The cruise line industry has been working overtime to ensure the safety and health of their guests, spending millions on updating their ships in order to get back to full fleet.
When the pandemic hit, the cruise line industry was hit especially hard, with many ships only now getting back to the seas after getting docked in the spring of 2020.
Because, as we’ve noted, cruise lines nearly always flag their ships outside of the U.S. in order to work around American labor laws, “this gives the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more sway over the cruise industry than it has over perhaps any other form of travel.”
There’s also the matter that cruise lines sail and dock around the world, and each country has different safety standards, so the main lines tend to err on the side of being as cautious as possible.
The Pandemic Is Not Over Yet
While we’d all love for the pandemic to be over, it's not, and health officials recently identified the ultra contagious Omicron Subvariant BA.2.12.1.
The new subvariant is set to become dominant in the United States soon, but new infections are already starting to cause headaches for everyone, the cruise industry very much included.
Already, Carnival Cruises (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report has announced that it’s begun limiting passenger capacity on several sailings on its U.K.-based Cunard Line, canceling several bookings in the process.
What Ships Have Been Affected?
Carnival has revealed that ongoing travel difficulties across international borders are causing challenges for the company.
That is making it difficult to fully staff its ships, owing to difficulties with testing requirements, quarantine periods, and other health and safety protocols.
Carnival Cruise has some of the highest guest-to-crew ratios for larger ships in the cruise industry.
Rather than cut back on the quality of service, which would result in longer lines and waits and reduced amenities, they’ve opted to reduce guest capacity for the Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.
“As you may have seen in the news, the wider impact of Covid-19 is affecting hospitality and is disrupting airlines and as such this is impacting the number of crew members we are able to get to our ships,” said the company in a statement.
“We naturally want to ensure that all guests across the fleet experience the high standards of service on board that they would expect from Cunard and which we are committed to delivering,” the company added.
“We are therefore limiting the number of guests sailing as we build crew numbers back up."
The company then issued another statement.
“Due to our framework of protocols to protect the health and wellbeing of all crew and guests we are currently operating at a reduced guest capacity and we need to take an approved number of staterooms out of service,” it said.
It’s Unclear Which Lines Are Impacted
The company has not announced which guests, cabins of sailings are impacted by the cut back.
Cunard Line has been contacting affected guests directly, who will be given a 100% refund of their cruise fare, taxes, and prepaid items, with no penalties deducted.
The rescheduled guests will also be given a 25% Future Cruise Credit based on their fare paid, which can be used on any future Cunard Line sailing.
All impacted sailings are expected to still set sail.
Carnival isn’t the only line that has been impacted, as P&O Cruises canceled seven sailings of Arcadia last month, citing crew availability.