During the days of isolation on the high seas, Xue LAN, a crew member of the ocean spectrum, gradually got used to being fed and cared for like a giant baby. She went to bed from morning to night and lay flat completely. She didn’t think of eating until her limbs degenerated every time she slept.
For a moment, Xue LAN especially sympathized with the capitalists. Her salary was paid as usual, her meals were nutritious, and her spiritual life was well taken care of by various recreational activities. “I feel guilty watching thousands of employees queue up in the staff canteen on time every day, with big mouths open…”
Over the past few years, Xue LAN has served the 168000 ton cruise ship of Royal Caribbean International cruise ship. Ocean spectrum is also the only cruise ship deployed by this American cruise company in China to stick to Asian waters and wait for the recovery of China’s cruise market.
In February, Royal Caribbean, the world’s second largest cruise company, can’t survive.
Royal Caribbean recently announced that in view of the extension of Hong Kong’s epidemic prevention policy, it will cancel the “no destination” voyages of the remaining high seas tours in this quarter.
The cruise company said that canceling the rest of the voyage this season is the most prudent decision. It believes that under the current unstable situation, it does not want to put passengers in trouble. Passengers who have booked the voyage of ocean spectrum from Hong Kong will be given a full refund, including port taxes.
The ocean spectrum resumed its voyage to Hong Kong on October 14 last year. At that time, more than 1000 Hong Kong guests followed the ocean spectrum from Kai Tak wharf, opening a long-awaited cruise vacation life.
Royal Caribbean is full of confidence in the deployment of this 2-4 night high seas theme route until this spring, saying that “the smooth departure of ocean spectrum has brought positive signals for the recovery of China’s cruise industry.
By the time the “ocean spectrum” left Hong Kong, the cruise ship had successfully operated 20 voyages, received nearly 40000 local tourists from Hong Kong, and there was no new confirmed case.
However, the plan can not keep up with the changes. The ocean spectrum went to Hong Kong in advance, which means that the Singapore sea tour season, which was originally only started by Royal Caribbean from April to June this year, has been advanced.
“The ship may feel that Hong Kong should not stay for a long time. Before that, it was planned to go to the Singapore market in March this year,” Xue Lan said with great regret. “The Chinese market is good. It is not easy to have Hong Kong, but it is also too passive. A positive or several close connections will stop the ‘Maritime Hotel’ carrying thousands of tourists and crew.”
Not only the Royal Caribbean is suspended, but the Star Dream Cruise Line under Yunding Hong Kong also needs to temporarily stop the “high seas Tour” in response to the government’s epidemic prevention policy and continue to handle refunds for customers of affected routes.
The travel industry previously reported that Genting Hong Kong, which belongs to Xingmeng cruise, applied for provisional liquidation due to financial difficulties earlier. On January 28, it was announced that it would submit a liquidation petition for its Xingmeng cruise. It is unknown whether it will affect the voyage arrangement.
Costa’s 11 cruise ships will resume flights in 2022. According to its latest information, the latest plan includes a total of more than 1800 voyages from the spring of 2022 to the winter of 2022-2023, and there is no plan for China’s home port.
At the beginning of 2022, the short-term “no destination route” in Hong Kong came to an abrupt end.
It has been a long time for clouds on the high seas. Xue LAN is looking forward to waking up one morning and hearing the captain’s kind voice, “Dear spectrum team, we have arrived in Singapore“
The time when the ocean spectrum arrives at the Singapore cruise terminal is expected to be at the end of February this year. In the eyes of the crew, this city is not popular. “Who is not more interesting than Singapore in Alaska, Europe, Japan, South Korea and the Caribbean? But I also want to go to Singapore. In this situation, I can’t help being picky“
On the occasion of the departure of the ocean spectrum, the fifth wave of the epidemic in Hong Kong has intensified. Singapore, which has a relatively open policy towards the epidemic, has become the plan B of international cruise lines.
In October 2020, the Singapore Tourism Administration announced that “no destination” cruise was allowed. At that time, the trial plan was limited to the world dream of Xingmeng cruise ship and the ocean quantum of Royal Caribbean International cruise ship.
However, in February this year, some sharp eyed tourists found that the Royal Caribbean International cruise ship, Princess cruise ship and exquisite cruise ship have begun to sell “destination” holiday accessories, that is, the round-trip trip trip from Singapore to other countries or regions.
“Destination” cruise vacation is expected to resume in Singapore at the end of the year, which means that tourists aboard Singapore may go to Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.
The Singapore Tourism Board said that pre-sale of tickets is a common practice, but this does not mean that Singapore has approved sailing to international destinations, but in Xue Lan’s view, this is a good omen.
