 1,1B), liquidity ~$5B.
- For 2021-Q3 RCG reported Adjusted Net Loss $1,2B ($4,91 per share), liquidity ~$4,1B ($3,3B cash), 40 ships in operation (~65% fleet capacity), ~$2,8B in cruise deposits (~1/3rd in FCCs).
- For 2021-Q4 RCG reported US GAAP Net Loss $1,4B ($5,33 per share), Adjusted Net Loss $1,2B ($4,78 per share), ~$3,2B in cruise deposits.
On March 12, 2020, NCLH (world's 4th-largest cruise shipowner) borrowed $1,55 billion (~EUR 1,43B) via two loans - $675M (final payment Mar 2021) and $875M (maturity in Jan 2024). On May 6, NCLH successfully secured $2,225B of additional liquidity. The capital transactions (by Goldman Sachs) consisted of $400M (public offering of common equity/shareholders at 5,375%), $750M (exchangeable senior notes/bonds), $675M (senior secured notes/debt at 10.25%) and $400M (private investment from L Catterton/USA-based equity capital investment company).
- For 2020-Q3, NCLH reported $1,5B gross proceeds ($288M public offering of common equity, $450M exchangeable senior notes, $750M senior secured notes), GAAP net loss $677,4M, Adjusted Net Loss $638,7M, Revenue $6,5M ($1,9B in 2019), Interest expenses $139,7M ($60,2M in 2019)
- NCLH's average monthly cash burn rate was lowered to ~$190M/~EUR 150M (2020-Q4) and ~$160M (2020-H2) - excluding debts.
- In mid-November 2020, NCLH issued 40 million common stocks ($20,80 per share) to raise $800M (5-month no-sail operations capital).
- In December 2020, NCLH offered senior notes (5,875%, due 2026) for $850M, to be used for general corporate purposes.
- For FY2020, NCLH reported total debt $11,8B (EUR 9,66B), liquidity ~$3,3B (EUR 2,7B/cash and cash equivalents), GAAP Net Loss $4B (EUR 3,275B), Adjusted Net Loss $2,2B (EUR 1,8B), Revenue $1,3B (80,2% decrease over 2019's $6,5B), 53,8% decrease in operating expenses (over FY2019), fuel expenses $264,7M, interest expenses $482,3M.
- For 2021-Q1 NCLH reported total debt $12,2B, cash and cash equivalents $3,5 billion, average monthly cash burn ~$190M, GAAP net loss $1,4B (EPS/Earnings Per Share $4,16), Adjusted Net Loss $668,6M, 79,8% decrease in operating expenses (over 2020-Q1), interest expense $824,4M ($68,9M in 2020).
- For FY2021 NCLH reported GAAP Net Loss $4,5B ($12,33 EPS), Adjusted Net Loss $2,9B ($8,07 EPS), Revenue $600M, Interest Expense $2,1B, operating expenses 246,7%, Capacity Days 18,1%.
On March 27, 2020, TUI AG (owner of 3 cruise companies - TUI, Marella UK, Hapag-Lloyd) loaned from KfW Bank (state-owned, Germany's 3rd-largest) EUR 1,8B (~$2,01B) to its existing credit - to total EUR 3,1B (cash and Revolving Credit Facility). Besides its cruise shipping services, TUI AG also temporarily suspended its flight-hotel- tour divisions' operations.
On April 9, 2020, CDC announced that 20 cruise liners currently docked/anchored in the USA have confirmed or suspected COVID crew cases. In the same statement, CDC extended its "No Sail Order" (officially CSO-"Conditional Sailing Order" regarding departures from the USA) through July 24 (including). Eventually, CSO was extended through August 2021, affecting the Alaskan season. Currently, CDC requires COVID vaccination for all passengers and crew but wearing masks is not mandatory now.
- Carnival Corporation spent/burned monthly on no-sail operations ~$650 million. Carnival's global fleet includes the brands/subsidiaries AIDA, CCL-Carnival, Costa, Cunard, HAL-Holland America, P&O UK, P&O Australia, Princess, Seabourn.
