The cruise industry has been battered financially by COVID-19, but most people have forgotten about nearly 100,000 employees of Disney Cruise Line, and other cruise lines, still stuck at sea.
According to a new article on the Miami Herald, crews on ships that have not been allowed to dock are getting desperate. Not only is there no timeframe of when they can return home, but most are going without pay.
Some are resorting to suicide.
The Disney Wonder is still at sea just outside of San Diego, but workers are claiming they haven’t been paid since March.
Here’s more from the Herald…
Disney Cruise Line crew say they have not been paid since the end of March. A company spokesperson said Disney is reevaluating pay for non-working crew and will update them next week.
(…) At least two crew members on the Disney Wonder tested positive in early May, according to medical records and interviews with sick crew members. Disney Cruise Line is ordering crew members on the Disney Wonder who tested negative back to work, sparking fear about exposure to the virus after more than a month of cabin isolation.
“We don’t have any choice,” said one of the workers back on the job. “All the positive still onboard. For me until now we are not safe.”
Disney Cruise Line said crew who express concerns about working are not being scheduled.
“Our focus is on the health and well-being of our Crew and we have a team working tirelessly to repatriate them,” said Kim Prunty, a spokesperson for the company. “With constantly changing requirements around the world and numerous borders still closed, this has proven to be an extremely complex process. We are using our ships to repatriate Crew to Europe and the Caribbean and are continuing to try to arrange charter flights to other destinations.”
Disney Cruise Line is down until at least the end of July, with Disney CEO Bob Chapek admitting that cruise will likely be the last of their business segments to come back on line.
“Interestingly enough long term all of our data and our research shows that our guests will be just as interested in cruising with us long term,” Chapek said in a recent interview. “Obviously not in the next few months, but [it is] much more resilient than any of the competitive businesses because of that love for Disney and assurance that they feel, that they trust our business to act in a responsible way to help to the extent possible protect them against some of the woes that have plagued the industry since COVID has hit.”
Disney is still planning on launching three new cruise ships, beginning with the Disney Wish in late 2021. However, a recent filing indicates that the ships may set sail later than expected due to the COVID-19 shutdowns.
[Source: The Miami Herald]