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Consumer Cruise Magazine Latest to Succumb to Impact of COVID-19

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By The Maritime Executive 08-06-2020 04:35:30

One of the original consumer travel magazines dedicated to the cruise industry has become the latest cruise industry related asset to succumb to the coronavirus. The publisher of the 41-year old magazine Cruise Travel announced that they have ceased publication due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, lack of advertising, and the current and uncertain future of the cruise industry.

Founded in 1979, Cruise Travel had started as a digest-sized magazine devoted to consumer travel in the emerging cruise industry. Familiar on newsstands, the magazine featured a “ship of the month” on its cover as well as a port and offering consumers advice about traveling on the emerging cruise ships. Progressing to a full-sized magazine, it published bi-monthly continuing its formula of ship and port features. Long before the Internet became the primary distribution and information source, the magazine was well-known for its annual directory issue listing cruises and ships. In its hey-day, there were also spirited debates among readers in the letters to the editor column.  

In more recent years, with cruising well established as an industry, Cruise Travel also began to celebrate the history of the business. It included features on how cruising had evolved as well as profiles of cruising pioneers. However, the readership and advertising market were also evolving. As the cruise industry consolidated to a few large companies, the magazine's loss of advertisers was further compounded by travel agents’ shift to digital marketing and affinity groups.

Cruise Travel’s last edition was March/April 2020 continuing its familiar format with the new Norwegian Encore featured as the cruise ship of the month. When the cruise lines suspended operations in March 2020, the publisher decided to skip the next issue and then deferred a second issuing hoping for the return of the industry. 

The notice posted on the magazine’s former website simply says, “The COVID-19 virus pandemic has taken quite a toll on the cruise industry and it has affected our ability to continue publishing the magazine. From all of us at Cruise Travel, we want to thank you for your loyalty over these past 40+ years and are wishing you all happy sailings in the future.”  

The magazine joins numerous other companies related to the cruise industry in addition to the lines themselves that have been experiencing significant financial pressures due to the suspension in cruising. In July, Global Eagle Entertainment, a provider of media, content, connectivity and data analytics to cruises and airlines filed for Chapter 11 reorganizational bankruptcy. It has been far more difficult to measure the impact on travel advisors, many of whom were self-employed and working from home. Even the major ports that service the cruise ships, as well as the countries that are destinations, are struggling to manage with the significant loss in revenues from the cruise industry and its passengers.