Fred Olsen chief appeals to government to support cruise lines

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines also known as 'Fred. Olsen', 'Fred. Olsen ...

The boss of Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has called on the government to provide more support for the cruise industry.

With cruise operations suspended until May 23 during the coronavirus pandemic, the UK-based cruise line has been forced to dock its four ships.

Peter Deer, Fred Olsen’s managing director, praised the government for the schemes it had introduced to ease cash flow constraints on companies across the country but appealed for further help to be extended to the cruise sector.

UK chancellor Rishi Sunak said the government was prepared to enter negotiations with individual airlines to discuss “bespoke support as a last resort” last week.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Deer said: “As a cruise line you hear quite a lot about the airline industry receiving funding from the government. We’re quite a passive bunch. I suspect our margins are better but lining up ships is not a cheap thing to do.

“The government needs to recognise that cruise is a big part of travel in the UK and find ways to support it.”

He called for lobbying from “every angle”, adding: “This is a hairy time for every cruise line, particularly the ones that have brought in new tonnage. It makes your life a bit tougher.”

In Fred Olsen’s 2021-22 brochure, the line offers departures from five UK ports – Southampton, Newcastle, Dover, Liverpool and Edinburgh.

Fred Olsen Cruises Ocean cruises cruise line review - Which?

Deer outlined how food, fuel and other services are bought by Fred Olsen from UK businesses.

Deer added: “We are worth a huge amount to the UK market. When we talk about a holiday environment, money is spent on that destination but with a cruise line that money is spent on a ship.

“It would be great to see some positive spin from the government.”

Asked if Fred Olsen was preparing for a “bounce back” in terms of consumer demand later this year, Deer said: “I think at some point we will see it, but it is all about consumer confidence. People do not have the will to think about their holiday in the short-term.

“They do not know when this event is going to subside. Everyone wants to go on holiday but they need some confidence that the virus is going to disappear.”

Deer said that it was “too early” for targeted marketing but added that the business was still trying to remain at the forefront of customers’ minds.

“We are just talking about our company and what we are doing,” he said. “It is a broader approach.

“People will see if cruises go-ahead before they commit their money.

“People may not do long-haul fly-cruises. They may look to the Mediterranean or the Canaries. I think people just do not know.”

Coronavirus: Tui to furlough 11,000 UK staff

Coronavirus: Tui to furlough 11,000 UK staff

Tui UK is to furlough 11,000 staff in the UK, including almost 4,500 retail agents.

The company said 4,455 travel agency staff, which represents 99% of its shop staff, will be furloughed from Wednesday following the closure of its high-street network due to the government’s lockdown in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The remaining 6,545 staff are from cabin crew, pilots, and staff in retail and head office functions.

The UK’s biggest travel firm confirmed that a “small number of team members” will work as part of a virtual call centre.

A spokeswoman said: “We will have a small number of team members working as a virtual call centre to support our other contact centres – and we will still have team members who support third party suppliers and agents working.”

The company said it had to work through all available options, particularly since the government announced its job retention scheme.

Tui employs a total of 13,200 employees in the UK.

Contact Centre staff who have been kept on will work remotely.

Managing director Tui UK and Ireland Andrew Flintham said: “The travel industry is facing unprecedented pressure.

“We will continue to put the customer at the heart of what we do, and when they can holiday with us again we want to be in the best position to deliver the wide range of destinations and experiences we do today.

“It is therefore imperative that we make these difficult cost decisions and also look after our colleagues during such unprecedented uncertainty. We are a fantastic business and we look forward to taking people on holiday again soon.”

Carnival Corporation Announces Offering of Common Stock

Carnival Magic

Carnival Corporation today announced that it has commenced an underwritten public offering of $1.25 billion of shares of common stock of the Corporation, according to a statement.

The Corporation intends to grant the underwriters an option to purchase up to $187.5 million of additional shares. The Corporation expects to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes.

The Corporation also announced by a separate press release that it has commenced private offerings to eligible purchasers of $3 billion aggregate principal amount of first-priority senior secured notes due 2023 and $1.75 billion aggregate principal amount of senior convertible notes due 2023 (or up to $2.0125 billion aggregate principal amount if the initial purchasers exercise in full their option to purchase additional convertible notes). Nothing contained herein shall constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy the senior secured notes or the convertible notes. None of the closings of the offerings of shares of common stock, senior secured notes or convertible notes is conditioned upon the closing of any of the other offerings or vice versa.