Although revenues for cruise ship companies haven’t floated back to pre-pandemic levels, things are still looking up. Last year saw a 96 per cent year on year increase in recovery rates, which is excellent news for recruiters and ship employees alike.
According to Cruise Market Watch, 323 ships sailed into 2022 but there are likely to be 25 new vessels added this year. So far, seven of these were delivered in 2021 and are debuting this year.
Among the first to set sail this year was the Viking Octantis, which set off on its first expedition cruise at the start of this quarter. Virgin Voyages’ Valiant Lady sailed from Portsmouth to Bruges earlier this month. The much-awaited Wonder of the Seas from Royal Caribbean also made its maiden voyage this quarter, sailing out of Port Everglades on March 04.
A day later, Costa Cruises’ latest ship Toscana sailed out of Savona in Italy on its maiden voyage towards Marseille. This is the brand’s second cruise ship fueled by liquified natural gas (LNG), which can offer almost zero emission of sulphur oxides and particulate matter, reduce direct nitrogen oxide emissions by 85 per cent and cut carbon dioxide emissions by up to 20 per cent.
Interestingly, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has indicated that more half the number of new cruise ships ordered for 2022 and beyond will be powered by LNG rather than diesel, and nearly all of those still being powered by fossil fuels will be fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems which remove 98 per cent of sulphur content from emissions.
The new 183,000 GT Aida Cosma embarked in February while Discovery Princess is seeing its inaugural cruise set off at the close of this quarter. Emerald Azzurra also left on its maiden voyage this quarter, calling on resort towns in Jordan, Egypt and Israel.
Cruise ship job opportunities are also opening via an unexpected route – the FIFA World Cup in Qatar later this year. The independent emirate has signed an agreement with MSC Cruises to offer fans a chance to live on board two floating hotels with a combined capacity of 4000 cabins that look out across the West Bay skyline. Europa and Poesia will berth at Doha Port and offer quick mobility to the stadiums.
The four-star Poesia offers four gourmet dining options and 15 bars and event spaces, while the five-star World Europa offers 13 eateries including six fine dining options and more than 30 bars and event spaces. Bookings for accommodation on these two cruise ships opened this quarter.
In a spot of humanitarian news, cruise ship companies are stepping up to offer aid to refugees affected by the crisis in Ukraine. Costa Magica – which has a maximum capacity of 3400 if all berths are filled – has been offered as temporary housing for refugees if needed while Carnival Cruise Line donated USD50,000 to World Central Kitchen and Carnival Corporation’s chairman dedicated a million dollars each to World Central Kitchen, medical aid and supplies and UNICEF USA. Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises also donated medical supplies to treat injuries and common diseases in Ukraine.
Cruise ship companies are also coming forward to offer support to their crew members from Russia and Ukraine.