New Year Brings New Hope/Challenges
Well here we go into 2022 with high hopes of it being better than '21.
I have started this intro to our newsletter several times in 21 and erased them all. It seemed every time things where getting back to normal something new would pop up. Well, welcome to Omicron! And my feeling now, like many others, is to hell with it- we need to start learning to live with it like we have with the flu of the 80s and 90s.
What I have learned over the past 6 months is many people in our industry, from any side you want to consider, need to have actual face to face contact. From June at the IRF event on Marco Island to our annual Christmas party I have never had people so happy to be together, many after a 2 year absence. We are a social industry who cherish our relationships and Zoom has run its course with this group!
On June 26th Diana and I took our first cruise since Diana brought in the last chartered cruise ship back to Ft Lauderdale March 14, 2020. It was only fitting that we were on the first ship to resume cruising on Celebrity’s Edge. Since then we have been on 8 more cruises. What we found on those 8 cruise, most of which were full revenue cruises versus trade cruises, was that passengers and crew alike were in tears in many case with the joy of traveling or working again. We heard no bitching when we were turned away from ports, had to be tested numerous times during a cruise, and had to adjust to ever changing rules and regulations of not only various governments but the ship to comply. It showed us people loved to travel buy maybe, just maybe they loved to cruise more so than anything.
So over the holidays the CDC tells us it’s unsafe to cruise again. So they can’t control it on land but think they can control it on a ship. They had better think again because cruises have always been safer than most other travel options or your local grocery store. Let’s look at some real numbers from Royal Caribbean;
“Since cruising restarted in the U.S. in June 2021, the Royal Caribbean Group has carried 1.1 million guests with 1,745 people testing positive – a positivity rate of 0.02%. Furthermore, the vast majority of those cases had no symptoms or only mild symptoms, with only 41 people needing hospitalization. None of the Omicron cases have been severe or needed to be taken to a hospital. These figures are a result of almost everyone onboard having been vaccinated and having a negative test before boarding.”
These figure were released Thursday December 31 so the new Omicron numbers are in this figure.
Richard Fain CEO of the Royal Group went on to say;
“We don't like to see even one case, but our experience is a fraction of the comparable statistics of virtually any other comparable location or industry. Few businesses are subject to such intense scrutiny, regulation, and disclosure requirements by so many authorities, and we welcome that scrutiny because of our commitment to safety. We intend to maintain our goal of delivering the safest vacation on land or sea and will constantly adjust our procedures to accomplish this even in the face of Omicron's amazing transmissibility."
I am of the opinion STILL that being on a cruise ship is one of the safest and fun places to still be on this planet. With over 242 cruise ships sailing today I am sure our not so friendly biased media would be all over the industry with reports of out breaks all over the world. But they are not and that’s why you will be receiving at least 5 new ship reviews in the near future. So stay tuned!