Cruise staff urged to take part in research to help boost sales

A university researcher is calling on cruise operators and agents to take part in a study on the most effective ways to communicate with passengers in the Covid-19 era in order to boost sales.
Senior teaching fellow Liz Sharples, of the University of Portsmouth, who has previously worked at British Airways, P&O Cruises, Thomas Cook and Thomson, is looking to interview cruise specialists, from tour operators or agencies, as well as passengers who have had their cruise holiday cancelled due to the pandemic.
Sharples is hoping to interview around 20 cruise industry staff and 20 passengers and has urged anyone interested to get in touch by the end of October. Interviews will be on Zoom and take 40 minutes.
She said: “I would really appreciate elite cruise practitioners and passengers who have had their trips cancelled to get in touch. Your input and comments will really help inform this research.
“I am ex-industry and passionate about this sector and hope that this work, which looks the most effective messages to help boost sales in the Covid-19 era, will play a small part in helping to rebuild the cruise sector.”
She is hopeful her research will be used by ocean and river cruise lines in their passenger communication strategies to help ensure they use the right tone and get across the key messages that passengers want to hear. These could include reassurance, safety, what happens if they fall ill and the fact they can still have fun by in a safe environment.
The research is split into two parts, the first of which is asking agents, head of sales, managing directors, cruise business owners what their key messages are and how they plan to change this in the Covid-19 era.
She added: “I hope the research will provide cruise lines with clear detail on what communication strategies their passengers want and how it compares to their current Covid-19 approach.
“I hope it will boost cruise lines’ sales by helping to ensure that the messages being sent by cruise lines are what their passengers want and need to help them rebook and re-engage with the sector.”

P&O Cruises extends cancellation of sailings into November

MV Britannia (2015) - Wikipedia
P&O Britannia

P&O Cruises has further extended its pause in operations until November 12 and cancelled two extended itineraries due to depart in January 2021.

The line’s last pause was in June until October 15.

The company said the extended pause in operations was “an acknowledgement of Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance” against taking ocean cruises.

Passengers booked on the cancelled cruises will receive an enhanced 125% future cruise credit or can fill in the website form for a refund.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “It is clear that whilst the guidance is in place it is not advisable for us to resume operations.

“As well as cancelling all cruises up until November 12, 2020, we will, sadly, also be cancelling Aurora’s Caribbean and South America Adventure and Arcadia’s world cruise.

“Given long-term planning, combined with the complexity and length of these long-haul itineraries and evolving border restrictions, we need to ensure that we adhere to the guidance as it stands. I know that these January cruises, in particular, are holidays of a lifetime and we are so sorry for the disappointment that these cancellations will cause.

“We continue to work in partnership with public health agencies at the highest level as well as Department for Transport; EU Healthy Gateways and Cruise Lines International Association (Clia), the world’s largest cruise industry association.

“We will follow all applicable guidelines to enhance our already stringent measures to keep our guests and crew healthy and well and we will not resume sailing until this approved framework is in place. Fundamentally, we will be adopting the best practice within the travel industry.”

He added: “The good news is that confidence in cruising is strong and we are seeing increasing and significant demand from our guests.

“We know that the FCO guidance is under constant review and we are hopeful that, as they are aware of the work the industry is doing, this will change before too long.

“We have invested significantly in new systems and technology to speed up the refund process and to date, we have refunded tens of thousands of guests, although it is heartening to see that the majority of our guests have opted for the FCC so they have a holiday to look forward to in the future.”

He also confirmed that the line will take delivery of new ship Iona “before the autumn”.

Rumoured sale of Cunard and Seabourn denied by Carnival Corporation

Cunard - Ships and Itineraries 2020, 2021, 2022 | CruiseMapper

Carnival Corporation has scotched speculation that luxury brands Cunard and Seabourn could be sold as the cruise giant seeks to navigate recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company was responding to a specialist media report.

Global shipping news service TradeWinds claimed a sale could be prompted by ageing passenger demographics and a need to generate higher returns.

But a Carnival Corporation spokesman said: “There is no truth to this rumour.

“Cunard and Seabourn are iconic brands for our company, and both lines have a strong track record of success over the years.”

The company announced that it is to dispose of a further two ships, in addition to the disposal of 13 ships across its brands and the delayed delivery of new vessels announced earlier this month.

Four older Holland America Line ships have been sold, including two to Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, while P&O Cruises’ Oceana has left the fleet and Greek line Celestyal Cruises acquired Costa Cruises’ Costa NewRomantica.

In June, Carnival Corporation said it was speeding up the disposal of ships after a registered $2.4 billion adjusted net loss in the three months to May 31.

It has raised at least $10 billion through a series of financial transactions since March, and had “taken significant actions to preserve cash and secure additional financing to maximise its liquidity”.

It also confirmed $8.8 billion of credit facilities to fund ship deliveries originally planned through to 2023.

Cunard sailings by Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria are suspended until November 1 and Queen Elizabeth until November 23.

Seabourn’s five-ship fleet is on an extended pause in operations into October and November.

The brand had previously announced a suspension of its global ship operations from March 14 until June 30.