JD SCHWARTZ' INSIGHTS INTO SHIPS, THE OCEANS AND DESTINATIONS
A DIFFERENT VIEW...WELCOME TO 2022
On The Horizon...
As new ships continue to be delivered and occupancy levels increase across the board (finally) a new year brings yet more concerns over future travel by land, sea and air. We are in an "endemic". A pandemic with no end in sight so get ready for your fourth jab.
Thankfully, the industry has taken a bold approach to attemtping to thwart off any positive cases onboard but even the extensive and preventive protocols are garnering passengers with poor results - positive tests and this is concerning. How much more cruise lines can nail down the formula to prevent any positive cases is questionable.
I did manage grab a cruise from St. Maarten in August of 2021. A quick flight from my new home in Aruba made accessing Celebrity's Summit a breeze and the voyage was beyond fabulous. Just 300 fellow passengers. Imagine a nearly empty dining room and at times, vacant pool deck. One complaint - too much food at the buffet for 300 passengers. I trust the staff and crew fared well and were well deserved to savor the enormous amout of choices set before us day in and day out.
Thanks to sailing on over 50 ships on 150+ voyages I have some great memories which at this time, it's about all I can offer until this business of testing and testing and testing slows down a tad. Journey on...
It's a great time for a deal.
The big sale is on...it's WAVE SEASON...so go out and catch a deal because they're out there calling for hungry pent up cruisers like myself to score big...with one caveat: testing, vacines and masks.
From my recent experience this past August on a sailing from St. Maarten on Celebrity's Summit, ship service and staff have gone beyond the ordinary. The ship (Summit) was immaculate and sparkling from every angle. The staff were as deperate to satisfy and we guests were to finally get back on board. Step back to the 80's - the experience and opportunity will be stunted when ships get full again.
It's getting busy here...watch for my weekly photos of new arrivals and repeaters as the industry has gotten to love Aruba as a safe port of call !
Testing the waters, again.
TRAVEL: NORWAY - A PHOTOGRAPHIC ODYSSEY
Quintessential Norway delivered through Schwartz' newest photo book.
4 Ships, 15 ports cities, 6 fjords - 300 pages
Schwartz' first voyage into Norway's iconic Fjords in 2017 led this author, photographer, and self-proclaimed seafarer (ME), to three more cruises to the country culminating in January 2020. Schwartz' first-ever 300 page destination-centric book features port specific
information detailing 15 port cities and 6 fjords in a lithographed collectible book. His spellbinding black and white photos in the 300-page odyssey captures and exudes the authors passion for oceanic travel through Norway's coastal cities and fjords...don't miss this photographic odyssey...IN STOCK !!!
NORWAY: A PHOTOGRAPHIC ODYSSEY
300 Pages, 15 ports, 6 fjords, 4 ships, 14,000 miles
expectation in restart?
Clearly there will be cases onboard with crews packed tightly into quarters and guests who undoubtedly will forget the pandemic as soon as the skyline of the port they departed from sinks into the horizon With the flu season ramping up in October, resumption of any form will be a daunting task. Is there a remedy beyond a vaccine?
The carnage of scrapping begins
Four ships have been beached in Turkey initiating the carnage of older hardware unable to validate their continuing operations. Monarch and Sovereign of Pullmantur and Carnival's Fantasy and Inspiration are already showing signs of being dismantled, a polite term for scrapping. They served their owners well...
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLA) issued a statement announcing its ocean-going cruise line members will voluntarily extend the suspension of cruise operations from U.S. ports until October 30, 2020. However, Princess just announced a pause through December. Others are expected to follow as COVID-19 flames up around the USA. Caution continues.
Will the newbuild orderbook "pause"?
YES. Over 130 new ships with an average size of 85,192 tons and capacity of 2,162 guests are being delayed by yards and cruise lines. The average cost for the newbuilds are approximately $584 Million. Thirty-nine different cruise brands are building new ships. Some shipyards have resumed but on a limited basis and cruise lines are looking at how to meet financial obligations.
Hemp,hot water, and chemicals? Enough?
NO. NCL's coined "washy-washy" has been the buzz at buffets for years. Are the days of Purell enough? NO. The word is mask wearing may be in effect onboard and dining will be spaced out with buffet service greatly altered or eliminated. Watch for some cabins being converted for the NEXT generation of onboard viral prevention including quarantining guests and crew, if needed.
Operators opt for UV-C
Virgin Voyages, MSC, and Windstar announced they will be deploying UV-C technology in their HVAC systems "Air will be further sanitized and disinfected with ultraviolet-C light for germicidal irradiation. When air passes the UV-C light, microbes such as bacteria and viruses will be destroyed" states Windstar.
Deposits, refunds and FCC cause havoc
As the crisis set in, lines were upping on-board credit to salvage capacity. Then the 125% FCC was enacted with an option to refund (in some cases.) Some lines have eliminated refunds and updated their policies...the confusion ensues and some refunds, while starting to flow, are taking beyond 90 days.
Transparency and honesty - key
Consumers of cruises are loyal. The repeat rate is the highest in the leisure sector and needs succinct honest information and data. Selling cruises for 2020 departures may be a sign that more thought is needed as to how this industry will rebound. Visiting only private islands as single destination may be phase one, or the trend. This is a real risk versus reward scenario.
“It isn’t that life ashore is distasteful to me.
But life at sea is better.”
SIR FRANCIS DRAKE
TESTING THE WATERS
ON FRED OLSEN'S
BRILLIANT LITTLE GEM
AN EPIC VOYAGE TO NORWAY & THE ARCTIC
ON ONE OF HER
SUGGEST A STORY
Welcome to PORT MIAMI where I reside and frequently sail from. Featured are sail-aways, the Miami skyline and ship movements.
Photo chronicles of my last 22 cruises featuring my view of Norway, Cuba, the Caribbean, Italy, the UK, France, Mexico, Spain and Bermuda.
A different view with editorial highlighting industry news, destinations, new-builds. what's hot and what's not...
Don't miss S2S insider.
An introduction to the Gallery of Ships featuring collections from my cruises and crossings including ships, the oceans, sky & elements.
ON THE HORIZON
NOVEMBER 2020 SITE EVENTS:
RESUMPTION TO USA CRUISES
COMING SOON-EUROPE JAN 2021 ?
NEVER TO BE THE SAME
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
Force 8 Gale Crossing the Atlantic
(I'll be adding more videos soon...stop back)
BEYOND THE BLOG
Available worldwide with free shipping.
Visit my Gallery of Ships featuring over 3,000 photos available as prints with framing options.