The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to a standstill and the cruise industry is no exception.
Indeed, it may never been the same again. What observers are waiting to discover though is just how badly it has been impacted?
Up until 2019, the annual number of cruise passengers sat at 29.7 million, according to Statista.
Miroslav Kozhuharov has been working on cruise ships for the past 20 years, as an electrician, and has worked for some of the world’s top cruise companies.
Miroslav is now employed by Costa Cruise Line, which is one of Italy’s premier companies.
He has been significantly affected by the pandemic, he said: “There is a lot uncertainty about whether I am going to be hired again.
“I work on contracts between four and six months. Due to the pandemic our crew has been significantly reduced and we are currently combining several positions and performing all of them due to the lack of workers.’’
Challenges For The Cruise Industry
As a result of restrictions imposed by authorities, in Italy, the crew is not allowed to go ashore.
In addition, the ship’s supplies of provisions and spare parts are becoming harder and harder to source.
Miroslav spoke of how they have not had any guests since March, nor have any bookings been made.
He said: “In my opinion, there will be no cruises until at the end of the summer. Some of our competing companies now require their guests to be vaccinated.
“Unfortunately, a very uncertain future awaits us.’’
Even though there are no passengers on board the ship still needs to be maintained. This has been done through a reduced manning crew, consisting of 118 people.
Ordinarily, 750 crew would remain on board.
The manning crew is a list of mandatory presence of the ship, in certain positions. This is monitored by the maritime administration, of the country under whose flag the company belongs to.
When asked about how he feels right now, Miroslav said: “I feel very uncomfortable. I miss my family more than ever, especially my wife.’’
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