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When does it really hit home?  My last two threads have been 'jokey' but with the news that the coronavirus has appeared on those few ships that have restarted cruising I don't feel that 'jokey' any more.

 

We've already transferred this year's booking to next year but I'm not optimistic that even that one will go ahead.  The balance is not due until next June and I know a lot can happen in the meantime but I find myself wondering whether we will be cancelling altogether or perhaps transferring the cruise again.  How many times can we keep changing dates ( a rhetorical question that applies to everyone).  Are we all simply chasing rainbows?

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It hit home for me in late April when our Vegas vacation was cancelled and I knew even then that rebooking was likely futile. Travel has always been the icing on the cake of my life but I have adjusted completely. I do look at cruise booking sites and nothing out there seems a realistic bet at this time. I’ve changed how I live here at home. Started Weight Watchers, got back on my bicycle, started volunteering 3x a week at a small animal shelter and donating supplies to them rather than financing my next trip. 
 

Life is what you make of it. The new reality isn’t the old one but life is still beautiful and fulfilling and enjoyable. I would love to cruise again but road trips are more likely as I move further into my fifties. My bucket list has many check marks and I am deeply grateful with no regrets. 
 

I will cruise again if and when it makes sense and no sooner. At some point you learn that disappointment isn’t worth the grief and so you change your perspective and find new happiness elsewhere.

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For the past three months, I’ve felt that meaningful cruising is over for the year. By meaningful, I refer to cruising as we have known it, with all its freedom. 
 

As time has passed, I have now come to the conclusion, that cruising as we have known it is gone for a very long time. 
 

Even if cruising gets started in a limited way, it will be fraught with difficulties. Keeping the crew Covid free, making sure passengers don’t bring it on board, mask wearing, social distancing, what happens when Covid gets on board. Then there’s the difficulties surrounding the itineraries - this is a fluid situation and nobody knows if ports will accept ships, and this might change at a moments notice.

 

i don’t think a vaccine will be a magic bullet. Even if there is a successful vaccine, it’s not as if a switch will be flicked and all will return to normal.

 

i only had one cruise booked for 2020 in March. It was cancelled and I got a refund.

 

i had three booked for 2021 and one for 2022. One of the 2021 cruises has already been cancelled as the cruise line has ceased trading, and I’ve applied to my credit card company to get a refund of the deposit.

 

I have no desire to do the other cruises. I’m just waiting to see what happens, and will be doing my best to get back the deposit money that I paid. I won’t be transferring them to a later date, as I just can’t see how cruising will happen.

 

It’s gloomy, but it’s my reality.

 

i think people are maybe still in denial it they think that are going cruising anytime soon

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I agree with all the former folks on this post. Spending time planning a cruise does seem like chasing rainbows.  Most of us are pretty practical people and need to focus on travel that is safer and more practical.  I am still sad that these relatively healthy years are spent without the stimulation and enjoyment of travel.  Even traveling in my own country has its risks now. 

 

I do feel quite sorry for the travel industry and all the people it has employed. What a difficult time!

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I was lucky enough to get in two cruises in Jan, but had three subsequent cruises cancelled.  All the refunds are in, and four credit cards have positive balances.  I have a cruise booked for the end of Jan., and I just upgraded to a balcony for a minimal amount.  I have my doubts as to whether it will sail, but if it doesn't, I will just transfer to the next year.  So, I am saving a lot of money, and even more because last week I signed on the refi on my house.  Not having to make a payment in August allowed me to go out and order a new fridge.  Unfortunately, it won't be available until Thanksgiving weekend...

 

Our local weekly paper reported last week that the school board has approved a lower budget for next year.  There were funds left over from this year, probably the money that was to pay the bus drivers, gas, classroom assistants, crossing guards, cafeteria staff, etc.  I feel sorry for those folks who really need those jobs.  Schools are to be virtual again when they open in a couple of weeks.  But that means my taxes may go down...

