As the coronavirus took hold in March, cruise lines canceled upcoming trips, and fearing infection, ports turned away vessels already at sea.Though the outbreak has eased for most countries, very little has changed for the industry since.Travel bans and social distancing are still in place. Cruise ships are left drifting, empty, off coasts, or laid-up in docks to wait out the storm.Here’s what they look like.Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Travel limits caused by the coronavirus in March saw the cruise industry freeze and clear their calendars for much of the year, leaving many empty liners laid up in ports or anchored out to sea, where they continue to drift listlessly.Thousands of workers are stranded aboard and others are operating with small skeleton crews, sailing from berth to berth. Many ports have turned ships away, fearing they will bring new cases of the virus.Even though the spread of the virus has peaked for many countries, travel bans remain in place, and the industry faces an uphill battle to make up for losses caused by the pandemic as well as moving past reputational damage done by outbreaks on ships.Norwegian Cruises says it has “significant doubt” about its finances, and Carnival, the world’s largest cruise operator, has laid off workers and slashed salaries.
“2020 is a wasted year,” Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruises, said on May 14.Here’s what the cruise industry looks like right now: