The Impact of COVID-19 on the Cruise Industry and What it Means for Travelers

The impact of COVID19 on the cruise industry and what it means for travelers

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cruise lines have been hit hard. Their operations were suspended and passengers stayed home to protect against exposure, leaving them scrambling for ways to remain profitable.

Cruise companies have responded by implementing new health protection tactics. These initiatives include more stringent cleaning and hygiene standards as well as requiring passengers to receive full vaccination against COVID-19 prior to sailing.


For many small countries, the cruise industry had long been a significant source of income. Unfortunately, with the start of COVID-19 pandemic, much of its popularity and profitability evaporated.

At the start of the pandemic, most major cruise lines suspended operations and national governments issued travel advisories and bans. This resulted in a decrease in passengers, lower revenues and operating margins, as well as fewer ships.

Although the cruise industry has made some progress, it will take time to restore its reputation and business model. In the meantime, it must maintain many of its health protocols while looking ahead to sustainable and profitable business models for the future.


Since COVID-19, the cruise industry has placed an intense focus on safety. As such, all aspects of cruising are subject to stringent regulations and regular inspections.

Ship design and testing must adhere to global safety standards that outline emergency procedures and protocols. Furthermore, the cruise industry requires crew members to receive specific training on cargo/passenger safety as well as hull integrity.

As a precaution, measures have been put in place to prevent further spread of the virus. One such measure is contact tracing, which involves identifying all contacts who have been in close proximity to an ill person and reaching out for vaccination.

Carnival Cruise Lines has also released a set of improved health measures that they plan to implement when sailing again, developed in collaboration with government health authorities, public health experts, local ports and CLIA (Concert Cruise Industry Association).


Though the industry has now resumed normal operations, there remain several unresolved issues that need to be addressed. Radic et al. (2020) reported that cruise lines’ communication and contingency plans during COVID-19 had some weaknesses.

The severity of this virus on the cruise industry has been immense, and it remains uncertain what the future holds. Nevertheless, travelers can likely rest assured that they can once again enjoy their cruise experience with peace of mind and security.

In today’s fast-paced world, negative rumors spread faster than neutral facts and one tweet can destroy a brand. Reputation is now one of the most critical elements in any business. Thankfully, cruise lines are taking several measures to make travelers’ experiences on board as comfortable and stress-free as possible; these include providing various options and prices, creating a secure environment for passengers, as well as communicating with guests and the general public.

Travel Options

Travelers can take a variety of measures to reduce their risk for becoming ill during a trip. They may wear masks, get tested and stay isolated if necessary for some period after leaving their destination.

Furthermore, many international destinations have eased or eliminated entry requirements for fully vaccinated Americans. Be sure to research travel restrictions in any country you plan on visiting so that you are informed and prepared.

Depending on where you are going, some nations may require proof of COVID-19 test results or documentation proving recovery from the disease before entering or leaving their country. This requirement could apply to just one airport, or apply across all destinations you plan to visit.

Some travel insurance policies provide trip cancellation and interruption benefits for travelers who test positive for COVID-19 or must quarantine themselves due to a doctor’s recommendation. This coverage may also cover emergency medical expenses and evacuations if someone needs to get away from the area where they have contracted the virus.