 

We would love to travel locally - in our state and the neighboring ones, but our rates are skyrocketing with the testing that is going on.  But the deaths in our county are only two (pop. about 63000) so we don't feel comfortable even eating out, although we do order for carryout about once a week.  I think most of the cases are positives without symptoms.  I was at the hospital last week and asked two workers if the hospital was slammed, and they said no, might be a case or two upstairs...  EM

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We've all been on cruises.  Most have experienced the cramped airports, cramped flights and busy cramped hotels just to get to the port.  We have all experienced the joyous chaos of arriving at the dock, the long lineups to check in and the large groups waiting to board.  We know first hand the large groups on the ships, the constant passing of each other in the hallways and dining venues, the claustrophobic inducing lineups to disembark at the ports throughout the cruise, crowded theaters and the lineups at the buffets.  And we have all experienced the end of the cruise with the crowds waiting to disembark, lineups at the luggage retrieval, lineups at customs and the organized chaos of trying to leave the pier and start the whole cumbersome trip to get back home.

 

How can a cruise possibly be safe during a pandemic with so many points of infection involved?

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Thankfully we got to cruise mid February, right before everything shut down. The only thing that I have planned for 2021 is a quick 5 night getaway on Princess (which will be unfortunate if it cancels, but it’s not a big deal. It’s not some long awaited dream vacation).
 

Besides that, I have chosen not to make other cruise plans until April 2022 (when we will sail the Panama Canal) in order to avoid all the disappointment and aggravation that so many have shared on these boards. I truly hope that things are good enough by then. That’s one cruise I’ve been wanting to take for a long time. 

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While I completely understand that not being able to cruise (or travel overseas) is nothing like the equivalent of many issues people are facing right now, I do think people greatly miss travel and that element of joy it brings. Some may be further along the "realization" stage than others, who've held out hope of getting back to cruising in 2020. But these, seeing what's happening with the TUI and Hurtigruten cruises that are testing the ice, so to speak, may finally be seeing/understanding what cruising is up against in trying to re-start. It's just not safe.

 

And even if I wasn't extremely afraid myself of the illness (which I am not), I would hate to think that my actions were supporting an industry that was leading to further spread of the disease. Even if it is asymptomatic or relative harmless in some, it is a death sentence for others.

 

In my opinion, the smart -- but also the tough -- thing to do right now is to stay home, avoid exposure to others, and bide our time. Someone posted that if we do that, cruise lines may very well be bankrupt, and that may be true. But is cruising worth risking your life (or the lives of others) over? Once this is all over and done, new opportunities will arise. Be patient. Or if you can't be patient, at least travel in some way that doesn't put other people at risk.

 

 

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The reality is that people need to understand that keeping yourself safe MUST involve keeping others safe.   The current upsurge in infections, hospitalizations and deaths is the result in large part of people who (probably correctly) see themselves at low risk - so they ignore the precautions which are belatedly and, in many areas, half-heartedly being suggested - and too rarely - required.

 

What they do not see (being blinded by selfishness) that failing to control contagion puts others at risk (and sadly they do not seem to give a rat’s ass about that) —- but it also puts their own interests at risk:  their taxes will go up, their opportunities will be restricted as areas have to impose more close downs, they sure will lose opportunities to travel, go to school, have regular jobs, etc.

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We have not spent even 10 minutes thinking about cruises, planning cruises, or lamenting the current situation.  From our perspective there is no point.  Nor do we see cruising in our future over the next two years.  So why bother fussing about it or lamenting the current/projected state of the industry over the next 12-18 months?  We do not believe that there will a quick fix. We also believe that post covid will bring significant changes to the industry.

 

We are concerned about personal safety.   If and when a safe, available vaccine or script is available we will move forward.  

 

We realize that cruising will probably start well before we are prepared to cruise.  That is fine.  Our focus has been on land tours once we can travel with a preference to those countries that are both our respective bucket lists and have done a good job of controlling covid.  We have four on our list covering different time frames of when we like to travel...spring or fall, and winter.

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3 minutes ago, iancal said:

We have not spent even 10 minutes thinking about cruises, planning cruises, or lamenting the current situation.  From our perspective there is no point.  Nor do we see cruising in our future over the next two years.  So why bother fussing about it or lamenting the current/projected state of the industry over the next 12-18 months?  We do not believe that there will a quick fix. We also believe that post covid will bring significant changes to the industry.

 

We are concerned about personal safety.   If and when a safe, available vaccine or script is available we will move forward.  

 

We realize that cruising will probably start well before we are prepared to cruise.  That is fine.  Our focus has been on land tours once we can travel with a preference to those countries that are both our respective bucket lists and have done a good job of controlling covid.  We have four on our list covering different time frames of when we like to travel...spring or fall, and winter.