- RCG-Royal Caribbean spent/burned ~$250-290 million monthly on fleetwide no-sail operations. These expenses (operating plus administrative) were reduced from ~$400M after employment reduction (shipboard and ashore). RCG's global fleet includes the brands/subsidiaries RCI, Celebrity, Marella, Pullmantur, Silversea, TUI.
- NCLH-Norwegian spent/burned ~$160 million monthly on fleetwide no-sail operations. NCLH's global fleet includes the brands/subsidiaries NCL-Norwegian, NCL America, Oceania, RSSC-Regent Seven Seas.
- An MSC's no-sail month costs were ~$180 million.
During the lay-up period, on the passenger-free cruise liners, the crew was allowed to use all public areas (including bars and restaurants) and also provided with free and unlimited Internet (available 24 hours).
- "Cold lay-up" is shutting down the ship's onboard operations in order to cut costs. The non-employed vessel (out of service) is moored/anchored at a safe place (sheltered from bad weather) and awaiting new employment or charter.
- "Worm/Hot lay-up" is when the out-of-service vessel can restart operations/reenter service at a short notice.
In 2020 (February 9 through December) to The Philippines were repatriated (via charter flights and marine vessels) a total of 95974 Filipino crew (29,3% of all the 327511 overseas working Filipinos).
For the period March 13, 2020, through February 28, 2022 (2 years!), Canada banned from its seaports all foreign-flagged ships with passenger+crew capacity 100+. The ban affected both New England USA-Canada and Alaskan seasons as all non-USA-flagged ships are required (by USA's cabotage laws) to visit a foreign port along the itinerary. Eventually, the ban was extended only through November 1, 2021.
- In April 2021, Alaska State filed a lawsuit against CDC's CSO (no-sail order). In May, the lawsuit was joined by Florida and Texas. The lawsuit's purpose was for CSO to be dropped immediately, allowing companies to restart in the USA. On June 18, Judge Steven Merryday ruled in favor of Florida State in the lawsuit against CDC's CSO. On July 23, following Florida's application to the US Supreme Court (July 18), the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed CDC's CSO (no longer enforceable in Florida). However, CSO remained in effect for all other US states (including the "cruise homeporting" Texas, California, Washington, New York).
- CDC also required all outside USA-homeported ships (serving travelers in foreign countries) to quarantine for 14 days prior to entering US waters. The rule affected many repositioning voyages.
- On May 13, 2021, the US Senate unanimously passed the bill HR1318 (Alaska Tourism Recovery Act) that allows foreign-flagged (large) ships to cruise out of Washington and stop at Alaskan ports bypassing the Canadian ports. The Bill was introduced on February 24 (by the Alaskan Congressman Don Young), unanimously passed by the US House of Representatives (Congress' lower house) on May 19, and signed into law by President Biden on May 24.
- Since February 2021, Canada requires foreigners to self-quarantine for up to 3 days (at their own expense in Gov-designated hotels) while waiting for their COVID test results. The cost (~CAD 2000 pp) includes the hotel, meals, PCR test, security, hotel's cost to keep its staff safe.
- Australia required foreigners to self-quarantine at Gov-approved hotels for 14 days (AUD 2800 pp/AUD 4620 per 4-person family). Reportedly, due to the industry's shutdown, in 2020-21 Australia lost ~AUD 8 billion ($6B / EUR 5B).
- CLIA stats for 2019 (over 2016) showed the industry generated $4,25 billion (~CAD 5,405B) in economic activity in Canada (33% increase), supported ~29,000 Canadian jobs (26% increase) and paid $1,43B (~CAD 1,82B) in wages (43% increase).
- The UK lifted all COVID-induced travel restrictions on March 18, 2022. Data showed that 86% of the population had 2nd vaccination, and 67% had booster/3rd dose.
