Cruise Cancellations Gripping Industry – Now What?

Cruise cancellations rock travel industry

Cruise cancellations sweep industry

Over the past week, the unimaginable happened. In a slow, painful progression, all of the major cruise lines, which are members of CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association, suspended sailings for the coming 30-60 days in efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. Read CLIA’s announcement.  

All of us at CruiseTipsTV, including our cruise community, were glued to social media, the White House Press Conference, and the news outlets, waiting to see what each cruise line would do, and how they would communicate to their passengers. Some of our viewers had cruises planned in the coming weeks, and were particularly on edge about cruise cancellations the fate of their trips. Many of them, wondering if they should cancel due to health issues or fear of not being able to re-enter the country or WAIT as the situation unfolded.

As we all watched cruise line stocks fall to record lows throughout the week as cruise cancellations escalated (on 3/13/20 NCLC closed at $11.10, RCL at $32.33, and CCL at $17.58), we received countless messages and emails from our community, asking how to buy stocks to support the cruise lines and asking what else they could to to rally support for the cruise industry.  Despite the shock of the decision to halt cruising for the near future, there seemed to be a collective sigh of relief that a decision had finally been made, and that decision was relatively consistent across the cruise lines.

So, what now? What’s the new normal for our community as they wait to see how the virus progresses and if this 30-60 day “cruise pause” will cruise cancellations continue into the summer months? We know that’s going to look very different for everyone, so we’re sharing our thoughts and plans for the Spring. 

We started our livestream last night with a list of 6 things we’re going to focus on over the next two months following cruise cancellations. We want to expand a little on those thoughts.

We are here for you

We’re going to support our cruising community as you navigate these unprecedented cruise cancellations. The resilience of our community amazes me. Over the past week, I received countless direct messages from cruisers expecting to hop on a ship in the next two weeks. Slowly, their cruises were cancelled, yet there was a recurring theme that warmed my heart. Almost every person who was impacted by cruise cancellations would later email me to share a “silver lining”. They were relieved because they didn’t want to risk exposing at risk parents back home. They received a generous future cruise credit that would allow them to plan an “even better” trip. The list goes on, but it was moving to be surrounded by positivity in the face of uncertainty and change.

As content creators, you would think we’d be wondering “what now?” when it comes to the next few months. However, we’re not concerned about how to fill the void, because we know our primary focus will be supporting our community. We’ll go live often on our YouTube Channel, and our audience will tell us what they need from us in the coming months. While we won’t be producing travel vlogs (that we know!), we’ll be doing our best to continue to inspire cruisers, new and experienced, to create their BEST travel experiences. If you have a topic suggestion, we’re all ears!

Rally the troops

As creators, travel personalities and publishers (do we really have to label ourselves?), we’re going to continue to support, encourage and share knowledge with one another as we get through this new landscape. I was interviewed by the New York times this week about the impact this crisis is having on influencers in the travel space. As you’ll read in the New York Times piece, it’s difficult to know how this will impact us all long term, but for those who rely on paid press trips and sponsored travel, it’s certain that landscape will be at least temporarily altered as brands adjust their budgets, and re-think their marketing and social media strategies.

Our work at CruiseTipsTV is largely self-funded, so we don’t anticipate a major change here, however the financial impact, for us, is already apparent. We anticipate YouTube views will decrease (at least temporarily) and affiliate sales will decline (who is shopping for a cruise right now?). We’ll talk more about this in a bit.

Focus on the wellness of our community

Perhaps most importantly, our family will focus on the health and wellness of the community we live in, and the health and safety of our workplaces. We will be following the CDC guidelines as this situation unfolds and do our best to play our part in helping to protect the vulnerable in our communities and limit the spread of this virus. While the virus has not yet been reported in the community we live in, we are certain it will any day.  

Looking Ahead

There’s no doubt that this crisis will have a lasting impact on our economy, and as a result, we are focused, as a family on “keeping our financial house in order”. While you have heard us speak recently about purchasing cruise line stocks at low prices, we should also share that we did so in lieu of taking a cruise. We are NOT financial advisors, and are not in a place to give out financial advice, but for our family, we feel it’s important to share that this is not a time to spend frivolously.

As big proponents of budgeting (I’m a BIG Dave Ramsey fan- if you know, you know), we’re looking at bulking up our savings and limiting spending as we are unsure how this pandemic will impact the greater economy. The only thing we know for sure is that it WILL impact the greater economy. Financial responsibility is key right now.

Keep Dreaming

While much of what we’ve just shared may seem somber and serious, we cannot WAIT for the moment when we can cruise again. Cruising will look a little different for a while, maybe forever, with health restrictions, new screening procedures and some changes that we can’t yet predict. We will be using this time to research, plan and dream about our next voyage (or two!), and we hope you will too. Cruising is our passion, our “prime directive”, and a shared love for our family and our community.

With that said, we, along with our Travel Agency Partner, Wendy with Montebello Dream Vacations recommend that you pause for a bit before booking your next cruise. Let’s take a deep breath over the next 30 days to see how this situation unfolds. Yes, the deals are tempting, but to avoid more disappointment, Wendy recommends NOT booking at this very moment. 

With that said, it won’t be long before we’re ALL cruising again. 

We can’t wait for our next lively sailaway party, that steaming cup of morning coffee on the balcony.  Breathe. Just breathe. Love on your family. Get lots of exercise. Cook new recipes. Recreate your favorite cruise cocktails. Find ways to give in your community, and just BREATHE.

See you on the high seas…soon!