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Cruises of tomorrow


Unitate Vires


 


CRUISE INDUSTRY: FROM “SPREE” TO “LIMBO” AND SOON TO “NEW RULES”?



Preliminarily, we read in the dictionaries:


Spree: “a spell or sustained period of unrestrained activity of a particular kind”.


Limbo: “an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition”.


Rule: “the set of ideas and principles that most people involved in an activity, area of business, etc. accept and follow”.


Until this day (11/06/2020), there are 7.145.400 persons worldwide that got infected from the present virus, and 408.025 of them died from it. This is terrible. Without the measures taken globally the numbers would have been much higher.


 


CONTENTS:


A. The cruise industry in 2020: Waterloo or Pearl Harbor?

B. Yesterday, the virus came as a surprise, it should not have been one

C. Now the cruise industry should discover all the present and future risks, problems and challenges and face them, one by one

D. Create a task force to face the risks, problems and challenges to the cruise industry

E. Correct the existing design and invent a new one that will follow New Rules resulting from the task force’s conclusions

F. Strength through unity

G. Marketing for the future

H. Cruises, Culture, Civilization

I. EURAN for the cruise industry



A. The cruise industry in 2020: Waterloo or Pearl Harbor?


Napoleon had his Waterloo, where his career stopped forever. The U.S. had its Pearl Harbor but has been able to restart and win after the surprise attack. The cruise industry fought its own contemporary “war” with the present virus, which, incredibly, took it out of business. We are certain that the industry will not stop here, but will respond to the challenge and be able to restart and go ahead. It must be so because, according several reports, a very large number of people are involved in this industry, from the building of the cruise ships and their servicing, the tourism professionals worldwide, both “at home” and at the destinations, the travelers themselves, enormous amounts of money are spent and made in it and from it and the industry is providing to the global society an essential leisure and cultural service.



B. Yesterday, the virus came as a surprise, it should not have been one


We understand the following:


Pandemics happened before, in a global or more localized level.

Discussion about possible new global pandemics was taking place, in some circles, since many years and also even a few days before the "official" start of the present pandemic.

We can look to a few dates: recent search notices that the present virus might have started in the end of the summer or the beginning of the autumn 2019.

The WHO (World Health Organization, based in Geneva) in its Country Office of China was informed of cases of pneumonia unknown etiology (unknown cause) detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China the 31/12/2019.

One month later, the 30/01/2020, the WHO declares Coronavirus a “global health emergency”.

Late January and beginning of February 2020, the first infections appear on board cruise ships.

Although, after that date, infections started spreading on board various cruise ships, almost all of them continued to sail, taking some measures against the spread of the virus on board which unfortunately proved to be insufficient.

11/03/2020: finally, the WHO decided to declare the virus “a pandemic”. We can wonder why the organization waited for so long.

Almost one and a half month later, the 22/04/2020, the last cruise ship delivered the last passengers to a port. All the other ships had already stopped sailing with passengers.

Now, one can understand that as soon as the existence of the virus became public, there should have been a coordination in the industry in order to analyze in depth the real problem, understand all the facts, follow the development of the virus and take the extraordinary decision to stop at an early stage all the cruises, as it happened with the lock down of several countries worldwide. In that way, the industry could have saved lives, would have avoided that many passengers and crew get sick and, by doing that, could succeed to safeguard the extremely positive image it had until then, image which was instead suffering day by day following the continuous announcements of new infections on board various cruise ships. Now this image, according several sources, is still very problematic.


C. Now the cruise industry should discover all the various present and future risks, problems and challenges and face them, one by one


The present situation should be resolved so people can start cruising again. By that occasion, the industry could go one step further and prepare for the future. There are several issues to analyze and respond at:


HEALTH ISSUES


A medical solution will probably be found with the present virus, under the form of medicine and a vaccine. Would then the problem “virus on board cruise vessels” be resolved forever?

What will happen with the next viruses? The cruises will be out of order every time that a virus might become a pandemic in the future?

Are viruses the only medical risks? Certainly not. The ones that we know, are they faced 100% correctly so far? And also are there other medical risks that we should discover before they happen?

PUBLIC IMAGE ISSUES RELATED TO THE QUALITY OF THE SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE CRUISE LINES


The cruise industry could examine complaints against it as a whole or against individual cruise companies, expressed in the past by passengers and by the public in general.


PUBLIC IMAGE ISSUES RELATED TO ENVIRONMENT


Other problems that influenced negatively the public image of the cruise industry could be examined, problems not taken in consideration in the past to see if it is possible to resolve them now as well.