Norway banned Norwegian coastal and Svalbard cruises through May 1, 2021. New Zealand's ban was through May 29, 2021, Australia's - thru April 17, 2022 (after being extended several times).
CLIA member companies (all major cruise brands) suspended departures from US ports initially through Sept 15, then through October 31, November 20, and eventually through December 31. According to CLIA stats, in 2018 the industry generated ~$53+ billion (economic activities), supported 421,000+ jobs in the USA, with every 30th cruiser (from US ports) supporting 1 American job. CLIA's stats for 2019 show that the industry sustained ~1,166 million jobs equaling $50,53 billion (wages and salaries) and $154,5 billion total output worldwide. According to CLIA, one day of cruise suspension in the USA results in a loss of ~$110 million (in economic activities) and ~1000 American jobs. The March-November cruise pause resulted in $25+ billion loss (economic activities) and 164,000+ lost American jobs.
Due to canceled homeporting between March-September 2020, Florida reportedly lost ~$3,2 billion (~EUR 2,73B) in economic activities, ~49500 jobs, ~$2,3 billion (EUR 1,96B) in wages. Florida has some of the world's largest cruise ports (Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, Tampa). On July 1, 2021, takes effect Florida's "Senate Bill 2006", which also prohibits state-based businesses, schools and Gov agencies to require COVID vaccine passports from customers/employees.
In June 2020, Pullmantur Cruceros (joint-venture of "Cruises Investment Holding" + "RCG-Royal Caribbean") filed for a supervised reorganization/bankruptcy under Spain's insolvency laws. According to unofficial information, Pullmantur's 3 liners will be dismantled at Aliaga Ship Breaking Yard (Turkey).
In May 2020, Carnival Corporation announced plans to sell (including for scrapping) 6 "less efficient ships" in 2020. In July, the number grew to 13 (~9% reduction in fleet's passenger capacity), in September - to 18 (12% fleet reduction). Between 2006-2018, Carnival sold/exited 28 liners. Carnival expected only 5 of all 9 newbuilds (2020-2021) to be delivered as planned, and also delayed deliveries of all scheduled for 2022-2023 newbuilds.
In July 2020, Carnival Corporation reported operating costs reduction by $7+ billion, capital expenditures reduction by $5+ billion (2020-Q2 through FY2021), additional liquidity $10+ billion, $1,3B savings for FY2020 (from reduced administrative expenses and non-newbuild expenditures) and newbuild capital expenditures (FY2020) reduction by $600+ million. Officially, Carnival reported an average monthly cash burn (for 2020-H2) of ~$650 million. In June 2020, ~60% of the global fleet's 2021 bookings were new, with the remaining ~40% being rebooking with FCCs (credits from canceled voyages).
In late-July 2020, FT Group (German travel company) announced shutting down its branch "FTI Cruises" (MS Berlin ship) effective November 1st.
On July 3, 2020, Kleven Verft AS (shipbuilding yard in Ulsteinvik Norway) filed for bankruptcy protection. Due to financial difficulties, in 2017 the shipyard was sold to Hurtigruten (Norway), then in January 2020 to DIV Group (Croatia).
On July 6, 2020, the Eckero Line (Finland)-owned subsidiary "Birka Cruises" was shut down. The brand's only cruise ship Birka Stockholm (2004-built) operated the Sweden-Finland route Stockholm-Mariehamn Aland. ~500 employees (mainly crew) lost their jobs. Birka Stockholm is planned for drydock conversion.
On July 20, 2020, CMV's parent company SQTL (South Quay Travel & Leisure Ltd) filed for bankruptcy. The UK-based, SQTL-traded as "Cruise & Maritime Voyages/CMV" (trademarked brand). In June, SQTL-CMV entered into emergency talks with potential investors and lenders but failed to secure funding. In October, all the 5x CMV ships (SQTL-owned) were sold at an auction in London.
