One of the travel companies hit the hardest by the coronavirus outbreak is Princess Cruises, which is now dealing with a second ship carrying sick passengers.
According to coronavirus-japan-cruise-ship.html” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>The New York Times, the Caribbean Princess vessel was denied entry to a port in Trinidad & Tobago after at least 299 passengers and 22 crew members have become sick due to “an abundance of caution.”
Passengers feeling ill have been treated by the ship’s medical team and tested for the coronavirus, but no cases have been identified on board, according to the cruise line’s official website. The vessel is instead dealing with a norovirus outbreak.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the Caribbean Princess was on a 14-day voyage that departed on February 2, but it has been forced to skip the remainder of its stops and sail back to Port Everglades, Florida, on Thursday.
“This is a highly unusual development, and we share the disappointment of our guests,” Princess Cruises said in a statement. “However, the health and safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and in working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was decided out of an abundance of caution, in this specific instance, to discontinue the cruise.”
At the time of the outbreak, the ship was carrying 4,196 passengers and crew members, with the cruise line offering impacted travelers a 50 percent refund and a future credit valued at 50 percent of their voyage due to the alterations in the itinerary.
The Caribbean Princess is currently scheduled to undergo a full norovirus outbreak cleaning after passengers disembark in Florida. Following the clean-up efforts, the ship is then expected to depart for its next voyage on February 16.
Princess Cruises is also dealing with the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which remains quarantined in Japan. Health officials revealed 60 more confirmed cases of coronavirus onboard, including at least 23 Americans, bringing the total to at least 135 passengers infected.
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Cruise Companies Should Continue to Invest in Sustainable Technology
Research from GlobalData shows that travelers remain committed to seeking out sustainable options when traveling and suggests that cruise companies keep their eye on the ball.
More than one-third (34 percent) of respondents to GlobalData’s Coronavirus Consumer Survey have said they are still interested in news about a brand’s sustainability initiatives, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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“The main priority for cruise companies at this moment is survival. This will rightly be the main focus until a sense of normality returns to the industry,” Ben Cordwell, travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, said. “However, companies need to be aware that throwing all their resources at this challenge could have serious repercussions in the long term.”
Cruise companies have increasingly relied on technological advances to operate in more environmentally friendly ways, including using cleaner fuels to curb emissions and reducing the cost of fuel. Cruises are also using digital capabilities that allow for analysis of weather conditions and the optimization of propulsion rate and speed.
Hurtigruten is one cruise line that is leading the way with sustainable practices. Last year, the line introduced its first hybrid vessel, the MS Roald Amundsen, and it has announced that it is converting three more of its existing ships to hybrid power, too.
After a reset to the travel industry as a whole due to the coronavirus pandemic, many consumers may look to move forward with vacations that put less stress on the environment.
“As the general public’s awareness of environmental damage increases, some travelers are likely to be reluctant to go on a holiday with a large carbon footprint,” added Cordwell. “Therefore, it is essential that cruise companies continue to invest in sustainable technology to ensure they continue to attract customers in the years to come.”
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