Buffet Not Going Anywhere at Royal Caribbean

Windjammer

“We will continue to have a buffet at Royal Caribbean,” commented Linken D’Souza, vice president of food and beverage operations, on a recent webinar aimed at travel agents.

The company’s iconic Windjammer venue, however, could look a bit different across the 26-ship Royal Caribbean International fleet.

Scenarios, said D’Souza, range from employee service to individual portions to individual (i.e.disposable) tongs, among many options.

“We’re continuing to work through a lot of the deals. Rest assured the buffet will exist,” he said.

“There will be (modifications) that ensure we have a healthy return to service,” continued D’Souza. “Your favourites and what you’re used to at the Windjammer will be there.”

The Windjammer has also gone through dramatic changes, even before COVID-19.

The big adjustments come in the breakfast lineup, now featuring an avocado toast bar, a carving station and improved bakery and pastry options.

Carnival UK insists sales team cuts are ‘forced necessity’

Data Scientist Requirements Uk - Quantum Computing

Carnival UK has confirmed its sales team will be reduced following a consultation launched as a result of the Covid-19 crisis but insisted the move was a “forced necessity” due to social distancing measures and limitations on agency visits.

The cruise giant completed a consultation period on Tuesday, with 450 roles – nearly a third of Carnival UK’s shore-based staff – being made redundant.

Several staff of P&O Cruises, Cunard, Princess, Holland America Line and Seabourn highlighted their jobs were at risk on social media channels in recent weeks. Among those who posted are Chloe Palmer and Neal Hussey, who were both in the P&O Cruises sales team; Richard Cross, who worked in Cunard’s sales team; Princess Cruises’ commercial director Chris Barnaville; Andrea Jones and Charlotte Brailsford, who were both in the Princess agency sales team.

Carnival UK declined to confirm how many trades facing sales roles had been lost.

In addition to the redundancies, Carnival UK confirmed that “another significant proportion” of staff will take a period of sabbatical, a group understood to include Cunard’s UK sales director Gary Anslow. Travel Weekly believes Anslow has taken a six-month sabbatical and will return early January.

P&O Cruises’ president Paul Ludlow said the company was “devastated to have to take this action which has affected so many talented and dedicated colleagues”.

Despite the reduction in an agency facing roles in the sales team, Ludlow insisted the brand’s commitment to the trade “remained as strong as ever”.

During the consultation period, a member of staff, who was at risk and asked to remain anonymous, said the move was “completely the wrong decision”, claiming 60% of P&O Cruises’ UK bookings come from travel agents.

In a statement, Ludlow said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has not only affected the holidays of our guests but it has also impacted every part of our business; our future deployment; the guest experience; our supply chain and our people on the ship and onshore.

“Due to this impact, we have had to make some really tough decisions to ensure that we can sustain and protect our business for the future. Following a period of collective consultation, nearly a third of our shore-based staff will very sadly be leaving our business on June 30 and another significant proportion will take a period of sabbatical.

“We are devastated to have to take this action which has affected so many talented and dedicated colleagues.

“We appreciate it is a very difficult and unsettling time for everyone but we have followed a clear and fair consultation process and considered all individual suggestions for new ways of working.

“At the current time as our operations are paused, we are working at the highest levels to develop a comprehensive restart programme to phase our ships back into service with enhanced and approved protocols that will keep everyone on board well and still give our guests an amazing holiday.

“Our commitment to the travel trade remains as strong as ever. The reduction in the sales team was, very sadly, a forced necessity due to social distancing and the limitations of the shop and office visits.

“We remain committed to developing new ways of working to best support our agent partners encouraging agent feedback and including training and regular communication through our 15,000 strong agent Shine programme. We would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our sincere thanks to all our agent partners for their mutual work supporting our guests during our pause in operations and we look forward to working together as we develop our re-start plans.”

Saga To Get New Ship in October

Spirit of Adventure Itinerary, Current Position, Ship Review ...
Spirit of Adventure inside the Meyer Weft Hanger.

Saga has announced it will take delivery of the new 1,000-guest Spirit of Adventure this October, pushed back from July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Group has been working with industry bodies and the Government to establish operational practices that would enable a return of operations in both Tour and Cruise businesses as the current restrictions are lifted,” Saga said, in a statement.  “The Group’s new mid-sized ships are ideally placed to offer ‘safe sailing’ and all these measures will be in place by the end of August.”

The new ships inaugural cruise will now depart from the UK for the Mediterranean in early November.