Urgent Need for Ships to Start Sailing, Says FMC – Other Cruise News: Alaska Dream Cruises’ 2021 Inside Passage – Small Ship Cruises And The Islands Of Italy
by Kevin Griffin
Last week, the US Federal Marine Commission made its voice known in the world of cruising by backing a return to the seas by the mammoth worldwide fleet of cruise ships that has been laid up, but particularly those that traded from the previously busy ports of Florida. Elsewhere, we looks at Alaska Dream Cruises’ Inside Passage cruise between Sitka and Ketchikan in 2021, and Noble Caledonia’s 2022 plans for the Hebridean Sky.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Urgent Need for Ships to Start Sailing, Says FMC
A report issued by US Federal Maritime Commissioner Louis Sola says there is an urgent need for the cruise industry to resume sailing from Florida cruise ports, citing staggering losses to revenue, local employment and the contributions cruisers make to other tourism sectors such as the airline and hospitality industries.
In its latest, commissioner Sola indicates that Florida has lost $3.2 billion in economic activity and 49,500 local jobs paying approximately $2.3 billion in wages as a result of the suspension of cruising following the COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s No-Sail Order, in effect through September 30.
The report notes that Florida is home to the top-three cruise ports in the world, with 59% of all US embarkations taking place in 2018. Including the corporate and administrative staff of the cruise lines headquartered in Florida, the cruise industry was responsible for over 149,000 jobs in the state and $7.69 billion in wages.
The cruise industry produces in $8.49 billion in direct spending each year within Florida.
Sola said: “the financial consequences of laid-up cruise ships are being seen in government coffers and the pockets of working men and women. Across Florida, people recognize the vital necessity of the cruise industry contributing to the economy again.”
Losses for the 2020 cruise season have been staggering for some of Florida’s largest turnaround ports, which also include Port Everglades.
Before the pandemic, Miami welcomed 6.8 million cruise passengers, a world record. As Florida’s busiest cruise port, and one of the largest and busiest in the world, Miami is responsible for over 30,000 local jobs, $5.8 billion in economic value and $188 million in local and state taxes. Miami estimates it will tally a $55-million loss this year.
Losses for Port Canaveral are pegged at 79% of its annual passengers and 16,000 jobs. With no cruises sailing from the port since early March, though, the annual $1.3 billion that is contributed to the local economy by the cruise industry in Port Canaveral and its surrounding area is at high risk.
Nearly 13,000 people were employed directly by the cruise industry in Port Canaveral in 2019, a number that rises to 23,745 if indirect jobs are included as well.
In Key West — Florida’s only cruise port to function solely as a port of call — the cruise industry contributes over $85 million in economic benefits, provides 1,250 local jobs and makes up 15% of the city’s total tax revenue.
The suspension of the cruise industry within Florida also has an impact on other industries within the United States. Cruise passengers contributed nearly $2 billion in fares to the airline industry in 2019. They also contributed $1.1 billion to the local economy in Miami-Dade County from overnight hotel stays, food and beverage, shopping and transportation, etc.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has also joined the FMC in voicing his concern that cruising activity should resume soon. The report notes that the Fact Finding 30 commission will also be assessing the economic impact of the loss of the cruise industry in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest next.
OTHER CRUISE NEWS
Alaska Dream Cruises’ 2021 Inside Passage Sojourn
Explore beautiful Sitka, the only community in Southeast Alaska that faces the open ocean waters of the Gulf of Alaska. Visit sites that highlight the community’s rich Alaska Native and Russian history.
Embark for the winding narrows north of Sitka while searching for bald eagles, sea otters, bears, whales, and other wildlife.
On board the 76-berth Chichagof Dream.
See Southeast Alaska, from its northern to southern ends, on Alaska Dream Cruises 8-night Inside Passage Sojourn between Sitka and Ketchikan via Glacier Bay, Juneau, Orca Point Lodge, Tracey Arm, Wrangell, Metlakatla and Misty Fjords.
The cruise includes a collection of unique towns and native villages, where passengers will learn about the region’s compelling history and three distinct Native cultures- Tlingit, Haida, and Tsimshian.
Along the way, guests journey through Southeast Alaska’s most abundant wildlife areas and glacial fjords. Kayak, skiff, and hiking excursions allow for up-close exploration.
Fares began at $5,995 per person. Children aged 15 and under receive 15% off listed cruise fares.
Small Ship Cruises And The Islands Of Italy
Noble Caledonia advised this week that they have been working on the schedules for the Sky ships for 2022 and have almost finalised plans. This week, they released two new cruises aboard the Hebridean Sky for September and October 2022 focusing on the islands of Italy.
Their ‘Italy & her Islands’ voyage in September 2022 is accompanied by guest speaker Capt Peter Hore provides a wonderful opportunity to discover the Italian islands of Elba, Sardinia and Sicily combined with two days on the French island of Corsica.
”All the islands we will call into are easy enough to visit individually but difficult to combine independently in a 9-night trip. The islands feature an array of ancient ruins, attractive towns and villages and guests will have time on each to visit the main sites but also explore some of the smaller ports and less visited regions”.
“Each day has an enjoyable mix of culture with guided excursions as well as ample time at leisure. The voyage is planned for late summer, the perfect time of year for exploration, when the crowds of August have dispersed but the weather is ideal for touring and sightseeing.”
For October 2022 Noble Caledonia have scheduled two departures for their popular, 8-night ‘Circumnavigation of Sicily’ itinerary.
Sicily has an incredible wealth of treasures and a geography which lends itself beautifully to exploration by sea with most points of interest close to the coast. From magnificent Doric temples to great Byzantine cathedrals and bizarrely styled villas, there is so much to discover.
Noble Caledonia have planned some late departures from port which afford the opportunity to enjoy dining ashore or an after dinner stroll in some towns which are particularly atmospheric in the evening.
(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)