ANALYSIS OF THE INCIDENCE THAT MIGHT HAVE ON THE CRUISE INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENTS DESCRIBED IN GLOBAL SCENARIOS FOR THE FUTURE


Are there other types of risks, than the ones mentioned previously, not taken in consideration presently that could surface at any moment? We should look into the future through scenarios, research and analysis made by specialists in order to better prepare the industry from unforeseen socio-economic developments.



D. Create a task force to face the risks, problems and challenges to the cruise industry


All this work can be done by a task force to be assembled, that will investigate, analyze and propose the way out of the present stand still and that will show the way to a better, safer, more efficient, future. That group of persons should, at our opinion, comprise all the below professionals:


The chairman of the task force should be a person able to coordinate correctly the work of the group.

Cruise companies top manager(s): they should guide the work.

Cruise companies technical, finance and marketing specialists: they bring the points of view of each one’s department.

Naval and building architects, interior designers, artists and city planners: the city planners give to the architects the overall plan in which they will build the architecture of the small city that constitutes the cruise ship. The naval architects and interior designers place their spaces into the plan of the city planners. The building architects would bring an outsider’s (from the cruise milieu) point of view which might prove to be refreshing for the discussions. The artists intervene with their work in the plans of the city planners, the architects and the interior designers.

Shipyard’s experts: they deal with the engineers’ part of the projects, they are necessary to certify that anything can be done in the project of a vessel.

Epidemiologists, virologists, infectiologists and other medical specialists: they are the ones to provide the rules which will guide the inspiration of the city planners, the architects and the interior designers.

Civil protection experts: they have the expertise of protecting populations, in this case the one of the small cities that are the cruise ships.

Representatives of industries involved at the vessels’ construction: they will inform the engineers, the architects, the interior designers and the artists about the industrial solutions that fit better into their design.

Representatives of classification societies: they will update the regulations following the works of the team.

Representatives of public authorities (ports, decease control organizations etc.): they will control the work of the team, guaranteeing that this work develops within the limits that they wish to be respected.

Representatives of governments: as they will give “the green light”, they should supervise everybody else, so the task force arrives to a solution that will be accepted and let the cruises start again.

Only the common work of all the above professionals would be efficient, at our opinion. All the involved should discuss their findings, analyze all the various aspects of the problems and find the best, long term, solutions. The present crisis is a unique occasion to invent new rules that will not only safeguard but also produce better vessels, reinforce and expand the cruise industry, new rules that will drive the concept of a new type of cruising into the future.



E. Correct the existing design and invent a new one that will follow New Rules resulting from the task force’s conclusions


There are presently in operation globally more than 300 cruise ships. There are also on order more than 100 of them.


At the occasion of that crisis, as it will seek to apply the new rules mentioned above, the industry should review and eventually reconsider the principles upon which the vessels are designed and built.


What to do with the existing cruise ships?

Should the future vessels that are already designed be, at least partly, redesigned?

Which are the minimal necessary modifications at the above?

How to design the next generation of cruise ships? Should they be completely different from the existing ones? In which sense?

Could, for example, the actual trend of creating vessels looking like big buildings in movement, change in the future to adopt a more human scale aspect?


F. Strength through unity


The solutions could be found at the level of the profession (professional organization of cruise companies) as a whole, or at the level of individual cruise companies which might understand the situation in the way we do and might wish to take action accordingly.


The industry received, as a whole, a bad hit, both in its finances and its public image during the expansion of the present virus in the world. Its reaction was not really coordinated, each company taking its own initiatives to face the incredible situation. Now, at our opinion, it would be better to unite in order to try to resolve the common problems as soon and as correctly as possible. As long as the bad image is still there, it will be much more difficult to fight it efficiently alone. If the main players of the industry will be able to forget that they are competitors and find solutions together, those solutions will be found faster, will be better, more durable and, hopefully, it will be easier for the public to forget the previous problem(s) and start cruising again without fear.



G. Marketing for the future


On the exclusive condition that all the above will be realized, or will be on the way to be realized, the cruise industry should implement a consistent and durable marketing effort to repair its badly hurt image.



H. Cruises, Culture, Civilization


In that effort, culture can be one of the main strong points. Cruises are culture. As they are small cities in movement, cruises are the mirror of our present societies, they are civilization. For that reason, aside of the economic arguments in favor of the industry, culture can be one of its best advocates.  



I. EURAN for the cruise industry


We can assist at the formation of the task force mentioned above, participate at, or assist its leadership and advise the above proposed task force in particular in what concerns issues related to city planning, architecture, interior design, the arts. We can, finally, advise you at the industry’s activities and marketing related to culture.


 

Thank you for your attention.



EURAN, European Art Networks AB, Stockholm, Sweden


11/06/2020