Empty Cruise Ships In the Middle of the Ocean Are Now Tourist Destinations

They were once floating cities bustling with life, but now they’re more like drifting ghost towns.

byKristin V. Shaw| PUBLISHED Oct 24, 2020 6:13 PM
Empty Cruise Ships In the Middle of the Ocean Are Now Tourist Destinations

Five times bigger than the Titanic and with an onboard giraffe sculpture that is the size of three Mini Coopers, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas is now anchored off the coast of England—empty. Moored in Poole Bay in the English Channel, the Allure is haunting and quiet, devoid of the frolic and fun that usually takes place on a cruise ship of this caliber. But interestingly, people are still flocking to it.

Enterprising Englishman Paul Derham, a former captain of the similarly-ghostly P&O Aurora, now owns a ferry called the Josephine. One day he decided to venture out and take a look at the ship he used to helm, and came up with the idea to offer tours around the dormant liners. 

In July, he posted the idea on Facebook and promptly sold out the first two cruises in a matter of hours. A steady supply of “ghost ship” cruise customers have sailed the channel with Derham at $25 per person, visiting these ships as closely as they can without boarding, as shown recently during CBS This Morning.

A tour might include a slow circle around the Allure and the Aurora as well as Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas; P&O’s Arcadia; the Carnival Valor, and Cunard’s Queen Mary 2.

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Until this March, the Allure carried nearly 7,000 people to ports of revelry on a regular rotation. Now, pools sit empty, rooms are gathering dust, and the casinos are silent. The only sound is Derham’s little ferry motoring around the outskirts of this cruise ship resting place, for now.

The pandemic has hit the cruise ship companies hard; with CBS reporting the international travel industry overall is losing $1 billion per month. In the meantime, these seafaring behemoths are stagnant, waiting for the green light to fill up with passengers again, but given our current situation with the virus, that won't be happening for a long time.

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