Cruise Ships To Be Used as Floating Hospitals for non COVID-19 Patients
An important announcement was made that governments and health authorities are considering using cruise ships for temporary medical facilities for non-COVID-19 patients. This initiative is going to free up additional space and expand capacity in land-based hospitals to treat cases of people infected with the virus. This could be a life-saving measure for some severely ill patients. Italy's hospitals have been overrun with novel coronavirus patients, leading to staff having to decide who gets a hospital bed and who is turned away.
Cruise companies have already started preparing their ships and ensuring that they undergo a deep cleaning according to the highest standards set by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
The US President Donald Trump said that he is considering docking cruise ships in major coastal cities that have seen some of the biggest outbreaks, like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. This is really positive news since it will not only help us defeat this crisis but also create additional job vacancies and provide a great opportunity for specialised professionals such as skilled cooks.
In the past ships have also had alternative uses. During the World Wars from the previous century Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth ships were both retrofitted to carry soldiers. Moreover, during the 1986 earthquake in Kalamata, Greece, ships were utilized to accommodate displaced people.
We believe that the best is yet to come and we just need to be patient in the next couple of weeks until the situation settles and be prepared to return on board since many cruise liners are bringing brand new luxury ships to their existing fleets.
At the moment the situation is extremely dynamic and information is changing hourly. The majority of cruise companies have been stringling to bring home crew members due to the travel restrictions. However, their travel teams and global mobility experts are staying very close to each one of the crew members’ journey back home!
In the last days more than 2000 crew have been given new travel plans in line with the situation in Europe. With the help of different administration groups special green corridors were created for transport employees, such as people who work for cruise lines, since there are some floating hotels, which are still in operation.
A huge worry at the moment is the transportation costs that most of you have made. People who have already purchased tickets before cancellation of all voyages and boardings of individual vessels should at this point cancel those reservations directly through the airlines, as most of them are currently providing it free of charge.
Some airlines might refuse to give you a full refund through their online platform and you would have to write to them and ask to get your money back. In the event that you are not given what you want, you should request a business note from them confirming that the airline company has refused to pay you back the ticket price.
The crew members who were scheduled to board the cruise ships of the major cruise companies, both those who had contracts and the newcomers, who all have prepared their embarkation documents (medical certificates, travel tickets, American VISAs) will receive a refund under their company rules. This is a standard procedure of large companies, which they usually do when launching new cruises or when they prepare for the hiring of new crew so there is no need to panic.
Ticket redeeming will take place when the season starts again and will be paid with your first paycheck. Some cruise companies, which have decided to pay a bonus / standby salary to their senior ex-crew members are now likely to take steps to compensate those affected by adding a base amount, as per the instructions of the travel company.