Government Support of Business and a Week Out – Surviving The Worst of Times

by Kevin Griffin

In a period of just three weeks, the Coronavirus C-19 has hit the world hard. Cruise ships taken out of service for 30, sometimes 60 days, ports refusing entry to cruise ships where there is any hint of fever on board, whole countries such as India and Canada banning cruise ships to protect their own populations, whole fleets of aircraft grounded, huge hospital ships deploying to New York and Los Angeles. Kevin Griffin has been writing the weekly “Cruise Examiner” column since 2008. He also owns The Cruise People in London, and is now called away to save his business and its jobs. Lots of things are happening to tight deadlines this week. So because of the various items delineated in his briefing below, there will be no “Cruise Examiner” this week. But we plan to return next week.

Surviving The Worst of Times  (by Kevin Griffin)

Like travel agents all over Europe and the UK, we are losing business in a continuous stream of cancellations, some caused by the fear of Coronavirus, some by cancelled voyages, some by flight bans, some by travel bans and some to closed frontiers. The best thing people can do, and the cruise lines are making it easy, is to delay bookings until later this year or even next years.

And Government has a huge role to play.

So, where others might have left the field, we are still in business, booking cargo ship voyages as well as ultra-luxury cruises and small ship and expedition cruises into 2021, for there is still a future. In order to keep business going, the UK Government is helping out not only giants such as British Airways, three-quarters of whose business has been wiped out by the virus outbreak, but also small and medium size companies such as ours.

Hospital ship USNS Comfort assigned to New York

Hospital ship USNS Comfort assigned to New York

The UK’S various stimuli include a one-year Business Tax holiday, Business Interruption loans, Cash Flow grants to cover some of our losses and Employment grants to help pay our employees who would otherwise be out of work.

On the customer side, requests this week for voyages to Australia and New Zealand will mean travellers having to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival at destination under present rues. London to Sydney takes 45 days and costs €5,977.

The Cruise People usually has about 300 passenger-carrying cargo ships on its books. But since the full implications of the present worldwide virus outbreak became clear earlier this month, passenger service has been suspended on most of these ships for March and April, with May departures now also in danger of cancellation.

The ships continue to sail however, and the Cruise People are accepting bookings for departures in June and beyond. Present bookings are subject to confirmation closer to sailing date, but once the travel bans and closed frontiers have been dismantled we will be back in business full time. But when that will be is yet to be determined.

Here is a link to The Cruise People’s cargo ship blog:

For further details of voyages by cargo ship please call The Cruise People on +44 (0)20 7723 2450 or e-mail

“Don’t give up the ship” – Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, USN.

(Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd and a director of specialist cruise operator Culture Cruises Ltd, both of London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

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