Global cruise industry is experiencing a resurgence in small steps

The pandemic years have left sustainable traces in the cruise industry. In addition to insolvencies and ship sales, there have also been numerous scrappings of cruise ships since the outbreak of the pandemic. While an average of four cruise ships were retired for demolition per year from 2009 to 2019, shipowners have sold 20 cruise ships for scrapping since the outbreak of the pandemic, including younger ships that had only been in service for 25 years, according to Clarkson Research.

Also the shipbuilding industry suffered from the consequences of the Corona crisis. While 127 new cruise ships were ordered in the boom years 2016 to 2019, order placement plummeted in 2020 (5 ships) and the first half of 2021 (2 ships). Production interruptions, short-time work and job cuts are the consequences.

However, in mid-2021 there is also a return to positive news from the industry after cruise tourism came to an almost complete standstill in 2020. While there had already been some hope of a slow recovery in the first few months of 2021, it has now been picking up speed more strongly since the summer of 2021. Since there are travel opportunities again, bookings for cruises in 2021 are said to have increased rapidly, according to travel portals.

"Cruise Industry News" reports in its August 2021 issue that 190 cruise ships are now sailing with guests on board, but only with strict hygiene policies, so the ships cannot be fully utilized.  In addition, the Corona pandemic has fundamentally changed cruising, making the cruise market increasingly complex. For example, cruises are now offered for restricted cruising areas, as many ports and countries are still closed to cruise ships. Other changes occurring include frequent cancellations and itinerary changes and cruise trips entirely without port calls or else with many sea days and only a few port calls.

But: The Corona crisis is not over yet. 2021 will certainly only be a transitional year, experts expect a certain "normality" from 2023 at the earliest. What is certain is that, in perspective, the industry will have to adapt to changing formats of cruises due to adjustments.

The ISL SSMR 2021-6 highlights various developments around passenger shipping with a focus on cruise shipping and port development in this segment. The issue is available for download via our webshop.