As of July 31, 2020, GHK-Genting Hong Kong Ltd reported $3,4 billion in cash and cash equivalents. As of April 3rd, the Malaysian-Chinese billionaire Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay owned 69% of GHK.
- GHK (1965-founded) is a Hong Kong China-based holding company that operates cruise, shipbuilding and resort businesses, and also owns Dream Cruises, Star Cruises, Crystal Cruises, MV Werften's shipyards in Germany (Papenburg, Rostock) and Finland (Meyer Turku).
- On August 20, 2020, GHK suspended all payments to creditors, triggering a 58% drop in its shares. For 2020-H1, GHK reported net loss $687,1 million ($55,2M for 2019-H1) after suspending cruise shipping (March-December) and shipbuilding (March-October) operations due to the COVID crisis. GHK applied for long-term funding from Germany's Federal Government (Economic Stabilization Fund) and started seeking an equity partner (private equity firm/investment management company) or debt funding (by private investors) for a stake in Crystal Cruises (ultra-luxury brand). In early-October was announced that GHK will receive EUR 193M (~$227M) from the German Government as a bailout for the MV Werften shipyards.
- On January 10, 2022, the GHK-owned subsidiaries MV Werften and Lloyd Werft filed for insolvency. On January 19, GHK filed for bankruptcy.
In mid-October 2020, Jalesh Cruises India (2019-founded with one-ship/MS Karnika) went bankrupt.
In early-November 2020, AIDA applied for a EUR 400 million loan from WSF/Wirtschaftsstablisierungsfonds (German Government's Economic Stabilisation Fund).
In Europe, several intercountry ferry routes were suspended and major seaports closed through July. Large ferry companies announced job redundancies (shipboard and offshore job furloughs) due to drop in Baltic Sea's passenger shipping traffic.
Eventually, all cruise shipping companies canceled their remaining 2020 schedules. New ships under construction (planned for deliveries in 2020-2021) were delayed due to shipyard closures and reduced staff. Those included Odyssey OTS, Wonder OTS, P&O Iona, Carnival Mardi Gras, Enchanted Princess, Celebrity Apex, Costa Firenze, Crystal Endeavor. Shipbuilding orders were postponed or canceled. Older (30+ years of age) vessels were retired from the fleets - most were sold to smaller and new companies, many were scrapped. Companies' shore-based staff was largely reduced (RIF/laid-off), the majority of ship crew contracts were terminated and the crew repatriated.
On May 19, 2021, the European Union reopened its borders to vaccinated non-EU tourists.
New shipboard safety rules
On July 2, 2020, was released the European Union's 49-page document "Interim Guidance for Restarting Cruise Operations". It recommends new safety protocols (approved by CLIA) including:
- EU Monitoring (worldwide epidemiological situation, rules, travel restrictions)
- approved contingency (COVID-19 outbreak management) plan, adequate onboard testing capacity and crew training
- arrangements for onboard medical treatments and ashore ambulance services
- arrangements (repatriation, onboard quarantine of close contacts, onboard isolation of asymptomatic passengers)
- reporting to the next scheduled cruise port of any possible cases
- reduced ship capacity (passengers and crew), no indoor swimming pools, no self-service buffet dining
- onboard physician (resident doctor and nurse on the ship)
Using face masks is required (by both pax and crew) on buses, during boarding, in the ship's Casino, Infirmary, elevators, hallways/corridors.
Forced social/physical distancing (at least 5 ft / 1,5 m from each other) to be maintained during boarding, at waiting areas and transport stations. Enhanced shipboard hygiene measures include handwashing with soap or alcohol-based liquids (containing min 60% ethanol or 70% Isopropyl alcohol/isopropanol).
In early-August 2020, MSC released a video about its new health and safety protocols.
In late-January 2021, Saga UK became the world's first passenger shipping company to require COVID vaccination (done at least 14 days prior departure) for all customers.
