As more cruise companies shut down for the foreseeable future, the ones still operating have been put in the spotlight for several reasons. First, there’s not a whole lot to discuss about cruise lines that aren’t doing anything. Second, they are outliers, especially as the pull for businesses to shut down increases throughout almost all countries. While some nations have enacted national laws and other procedures that force nearly all non-essential industries to go into quarantine themselves for a bit, the United States has yet to do anything like this, and most cruise companies are allowed to pick their response to the coronavirus.
In this sense, it is up to them whether they shut down or not. This raises the question, though: do cruise lines have a responsibility to help fight the coronavirus? This is a difficult question to answer. Obviously, they are private businesses and can currently do as they please. Ceasing operations also has complicated economic effects, and they are often not quite as simple as “just shut down and deal with it later.” Even aside from the damaging effects it could have on the companies as whole units, one must also consider the potential financial woes that it could cause employees.
Still, there comes a point where morals must trump most other considerations. If that point was ever to arrive, it is now. For consumers, cruise lines are certainly non-essential. Most cruise ships are designed merely for vacations rather than traveling to meet up with family. Airlines could be given a pass for this reason, but cruise lines not so much. There are certainly businesses that must remain open, but cruise lines are not among them.
While we see some cruise companies chartering deals with the government to help out with hospital overflow (LINK TO ARTICLE ABOUT THAT), the responsibility of cruise lines does not need to be that. While it’d be nice if all of these companies went the extra mile and lent a hand with that fight, what we need them to do is much simpler. By suspending operations for just a month or two, the amount of cases traveling between different areas can be decreased considerably. The ability for the virus to quickly travel among cruise ships seems to be anecdotally confirmed by various outbreaks thus far, and it seems irresponsible to let this continue, no matter how severe the financial downfall.
Of course, this is just our opinion, and these companies are free to do as they wish. Their knowledge of the impact of their own business decisions is far greater than ours, and the nuances should definitely be something that is factored in. Still, the fact remains that a pandemic is something that needs to come before any other issue. The only way we can lessen the damage to our global future is to work together, and everyone must do their part.