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EVENT SPONSORS NEWS ings for 2021. Ben Ireland and Robin Searle report


Donald: It’s about managing space on ships, not capacity


C


FUTURE WEEK


The president of Carnival Corporation says British brands P&O Cruises and Cunard are “fundamental” to its business and vowed to continue to invest in the British market post-Covid. Arnold Donald described


the British lines – among nine in Carnival’s wider business – as “super-brands” with “great history and legacy”. “P&O and Cunard are two of


our anchor brands,” he said. “These are brands that have


been around a long time, and have great history and legacy. People


travelweekly.co.uk


ruise lines need to manage spaces, not limit capacity, says the boss of the world’s largest cruise company, who believes the “most important” thing for the sector’s return is


mitigating the risk of spread of Covid on ships. Carnival Corporation’s Italian brand, Costa Cruises, was


its first line back with a sailing from Trieste on September 6. A second Costa sailing has since departed, while its German line Aida Cruises is soon to return to the water. “We’re excited to have a ship with guests on it again,”


said president and chief executive Arnold Donald. “At this point of time, the mitigation of community


spread has been reasonably effective.” Donald said ships would have universal testing


protocols in case they’re needed “down the road” to “mitigate the risk of getting multiple cases on board”. Carnival’s lines will have testing at embarkation and on


board. To reduce the risk of spread, ships will have physical distancing, or require passengers to wear masks if that isn’t possible, and onboard medical facilities will be “amped up” to help with screening, if necessary, explained Donald. He added: “People talk about managing the capacity on


the ship, but the reality is you want to manage the spaces on the ship. Doing that will determine the number of guests that you can have.” Lines will abide by the protocols of the country whose waters they are sailing in.


Carnival chief hails P&O and Cunard


love those brands, so they are very central to our corporation. “British people love cruising.


As a source market – not only for those two brands – we carry a lot of British guests across our fleet. It’s a very important market to the cruise industry, and certainly to our company. So absolutely, we see continued investment and priority in the British cruise market – there’s no question about that. “P&O and Cunard are two of


our strongest brands and they are fundamental to our business. These are unbelievable super-brands.”


Donald stressed the first Costa cruise back had no


cases of Covid, but accepted: “Eventually, as in society, it’s going to end up on a ship. The trick is to make sure we’re mitigating a spread. Just because it’s on a ship, everybody on the ship isn’t exposed.” However, he said itineraries would be restricted to


certain ports when cruising resumes in volume, partly to ensure guests could be disembarked and repatriated quickly, and partly because many ports were yet to reopen.


‘PUNCH’ TO NEW-TO-CRUISE


Arnold Donald says cruise has “taken a punch in the gut” in terms of attracting new- to-cruise customers, but expects them to trickle back when sailings begin again. Carnival Corporation’s president said the resumption of cruise would rely on


experienced cruisers filling ships but added that the sector was used to having to manage its image among those who “mischaracterise” it. Asked about the impact of Covid on new-to-cruise customers, he said: “We’ve


taken a punch in the gut because of the media and the noise, but it’s just a punch. We’re not down for the count.” He said that because only a “fraction” of the sector would be operating for the


first few months of the return, there would be “plenty of demand from previous cruise-goers” to fill ships. “We have time,” he said. “And the most powerful way to get to the new-to-


cruise [customer] is to chip away at the preconceived notions. And the best way to do that is with those that cruise.”


Arnold Donald


24 SEPTEMBER 2020


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