Find out the latest news across the cruise industry and how cruise lines are responding to the current travel climate. In this Cruise News Round-up, we look into the future of travel including what changes we can expect from airports; what customers are looking for in their future travel plans and the benefits of using a travel agent.
- How are cruise lines preparing for the future
- What changes can we expect from airports
- What’s top of our customers’ travel wishlists
- The benefits of using a travel agent
How are cruise lines preparing for the future?
Despite current operations being on pause, many cruise lines are taking the opportunity to develop and improve their policies on health and safety, to make sure that customer health is their first priority when they are able to welcome passengers on-board once more. Many of the cruise lines are beginning plans and preparation for the return of passengers on-board.
Carnival Cruise Line are planning a phased-approach to resuming operations, and it is consulting with experts in developing a plan, while Royal Caribbean are focused on implementing additional safety enhancements for their return to service, including administering screening processes and updated health protocols.
Chairman & CEO of Royal Caribbean, Richard Fain addressed the future of cruise travel saying, “we are focused on all aspects of safe return to service strategy. We know that the public expects that we will elevate our health and protocol to a new level. We are prepared to make sure that we meet and exceed those expectations.” Fain then continued to outline the cruise line’s aspirational program, The Healthy Return to Service, comprising four main focuses of upgraded screening prior to boarding; enhanced processes and procedures on-board, a special focus on addressing the destinations visited; and procedures for dealing with reports on exceptions. “Our goal is to raise our standards to entirely new levels,” said Fain, “we believe that the Healthy Return to Service program will help us get there […] We are better prepared today than we were yesterday and we will be better yet prepared tomorrow.”
P&O Cruises has also advised it is working on stringent measures to ensure it is in line with international health guidelines once its operations restart. This includes health screening pre-boarding, looking at potential restrictions in ports of call as well as how to phase the fleet back into service.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO, Frank Del Rio, also shared that ‘nothing will be more critical to resuming sustained and profitable long terms operations than making cruising the safest option in (the) travel and leisure space and providing cruisers with peace of mind’. The cruise line is consulting with experts to make sure changes are in place before cruising resumes, which Del Rio added could include fewer tables in dining venues and fewer guests on-board.
We are keeping a close eye on our cruise line updates and are looking forward to sharing their plans to ensure cruise travel puts customer safety first, as well as offering a cruise experience that is every bit as enjoyable as it has always been.
What changes can we expect from airports?
It’s not just the cruise lines that are preparing for changes in travel, the airline industry is also taking significant measures to provide travel safety once the world begins to return to normality. Digital technologies and automation especially will play a critical role in the future of air travel, with the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) stating “the ‘new normal’ at major airports, such as Heathrow, JFK and Singapore Changi will include almost exclusive use of online check-ins, and contactless payments”.
Other implementations we might see include the adaption of spaces to encourage social distancing and adding touchless solutions to the boarding process. UK airline, Ryanair, has already revealed it plans to restore 40% of its flight schedule from July, with requirements including all passengers and crew to wear face masks and pass temperature checks. With many of us ready to book for 2021, we’ll watch closely how these changes evolve.
Read more: Ryanair plots July return
What’s top of our customers’ travel wishlists?
We recently conducted a survey with our customers looking at future holiday plans and which destinations are top of the list to visit first. The results concluded that many of us are longing to travel as soon as we are safely able, with over 75% of customers responding that they have either already booked or are planning a 2021 holiday. It seemed that late 2020 bookings were also in high demand with over 50% also stating that they still intended to travel this year if they are able to.
As for destinations, the first place most people are packing their suitcase for is the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, with the United States close behind in popularity. Other destinations customers will be planning to visit included Asia, the Norwegian Fjords and Northern Europe. Many respondents also confirmed that the current climate made them more likely to book a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to a bucket-list destination, with some customers stating they ‘want to visit as many places as possible’, ‘life is too short’ and they ‘have missed travel during lockdown’.
A third of customers also agreed that being able to travel freely and explore a new place were the top reasons they were looking forward to their next holiday. Despite the current climate temporarily halting many of our travel plans, the results prove that the appetite for exploring the world and travelling is still very much present and we all can’t wait to set sail again soon.
Read more: Cruise118.com Recent Customer Survey
The benefits of using a travel agent
With travel agents holding supplier relationships with hotels, cruise lines, flight operators and more, they are at the core of all things travel. From learning your individual preferences to knowing your travel history, your own travel agent can take care of all your holiday needs in one call.
In the current climate, having to cancel separate elements of a holiday requires patience and much of your personal time. With a travel agent, they can offer reassurance and will do all the hard work to make it right, whether that involves cancellations or rebookings. Additional expertise on health and documentation requirements is also something a travel agent provides, saving you the effort of your own research.
We carried out a recent survey was which highlighted the top reasons travel agents can add value, with the top reasons including the ‘exclusive discounts’ and ‘booking security’. Agents have direct access to suppliers which can offer them perks like free upgrades or on-board credit that direct bookings simply can’t match.
What most people are seeking is more time and less stress, and a travel agent can provide exactly that. Leave it to the experts to arrange your next holiday of a lifetime and look ahead to your future getaways with your personal travel agent by your side.
See our previous May Cruise News Round-ups: