February 24, 2020
The cruise line industry has had a few tough years. A norovirus outbreak requiring an emergency return to port. An engine failure, helicopter evacuations and questionable decisions whether to put a ship to sea. It seems like every few weeks there’s a story about sickness racing through a cruise ship or safety issues coming to the forefront, leaving the industry on the defensive. Can’t get any worse, right?
Welcome Coronavirus and its new breeding ground, the Diamond Princess. For weeks, news media have catalogued the plight of passengers quarantined on the stricken cruise ship, many on deck looking longingly at the Japanese coastline just feet away but unable to disembark.
In the other situations, the cruise lines gamely offered updates on their websites, credits for past and future travel, and apologies for inconveniences among an ongoing laundry list of apology perks, which largely appeased the cruising public. But now, how will the public respond after seeing the botched quarantines, chaos aboard docked ships and the refusal from some ports of call to even accept ships that have suspected coronavirus cases? How are they going to handle a situation now turning deadly? The answer will be revealed soon, as high season for cruising is around the corner.
And what of the Diamond Princess? What is her fate? Apparently she is scheduled to resume service on April 24 after a thorough cleaning. Plenty of prime cabin space is now available at excellent prices.
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