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Good news on horizon for cruise industry as COVID-19 vaccine rolls out

Last Updated Dec 19, 2020 at 11:37 am PST

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — COVID-19 vaccine may be signalling hope on the horizon for cruises.

It’s been a while since ships like the Norwegian Bliss, Celebrity Millennium, Coral Princess, Ovation of the Seas — among many others — have docked at the Port of Vancouver.

While there’s been a lot of uncertainty about whether the pandemic has created new apprehension or greater appreciation around cruising for regular travellers — Bruce Fougner with Lloyds Travel & Cruises says, “the demand is coming back.”

Bruce Fougner runs Lloyd’s travel in Vancouver and says he’s seen a noticeable jump in calls from travellers, particularly since news hit that vaccines had been approved and distribution was underway.

“There’s a huge pent-up demand from people who are antsy to get back … as of September 2021, they’re going to be good to go.”

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Now Bruce cautions his business specializes more in booking smaller, more expensive ships but it’s likely to a welcomed note of optimism for an industry crippled by COVID-19 restrictions.

Just this week Royal Caribbean announced it sold two ships, including the Majesty of the Seas. Her sister ships, Sovereign and Monarch already scrapped after the Spanish cruise line that owned them went bankrupt.

Fougner says this is normal but the impact of COVID is likely partially to blame.

“I would say it’s a little bit of both. They’ve obviously got to look at the bottom line at what it costs them.”

In a written statement the Port of Vancouver says each ships is worth roughly $3-million to the local economy and that, “We are actively working together with the cruise industry, cruise lines, the cruise terminal operator, others ports, and the government to ensure strict safety protocols are in place to be sure we can be ready quickly as soon as Transport Canada permits.”