Labeled as “Floating Petri Dishes” Cruise Lines are Still Barely Treading Water

Yesterday, we looked at the state of travel restrictions across the globe and how one-third of international destinations are still closed to travelers, potentially putting a wrench in the comeback of many travel stocks. These restrictions speak much more to airlines who may be relegated to domestic travel for while, but despite some companies announcing “fully vaccinated sailings,” the decimated cruise industry is also struggling to keep its head above water.

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean Cruises announced that its new flagship vessel Odyssey of the Seas, which is currently receiving finishing touches in Germany, would make its debut in May, with both crew and guests fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Understandably so, few industries have been hit harder by the coronavirus pandemic than the cruise industry. And due to a massive outbreak onboard the Diamond Princess, the industry as a whole has been negatively associated with the pandemic from the start, and a large number of vessels reporting positive cases onboard has led industry critics to call cruise ships “floating petri dishes.” No kidding!

As the following chart shows, cruise line revenues have practically disappeared since the pandemic hit in March, with each of the three largest operators seeing revenue drop by more than 70% in 2020. Carnival’s seemingly less significant drop compared to its two largest competitors is simply owed to the fact that its fiscal year starts in December, giving the company one more month of normal operation before the pandemic hit.

Infographic: Cruise Industry in Troubled Waters | Statista

Infographic originally published by Statista.com

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