Adrian Loveridge Column – Cruise Ship Industry Presents Opportunity

Adrian Loveridge

Submitted by Adrian Loveridge

While pretty much all that is uttered currently regarding the future of our land based tourism sector is purely academic, until we can see some possible end to the current coronavirus crisis, one thing for absolutely certainty is that the cruise ship industry will never be quite the same again.

According to a recent media release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an estimated 100 cruise ships remain offshore or in controlled and restricted port berths off the United States East, West and Gulf Coasts with some 80,000 crew members on board.

The CDC states under the 100 day no sail order ‘they must comply with all government requests and may not board or disembark any crew members during this time frame’.

Onboard MS. Volendam (one of the Holland America line), from his ‘80 square foot windowless cabin’, 27 year old singer/ dancer crew member, Matthew Gordon, stated that after almost a month ‘fried fish heads had become a lunch staple’.

Regarding the several cruise ships currently moored off our Barbadian shoreline, and perhaps other jurisdictions around the world, it would appear contrary to the previous CDC ruling, the majority of the crews have been repatriated on charter flights, leaving the vessels, with skeleton staff onboard, to maintain a minimum level of safety and security.

As difficult to accept, at this time, as it may at first appear, it might just be the ideal time for a private led consortium to partner with an established cruise operator to launch a Barbados flagged and based vessel offering year- round sailing departures from Bridgetown.

Of course, I am not talking about the ‘monsters’ of the seas, like the 6,000 passenger capacity ships, but a smaller highly targeted 150-250 cabin offerings, perhaps in concert with a hotel brand.

The clearly obvious lodging brand would be Sandals, as no-one can doubt the proven ability they have acquired to source consumables for their properties, having already modelled this supply chain on the existing cruise ship operators.

Secondly, no other land based accommodation chain has been so successful in extracting unique concessions from Governments across the Caribbean and this would be enormously helpful in helping establish a regional cruise line.

As well as finally taking just a tiny chunk of the Caribbean cruise market, which has for so long dominated the global market in terms of numbers, it could help us fill seats to draw back airlines, feeding passengers into the cruise departures.

Post Coronavirus crisis, we are going to need all the support we can get to encourage airlines to return flying to Barbados and demonstrate that the routes can once again prove profitable or at least sustainable.

Going off this subject for a moment, I urge our tourism policy planners and policymakers to use this critical time to re-focus on how Barbados is presented to the world.

Both from a public and private sector, there is a great deal of work that could be done to update and upgrade national, trade association websites and social media presence.

When the possibility of returning to our shores becomes a realistic scenario, potential travellers will not want to view stale and outdated information.

34 thoughts on “Adrian Loveridge Column – Cruise Ship Industry Presents Opportunity

  1. Just another TOURISM SCHEME, Adrian you have to realise tourism as you know it is DEAD for the foreseeable future(at least 5 years) and possibly DEAD forever.

    Barbados needs some new out of the box economic THINKERS to move the countries economic future SOUNDLY ahead.

  2. Flags of convenience and home-porting are huge foreign exchange earners. Has negativity become a Barbadian epidemic. Cruise and regional ferry industries are natural extensions of land based tourism. Why not use this current phenomenon to jump aboard ?

  3. Tron
    April 20, 2020 8:27 AM

    If, if, if.
    We won’t last two years without tourism.


    So where do you think we will go?

    In 2 years we will still be here, tourism or no tourism!!

    Just means we have to use our brains!!

  4. Tourism, tourism, tourism. It is a dead dog. Start growing produce for export. We need more breadfruits and golden apples, avocadoes, etc., up north. Start working the land.



    •19 Apr 2020

    Germany has sparked outrage in China after a major newspaper put together a £130bn invoice that Beijing “owes” Berlin following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Germany has followed France, the UK and the US in directing its coronavirus anger at China, where the virus originated. Recent attacks come amid findings that Beijing appeared to cover up the true scale of the crisis, as the source of the outbreak remains a mystery.

    • Ok. China started world war three 3). Now they have to pay retribution for damages…

    • @Dame Bajans

      Indirect contribution to GDP would be transportation I.e. taxis, coaches, vendors, goods and services supplied to hospitality sector to name a few.