Good thinking —- it is kind of pathetic that so many seem to focus on cruising:  there is (or should be) a lot more to life —- even to vacation activity, or just travel opportunities.

 

I feel sorry for some of the investors in cruise industry securities — but not overly so.  Many investors, in many fields, have lost out over the years - and at least some of today’s investors bear some responsibility for their companies poor response.  

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7 minutes ago, navybankerteacher said:

Good thinking —- it is kind of pathetic that so many seem to focus on cruising:  there is (or should be) a lot more to life —- even to vacation activity, or just travel opportunities.

 

I think that people here on cc are focusing on cruising because this is a cruiseforum! 

 

I have a lot more to life than cruising but here on cc I absolutely focus on cruising. 

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What surprises us is how many seem to be in the booking/cancel/rebooking FCC route and constantly wondering if the cruise they have scheduled two months out will really leave the dock. 

 

 I think that the cruise lines are fostering this with their FCC/OBC mugs game and touting that cruising will be more expensive in the future so sign up today.  The reality is that demand will determine pricing for many.  

 

If cruise lines do not price competitively to other travel/vacation offers demand will decrease.  We have already heard from many pre covid cruisers who have moved from higher end cabins on small mass market ships to premium class cruise lines because of price (all in) and value. 

 

 It will be no different IMHO across all market segments post covid.   Cruise line claims about future bookings are meaningless to us.  We are certainly not going to pay above the odds just to be the first patsies to set foot on a cruise ship post covid.

Edited by iancal

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IMO, a lot of folks confuse "return to normal" with "new normal" because they do not understand (or just turn a blind eye to) the scope of what "new" entails.

 

I am convinced that cruise industry operations will experience a permanent downsizing beginning in 2022 (even with a Covid-19 vaccine). The major victims will be mass market ships including a halt to any new mega-ship builds.

 

Despite the concept of "economy of scale," the reality is that large/mega ships will suffer most from the pandemic's ripple financial effects which will eliminate most passengers (returning or new) who already had difficulty paying for even an inexpensive cruise vacation. 

 

Should cruising be able to gain CDC (et al. worldwide govt. approvals) to restart in a significant way in 2021, we may see a "false positive" of many "waitlisted" cruises during the coming year which will actually be due to virus-related passenger load limits and bookings based on time limited FCCs.(we're already seeing this on premium/luxury lines' websites). Once those Covid-related FCCs are exercised or abandoned, what will be left are ships with intentional 50%+\- passenger load limits and increased fares to pay for the lost revenue.

 

And who will be able to afford those higher fares? Other than folks whose financial situation can still withstand the negative effects of a "pandemic economy" (e.g., defined benefits retirements), there is/will be a decline in the ability of most working folks/families to even consider low priority expenditures like a one week "drive to" cruise "to nowhere" (as long as countries continue to refuse port visits - including those countries increasingly refusing larger ships that pose environmental threats).

 

At the bottom line, because of its necessary reliance on a very large and financially diverse passenger base, the mass market ships will experience the most significant financial down turn - leading to inevitable decimation or worse.

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Agree...and I believe that we will see more ships being sold or sent to the wreckers yard over the next six to nine months.

 

Any ship that is old (and having a relatively small percentage of balcony cabins), in need of significant capital investment, has not been hitting revenue and profit targets will be unceremoniously dumped.   Plus those ships that no longer fit into the cruise line revised short and long term business plans.   Cruise line simply will not have the financial juice to keep under performing ships in the fleet.  Nor will their lenders put up with it.

Edited by iancal

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Very depressing and as it stands for us, it means no thought of any sort of holiday at the moment.  We wouldn't even dream of holidaying abroad at present as the airbridges are collapsing as the number of infected rises in Europe  and we're nervous about a staycation here in the UK.  Would love a break but we feel that the risk is too great.  Just grateful we managed a cruise at the very beginning of February.

 

I think part of the problem is that we have nothing to look forward to.  The anticipation and build up to a  holiday is half the fun.

