In the past week, a fair handful of cruise lines have announced cancellations for a variety of reasons. This is a trend continuing from the past few weeks, where a huge amount of companies cancelled sailings across Asia (as well as a few other locations) due to coronavirus concerns. While some cruise lines remained optimistic, it seems that we aren’t quite past dire straits yet. Here are the latest cancellations in the cruise industry.
Costa has a number of ships based in China that have been laying dormant for quite a bit now. Since they cancelled operations in January, it’s been unclear what their plans for ships like neoRomantica, Serena, Venezia and Atlantica are. At least for March, it appears that their plan is to have no plans. They announced that all of these ships would remain with no itineraries for March. They’ve been docked in Nagasaki for a while now, and they will continue to do so this month. The company noted that the reason was indeed coronavirus. It remains to be seen if they will pull out these ships and station them elsewhere in the meantime.
ITB Berline 2020 is cancelled. ITB Berlin, for those who don’t know, is the largest meeting of tourism companies in the world, and connects together hotels, airlines, cruise lines and more. Much like Costa’s cancellations, this too was due to coronavirus. Dr. Christian Goke of Messe Berlin GmbH said that “We take our responsibility for the health and safety of our visitors, exhibitors and employees very seriously. It is with a heavy heart that we must now come to terms with the cancellation of ITB Berlin 2020.” This is a pretty big deal, as “more than 10,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries” attend the event. Further, it’s pretty unprecedented: “Not once in the 54-year history of the event have ITB Berlin and Messe Berlin experiened a similar situation.”
Virgin Voyages, a newer player in the cruise industry, was looking forward to showing off their new ship, Scarlet Lady, in New York this month. Instead, they feel that the current feeling in the air isn’t quite fit for the event they had planned. The company said that “[i]n light of the current news headlines, we want to ensure everyone feels it is the right time to celebrate with us. We understand people may want to focus on other things at the moment, so we have made the decision to reschedule our upcoming Showcase Tour stop and events in New York City.” They added that they “have absolutely no health concerns or issues onboard,” and are instead making this decision merely based upon the culture in cruising at the moment.
Whether it’s itineraries or events, coronavirus seems to still be having a field day with the cruise industry. Interestingly, it seems that it has extended beyond just cases of the sickness, with companies like Virgin feeling the effects in a strategic sense. Surely things will start clearing up soon, but for now, the cancellations continue.