  6. Travel in the future when/if it returns will also be so much easier without the need for physical passports as our ID2020 digital ID’s will have our universal ID#, vaccine records, medical records,access to finances/banking, criminal record (if you are one of the wutless ones) carried conveniently under our skin – but it won’t be by a microchip injected with a vaccine – that has been debunked..

    Fact Checking the Fact Checkers: Bill Gates, ID2020 & Vaccine Microchips

  7. In reference to the cruise-line industry.

    At the same time, with cruise ships being at the forefront of the headlines surrounding the virus, it could be that some ports of call have their own restrictions on ships docking. For instance, Canada isn’t allowing cruise ships until July 1 at the earliest. Other ports have also denied access to ships in the past few That’s why even when cruise ships start back sailing, it could look different at first.

    Shorter sailings may be more frequent as they are less expensive in an economic downturn. Shorter cruises could also put passengers at ease that want to cruise but are worried about spending too long on a ship with the outbreak still on their minds.

    As well, instead of longer trips that travel to several different ports, you might find more cruises that head to a single country, or go to a cruise line’s private island and back home.

    This not only reduces the chances of a port of call refusing a cruise ship, but it also would make the illness much easier to track should an outbreak occur.

    Barbados is graphically located outside of the west indies chain and the Caribbean. In reference to short cruises we need to be optimistic.

  8. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. explains how he got involved in the debate over vaccine safety. You will need to have all your WHO/UN/Gates Foundation/Government mandated vaccines if you want to travel abroad of course, and maybe someday if you only looking to catch a ZR van or Transport Board bus to travel as far as Bridgetown or a neighboring parish as well.

  9. I’m all for growing produce that is in demand. We have an abundance of open land all over the countryside. Let’s get to it…..

  10. No David. Tourism REPRESENTED 15% of GDP. That will no longer be the case after corona virus. Indirect? Most land lubbers book overseas. Money is paid over seas and stays overseas, even for the all inclusives. Barbados is very, very expensive compared to the other islands. The Purser always tell the cruise passengers not to shop in Bim that other islands are cheaper and they also have duty free shops on board that are quite reasonable.

    What Barbados can do is try and supply the cruise liners with local fruits and vegetables, especially those home ported there. Now, all that is loaded on board from the US.

  11. David, that is not enough to keep Barbados afloat. Look where it is at now after many years of high tourist visits.

    • Agree Dame Bajans, wanted to paint a picture of the challenge facing the country read to fill the hole if tourist sector were to vanish.

  12. On a related note the blogmaster agrees with former Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley the NCF and government should have come up with creative ways using technology to avoid cancelling NIFCA. It is during a crisis the creativity of a people must be given an outlet/channelled.

  13. @Adrian
    I understand that when the only tool that you have ever used is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail to you.

    The thing is that this type of wishful thinking about the revival of the tourism industry amounts to nothing less than self deception. Tourism as we have known it and relied upon it is DEAD. Throwing our very scarce resources at this or that scheme for tourism revival is simply throwing good money after bad. The tourism that survives COVID-19 in Barbados will be like the horses and donkeys that survived the advent of the motor car.

    It is time for us to imagine a new economic foundation for Barbados and it is up to us to create it.

  14. Adrian: I admire your tenacity, however look at the cruise industry. In what area are ships of the size you propose operating? What attractions are that close to Barbados, that can not be reached by ships now operating. All these grand plans for Barbados tourism are fine but what will they do to Barbados? I have visited several islands in the Caribbean, what I like about Barbados is it has the services without the glitz of say, Miami Beach. As I have said before there should be more cocentration in renewing and building the infrastructure than on building hotels along the boardwalk. If there is a market the industry will build without government assistance. The money would be better spent on improving the water, sewage and roads than subsidizing new hotels. Barbadians are an intelligent people, the government should be encouraging new ideas and industries as well as supporting the old, but with a new approach. I know the government is busy with this current Covid19 crisis, but it will pass and it will be time to start thinking outside the box as the future of a viable Barbados depends on it!

  15. So far the question remains on the table – what are the plans to replace the tourism forex earning engine that has been wiped out by COVID 19 pandemic.

  16. @ David,

    The Tourism industry will be restarted. Existing Hotels and a pool of trained experienced workers to start working again.

    I will leave it to the maguffees and brainiacs to suggest other industries and businesses to reduce the dependence on Tourism.

    I remain a supporter of Food Security. That is all I got.

