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Not Plain Sailing: The Ultimate Guide to Cruise Ship Logistics

The cruise ship industry is growing faster than ever. The number of people looking for a relaxing getaway on the open sea is rising. The rate is hitting a higher number than before the pandemic.

Despite this good news, there are still cruise ship logistics to consider. Procedures are different and more complex than before. You must adjust your business accordingly.

Find out how the most successful cruise lines are adapting their daily operations in order to maximize safety and efficiency.

Cruise Ship Operations Re-Opening

Over 30 countries are allowing cruise ship logistics tourism to resume. This is the first time since the industry shut down due to Covid-19. That number will continue to rise as more markets are planning to open in the coming months.

New protocols based on science allow cruise lines to provide guests with a safe experience. This is beneficial to investors, customers, and economies all over the world.

The cruise industry re-opening serves as a good example of how other similar businesses can safely return to a new normal.

The Slow Approach

The largest cruise lines started to bring ships back into service slowly. They’ve started with around half of their ships during the fall of 2021. They’re planning to start 2022 by increasing the number of ships operating.

Cruise lines are confident they will continue to grow as time goes on. This is because of customer support, positive guest feedback, and rising sales.

By opening now at only 50% capacity, companies can better staff and operate. 

Some logistical challenges have presented themselves as companies begin to re-open. Old operating procedures are no longer sufficient. There are many new changes in the industry that will ensure the safety of everyone involved.

New Cruise Ship Logistics

Operations on a cruise ship logistics have always been organized chaos. There’s a lot that needs to be done and limited space to do it in. The growing industry works hard to maintain order as Covid-19 adds more uncertainty.

The growing number of sales shows that consumers have faith in cruise lines. They trust them to have proper protections in place. What are some of the procedural changes cruise lines are implementing? 

Turnaround Day

Even before Covid-19 shutdowns, turnaround days were considered by crew members to be mayhem. In the past, turnaround days started at around 7:30 in the morning and the frenzied pace didn’t stop until the day was over.

Turnaround days refer to the days when one group of guests leaves the ship and another group boards on the same day.

Deck zero is closed off to passengers. Only crew members are allowed on this deck. They have a nickname for it, “1-95” or “the Autobahn” depending on location.

The deck received its nickname because, on turnaround days, there are so many supplies and people are moving quickly through. As a result, the crew members often refer to it as a common fast-paced freeway. 

That was all before Covid-19. It no longer seems practical to have large numbers of staff running below deck. How are cruise lines changing turnaround day operations?

The first area for procedural change is the crew. Temperature checks for crew members are commonplace along with high vaccine rates. 

The CDC recommends that all guests are fully vaccinated before boarding a cruise ship logistics. Most cruise lines strongly enforce masks in public areas. This is for both crew members and guests.

In addition to these precautions, most cruise ship logistics are not operating at full capacity.

Supply Chain

cruise ship logistics supply chains are unique from other industries. That’s because their service providers have to align with short turnaround times.

These fast timelines come from cruise ship logistics being essentially floating resorts. They need to be resupplied during short port rotations. 

The average rotation involves switching out crew members, restocking various supplies, disposing of waste, refueling, and more. All this activity creates congestion that interferes with other vessels. 

The cruise industry is only growing. This causes many to wonder if there should be separate ports for large cruise ship logistics. It would help to minimize interference with other vessels.

In addition to the typical supply chain problems, there are now the ones that Covid-19 created. New problems include lack of supplies, employees, and warehouse space. For now, the CDC continues to monitor heavy traffic ports for outbreaks and other potential problems. 

It’s predicted by the CLIA that at the end of 2021, 80% of the global supply chain will be back in operation. Despite this, it appears as though the gaps in the supply chain will linger into the foreseeable future.

Warehouse Storage

Another large-scale problem the cruise industry faces is the lack of warehouse storage.

supply chain analyst can help pinpoint critical issues in your supply chain. They will find ways to improve them. During this time of uncertainty, they can provide invaluable insight.

These analysts have found that, in the cruise ship logistics industry, many people struggle with the logistics of storage. The recent warehouse shortage isn’t helping the problem.

Something as simple as a little forethought and proper preparation can be enough to fix the problem.

Cruise Ship Traffic

The cruise ship logistics industry is a large part of the global economy. Nothing made this more clear than when it shut down. Ports all around the world, including the United States, suffered.

According to port authorities in Los Angeles, around $100 million were lost because of cruise ship logistics cancellations. The lack of cruise ship traffic is hurting many economies.

It’s also causing many to question if ports that are essential to global supply chains and economies should rely so heavily on tourism.

cruise ship logistics

Utilizing Technology for Cruise Ship Logistics

Even before the pandemic, cruise lines were implementing modern technology. They did this to enhance guest experiences and improve logistical efficiency.

At the time, most of these inclusions were viewed as mere gimmicks. Most thought they provided little benefit to the overall vacation. However, they are proving to be invaluable.

Most of this technology has made a huge difference. Through proper utilization, cruise lines are opening up again. 

Before the Terminal

Guests start using innovative technology before the trip even begins. From purchasing tickets and reserving meals online to last-minute cancellations, most guests appreciate the ease of planning their trip digitally.

Cruise lines also use technology to prevent the spread of Covid-19. This includes Covid-19 screening and checking the temperature of the crew members. It’s common to have Covid testing as part of the crew’s routine.

The Terminal

Once guests arrive at the terminal, it’s common to do the entire check-in process digitally.

Crew members usually use tablets to check-in guests and clear up any issues they may come across.

Wristbands and Apps

One way cruise lines are cutting down on the risk of infection is with wristbands or “wearables.” They serve many different purposes. They allow guests to have a more straightforward onboarding process.

The wristbands help guests enjoy onboard activities. They’re also customizable, which means that each guest can have a unique wristband of their choosing.

If the wristbands are a success, cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean plan to disperse them across their entire fleet.

The wristbands not only help guests simplify their trip but they also help the crew. They even have the capacity to be used for contact tracing. This helps in the event someone comes down with Covid-19.

Not all companies are using custom wristbands. Some companies are creating their own apps for guests to download.

The apps serve a similar purpose. Reservations, room keys, and payment information are stored on the cruise line’s app.

How Covid-19 Continues to Impact the Cruise Ship Industry

The main obstacle for cruise ships over the next few years will undeniably be Covid-19. The pandemic has created massive breakdowns in the logistical aspect. It continues to wreak havoc on global supply chains.

Regardless of these setbacks, most people still maintain trust in the industry. This is demonstrated by the record number of people trying to book cruises.

New Cruise Operations

Industry experts are aware that they have to change their previous routines to accommodate for the virus.

They’re changing almost everything. This includes testing, vaccines, and much more. Cruise lines are leading the pack when it comes to enforcing health measures.

It’s also worth noting that, because a cruise ship is a unique environment, it’s easier to control. The crew has power over everything except the ocean itself.

Resume Cruise Ship Operations Responsibly

With new safety procedures and changing cruise ship logistics, the industry is poised for future success. This is despite supply chain problems continuing into 2022. Cruise lines are opening up again around the world.

Most companies utilize technology to minimize human contact and improve sanitation. Covid-19 remains at the forefront of most logistical changes. It may permanently alter the cruise ship industry.

For more information about cruise ship operations, contact us today! We take pride in offering global supply chain solutions and helping industries rethink their maritime logistics.


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