In light of the fact that actually operating ships and adhering to itineraries is becoming increasingly unrealistic due to coronavirus, ships all over the world are being forced to lay up. This fact has a lot of implications, and there’s a lot to discuss about cruise lay ups at this exact moment, so let’s jump into it and figure out what’s going on!
What is a lay up?
A lay up, quite simply, is when a ship is taken out of operation and is left to be idle at a port. This is largely only done when it’s not economically feasible to continue running the ship, such as times of crisis (you know, like right now). Aside from laying up or continuing operations, the other main option for cruise ships is to sell them. This is obviously not a great choice right now for a few reasons. For one, coronavirus is temporary. No matter what, vaccines and treatments will be developed at some point, and people will want to go on cruises again. It’s also likely that the virus will calm in the not-too-distant future, meaning it wouldn’t be a smart decision to sell. For two, no one will want to buy right now! Coronavirus affects cruise line’s equally, so there’s no option other than laying up right now, really.
Who is laying up?
Pretty much every cruise line that is still operating right now. Fred. Olsen announced that their fleet would lay up until May 23. Jacksonville, Florida said that they would allow four ships to lay up at their port, and three of these spots were quickly scooped up by Norwegian Cruise Line vessels. Princess is looking to lay up some ships at Port Everglades. A residence ship called the World recently laid up as well.
How do lay ups work?
There are a couple different ways of doing it. Per Bjornsen, the director of V.Ships Leisure, told Cruise Industry News that the best way to do it is a “hot lay up.” This means that the ship is ported, but ready to go back into service at any time. Required in a hot lay up is a crew that is constantly checking on and maintaining the ship. It also suggests that the ship be docked at a port that is close to company offices. This is a more involved approach, but makes more sense in the uncertain time of the coronavirus.
Sadly for the cruise industry, lay ups are going to be the new reality. Figuring out the best way to do it will be key, as well as even finding the space to dock ships. With so many needing to lay up at the same time, it starts to become a worry that space will run out. It will be interesting to see how this dynamic develops over the course of the pandemic, and we’ll be here to let you know how it all plays out.