According to the official website of Royal Caribbean International cruise ship, the ocean spectrum has 13 Asian trips to and from Singapore. The first flight is scheduled to start on October 21 this year. This five night trip to Malaysia passes through bason and Penang in Malaysia and Phuket in Thailand.
Similarly, the Royal Caribbean’s exquisite cruise ship acme is scheduled to set sail from Singapore on January 15 next year, passing through the port of linchaban in Bangkok, Thailand, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang City, hue Da Nang and Hanoi City in Vietnam.
The Diamond Princess of Princess cruise ship has five Asian trips to and from Singapore. The first flight is scheduled to start on December 11 this year, a seven-day trip to Southeast Asia and the Malaysian Peninsula, passing through Malacca, Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia, Phuket and Langkawi in Thailand, and then returning to Singapore.
Seeing the company’s plan, Xue LAN began to take notes of the countdown before arriving in Singapore on the calendar. She listed ten life goals such as “don’t stop learning” and “keep exercising every day” on a # self-discipline, that is, freedom # list. She expected to “decorate things into her mind before arriving in Singapore, otherwise she will only grow in vain.”
However, does the sale of the “destination” itinerary of the above three cruise ships mean that the three cruise ships have been allowed to resume flights in Singapore and the “destination” itinerary has been opened?
In an interview with Xinming daily, Chen Meiyan, the cruise director of the policy planning department of the Tourism Administration of Singapore, said that it is normal for cruise companies to release the shipping schedule for reservation in advance for commercial reasons, such as planning fleet deployment. However, this does not mean that Singapore approves cruise ships to international destinations.
Moving to Singapore in advance is the second choice for cruise companies in the Asia Pacific sea area, and the future of cruise companies still depends on local epidemic prevention policies.
Unable to bear the repeated torture of the epidemic, some crew members chose to say goodbye.
Different from Xue Lan’s decision to continue to go to Singapore with the ship, her three good friends chose to go home early in Hong Kong. “I don’t give up, but I won’t exaggerate it. I just go to hug and say some blessings before queuing up to leave Hong Kong“
Since the outbreak, the Royal Caribbean International cruise ship has suffered losses for eight consecutive quarters, the industry is depressed, and the on-off and on-off among the crew is also common.
Royal Caribbean International Cruise Ship recently released last year’s annual financial report, which showed that the cruise company had a net loss of $5.3 billion, higher than the net loss of $3.9 billion in the same period last year.
Even so, Royal Caribbean is much better off than Genting Hong Kong, another major international cruise operator.
Yunding Hong Kong, the parent company of Xingmeng cruise, applied for liquidation on the 18th of last month because it failed to repay its due debts, and has appointed a joint provisional liquidator to assist in restructuring the company’s business. Therefore, Xingmeng cruise, its subsidiary, suspended the sale of new tickets from the 21st of last month for an initial period of two weeks until February 4.
The travel industry learned that as of press time, Xingmeng cruise has not accepted new ticket reservations until further notice.
30 years ago, Lin Guotai, chairman and chief executive of Genting Hong Kong, actively expanded the cruise business in Hong Kong in order to disperse casino risks and diversify business. In addition to acquiring American crystal cruise, he also established Xingmeng cruise in Asia and acquired German shipyards to build ships for the company, but he did not survive the epidemic after all.
According to the latest research, Hongkong was the most affected destination by COVID-19 under the impact of border closures, quarantine regulations and infection threats, and the performance of tourism decreased by 75% from 2019 to 2020. In 2020, Hong Kong’s tourism industry accounted for only 3% of GDP, compared with 12% in 2019, or US $45 billion.
At present, the Hong Kong SAR government adopts a “dynamic clearing” policy. Due to the gradual expansion of the fifth wave of the epidemic recently, the Hong Kong Executive Council recently decided to implement a “vaccine pass” from the 24th, and you can enter shopping malls and markets after showing it.
When the ocean spectrum left Hong Kong waters, Xue Lan’s biggest regret was that she had not visited Causeway Bay and Repulse Bay hotels. She remembered the road leading to Repulse Bay in Zhang Ailing’s love for the city. There were dense mountains and high cliffs on the left and blue-green sea on the right.
“But then I thought I had visited many places in Hong Kong, so I closed my mouth wisely“
Xue LAN has straightened out her mind and understands that it is not easy for the epidemic to dissipate, so she doesn’t say anything about “what I want to do after the epidemic”. She puts the matter of buying a house before the age of 27 on the agenda. “When there is a deep obsession, the money will be saved“
All respondents in this article are pseudonyms
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