  17. Adrian:

    What’s the Future of Hospitality?

    Being such a broad and diverse industry means there is a lot of change taking place in different ways. To get an understanding of what these changes look like at a macro level, we asked the question: What will change is the hotels will deliver separate experiences in the same hotel for the different types of guests. Look for hotels to improve how they serve the leisure guests needs such as families, couples with the use of technology.

    Hotels will be designed around the specific needs of the traveler with more individual personalized services and improved advance notice of what the guest expect and delivered just “in time” as expected with a wow!

    Hotels and their guests will have greater connection with the local environment, providing deeper connection with the local culture, think farm to table in everything we do. Food will be fresher, local, healthier, back to basics, more organic and less of it per person, yes smaller portions. There will be more guest-oriented designs, a lobby that is ever changing, creative, innovative.

    Hotels will think differently, be healthier and offer immediate satisfaction. Hotels will be a guest experience that touches all of the senses.”

  18. Robert, look at the Seabourn fleet as an example. Encore – 300 suites, Ovation – 300 suites, Quest 229 suites, Sojourn – 229 suites and Odyssey – 229 suites. All either do or can operate within the Caribbean. I agree with most of your observations but after 911, not sure what, if anything will be put in place post CO19.

  19. @ peterlawrencethompson April 21, 2020 9:20 AM

    This development also has something good about it: Dinner in Sandy Lane and Cliff will become cheaper. As well the fee to play golf at Sandy Lane. This is cause for celebration. Moreover, we will then be able to tear down many hotels on the West Coast to finally enjoy romantic sunsets again. Finally we can walk again to our best beaches. How wonderful.

  20. Adrian: Your point re: Seabourn is taken, which begs the question is there a market for another luxury type cruise line to be operating. I just checked a one way cruise on Odyssey next Jan. A one way Barbabados to St.Phillipsburg 7 day cruise is cruise is approx $3,500USD per person IE $7 Thousand dollars for a couple, include air fare and you are looking at a limited market. If there was a unfilled market do you not think that one of the other lines you mentioned would not have filled it.

  21. Robert, that’s why I specifically mentioned Sandals as their pricing is not out of line with Seabourn for a comparable ‘product’.

  22. Adrian: It would appear that the modus operandi for Sandals is to squeeze the last concession it can for the privilege of operating in your territory. They only spend in your territory what they must . What could they wring from Barbados again in order to convince them to operate in a market that is already occupied by Seabourn and others. What benefit would Barbados gain that it does not already have that would be worth granting more concessions to Sandals? If there is a demand it is usually filled by business in short order. You can create demand if you have very deep pockets.

    • @Hants

      Minister Caddle issued a clarification on her FB page:

      Marsha Caddle
      9 hrs ·

      Before this discussion descends into the ridiculous🙄, let me post what I actually said so that those interested in the real conversation have some context.:

      “We are negotiating with airlines on the public health protocols that would make an early return to flights, such as every passenger having to carry out a rapid test and getting the results before boarding a flight. It may be possible for limited, regional flights to return by July, but while we work for the best, we plan for the worst, and our economic plans turn on tourism not returning much before the end of the year and probably well into next year.

      We are discussing using this moment to refurbish and upgrade our hotel stock. In particular, we are looking to develop a Green Energy Fund for the tourism sector. One of the challenges is that our hotels often occupy a narrow strip of land with limited opportunities to site solar panels or other renewable energies. So we are exploring innovative ways in which hotels could pool investments in a large in-land solar farm that feeds into the grid, and the hotel gets repaid for its investment with free energy.

      But really, while we continue to develop tourism, this is also our moment to give life to the historical promises of diversification, to get ready for the new, digital economy that will exist post-COVID.”

  23. @ David,

    When commenting on anything written in the Barbados news media it is important to provide a link to the article.

    ” As unemployment rises dramatically in Barbados and hopes for the immediate recovery of the tourism industry fades, the Minister for Investment appears to be banking on Barbados receiving its first post-pandemic visitors by July to lift the industry out of its worst-ever crisis.”

    Taken from the article I posted above at April 25, 2020 2:01 PM

  24. Virgin Airways is in financial difficulty and BA is now discussing not resuming flights from Gatwick. Those old enough to remember flights to the Caribbean from Heathrow may wonder.

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