July 4, 2020
In this Issue
Here are some of the news articles we are following:
- Will Royal Caribbean limit the amount of people on a cruise ship?
- NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line cancels Alaska 2020 season
- American Queen River Cruises to Resume This Summer—But Are They Safe?
- Consolidation in the Cruise Industry: What does the Future Hold?
- Supporting the cruise industry bounce back
- Buffet Not Going Anywhere at Royal Caribbean
- Why Huge Demand and Limited Numbers will Mean Fewer Bargains After Covid
- Small Ships are Leading the Charge back to Cruising
- Citing Demand, Viking Opens 2023 Mississippi Season
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Will Royal Caribbean limit the amount of people on a cruise ship?
“While Royal Caribbean has not officially announced its new policies, procedures aimed to limit and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on its ships, one possibility is having a lower occupancy on ships to promote social distancing. Royal Caribbean Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service Vicki Freed told Travel Weekly that a lowered capacity is one strategy that is in play. Freed spoke on the nature of cruise pricing, and alluded to the fact cruise lines will have less than full ships, and in order not to compromise on quality, will not be reducing prices.”
NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line cancels Alaska 2020 season
“NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line announced Tuesday morning, June 30, that they will be cancelling the remainder of 2020 Alaska cruise season. The move comes weeks after all major companies announced their own voyages to the popular destination will be cancelled. In a statement, NCL said: “While we remained hopeful that we would resume our Seattle-based Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Joy Alaska sailings in September 20202, today’s suspension includes the following cruises.” The cruise company then lists the NCL Joy sailings for September 5, 12, 19, and 26, along with the NCL Bliss journeys for September 6, 13, 20, 27, and October 4.”
American Queen River Cruises to Resume This Summer—But Are They Safe?
“While most of the cruise industry has suspended sailings through the summer, American Queen Steamboat Company has announced that the paddle wheels on its river cruises will be turning again in mid-July. To make that happen, the Indiana–based company has introduced new safety protocols and regulations in partnership with nonprofit medical provider Ochsner Health. The new policies include frequent temperature checks for guests; a health questionnaire that passengers will fill out a day before boarding; intensive cleaning by crew, both onboard and on the vehicles used for shore excursions; and services from Ochsner such as telemedicine assistance and access to the provider's network of doctors while in port. Ochsner will also have a "health representative" aboard each sailing—no word yet on what that person's credentials will be.”
Consolidation in the Cruise Industry: What does the Future Hold?
“ROYAL CARIBBEAN’S RECENT PURCHASE OF HAPAG-LLOYD CRUISES, IN A JOINT VENTURE WITH TUI, HAS MARKED JUST ANOTHER CHAPTER IN THE CRUISE INDUSTRY’S LONG HISTORY OF CONSOLIDATION. HOW IS THIS TREND DEFINING THE SECTOR AND TO WHAT EXTENT WILL THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC AFFECT IT IN THE YEARS TO COME? ADELE BERTI INVESTIGATES.
The cruise sector is well accustomed to consolidation. Often the consequence of industry trends such as enhanced competition, entrepreneurial ambition and market prosperity, consolidation strategies have defined the sector for decades. Carnival Corporation, the largest operator in the world, is testament to this trend as it owns nine lines and over 110 ships under brands including Costa, Cunard and Princess Cruises. Its biggest competitor, Royal Caribbean, operates three smaller lines and holds majority stakes in a vast number of companies itself - among which are its namesake brand, TUI Cruises and Celebrity Cruises. These seaborne allegiances have dictated market dynamics for a long time and this year had initially seemed no different, with Royal Caribbean announcing a new addition to its portfolio earlier in February. The deal was formalized by TUI Cruises - a 50-50 joint venture owned by TUI AG and Royal Caribbean - which took over TUI AG’s subsidiary Hapag-Lloyd Cruises in a move valued at $1.3bn. A perhaps unsurprising move from the Royal Caribbean conglomerate, which now has a 50% stake in all TUI AG’s cruise operations, the deal is expected to strengthen the group’s luxury and expedition segments that are forecast to grow in the years to come. Since then a lot has undoubtedly changed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which is having disastrous impacts on the cruise sector and, more broadly, the world economy.”
Supporting the cruise industry bounce back
“The Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) recent announcement that it is developing a new health framework to uphold the safety of guests and prepare for future operations in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis is welcome news. CLIA’s updates come at a time when most of the world’s cruise ships remain in port under strict restrictions in what is described as ‘hot lay-up’. Most cruise lines have stipulated that they will begin to operate some vessels – on some routes where there are fewer restrictions – when it is deemed safe by authorities. However, many ships could remain idle until 2021. For those vessels expected to return to operation, meeting strict class items is essential and currently, in the UK at least, there is a 90 days referral protocol in place for critical-class items. CLIA plans to define the specific screening, cleansing and medical protocols that cruise lines would need to adopt globally, in addition to those already in place, with priority being given to the safety and security of guests, crew and the communities that cruise lines visit. However, CLIA’s statement omitted to mention that it will be necessary to allow riding squads to also service vessels amid an expected long delay in access to drydocks.”
Buffet Not Going Anywhere at Royal Caribbean
“ “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.
Why Huge Demand and Limited Numbers will Mean Fewer Bargains After Covid
“After the 2008 recession and the 9/11 attacks, the cruise industry heavily discounted cruise prices in a bid to lure back travellers. During the coronavirus crisis, some thought there would be the same rock-bottom prices we saw in previous periods of instability. But this time, it’s different. Industry watchers, analysts and executives from the cruise industry anticipate huge demand – but limited capacity due to the need for social distancing and new health regulations about cabins and crowds. Others are suggesting premium pricing for “ship within a ship” facilities that mean fewer, higher-paying guests.”
Small Ships are Leading the Charge back to Cruising
“Small is beautiful. The cruise industry is seeing early signs of recovery with several lines resuming operations for local travellers in the wake of COVID-19. Boutique company Katarina Line, which specialises in cruising the Dalmatian coast, resumed sailing last month with departures from Opatija, Split and Dubrovnik. “Small-ship cruising is among the safest way to enjoy an unforgettable vacation experience in Croatia,” said Daniel Hauptfeld, marketing director for Katarina Line. “Our vessels hold a maximum of just 36 guests, so they are perfect for small groups, families and friends to travel from one island to another, swimming in secluded beaches that are approachable only by boat – all without the crowds of larger vessels.” “
Citing Demand, Viking Opens 2023 Mississippi Season
“Viking today announced that new 2023 sailings of its Mississippi River cruises are now on sale, citing demand. The company’s first custom vessel, Viking Mississippi, will debut in August 2022 and will sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi River, between New Orleans and St. Paul. Viking said a number of 2022 of sailings are already sold out and soaring demand has led the company to open additional 2023 sailing dates sooner than originally expected.”
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the articles above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this e-Newsletter
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