Full Speed Ahead: Industry Predictions for 2021 - Stephen Fryers

Full Speed Ahead: Industry Predictions for 2021 – Stephen Fryers

We recently said goodbye to one of the most tumultuous years for the cruise industry in recent memory. As we move into 2021, the industry is forecast a better year, with high amounts of newbuild and refurbishment projects in the books, pre-bookings for cruises through the roof, and exciting new ships launching on their delayed first sailings. To launch into the year in a positive way, we’ve asked the star-studded Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo Advisory Board to lay out their predictions for 2021. Without further ado, dive into the cautiously positive crystal ball of cruise line consultant Stephen Fryers…

Prediction 1 – “I foresee the industry returning to full capacity towards the end of 2021”. 

The CDC requirements need to be tested and approved before a full approval for return to cruising is possible, and the time involved with this is lengthy. Additionally, you cannot just turn a key and have a ship return to service immediately. There are so many systems, pieces of equipment and machinery that will require testing, possibly repair, and be made functional before the ship would be ready to take passengers. These are only a few of the reasons and difficulties that the lines will face, there are many others that will delay a full return to service for the cruise lines. However, the cruise lines are well aware of this, and will have been working on this since the guidelines were announced. As we’ve seen, some cruise lines have even managed to successfully resume sailing in Europe.

Prediction 2 – “Some changes brought about by COVID-19 will become permanent”.

Certainly some of the enforced changes brought about by COVID-19 will become permanent – and this isn’t a bad thing. Changes such as improved air systems (HEPA filters), UVC lighting upgrades, improved hospital facilities, and more hand washing stations throughout the ships will be permanent. Other areas where these changes could become permanent involve onboard ship protocols related to operations such as housekeeping, food & beverage, shore excursions, spa and gym facilities and even pool operations. There will definitely be a wish from the cruise lines to retain those changes that improve passenger and crew health & safety onboard.


Want more of Stephen’s future-gazing? Check out our write-up of Cruise Conversations episode The Future of Cruise Hospitality, with Stephen alongside other industry experts…


Prediction 3 – “During 2021 cruise lines will slowly start to ramp up their refurbishment projects again, with a strong return for 2022 and into the future”.

With the cruise industry, similarly to most industries around the world, having taken a major hit due to the pandemic, it is only logical that the refurbishment market will take a hit. However, essential refurbishments such as class dockings will continue, and 2022 will bring a return to larger refurb projects, with the future only looking brighter as the industry returns to full strength.


About Stephen Fryers

Bringing knowledge and experience to the cruise community, Stephen’s expertise is based in interior outfitting, working as a consultant to marine companies for over 15 years. Specialising in new build and refurbishment of cruise ship interiors, Stephen has technical proficiency in taking a project from inception to completion. Prior to consulting for the worlds major cruise lines, Stephen Project Managed construction of internal and external spaces on newbuilds for Disney Cruise Line and United States Line, before a 7-year stint as Project Manager at Royal Caribbean, working within the Newbuild and Revitalization Department on fleetwide projects.

Watch The Future of Cruise Hospitality with Stephen Fryers here.



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