Many lines have been forced to reduce capacity and limit service.
While sales forces on the major cruise lines celebrate "record booking" days, their HR departments are scrambling to deliver the product that the travel partners just sold.
Cruise lines across the industry are struggling to hire enough crew and staff on each ship to service the number of guests returning for their "vacation of a lifetime."
One of the reasons the cruise line has given for the crew shortage has been the delay in obtaining visas. However, in some cases, the crew have chosen not to return at this time because of the adverse conditions caused by the Covid restrictions. These conditions include wearing masks, closure of the crew bar and activities, longer hours because of reduced crew members, and being restricted to the ship and not allowed ashore. Many crew members also work on ships for the travel, so if they cannot get off the ship, they choose to wait to return.
The shortage of crew and staff has forced cruise lines to cap the number of guests that sail, offer once-a-day service instead of the customary twice a day, close specialty restaurants, and limit restaurant hours.
The shortage has also forced cruise lines to increase salaries and benefits to attract new crew because many previous crew members have chosen a "life on land" after suffering two-plus years without any income.