MSC ramps up protocols as Covid’s second wave grows


SC Cruises has seen “a very small number” of Covid-19 cases on board its ships

since it resumed sailing in the Mediterranean last month. The first major line to revive

operations in the Mediterranean since the pandemic has also increased the frequency of testing crew and passengers amid rising rates of infection across Europe. Bud Darr, executive vice-

president of maritime policy and government affairs at MSC Cruises, said the outbreaks were dealt with safely under the cruise line’s established protocols. “Everything was working the way

it was supposed to,” he said. “The authorities had a lot of confidence in working with us, and continue to keep everyone safe. But you have to expect that in this environment, you are

Bud Darr

to MSC’s protocols, to make them more “restrictive and protective”. “More tests have been added

during the cruises, along with the pre-embarkation tests that were already required,” he explained. Passengers who did not comply

with shore excursion rules were told to leave, Darr said, and new protocols had been added to maintain guests’ ‘bubble’ when in destinations. He described the changes as

going to have some Covid [cases].” MSC Grandiosa and MSC

Magnifica had been operating out of Italy, and calling at Malta and Greece, taking the line’s return “one step at a time,” added Darr. He said the second infection wave across Europe had prompted changes

“pretty technical and procedural” and “invisible to the guests”, adding that MSC would continue to “take a very hard line” with guests who breach protocols, noting the importance of showing them “we’re serious”. “Guests have been kept safe and

have given us really good feedback,” he said. “We have been able to find a balance between providing that experience and providing a health and safety environment.”

‘There will be a January wave season – prepare for it’

Cruise line bosses urged agents to plan now for the cruise sector’s ‘wave’ season to cater for pent-up demand. Jo Rzymowska, Celebrity Cruises’ vice-president and

managing director for the EMEA region, said “without a doubt” there would be a wave season in the new year. But she said 2021’s wave would be different because

marketing campaigns would mix messages about health and safety, such as reduced touchpoints on board, with the usual themes of destinations and onboard experiences. Rzymowska highlighted

social media as an important and cost-effective channel for marketing.

10 5 NOVEMBER 2020

Giles Hawke

Giles Hawke, chief executive of Avalon Waterways,

urged agents to analyse their databases and plan a two-track marketing strategy for wave. He said agencies could move to “above-the-line

spending” once they start to see some return, but warned retailers “don’t go mad on the first of January because we’ve got to see demand is there”. Bernard Carter,

Lucy Huxley Jo Rzymowska

Bernard Carter

senior vice-president and managing director at Oceania Cruises, added: “It’s about taking the low- hanging fruit – looking at the people who you’re talking with regularly… then you can start spreading the net wider.”

Agents urged to sell cru

Agents should book cruises with confidence, thanks to Covid-19 rules that have been agreed to make ships safe – despite the second wave of infections across Europe. That was the message from industry

figures speaking at the virtual Clia forum last week. David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK,

said: “[Agents] should be selling with as much – and probably more – confidence, as they would sell any other holiday. “The moment we can start getting guests

Clia Cruise Forum 2020: Bullish confidence mixed with frustration char MSC


Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ Balmoral

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56