CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Nicko Cruises’ NickoVision; Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Esprit; The Retreat on Seabourn Encore; and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ Balmoral

very pleased to say Scylla’s first post-Covid-19 cruise successfully came to an end last week, after 13 days of sailing along the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers. Guests were satisfied with the cruise experience and mentioned they felt completely safe with the new measures we’ve introduced on our ships.

“Our cruises will continue running but with a

reduced number of guests to guarantee optimal social distancing. The excursions are now carried out using a wireless tour guide system to minimise interaction between guests, passers-by and tour guides. Further contactless experiences have also been introduced on the ships, such as at the check-in process. We are really looking forward to resuming operations on the rest of the European rivers and welcoming our British guests again.”

Q.What screening can clients expect at their port of embarkation? A. Alastair Welch, regional director, ABP Southampton: “We are working with all our cruise lines and partner organisations to establish what enhanced health and safety measures are appropriate for when cruise passenger operations return. These are constantly under review as the understanding of the virus evolves. As soon as we are clear on the protocols and guest experience, we will work with the cruise lines to ensure this information is shared with agent partners and passengers.” A. Ian Diaper, head of operations, Portsmouth

28 25 JUNE 2020

expert ASK THE

Andy Harmer, director, Clia UK & Ireland “As is often said these days, we are living in unprecedented times. The world has been faced with a health crisis that has affected restaurants, hotels, theatres and, yes, cruise ships. What is different about our industry, however, is that no other sector, including airlines, has such stringent screening protocols or illness- reporting requirements already in place year-round, outside a global crisis. “Your customers will, no doubt, be looking to you for reassurance on the health and safety measures on board cruise ships when booking their next holiday. Consideration is being given to more-robust screening protocols that go even further than other travel sectors. While cleaning and hygiene protocols are already among the strictest in hospitality, plans are under consideration to expand stringent cleaning and sanitation practices. And, like every form of travel, we should expect distancing measures appropriate at the time. “While new measures mean cruises will be slightly different from what we’re

used to, what will not change is the fantastic service provided by crew and the unique experiences that only a cruise holiday can provide. Our industry is, at heart, a people business. We are a close-knit community and it is this collaborative culture that makes our industry so adept at facing and overcoming adversity.”

International Port: “We’re fortunate to have a modern terminal building, which has been reconfigured to create a one-way system. Cruise operators have the option to use our temperature-check camera, a discreet system that reads a passenger’s temperature as they pass through security. There is also the option to work flexibly with cruise lines; for example, for passengers to be driven directly to the ship. We hope these measures give comfort and confidence to passengers that we’re doing what we can to help reduce infections on board.”


PICTURES: Ian Schemper; Filippo Vinardi; Steve Dunlop; Eric Laignel; Julian Elliott/Ethereal Light

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