The 2017 hurricane season that affected a number of destinations in the Caribbean taught the cruise industry how to deal with such events, industry executives said in a conference call on Thursday.
“We have become quicker and more efficient in dealing with such events now,” said Adam Goldstein, vice chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and chairman of Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA).
The first way to deal with a storm is to replace a port in an itinerary with another one and if a port call is missed, a compensation can be paid to affected passengers, but this is done on a case by case basis, said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc and global chair for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
Ships are mobile assets, unlike e.g. hotels, which gives the cruise industry flexibility. The group fleet operations people are tasked with dealing with routines such as provisioning and waste disposal in case a ship has to revise its itinerary due to unforeseen conditions.
He added that events such as hurricanes, typhoons etc. are parts of the environment in which the cruise industry operates.
Goldstein said that the industry has, on a broad scale including destinations, learned to share experiences in order to enable everyone affected by an event to respor to best practyises to deal with it.
The social media has posed a new challenge as some commentators post contents that may not be fully accurate about e.g. hurricanes. Golstein said that travel agents play an important role in providing prospective passengers a truthful picture of the situation during the hurricane season.
Donald reminded the audience that the Caribbean covers mre than one million square miles. He noted that it is not a point, it’s a huge area and asked if there’s a storm in Texas, would you ancel a trip to New York because of that.