Regional cruising to start first

2020-11-14T13:44:11+00:00 November 14th, 2020|Marketing|

Upon the resumption of cruising, operators will probably focus on regional operations first, said Shannon McKee of Access Cruise during an IAPH webinar earlier this week.

However, localisation is not going to stick with many guests, although their source will initially define the regional cruise market.
She thought that US brands would stay closer to home and then expand later.

Global Ports Holdings (GPH) head Stephen Xuereb said that with 19 ports in 13 countries handling cruise ships, the product offered was already localised.

From the ports that GPH controls, Xuereb said the port managers were trying to offer something different and unique for those arriving by cruise ship.

He said that social distancing and other protocols would remain in place for the time being and the terminals had air conditioning systems.
However, he said things would change pretty quickly once a vaccine becomes available.

GPH has implemented its own protocols within its ports and terminals and claimed that the terminals were no different from restaurants and shopping centres.

However, he thought that it was much more challenging for local health authorities to cater for people outside in groups, say on tours, rather than in the terminals.

McKee (pictured) thought that, despite the shut down, the long term future of cruising was very bright, given that 106 cruise ships were on order through 2027 and the less efficient ships were now being removed from the fleet.

Xuereb agreed, saying that the number of cruisers worldwide was set to grow from 22 mill to 32 mill in the next 10 years.

However, the current pandemic was having an effect of the small service providers at ports and elsewhere, as the number of cruises had declined to zero, while small country economies had also suffered, relying on cruising for much of their income.

One of the problems was that in the short term, locally sourced cruise passengers going on regional cruises were less likely to spend money in an area where they come from and know.

As for cruise ship crews, he said that around 400,000 were working beyond their contracts with another 400,000 waiting to join.

McKee pointed out that Carnival Corp was the world‘s largest buyer of air time, flying both passengers and crew worldwide.

The testing of crew, according to the CDC protocols was vital, Xuereb said, adding that it was very important that the airlines get flying again, as the US operators depend on fly cruises, especially to the Mediterranean.

The resumption should be undertaken slowly but surely and should involve all the stakeholders, including the small service providers.