2020 was certainly a whirlwind year the cruise industry – as well as the world at large. Needless to say, it wasn’t the most positive year in recent memory. Still, there were a lot of lessons that the industry learned. While a lot of these lessons came about directly because of the coronavirus pandemic, the ethos behind them can and will be applied for years to come. As we head into 2021, let’s take a look at what we learned about cruises this past year.
Safety is the most important factor
If there is one takeaway for the cruise industry from 2020, it will be that safety is of utmost importance. There have been diseases that have struck the industry in the past – most notably norovirus. But there has never been anything on the level of the coronavirus. We are still learning a lot about how to make ships safer, but there has already been a huge number of innovations introduced. Touchless technology, air purification, quarantine spaces, and more are all being used to increase the safety of travelers. These changes will be key to a return to operations this year, but they will also increase general safety in the future. This will undoubtedly increase guest confidence going forward.
The digital market can’t be ignored
When the pandemic first began, cruise lines around the world scrambled to find new ways to stay in business. This led to a focus on digital cruise experiences. In hindsight, this is the type of thing that should have happened long ago that was forced into existence by the pandemic. These digital cruise hubs allowed travelers that were stuck at home to educate themselves and get a taste of the cruise experience. They also increased brand loyalty, something that was quite helpful. We’d like to see cruise lines focusing more and more on digital experiences even after cruising makes a full return. We have the technology to make these experiences really worthwhile. Plus, a larger market is always a good thing.
The cruise industry is strong
Throughout the pandemic, there have certainly been moments when the future of the industry was called into question. However, it has been long enough without regular cruises that we feel confident in saying that the cruise industry has really proven itself. New ships are still being built, new itineraries are being planned, and (most importantly) people are still booking cruises. 2020 was a tragedy, but it also proved that the cruise industry can survive any challenge that is thrown at it.
We learned a lot in 2020, and we can only imagine what kinds of lessons 2021 will bring. But with a vaccine being distributed now and a return to cruising possible, we think that things will be back to normal soon enough.