Everyone is looking for a scapegoat for the plague we have been enduring. We are tired and weary but blaming one segment of the travel industry, the cruise industry, without looking at the facts does not help us develop policies and procedures needed to move on with our lives. I would argue the opposite. The cruise lines have worked closely with the CDC and scientists to develop models we all need to assess and manage risks.
Last week the CDC raised the “threat” level for cruising to level 4 or “Avoid Cruise Travel”. I am at a loss to explain why they continue to stigmatize the one segment of our industry that has done the most to successfully mitigate risk. Let’s look at the current state of cruising.
Cruise lines have nearly 95% vaccination requirements for guests and crew (the U.S. is hovering around 63%), and despite rigorous testing, a 31% lower incidence of COVID than on land around the world. These numbers reflect over three million cruisers since the restart of cruising. The pervasive testing for almost all cruisers should have led to much higher positivity rates than on land where tests are few and far between or not reported when home tested. The fact the ships still had lower rates is all the more impressive.
I too am tired and weary and ready to regain some of the life I lived pre-March 2020, but this focus on what I can only conclude is perceived as an “easy target” insults us all. Cruising is not the scapegoat for the pandemic and statements to color it as such are facile. I will be onboard a cruise ship very soon. According to all the statistics (including those from the CDC), I will be much safer at sea than I am here in Washington, DC.
P.S. To address the inevitable comments that will come my way. Yes, I have always been an advocate for the travel industry I love, but never an apologist. I would certainly not start now at this point in my career.