Third Strike For Princess Cruises – Other Cruise News: Canadian Arctic Closed For 2020 – Kind Tidings From A Good Customer
by Kevin Griffin
This week we look at a third Princess ship affected by corona-virus (why is it only Princess as a brand that seems to have this draw?), as Ruby Princess is laid up at Sydney. The Canadian Arctic meanwhile will see no cruises this year unless one of the professional expedition companies manages to negotiate its way in.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Third Strike For Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises is in the middle of a 60-day suspension of its global cruising operations, affecting its fleet of 18 ships. Two of these, the 2.700-berth Diamond Princess and 2,600-berth Grand Princess, had earlier experienced outbreaks of the coronavirus. Now, they have been joined by a third, the 3,114-berth Ruby Princess.
More than 700 people aboard the Diamond Princess tested positive, and six of them died. At least two passengers and 19 crew members aboard the Grand Princess also tested positive, and an American passenger on this ship died of the virus after disembarking.
Then on March 19, the Ruby Princess docked in Sydney after an 11-night cruise to New Zealand.
Despite the ship logging 158 cases of illness on an earlier cruise, all 2,700 passengers were allowed to disembark at Sydney’s Circular Quay and return to their homes in New South Wales and elsewhere.
So far, 133 people have been diagnosed with the disease after leaving the ship, and one person, a woman in her 70s, has died.
And just this weekend three crew members with serious respiratory ailments were taken ashore to a hospital in Sydney.
According to the ship’s logs, 158 passengers were sick on an earlier cruise, with thirteen registering high temperatures. A Northern Territory couple flew to Darwin and later tested positive for coronavirus.
One passenger was unwell and taken directly from the ship to hospital, two presented to Sydney hospitals for testing after disembarking, and one was a crew member who was placed into isolation on the ship.
All four would later test positive for coronavirus, but the results of these tests were not disclosed until later. The woman who was taken directly to hospital died.
All passengers were told they would need to self-isolate at home or in a hotel for 14 days. And by March 24, the number of confirmed cases from the ship had risen to 133 – 107 in NSW, and 26 elsewhere in Australia
Canadian Arctic Closed For 2020
Nunavut artists will be hit by this year’s Arctic cruise ban, whereby Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau, announced that this summer’s season of Canadian Arctic cruises twould be suspended to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The Nunavut Government’s annual report on tourism 2018-2019 said twelve cruise ships offered twenty-one separate voyages in Nunavut waters between July and September last year.
The estimated impact of this activity was at $677,258 in 2019, up from $376,016 in 2018, when ice conditions kept many cruises out of the region. But $677,258 is low as a lot of transactions are informal, such as cash paid to artists.
Certain communities were more recently beginning to make money from cruise ships, including Gjoa Haven, with its HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site and Nattilik heritage centre.
Garneau’s announcement soon led to the cancellation of Adventure Canada’s 2020 cruises on the Ocean Endeavour, including four that would have travelled to Nunavut.
Adventure Canada has now transferred its 2020 bookings to 2021.
The Norwegian shipping line, Hurtigruten, which temporarily suspended all its operations, cancelled five 2020 voyages through the Canadian Arctic on its 530-berth Roald Amundsen and 254-berth Fram.
Many people assumed that the Canadian Government could not tell the difference between a 3,000-berth mass-market cruise ship and a 150-berth expedition and adventure ship.
And then the 144-berth Silver Explorer turned up in Chile with an 83-0year-old Briton on board with coronavirus.
Kind Tidings From A Good Customer
One of The Cruise People’s best customers this year, who just happens to be a navy chaplain, emailed the boss today to say the following:
“You and all my friends in the travel industry are in my thoughts and prayers during this unprecedented crisis. Is there anything I can do to be supportive of you from afar? “
We responded by saying that many of us are working on repatriating and rebooking passengers affected by the sudden travel bans and frontier closures, and in negotiating their refunds. And working on loans and grants to stay in business and pay our staff for the duration, as well as filing claims for business interruption insurance, filing documents, making payments, you name it as a result of this crisis.
Our conclusion was pretty straight forward: “Pray for those who most need it right now – our customers who are separated from family and struggling to get home. They will come back and revive our businesses when this is all over.“
And pray that we in the business can survive the storm in order to serve them when it is over!
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)