Following the restarts in operations, virtually all cruise companies faced staff shortages and supply chain problems, as well as travel related issues like visa delays, different quarantine rules and vaccine requirements (by country), etc.zzz
Almost all of the onboard outbreaks are related to the Coronavirus Delta variant (SARS-CoV-2 Delta) which was first detected in India (December 2020) and officially named (by WHO) on May 31, 2021.
- COVID-Delta has gene mutations that affected COVID's transmissibility (40-60% more transmissible than COVID-Alpha) as well as the efficiency of the already available vaccines. While the vaccines remained effective to prevent death/hospitalization, some of the vaccinated could still develop symptoms after being infected with the Delta variant, the most common being breathlessness, headache, sore throat, fever, rhinorrhea (runny nose).
- By late-July 2021, COVID-Delta spread to 124 countries and became the dominant strain.
- According to WHO, ~1/3rd of the patients were aged under 30, with a hospitalization rate ~25% and CFR (case fatality rate) 0,2% (compared to Alfa variant's 1,9%).
Since the restart of operations in 2021, all crew and passengers (12 yo and older) were fully vaccinated. Children (under 12) were required prior to boarding to provide negative PCR tests. Almost all of the infected are either asymptomatic or experience only mild symptoms.
|(Cruise Line) Ship||(Dates) Itinerary||Sick Passengers+Crew|
|(June 11-25) 14-day Norway and Iceland from Southampton||200+ pax|
(TUI) Mein Schiff Herz
|(June 3-10) 7-day Mediterranean from Malaga||26 pax|
(RCI) Jewel of the Seas
|(May 27-Jun 8) 12-day Iceland from Amsterdam||46 pax (FB posts)|
(NCL) Norwegian Dawn
|(Apr 28 - May 14) 16-day Transatlantic from NYC to Southampton||200+ pax (FB posts)|
(Silversea) Silver Cloud
14-day Antarctica from Punta Arenas Chile
72 crew out of 230 (anonymous report)
(Silversea) Silver Whisper
14-day South America (Guayaquil to Ushuaia)
((RCI-Royal Caribbean) Allure of the Seas
(Jan 8-16) 8-day Eastern Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale
165 crew (anonymous report)
(Jan 7-14) 7-day Mediterranean from Barcelona
(RCI) Harmony of the Seas
(Jan 9-16) 7-day Eastern Caribbean from Port Canaveral
241 crew (anonymous report)
(NCL) Norwegian Pearl
(Jan 3-14/canceled) 11-day Western Caribbean from Miami
~300 crew (anonymous report)
(Jan 2-9) 7-day Western Caribbean from Port Canaveral
60 pax + 169 crew (anonymous report)
(RCI) Explorer of the Seas
(Jan 2-9) 7-day Southern Caribbean from San Juan, Puerto Rico
110 crew (anonymous report)
(Cordelia Cruises India) Cordelia Empress
(Dec 27-Jan 6) 10-day California and Mexico from San Francisco
(RCI) Jewel of the Seas
(Dec 30-Jan 9) 10-day Eastern Caribbean from Miami, cruises canceled thru Feb 20th
37 pax + 308 crew (anonymous reports)
(Dec 28-Jan 4) 7-day Mediterranean from Civitavecchia-Rome
(Jan 2-9) 7-day Brazil from Rio de Janeiro
26 pax + 2 crew
Coronavirus outbreaks on ships in 2021
Note: If even one crew is tested COVID-positive, on the vessel are immediately implemented the following emergency safety rules.
- All staff-crew are transferred from their cabins (usually with double-quad occupancy) to passenger staterooms (cabins located on decks above the crew deck) and accommodated one person per room.
- Only on-duty crew are allowed to leave their cabins - the rest must remain isolated.
- Smoking anywhere onboard is forbidden.
- Food, bottled water, linens and toilet paper are delivered to the staterooms upon request. Food-beverage items are ordered from a menu via cabin TV's infotainment system.
- The Infirmary (served by a nurse on 24-hour duty) must be called immediately after experiencing flu-like symptoms (dry coughing, high fever, breathing difficulties).
