Find out the latest news across the cruise industry with our Cruise News Round-up. In this round-up, we look at the future of international travel, including changes in health and safety measures across Europe. We also look into how the demand for future travel has changed and how cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line are sharing encouraging messages about the strength of the cruise industry.
- NCL reports demand for far-flung destinations
- Royal Caribbean CEO positive about cruise future
- Celebrity Cruises celebrates 30th birthday
- Europe reopens for travel
NCL reports demand for far-flung destinations
As holiday plans for 2020 are put on hold, cruise lines are reporting that many cruisers are looking to 2021 for their next getaway with far-flung destinations top of their list. Regions such as Japan, Dubai and even world cruises are popular with 2021 bookings as more of us want to explore destinations rich in culture.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO, Frank Del Rio shared, “this notion that people aren’t going to want to cruise to faraway places of exotic destinations, what we’re seeing is defying that.” He also added that some Japan itineraries and world cruise segments are already sold out.
The demand for 2021 comes alongside the cruise line’s reveal of their newly developed health and safety protocols. Over the past few months, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has worked with experts and internal safety and medical teams to ensure future cruisers can travel with peace of mind. Their new Peace of Mind enhanced health and safety protocols include:
- Enhanced and continuous screening protocols for guests and crew
- Increased sanitation with a 24/7 disinfection schedule
- New hospital-grade air filtration system
- Responsible social distancing from check-in to disembarkation
- Enhanced medical resources with bigger medical teams and the latest testing kits
- Expanded ship-to-shore safety and rest assured we will only visit safe ports
Sharing the protocols in a letter to all cruisers, NCL President & CEO Harry Sommers said,
“It is our belief that when taken as a whole, these protocols will allow a vacation with Norwegian Cruise Line to be among the safest vacation options available. Moving forward, we expect to implement additional safety measures as we continue working with the CDC, global health organizations and domestic and international government agencies.
“We commit to taking every precaution to protect you, always placing the highest value on your well-being over profits so you can continue to explore the world with those you love, safely.”
Royal Caribbean CEO positive about cruise future
In a recent video addressing travel industry partners, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman & CEO, Richard Fain shared encouraging news on the return of cruise travel and what recent developments show for the future.
“We’re all anxious to get back to operating our cruises and returning, but we will not do so until we are confident that we can do so properly and with appropriate safeguards for our guests and our crew,” he said. “To that end, we’re working on a detailed set of protocols and procedures that can give us and your clients that level of confidence.”
He shared that while the cruise line isn’t operating, it’s using the time to develop and refine their ideas. Fain also spoke to Travel Weekly regarding his positive outlook on the future of cruising saying, “it will take us a while to rebuild back to where we are. But that is what our industry does.”
Referring to how much cruising has changed over the years, Fain acknowledged the adaptability the industry has and how it continues to learn. “Cruising last year was not like it was 10 years ago. Cruising keeps changing every day;” he said, “we keep learning.”
When asked by Travel Weekly about Anthem of the Seas planned Southampton season, Fain highlighted that the UK remains a hugely important market for the group though “a lot depends on how well the governments in different places manage it and how welcoming they are.”
Fain also added that he looks forward to ‘celebrating as we are sipping champagne over our return to operations in the UK’.
We can’t wait for Anthem of the Seas to sail from Southampton again and relish the positivity that Royal Caribbean has for the future of cruising. We will keep you updated with any further developments that the cruise line has regarding its health and safety protocols.
Celebrity Cruises celebrates 30th birthday
Celebrity Cruises recently celebrated its 30th birthday, taking the time to reflect on its history and look ahead to the next decades. To mark the incredible milestone, the cruise line shared an inspiring video highlighting some of Celebrity Cruises’ best moments over the years including the introduction of the Celebrity Century Series (1995); becoming one of the first cruise lines to introduce speciality dining (2000); creating the industry’s first solar panels (2008); welcoming the first American female cruise ship captain, Kate McCue (2015); and the introduction of the Celebrity Edge series (2018) – plus much more!
Sharing her thoughts on the occasion, Celebrity Cruises President & CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said,
“For me, Celebrity’s legacy will be setting modern luxury cruising standards that are Celebrity’s to own, and then resetting and raising the bar, again and again. It is that spirit of pioneering that continues to take the brand and our guest experiences to new heights – and I’m not just talking about the view from the Magic Carpet.
“As we look ahead to the post-pandemic world we will sail in, there is more progress to be made in our industry. I am confident Celebrity – and the entire RCL family – will continue to lead every step of the way.”
Celebrity Cruises has shared that it plans to develop a cohesive return to service plan which will include enhanced health and safety protocols for all travellers. The cruise line is in collaboration with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other government and health officials to assemble these new processes and standards to ensure the cruise experience remains safe and enjoyable.
Once these protocols are finalised, we will ensure we share their plans with you to keep you up to date with the cruise line’s resumption of sailings. In the meantime, we wish Celebrity Cruises a happy birthday and look forward to the next 30 years of success!
Europe reopens for travel
Countries across Europe are beginning to plan to take their first steps towards reopening to tourism. Last month, the European Union unveiled its support to help Europe’s tourism industry and allow countries to begin preparing for the future.
A series of guidelines were shared by the European Commission to help member states list travel restrictions and allow tourism businesses to reopen while maintaining the necessary health precautions. Many countries have since revealed their plans for opening borders and welcoming international tourism, including many short-haul destinations and popular hotspots.
As the UK’s number one summer destination, Spain has implemented a four-phase plan which allows domestic travel to resume on the 22nd June. The country will then reopen to international arrivals – including tourists – on the 1st July.
Bars, restaurants, cafes and museums are slowly reopening in iconic destinations across Italy such as Venice, Rome and Florence, alongside many hotels and beach resorts. Italy’s ban on international arrivals is due to be lifted in June 2020, with restrictions based on where the passengers has travelled from. Speaking on the subject, Italian Tourist Board Manager of UK & Ireland, Flavio Zappacosta said, “we know how popular Italy is for Brits and hope we can inspire them to start to plan and book an Italian holiday this year.”
The Algarve in Portugal is gradually reopening ahead of summer, with more than a third of hotels open already and plans to raise this to 75% in June. The country has pledged not to impose quarantine measures on arrivals in summer, though there are separate arrangements for islands destinations such as Madeira and the Azores where visitors may need to present test results or be tested on arrival.
Croatia is continuing to open to international tourism, with citizens of the EU and European Economic Area countries able to enter Croatia as long as they have a confirmed accommodation booking. Meanwhile, Malta is introducing a range of protocols to allow its tourism to gradually resume, including social distancing measures and enhanced hygiene.
As many destinations continue working hard to introduce new measures and health protocols, it allows us to look ahead for a more positive future when international travel is welcomed once more.
See our previous Cruise News Round-ups: