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  • Writer's pictureStephan Busch

Cruise – Crew and the Corona effect

The last time I wrote an article about this topic I was told in some comments that the other side of the coin – the Cruise ship companies - should also be considered having a bad time and stocks are crashing. Here some news including both side of the coin.

Hard time for the crew

It’s a hard time for the crew who either have no more jobs now and zero income and for the ones working right now being exposed to the virus and receive less as all the tips that cruise companies use to pay their staff are gone.

Working close together

Now there are also reports of crew members circulating and it doesn’t sound very engouraging. ( They are hard to verify that’s why I didn’t quote them but are accesable on social media) All of us who work in the cruise industry know that we have to work with very little private space and no distance – a perfect scenario for a virus. So the following news should scare crew members even more.

"At the televised coronavirus press conference this morning, President Trump announced that he is considering using Carnival Cruise Line ships as floating hospitals for coronavirus patients. President Trump stated that he

received a “generous offer” from Carnival Corporation’s Chairman Micky Arison.

Carnival made tremendous profits after the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) accepted no-bid contracts totaling over $310,000,000 for the use of four ships ( after hurricanes in 2005 & 2017). Carnival referred to the lucrative deal as evidencing a humanitarian commitment to the Caribbean relief efforts. Later it became known that FEMA agreed to pay Carnival $74,700,000 for the use of the Carnival Fascination. In 2005, Carnival made another no-bid deal with FEMA to charter the Carnival Sensation, Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival’s Holiday. FEMA paid Carnival $192,000,000 plus $44,000,000"

(Cruise Law news March 19th 2020)

More profit then with guest - no tips for crew

The Washington Post later calculated that if the ships would have operated normal with paying passengers over this period of time Carnival would have earned only half what they received from the government then from paying guests. What a human touch!

Now they get a new deal but it might be that again the crew will have to pay the price:

The Washington Post reported that “crew members would handle maritime operations, food service and cleaning, while, in this proposal, local government bodies or hospitals would take care of medical services.” It is less than clear exactly what the crew members, many of whom rely exclusively on tips, will receive in compensation for cleaning, cooking and delivering food.

That will be interesting once we find out.

MSC tries to avoid paying salaries for working crew

Another headline that is not widley published read: MSC Cruises pressures Crew members to wave right to be paid. That is the same company that send their Chinese Crew home to China at the hight of the outbreak there.

It seems that the American government hasn’t realized that cruise lines don’t pay taxes.

On Tuesday, Trump said this about cruise lines: "These are great industry. These are going to be taking care of people and passengers and for years to come and paying tremendous taxes, tremendous taxes for years to come."

The truth is cruise lines pay no U.S. taxes & comply with no U.S. wage or labor laws which protect U.S. citizens

These are both side of the coins and the ones who would like good news coming from the cruise lines will be hopefully satisfied that at least carnival will turn this crisis into a profitable time.

Author: Stephan Busch, Academic Director at the State University for the Humanities Moscow RGGU, Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA. He has a diverse experience in launching operations, business development and service training- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.,

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