- Temperature screenings are conducted twice daily (in the staterooms).
|(Cruise Line) Ship||(Dates) Itinerary||Sick Passengers-Crew|
(AIDA Cruises) AIDAnova
(Dec 22-Jan 5) 14-day Hamburg to Tenerife Canaries
4 pax + 64 crew
(Dec 28-Jan 7) 10-day Arabian from Dubai
(RCI-Royal Caribbean) Harmony of the Seas
(Dec 26-Jan 2) 7-day Western Caribbean from Port Canaveral
1 pax + 49 crew
(HAL-Holland America) MS Zuiderdam
(Dec 23-Jan 2) 10-day Mexican Riviera from San Diego
2 pax + 28 crew
(CCL) Carnival Vista
(Dec 24-31) 7-day Western Caribbean from Galveston Texas
1 pax + 50 crew
(Dec 19-26) 7-day South America from Santos
15 pax + 5 crew
(Dec 20-27) 7-day South America from Santos
10 pax + 3 crew
(RCI) Jewel of the Seas
(Dec 23-30) 7-day Eastern Caribbean from Miami
5 pax + 25 crew
(Dec 19-26) 7-day Mexican Riviera from San Diego
(RCI) Odyssey of the Seas
(Dec 18-26) 8-day Southern Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale
3 pax + 52 crew
(Cunard) Queen Mary 2
(Dec 13-22) 9-day Transatlantic from Southampton to New York City
(RCI) Symphony of the Seas
(Dec 11-18) 7-day Eastern Caribbean from Miami
(Nov-Dec/without passengers) quarantined off Port Ushuaia Argentina
(NCL) Norwegian Breakaway
(Nov 28-Dec 5) 7-day Caribbean from New Orleans
8 pax + 9 crew (all asymptomatic)
(RCI) Allure of the Seas
(Oct 3-10) 7-day Caribbean from Port Canaveral
(Sept 24 - Oct 1) 7-day Bermuda from NYC
(RCI) Jewel of the Seas
(Sept-Oct) 7-day Greek Isles from Limassol Cyprus
57 pax+crew (total)
(Mystic-Nicko Cruises) World Voyager
(mid-Sept) 7-day France and Portugal roundtrip from Hamburg
(Aug 1-7) 7-day UK roundtrip from Liverpool
(Aug 28 - Sept 4) 7-day UK roundtrip from Southampton
(TUI) Mein Schiff 2
(Aug 13-23) 10-day Mediterranean from Palma de Mallorca
(CCL) Carnival Vista
(Aug 7-14) 7-day Western Caribbean from Galveston Texas
26 crew, 1 pax
(Aug 1-8) 7-day Mediterranean from Marseilles
6 pax (2 families)
(RCI) Adventure of the Seas
(July 25) 7-day Caribbean from Nassau
6 pax (4 vaccinated)
(UnCruise) Wilderness Explorer
(July 25) 7-day Alaska from Ketchikan
(vaccinated) 4 pax, 3 crew
(Phoenix Reisen) Amera
(July) Bremerhaven Germany, without passengers
9 crew (out of ~370)
(RCI) Independence of the Seas
(July 20) Galveston Texas, without passengers
(ACL-American Cruise Lines) American Constellation
(July 10) Juneau Alaska
(RCI) Anthem of the Seas
(June 20) Piraeus Greece, without passengers
(RCI) Odyssey of the Seas
(June 15) Port Everglades Florida, without passengers
8 crew (out of ~1400)
Coronavirus outbreaks on ships in 2020
According to a USCG/Coast Guard report issued on April 4th, in or near the USA's territorial waters were a total of 114 cruise ships carrying mainly crew (~93,000). Another 41 liners (with ~41000 crew) were en-route and close to the USA. On April 6, 2021, CDC updated its regulations for disembarked cruise passenger transportation - those without (or experience only mild) symptoms should be disembarked in the USA as quickly as possible and immediately repatriated (via chartered flights) or bussed back home (via private transportation). Using commercial flights and public transportation is not allowed anymore.
