If there is one thing that the emergence of COVID-19 has done for the cruise line industry, it is the exposure of the chinks in many companies’ health and sanitation policies. COVID-19 is a highly infectious and transferable disease. Its emergence has exposed just how easy it is to transfer germs among passengers at sea, resulting in serious illness and compromising the health and safety of both passengers and crew members.
Closing in on almost a year after the disease first appeared, the cruise industry has yet to set sail again in full force. Has the pandemic taught companies anything? As devastating as COVID-19 has been to the industry, the cruise line industry may make traveling safer for passengers and employees in the future.
The Future of the Cruise Industry
COVID-19 has forced the Cruise Lines International Association to reexamine and rethink some of its most basic guidelines. Already, members are brainstorming about how they can help cruise line companies adjust and make future embarkations safer for everyone.
One of the positive changes that may last long after the COVID-19 epidemic has slowed down is a more complete and enhanced approach to ship sanitation. Some news outlets have already reported that enhanced hygiene will be at the center of many business models. This includes more stringent cleaning regimes for guestrooms and more thorough sanitation of kitchen and bathroom facilities.
The dining experience may undergo significant changes, as well, in the wake of COVID-19. Buffet style lines where people are constantly hoovering over food, even with sneeze guards in place, standing close to one another in line and touching bins of plates and utensils may become a thing of the past. While buffets have always been a popular option, they are rife with conditions that may expose a large number of people to a pathogen in a short amount of time. Limiting guests or serving meals to seated guests may be preferred.
One of the most important changes that could take the cruise line industry in a more positive direction is upgrading current shipboard medical facilities. March already feels like forever ago, but the image of people sick and stranded on cruise ships is still burned in many people’s memories. Learning from past mistakes, cruise lines may be looking to bulk up their medical facilities and enhance the supplies and staff they have onboard their ships. This would put them in a position to better handle not just disease outbreaks, but other types of serious medical issues that could arise while out at sea.
In the short-term, passengers who board a cruise line in 2021 may see routine COVID-19 testing before and after boarding ships, mask requirements, and increased sanitation protocols. In the long-term, cruise lines may make changes that put passenger safety and security at the forefront of the cruise experience.
Contact Louis A. Vucci P.A.
The legal team at Louis A. Vucci P.A. has extensive experience handling a wide range of cruise ship cases, from ship-related COVID-19 cases to medical negligence claims for people injured onboard a ship. Future safety changes are a positive step in the right direction, but if you or a loved one have suffered from a cruise ship illness or injury, you may be entitled to compensation. To talk to one of our attorneys about your potential claim, contact us at (786) 375-0344 today. The consultation is free.