Few industries have been as thoroughly devastated by the pandemic as the cruise industry, which suspended voyages from the US in March and won't resume them until next year. Bari Golin-Blaugrund, an exec at the Cruise Lines International Association industry group, tells USA Today that COVID-19 has had "a devastating impact on the economy and on those who depend on cruise activity for their livelihoods." She says the industry contributed around $55 billion to the US economy last year, but the suspension of US sailings has caused the loss of an estimated $32 billion in economic activity and around 254,000 American jobs.
The jobs lost are in many sectors, "from transportation and aviation, to food and beverage services, lodging, manufacturing, agriculture, travel agencies," as well as suppliers and service providers across the US, Golin-Blaugrund says. CLIA's chief says resuming cruising in 2021 "will be critical to putting people back to work and fueling the greater economic recovery from the pandemic." The industry's self-imposed suspension ends Dec. 31, and operators have been preparing changes to comply with new CDC guidelines. The Miami Herald reports that Carnival Cruise Line, the only operator that removed all its ships from US waters, is bringing one to Florida this week, though it has cancelled all cruises through Jan. 31. (The first Caribbean cruise since March did not go well.)