According to CDC's July-issued "No-Sail Order" (20-page document), between March 1 and July 10, 80% of the cruise ships in the CDC jurisdiction were affected by COVID-19, with ~3000 cases (suspected and confirmed) and 34 deaths on cruise vessels in the USA's territorial waters.
|(Cruise Line) Ship||(Dates) Itinerary||Sick Passengers-Crew|
(SeaDream Yachts) SeaDream 1
(November) 7-day Caribbean roundtrip from Bridgetown Barbados
7 passengers (out of 53), 2 crew (out of 66)
(Nicko Cruises) MS Frederic Chopin
(October) Havel River cruise roundtrip from Potsdam
(Ponant) Le Jacques Cartier
(Oct-Nov) 7-day Mediterranean roundtrip from Marseille France
3 passengers (out of 73), 10 crew (out of 92)
(Scylla Cruises) Swiss Crystal
(October 10-17, music-themed) 7-night Danube and Main river cruise from Passau to Frankfurt
60 passengers (out of 92)
(Costa Cruises) Costa Diadema
(October) 7-day Mediterranean from Genoa
(Aranui Cruises) Aranui 5
(September) 12-day French Polynesia roundtrip from Papeete Tahiti
7 crew (out of 64)
(CroisiEurope) Vasco de Gama
(September) 7-day Douro River cruise from Oporto, Portugal
5 crew (out of 20), 2 passengers (out of 67)
(Hurtigruten) Roald Amundsen
(July) 7-day Svalbard cruise from Tromso Norway
42 crew (out of 162), 29 passengers (out of 170)
(TUI) Mein Schiff 1
(July) 3-day "Blue Cruise" / cruise to nowhere from Kiel Germany
(Royal Caribbean) Adventure Of The Seas
(May) in Falmouth Jamaica, while repatriating RCI's Caribbean crew
19 crew out of 1044
(TUI) Mein Schiff 3
(May) while docked in Cuxhaven, Germany
9 crew out of 2899!
(NCL) Norwegian Gem
(April) while anchored off Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas
2 crew deaths
(Costa Asia) Costa Atlantica
(April) while docked in Nagasaki Japan
149 crew (out of 623)
(Celebrity Cruises Galapagos) Celebrity Flora
(April) while anchored off Seymour Island (Galapagos Islands, Ecuador)
48 crew (out of 69)
(Costa Cruises) Costa Fascinosa
(April) while docked in Santos Brazil
43 crew (out of 764), including 3 deaths
(Fred Olsen) Black Watch
(April) while anchored in Firth of Forth, Scotland
(Marella Cruises) Marella Explorer 2
(March-April) while in the Caribbean
19 passengers, 4 crew, 1 passenger death
(NCL America) Pride of America
(April) while docked at homeport Honolulu Hawaii
(Aurora Expeditions) Greg Mortimer
(March 14 - April 5) 21day South Georgia and Antarctica roundtrip from Ushuaia Argentina
128 passengers (incl 1 death), 37 crew
(April 4) while quarantined/docked in Dubai, with 250 staff-crew, no passengers
~125 crew (50% of all)
(Princess Cruises) Coral Princess
(March 31) while docked in Bridgetown Barbados
15 (5 crew, 10 passengers, incl 3 deaths), another 67 (29 passengers + 38 crew) remained quarantined onboard
(Disney Cruise Line) Disney Wonder
(March 6-20) 14day Panama Canal from NOLA to San Diego
1 passenger, 46 crew (unofficially ~200 crew, 3 passenger deaths)
(Celebrity Cruises) Celebrity Solstice
(March 20) debarkation in Sydney NSW
20 passengers (including 1 death)
(Royal Caribbean) Voyager Of The Seas
(March 31) while anchored off Kembla (NSW Australia)
5 crew, 35 passengers (including 1 death)
(Celebrity Cruises) Celebrity Eclipse
(March 31) upon debarkation in San Diego CA
5 passengers, 63 crew, including 3 passenger deaths
(Royal Caribbean) Symphony Of The Seas