 

We will just have to keep the faith and hope for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

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1 hour ago, navybankerteacher said:

The reality is that people need to understand that keeping yourself safe MUST involve keeping others safe.   The current upsurge in infections, hospitalizations and deaths is the result in large part of people who (probably correctly) see themselves at low risk - so they ignore the precautions which are belatedly and, in many areas, half-heartedly being suggested - and too rarely - required.

 

What they do not see (being blinded by selfishness) that failing to control contagion puts others at risk (and sadly they do not seem to give a rat’s ass about that) —- but it also puts their own interests at risk:  their taxes will go up, their opportunities will be restricted as areas have to impose more close downs, they sure will lose opportunities to travel, go to school, have regular jobs, etc.

You hit the nail right on the head. Shortsighted selfishness is bringing us all down.

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5 hours ago, Dermotsgirl said:

...

i don’t think a vaccine will be a magic bullet. Even if there is a successful vaccine, it’s not as if a switch will be flicked and all will return to normal.

...

 

i had three booked for 2021 and one for 2022. One of the 2021 cruises has already been cancelled as the cruise line has ceased trading, and I’ve applied to my credit card company to get a refund of the deposit.

 

I have no desire to do the other cruises...

 

If vaccines don't work, the answer will be time.  Eventually immunity will be raised and the impacts will eventually go away more or less.  The real question is how much time do you have to wait for things to return to "normal?"  Obviously the young have more time.  As George Bernard Shaw is attributed to having said, "Youth is wasted on the young."

 

Sorry about potentially losing your cruise fare deposit.  I am sure more bankruptcies are coming.

 

Like you I have no interest in cruising until the experience returns.  

 

4 hours ago, Markanddonna said:

I do feel quite sorry for the travel industry and all the people it has employed. What a difficult time!

 

Me too!  The majority on this board seem very well insulated from the real economic hardship being experienced by others.

 

3 hours ago, Essiesmom said:

...

So, I am saving a lot of money, and even more because last week I signed on the refi on my house.  

...

Our local weekly paper reported last week that the school board has approved a lower budget for next year...  I feel sorry for those folks who really need those jobs.  Schools are to be virtual again when they open in a couple of weeks.  But that means my taxes may go down...

 

 

 

Yep.  All of my discretionary spending has plummeted.  

 

I wouldn't "hold my breath" thinking taxes are going down.  Governments have lots of salaries and pensions to pay and revenues are way down.   Any savings in one area will likely be reallocated.

 

1 hour ago, navybankerteacher said:

The reality is that people need to understand that keeping yourself safe MUST involve keeping others safe.   The current upsurge in infections, hospitalizations and deaths is the result in large part of people who (probably correctly) see themselves at low risk - so they ignore the precautions which are belatedly and, in many areas, half-heartedly being suggested - and too rarely - required.

 

What they do not see (being blinded by selfishness) that failing to control contagion puts others at risk (and sadly they do not seem to give a rat’s ass about that) —- but it also puts their own interests at risk:  their taxes will go up, their opportunities will be restricted as areas have to impose more close downs, they sure will lose opportunities to travel, go to school, have regular jobs, etc.

 

We have state-sponsored advertisements in California that are targeted at the young suggesting their actions are putting their parents and grandparents at risk.  Do I believe the majority of these people care?  Not based on what I have seen so far.  Do these people think about the impacts COVID on their future?  Once again, I have seen little evidence of this. 

 

The people I feel the most sorry for are the young kids at home who are being robbed of their education by being at home.  This is especially true in homes where the parents don't speak English or have the educational background themselves to help their kids out.

 

1 hour ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

...

I am convinced that cruise industry operations will experience a permanent downsizing beginning in 2022 (even with a Covid-19 vaccine). The major victims will be mass market ships including a halt to any new mega-ship builds.

...

Despite the concept of "economy of scale," the reality is that large/mega ships will suffer most from the pandemic's ripple financial effects which will eliminate most passengers (returning or new) who already had difficulty paying for even an inexpensive cruise vacation. 

...

And who will be able to afford those higher fares? Other than folks whose financial situation can still withstand the negative effects of a "pandemic economy" (e.g., defined benefits retirements), there is/will be a decline in the ability of most working folks/families to even consider low priority expenditures like a one week "drive to" cruise "to nowhere" (as long as countries continue to refuse port visits - including those countries increasingly refusing larger ships that pose environmental threats).

