Despite cruise lines offering very restrictive plans of virus mitigation to ports of call, coastal towns are making the decision to ban cruise ships from docking in their harbors in 2020.
Bar Harbor, Maine is the latest town to say no to big cruise ships. Cruise Industry News reports:
Bar Harbor, Maine, has decided it does not want any cruise traffic in 2020 following a presentation from American Cruise Lines earlier this week.
The cruise line also presented a 20-page risk mitigation plan.
A Tuesday presentation to a town council meeting by American Cruise Lines outlined various procedures the company was willing to undertake to call on Bar Harbor, but ultimately fell short for 2020. The town decided it does not want any cruise traffic for 2020, whether big ships (as pictured, Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas in Bar Harbor), or even small ships with reduced capacity.
With small ships, American falls outside the CDC’s no sail order.
The company was willing to make the following adjustments to its cruise experience:
- Limit capacity from 175 guests to 60 guests. Crew would also be reduced.
- Passengers would self quarantine at home seven days before the cruise departure.
- Three (3) days prior to travel to Maine and Four (4) to Five (5) days before travel to Alaska,passengers would take PCR swab test and report results to American Cruise Lines before traveling.
- Medical screening of passengers and crew.
- Social distancing aboard.
- Only 25 guests would leave the ship at once while in port.
The company’s 20-page risk mitigation plan covered everything from pre-cruise to onboard protocols, medical issues, outbreak plans and more.
Key West is also looking to ban cruise ships. Cruise Radio reports on the Key West Committee For Safe Cleaner Ships’ effort to limit cruise ship access to Key West:
The Key West Committee For Safe Cleaner Ships has set its sights on reducing the number of ships calling on the port, using the current health crisis to bolster their argument.
In the arguments made on the organization’s website, they state, “We must balance the limited benefits of cruise ships against the larger health, environmental and economic interests of Key West.”
Their plan to do so? Limit both the types of cruise ships allowed to dock and the number of passengers allowed to disembark on any given day.
In their attempts to draw attention to their petition and referendum, the group focuses on the role cruise ships played in the early days of the current health crisis. They also argue that cruise ship passengers do not spend as much money while in Key West as do other types of tourists.
“Cruise ship passengers spend an average of only $32 in Key West versus $550 by all other tourists. It takes 17 cruise ship passengers to match the spending 1 non-cruise tourist,” the website claims. “Cruise ship passengers make up 50% of all tourists in Key West but only 8% of all tourist spending.”
Left out of their equation is the fact that each of the 390 ships which visited Key West last year — carrying 1.2 million guests and crew members — paid a per-guest tax, as well as docking fees.
The Organization’s Three Goals
On the site, the group spells out their three very specific targets with regards to passenger disembarkations and ship arrivals. They are as follows:
- “The number of persons disembarking from cruise ships shall be limited to a total of not more than 1,500 persons per day at any and all public and privately owned or leased property located within the municipal boundary of the City of Key West.”
- “Cruise ships with the capacity to carry 1,300 or more persons (passengers and crew) shall be prohibited from disembarking individuals.”
- “The city of Key West shall give preference and priority to cruise ships and cruise lines that have the best environmental record (the lowest number of environmental violations, penalties and fines) and best health record (the best scores and least number of fiolations in health inspections and reports issued by the Centers for Disease Control Vessel Sanitation Program.”