(March-April) while anchored off Coco Cay, Bahamas
32 crew, including 1 death
(Royal Caribbean) Oasis Of The Seas
(March-April) while anchored at Coco Cay Island, Bahamas
17 crew, including 3 crew deaths
(Celebrity Cruises) Celebrity Apex
(March-April) the newbuild ship was docked at Chantiers de l'Atlantique Shipyard (Saint-Nazaire, France) with 1407 crew onboard
(Phoenix Reisen) Artania
(March 28) debarkation in Fremantle Australia
89 (crew+pax), including 1 crew death and 3 passenger deaths
(Celebrity Cruises) Celebrity Infinity
(March 23) two days after debarkation in Tampa Florida
3 crew (incl 1 death)
(Royal Caribbean) Ovation Of The Seas
(March 11-18) 7day New Zealand from Sydney Australia
32 passengers, plus 79 (after debarkation)
(HAL-Holland America) Zaandam
(March 7-21) 14day South America (Argentina-Chile) from Buenos Aires to San Antonio
4 passenger deaths, plus 14 confirmed cases (13 passengers + 1 crew), 250 non-confirmed cases (107 passengers + 143 crew / with flu-like symptoms)
(MSC Cruises) MSC Opera
Since March 10, the liner is quarantined in Port Genoa (Italy).
(Princess Cruises) Ruby Princess
(March 8-21) 14day New Zealand from Sydney NSW
852 (passengers plus crew), including 22 passenger deaths, ship quarantine in Australia
(Costa Cruises) Costa Magica
(March 13-20) 7day Caribbean from Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe
3 passengers, 7 crew
(Costa Cruises) Costa Favolosa
(March 9-16) 7day Caribbean from La Romana, Dominican Republic
3 passengers, 10 crew (incl 1 death)
(Silversea) Silver Shadow
(March 7-27) 20day South America and Caribbean from Rio de Janeiro to Fort Lauderdale
2 passengers (incl 1 death), ship quarantine in Recife Brazil
(Costa Cruises) Costa Luminosa
(March 5-22) 17day Caribbean and Transatlantic from Fort Lauderdale to Naples
46 passengers (incl 2 deaths), 48 crew (incl 1 death)
(Princess) Grand Princess
(Feb 21 - Mar 7) 15day Hawaii and Mexico from San Francisco CA
132 (including 7 deaths), ship quarantine off San Francisco
(Princess) Diamond Princess
(February) 8day Japan and Taiwan cruises from Yokohama-Tokyo
outbreak with 712 infected (including 14 deaths), ship quarantine in Port Yokohama
(GHK-Dream Cruises) World Dream
(January 19-24) 5day China to Vietnam, roundtrip from Nansha-Guangzhou
12 passengers, ship quarantine in Hong Kong
On March 19, Carnival Corporation, in a press release, offered its permanently docked at ports cruise liners (during the lockdown period) to be used as hospitals for treating non-Coronavirus patients (not as quarantine facilities). These large liners have a minimum cabin capacity of 1000 (per vessel). Each stateroom has an en-suite bathroom (shower-washbasin-toilet) and can be quickly fitted with various medical and remote monitoring equipment (cardiac, respiratory, oxygen saturation, CCTV). All onboard operations (machinery maintenance, food and beverages, cleaning services) are provided by the staff and crew already on the vessel. Carnival stated that the monthly cost per vessel is ~USD 1 million (prolonged ship layup) and ~USD 2-3 million (warm ship layup). "Prolonged layup" means the vessel is manned by a reduced crew, which lowers operational costs but adds time (1-2 weeks at least) to restart service. "Warm layup" means the vessel remains fully crewed and operational.