 

 

I largely agree with what you are saying.  I am not sure "permanent" a decline will occur, but we are in for large reductions in capacity for quite some time.

 

I feel so strongly that prices are going to be rising and cruising will be much more of a high-end rather than mass market vacation as well.  Many will be priced out of vacations at least in the near term.

 

Note that at least in the US, defined benefit pensions are a thing of the past except for government workers.  Most retirees are not going to be immune to these effects of rising prices as well as working families.

 

Pain is ahead in the travel industry!

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1 hour ago, iancal said:

If cruise lines do not price competitively to other travel/vacation offers demand will decrease.  We have already heard from many pre covid cruisers who have moved from higher end cabins on small mass market ships to premium class cruise lines because of price (all in) and value. 

 

 

1 hour ago, iancal said:

Any ship that is old (and having a relatively small percentage of balcony cabins), in need of significant capital investment, has not been hitting revenue and profit targets will be unceremoniously dumped.   

 

I'm curious how you reconcile these two statements?

 

Two of the premium lines rely on smaller, older ships, specifically the ships built for Renaissance (R1 through R8) that were built between 1998 and 2001. Oceania has four of these ships and Azamara has three (the entirety of their fleet).

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We have been looking at premium cruise line pricing.  We always want a balcony.  We also want some of the attributes that we had on mass market lines in the past. Better food, better service, etc.  We are not willing to pay the same and get less and less.  We realize that we have to pay more.  What it will be like post covid is anyone's guess.

 

 So when we look at spending more we are now starting at the premium lines.  We are looking for value.  Don't mind an older ship IF it is well maintained (ie no constant deferred mtce-cabin or otherwise) and if we can get at least a balcony at our price/value intersection.  Plus we want a little consistency...a positive expectation gap instead of a negative one.  I keep looking at the likes of Azamara, etc.

Edited by iancal

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

 

I'm curious how you reconcile these two statements?

 

Two of the premium lines rely on smaller, older ships, specifically the ships built for Renaissance (R1 through R8) that were built between 1998 and 2001. Oceania has four of these ships and Azamara has three (the entirety of their fleet).

"R" ships have approx 70% balcony cabins. That formula (along with great space and crew ratios) has always worked great for Oceania and Azamara - two cruise lines that will emerge bruised but not beaten from this mess.

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1 hour ago, cruisemom42 said:

I'm curious how you reconcile these two statements?

While smaller (and older) cruise ships may NOT be profitab le for mid mass market cruise lines (HAL, Princess, etc.)   They work VERY well for the more "upscale" cruise line that charges (and gets) double the daily fare from their passengers.  

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5 minutes ago, FredT said:

While smaller (and older) cruise ships may NOT be profitab le for mid mass market cruise lines (HAL, Princess, etc.)   They work VERY well for the more "upscale" cruise line that charges (and gets) double the daily fare from their passengers.  

It is important to note that, while "premium line" cabin pricing is higher than mass market lines like Celebrity, HAL, et al., the "net daily rate" for all required and usually purchased options may result in a very similar bottom line because the premium lines are more inclusive. Remember too that, at least, Oceania includes airfare in its regular pricing.

In any case, as regards R ship conditions: when Oceania acquired the Ocean Princess about 5 years ago, it poured $40 million into the renovation that brought it up to O's standard - now cruising as Sirena. Add to that O's recent "NEXT" makeover for its four R ships and your looking at superior conditions constantly maintained.

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27 minutes ago, Flatbush Flyer said:

"R" ships have approx 70% balcony cabins. That formula (along with great space and crew ratios) has always worked great for Oceania and Azamara - two cruise lines that will emerge bruised but not beaten from this mess.

I am inclined to think that those two lines (or perhaps just their parent corporations) will get clobbered - reorganization via bankruptcy - along with the rest of the players in the industry;  but I agree that their product is more likely to survive “bruised but not beaten”

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52 minutes ago, FredT said:

While smaller (and older) cruise ships may NOT be profitab le for mid mass market cruise lines (HAL, Princess, etc.)   They work VERY well for the more "upscale" cruise line that charges (and gets) double the daily fare from their passengers.  

 

I understand that, in theory, but it wasn't exactly what iancal had posted.

 

I'm also not as convinced as some that it is the premium and up cruises that will withstand the current pandemic well.

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