P&O Cruises pledges to speed up refund payments

P&O Cruises Announces Huge New Ship Coming in 2022!

The boss of P&O Cruises has pledged new technology and resources to speed up the payment of refunds for cancelled cruises.

President Paul Ludlow took to social media to outline measures the company is making to speed up the refund process.

The Facebook posting, which came after parent company Carnival UK confirmed staff consultation on redundancies after a pause in operations, had attracted 1,700 views as of Thursday morning.

Ludlow said he was “very aware of how imperative it is that those of you who opted for a refund, instead of an enhanced Future Cruise Credit, receive your money back as swiftly as possible”.

He added: “We are proud to be a travel company which is able to offer refunds but the impact of Covid-19 upon our business, your businesses, and all of our lives has been devastating, and therefore the complexity and scale of this task has been unprecedented for us.

“At P&O Cruises, we have had to adapt our ways of working very quickly as we set up new systems and all our colleagues began working from home.

“I understand that some of you see us as a big business ‘holding on to your money’ as some of our guests have been commenting publicly, but I assure you I am very aware of the financial constraints everyone is under at the moment and we are not delaying this intentionally.”

The first cruises were cancelled due to Covid-19 in the middle of March “and whilst we expected to process the first refunds sooner, we revised that to ‘up to 60 days’ when we realised the impact the pandemic was having on our wider business and teams,” Ludlow said.

“I know that ‘up to 60 days’ is not ideal and it is certainly not the service you would normally expect from us but sadly ‘normal’ has taken on a new meaning.

“In the past few weeks, despite the challenges, we have been able to put new technology and systems and also an additional resource in place which will result in more refunds being processed more quickly and I hope this will improve the situation daily. We will also be contacting all of you who have requested a refund.”

The line’s systems are also being amended to allow enhanced 125% FCCs to be able to be redeemed online without the need to call, with more details expected at the end of May.

Customers now have until the end of December 2021 to put their FCC against a booking for any holiday on sale during that period.

FCCs may now be used to upgrade or for a second cabin for any booking in 2021 or 2022 departure period currently on sale and may also be gifted or transferred to someone else.

“This option too will apply to further out departures as and when they go on sale, until as stated above, the end of December 2021,” Ludlow said.

Carnival Corp ‘still excited’ about Iona despite launch delay

Carnival Corp ‘still excited’ about Iona despite launch delay

Carnival Corporation is “still excited” about new P&O Cruises ship Iona, despite its launch being delayed by the coronavirus crisis. The cruise giant also confirmed it was engaged in conversations with shipyards about potential delays and cancellations.

Chief executive Arnold Donald said: “This virus has been devastating for the travel and tourism industry. Most of the newbuild timelines will be delayed. Most of the yards are closed or don’t have workers.

“Beyond that, we are working with the yards to look at schedules and decide should any of the ships be cancelled or pushed out further.”

Commenting on Iona, which was due to enter service in May but has been delayed due to the lockdown, Donald said: “We need to make sure the ship gets finished. But we are still excited about her and the level of bookings that she had.

“Iona will be finished and at some point, when the world is ready, she will be sailing. We don’t know exactly when, but over time we will have a great cruise industry again. We are going to have to build it back.”

Carnival Prepared for ‘Worst Case’ Scenario

Carnival Corporation ships from P&O, AIDA and Princess
Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, addressed the media on a conference call on Thursday afternoon.

Highlights:

Donald said recent fundraising efforts from Carnival Corporation has prepared the company for a “worst-case scenario,” meaning capital to operate for some time without revenue. He noted the company was still seeking additional liquidity options in the form of stimulus packages from other governments.

Donald said he was hopeful that existing debt could be extended as well.

He noted the company is doing everything it can to take care of its crew and manage ships during the disruption.

“We want to make sure we are in a position to succeed once cruising resumes,” he commented.

As for as previously proposed industry regulations that said guests over 70 needed a medical waiver to board ships, Donald said he did not know what the future would hold in terms of new rules and regulations.

Donald said there was still demand and the company was seeing bookings for this summer as well as for the rest of 2020 and 2021.

“The (start-up) will probably be certain locations, certain destinations, certain times … it’s unlikely you’ll be sailing a full fleet right away or anything like that.”

In terms of Carnival’s upcoming 18 new ships and orderbook extending to 2025, Donald said most of the newbuilds could be delayed with shipyards currently closed.

Donald said the company was in dialogue with its shipyard partners on timelines, delays and event potential cancellations.