The cruise industry is one of the most affected by the pandemic. The industry accounts for more than 254,000 American jobs. With travel restrictions in place, it’s been months since cruise ships sailed with full occupancy. Today, only a handful of ships are sailing with minimal occupancy while most ships are sitting idle. Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Group, and Norwegian Cruise spend $1 billion per month to maintain their ships and keep their operations afloat.
Royal Caribbean, on average, spends $250 to $290 million a month. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, on the other hand, spends $190 million per month while Carnival Corporation is at $600 million.
Safe HVAC System?
If there is anything we know today about COVID19 is that transmissions are high in an indoor setting. It was even reported that dangers experienced by seafarers have been compounded since the COVID19 pandemic.
One notable case was the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The cruise ship was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan in February 2020. This affected 712 individuals or 19% of the passengers and killed 13.
In an attempt to gain the confidence of passengers, Royal Caribbean Group partnered with the University of Nebraska Medical Center along with the National Research Institute. They conducted a study to assess the risk of transmission via the HVAC system used in their ship. It was made in July last year on the Oasis of the Seas.
According to the Royal Caribbean Group, aerosol transmission between spaces of their HVAC system is “exceptionally low and undetectable”. On top of that, the company claims that their HVAC maximizes ventilation.
Royal Caribbean also mentioned that it is adding “layers of precaution to further minimize the possibility of COVID19 transmission onboard”. It is going to have medical facilities that have an independent ventilation system plus HEPA filters.
Could this study bring back passengers soon? Could this be enough to convince countries to let Royal Caribbean enter their territory?