Cruise Lines Quickly Crew Up, But It Will Take Some Time

MSC Seaview

Cruise lines launching operations this summer are quickly crewing up their ships, but face a number of challenges in ramping up crew numbers.

With ships in warm lay up, vessels that would have normally had around 1,000 crew members may have been operating with roughly 100 in most cases.

Not only will operators need to get 900 crew members to the ship against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel headaches, but will also need to rotate out the crew onboard at regular intervals as their contracts expire and they go on vacation.

Cruise lines are said to be utilizing charter flights from Indonesia, the Philippines and other key crew source markets.

COVID-19 testing, in most cases, require crew to test negative before leaving their home country, test negative again upon arrival, quarantine for 14-days aboard their ship, and then test negative a third time before they go to work.

Most cruise lines have scaled up and refined their e-learning systems to make use of the 14-day quarantine aboard, while also making WiFi complimentary. 

Viking has been using Bodrum, Turkey, as a key port to bring crew onboard, with the Sea calling in March and more recently the Orion docking, according to Crew Center. 

Royal Caribbean International is also crewing up the new Odyssey of the Seas, using Limassol, Cyprus, where 700 crew are boarding the recently delivered ship ahead of her inaugural season sailing from Haifa. 

According to Crew Center, MSC has been using a variety of Italian ports, with crew members noting it feels they are opening up a new ship.

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