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Are Cruise Ships Destined For The Scrap Heap Of History? That Story Is Already Being Written

IZMIR, Turkey — These ships once carried thousands of passengers on all-inclusive cruise vacations.

But as the coronavirus pandemic continues to have a devastating effect on the travel industry, major cruise lines are scrapping some of their ships in an effort to stay afloat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently warned all American travelers against cruise ship travel worldwide as the no sail order is set to expire in just a few days.

The level 3 warning states that the “CDC recommends that travelers defer all cruise travel worldwide.”

Some people in the territory are wondering out loud and on social media whether or not St. Thomas will ever return as the third most visited cruise ship port in the Caribbean Sea.

Meanwhile, the cruise ship industry has taken stock of the continuing trend foisted on the industry by coronavirus and is taking draconian measures to cut its financial losses.

Aerial photos from Izmir, Turkey show five large cruise ships being pulled apart for scrap metal at the Aliaga ship recycling port.

Three Carnival Cruise Line ships are being broken down for their parts, including the Fantasy, Imagination and Inspiration, all of which were recently sold due to the pandemic. The remaining two being junked belong to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL).

Last month, Carnival announced that they were “accelerating the exit of 18 less efficient ships” from their fleet.

Reuters reports that business at the Turkish dock is booming as thousands of workers dismantle the ships, stripping windows, railings, walls and floors from the vessels.

Prior to the pandemic, the ship-breaking yards usually worked on old cargo or container ships.

“But after the pandemic, cruise ships changed course towards Aliaga in a very significant way,” said Kamil Onal, chairman of a ship recycling workers group, in an interview with Reuters. “There was growth in the sector due to the crisis. When the ships couldn’t find work, they turned to dismantling.”

Onal said as metal parts are stripped from the vessels, hotel operators come to the port to buy non-metal fittings from the former cruise ships.

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