Hurtigruten ‘failed to follow Covid rules for crew’

Samantha Mayling

Cruise specialists say fresh Covid-19 outbreaks on board ships demonstrate the importance of rigorously following ship hygiene protocols as the sector returns. Hurtigruten suspended the

resumption of expedition sailings on three ships after an outbreak on Roald Amundsen affected 36 crew and five passengers in the last week. A passenger on a Paul Gauguin

Cruises sailing in French Polynesia also tested positive for the virus. Edwina Lonsdale, owner of

Mundy Cruising, said: “It is really sad to hear, especially from Hurtigruten, which seems to have fallen victim to imperfect processes, although the immediate response and follow-up has been reassuring.” Hurtigruten is not a member of

Clia and reports from Norway said the line had not followed quarantine rules for foreign crews on its expedition cruises. Chief executive Daniel Skjeldam

said safety was the line’s “number- one priority” but admitted mistakes were made as the cruise line resumed commercial sailings. Norwegian

Hurtigruten has suspended expedition sailings

media quoted him saying: “On behalf of all of us at Hurtigruten, I’m sorry for what has happened. We are taking full responsibility.” Andy Harmer, Clia UK and

Ireland director, said: “Contingency and mitigation plans will remain an essential part of managing Covid, ranging from onboard isolation to track and trace systems. Resumption is extremely limited so far and sailings taking place must follow the requirements and approval conditions of national authorities.” James Cole, founder of start-up cruise agency Panache Cruises, said:

“Clearly it’s disappointing that some cruise lines are facing these setbacks, but it’s only a temporary glitch in the huge efforts and progress being made to ensure there is a safe and secure return to ocean cruising.” John Delaney, former president

of Windstar Cruises, said: “It’s unfortunate a few cruise lines appear to have ignored science in an attempt to resume service too quickly. “Everyone wants cruises to come

back but rushing things to chase revenue and ignoring the science will continue to hurt our industry and make the road to recovery more difficult.”

Eamonn Holmes champions agents Samantha Mayling

TV presenter Eamonn Holmes says the Covid-19 crisis has reinforced his belief in the value and security of booking with travel agents. “Travel agents are amazing

professionals who have an expertise and that’s why I want to use them,” he told Lucy Huxley, Travel Weekly editor-in-chief. She spoke to the presenter on a

Travel Weekly webcast after he praised the travel sector on ITV’s This Morning programme last week. Holmes said he had continued

to use agents over the years as he is busy and cannot see the benefit of surfing the internet to book flights, transfers and hotels. “My father had this saying, ‘It

takes a priest to say mass’. You have to be an expert in your own field,” he said. “Do what you do and let others do what they do.” Recalling the heyday of travel

agents in the 1970s and 80s, he said he remembered many people who left school with the ambition of working in a travel agency.

Lucy Huxley Commenting on the pandemic,

he asked: “How many other people are now wishing they had booked through a travel agent?” Those who hadn’t, he said, were

left “hanging on the phone for hours, waiting to be answered by someone who’s not interested in your dilemma”. He said he is happy to pay a little

Eamonn Holmes

extra for the “expertise and service for something that just makes my life easier”, adding: “I want to tap into their expertise. These guys are the experts in their field, so why not use them?” Responding to Holmes’ video on

Facebook, Travel Counsellors’ Nicky Cullen wrote: “Well said, Eamonn Holmes. We need all the support we can get. Everyone should book with someone they trust.” Althams Travel agent Angela

Fallon added: “Brought a tear to my eye, so glad to hear support and encouragement.”

Watch the Eamonn Holmes interview at: 6 AUGUST 2020 7

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