The English seaside resort of Weymouth is in the heart of the Jurassic coast, an almost 160km stretch of shoreline renowned for its fossils. But this northern summer the region’s geology has faced unexpected competition for tourists’ attention from a fleet of vast cruise ships idled close to the town.

A curiosity for visitors, the hulking vessels are a grim reminder of the spiralling crisis the pandemic has inflicted on the $150bn cruise industry. Instead of trying to top the record 30-million passengers carried in 2019, the industry’s more than 60 operators are having to tackle the fraught and costly question of what to do with the almost 350 ships that should be criss-crossing the globe.

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