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TTC Special. Caribbean: Cruises are Coming. Or Not?

CLIA cruise line members are voluntarily and temporarily suspending operations from the U.S.

Photo: Oleksandr Nebrat/123RF

By Frank Martin

Next time you travel on an MSC Cruises ship, the world’s first humanoid bartender may be serving you at the bar.

The new robot is already in operation on the ship MSC Virtuosa.

However, it is not certain how long to wait for your next cruise trip.

The enemy is the global pandemic.

It is a paradoxical fact that a robot on board has been already tested thanks to the technology on these large ships even though customers are still unable to enjoy it due to the epidemic.

Unfortunately the still high spread of Covid-19 around the world and specially in the Americas is delaying and in some cases preventing these floating wonders from navigating.

Examples of that lateness occur every day.

To name just a few Cayman Islands Prime Minister Alden McLaughlin warned that the return of cruise ships this year is not on his government’s “radar.”

Those beautiful Caribbean islands are unlikely to receive the giant ships again before 2022.

McLaughlin was accurate in explaining why he thinks that.

The world would have to be a very different place in relation to the coronavirus before he considers the return of ships to local waters, he said.

Others in the region are not so pessimistic.

Experts on the subject expect that most of the ships will set sail next March. But there are really no pre-set dates for the massive reboot.

According to specialists consulted by TTC it is that the approvals of essential health protocols are still awaited.
In some cases navigation announcements have been made, but they are not accurate.

Royal Caribbean announced that it will begin offering round-trip cruises from Barbados in late 2021 on its colossus Grandeur of the Seas.

When it does, it will be Royal Caribbean’s first time using a Barbados home port.

Instead Carnival Cruises revealed that it will restart as soon as possible.

The idea of that company is to start gradually but no dates were published yet.

Last December during the International Summit of Cruises in Madrid, the return of cruises to Cuba “soon” was a analyzed possibility.

Ships of American companies stopped entering the island before the pandemic due to a US government ban.

According to statements by executives of some firms vetoed by Washingto there will be a return but only after the vaccines are applied and a setback of the coronavirus started in the Caribbean.

That decision is the same for the most important destinations in the Caribbean.

Doubts about the long-awaited start also exist outside the Caribbean region.

In the generally icy Alaska the cruise season would be about to close due to the virus and despite the economic strains that such a move would cause.

In 2017 one in 10 jobs in the state of Alaska was related to tourism.

In 2018 the cruise industry accounted for $ 1.24 billion for the icy American territory.

Those figures for the Caribbean are also high and nevertheless the terrible waiting period is still open.

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