Wednesday, 3 June 2020
Many Governments Failing Cruise Crew Repatriation
Home Office lays out quarantine rules
The Home Office and Department for Transport published the rules covering quarantine restrictions today.
The quarantine measures require arrivals to the UK to self-isolate for 14 days and will come into force on June 8.
The government insists they are “designed to prevent new cases [of coronavirus] being brought in from abroad and to prevent a second wave of the virus”.
All arrivals “bar a shortlist of exemptions” will be required to complete an online locator form, with contact and travel details and the address where they will self-isolate.
The UK’s Border Force will undertake checks and may refuse entry to any non-resident foreign nationals who refuse to comply.
The rules exclude travellers to and from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
They will be reviewed every three weeks, with the first review by June 29.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Protecting the public’s health and avoiding a second peak that overwhelms the NHS will always be our top priority.
“As we get the virus under control here, we must manage the risk of cases being imported from abroad. We owe it to the thousands who’ve lost their lives.”
She insisted: “These measures are informed by science, backed by the public and will keep us safe.
“We will take a number of factors into account within the reviews to satisfy that the risk of imported cases is low.”
These factors will include:
The rate of infection and transmission internationally and “the credibility of the reporting measures international partners have put in place”;
Levels of imported cases in other countries where there are more relaxed border measures;
The degree to which antibody and other testing methodologies prove effective in minimising the health risk.
Patel said: “We will also continue to take account of the impact on the economy and industry.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed the government is examining “arrangements known as ‘air bridges’ or international travel corridors which would remove self-isolation measures and safely open up routes to and from countries with low transmission rates”.
These would require agreement with individual countries, he said, adding: “We are working with the transport industry to see how we can introduce agreements with other countries when safe to do so, so we can go abroad and tourists can come here.”
Tuesday, 2 June 2020
P&O Cruises cancels sailings until October
Covid-19 has forced P&O Cruises to further extend the cancellation of sailings until mid-October.
The fourth extension of the suspension of cruises until October 15 follows all departures being cancelled in April until July 31.
The latest move comes as the UK line focuses on working in close coordination with all relevant public health bodies to approve further enhancement of the company’s already stringent health and safety protocols.
Departures by P&O Cruises and sister brand were first suspended in mid-March and then again on March 30 as Covid-19 hit the global cruise industry.
Parent company Carnival UK has since announced a series of redundancies.
Passengers booked on the cancelled sailings will receive a future cruise credit, giving an additional 25% on top of the amount paid for the holiday.
P&O Cruises also confirmed that the future cruise credit, which may be held until the end of 2021, maybe put against any holiday on sale at that time.
The credits may also be used to upgrade or for a second cabin for any existing booking and also may be gifted or transferred to someone else. This option will also be available until the end of December 2021.
A 5% deposit is also being introduced for new bookings made by June 29 for 2021 sailings.
P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “We want to apologise once again to those guests who wait for refunds, particularly at a time of financial constraints, however the new technology we have in place is rapidly improving things though and we continue to make further progress on a daily basis.”
Referring to the latest pause in operations, he said: “As a business, our operational focus is not ‘when can we resume sailing?’ but is instead ‘how can we develop a comprehensive restart protocol that will keep everyone on board, our crew and guests, safe and well and still give our guests an amazing holiday?’
“We are working with government and industry bodies at the highest possible level, such as Public Health England (PHE) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to review every aspect of a holiday with us and establish a framework of policies and procedures. Our aspiration is to be adopting best practice in managing COVID-19 within the travel industry.
“Unfortunately, as the world continues to adapt to this global crisis, we have made the decision, difficult as it is, to extend our pause in operations for all sailings up to and including October 15, 2020. We are so sorry for the disappointment this will cause too so many of our guests.”
He added: “We have for years had in place many of the protocols now considered advisable for other social gathering venues, such as hand-sanitizing stations and rigorous cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
“We also have for years gone beyond those protocols by having guests complete a health declaration form and having a comprehensive medical facility onboard each ship providing 24/7 medical care and treatment.
“During the recent crisis, we added robust health screening upon embarkation, starting with thermal scanning of guests and crew.
“Along with the rest of the world, we will adapt. We will work closely with medical experts and global authorities to help us determine the best way to move forward while honouring our highest responsibility – the health, safety, and wellbeing of our guests, crew and communities we visit, along with compliance and environmental protection.
“We have always taken such pride in our standards of cleanliness and hygiene before Covid-19, but when we return there will be enhanced protocols approved by the hospitality and national public health authorities.
“This will ensure we continue to have in place high levels of cleanliness across every single aspect of public areas, crew living areas and every item of furniture in cabins and everywhere on board as well as approved safety standards for the service of food and drink; entertainment and experiences onboard and onshore.
“When the time is right, we will be ready to resume our tradition of providing amazing holiday experiences for our guests.”
Monday, 1 June 2020
Saga's New Spirit of Adventure Is Delayed
Spirit of Discovery
Saturday, 30 May 2020
Canada Effectively Cancels Its Cruise Season, Expanding Ban Through October
Halifax in Nova Scotia.
Oil and Gas Refugees Are Being Courted By Clean Energy in Texas
By Brian Eckhouse and David Wethe (Bloomberg) –Jeff Bishop’s LinkedIn post gets right to the point: “Houston Oil & Gas Folks — we’re hiring in Texas” for jobs in cleantech.
Tuesday, 26 May 2020
CMV Has Booking Momentum for Baltic and St. Petersburg for 2021
Monday, 25 May 2020
Sunday, 24 May 2020
Saturday, 23 May 2020
Sticking to lockdown washing routines could cut Britain’s long-term carbon footprint
Friday, 22 May 2020
Shearing's owner enters administration
Shearings Holidays owner Specialist Leisure Group has entered into administration after failing to secure a rescue deal.
As well as 117-year-old Shearings, Specialist Leisure Group was behind agency Wallace Arnold Travel, National Holidays, UKBreakaways, Caledonian Travel, Sportingbreaks.com, Bay Hotels, Coast & Country Hotels and Country Living Hotels.
With the current travel restrictions in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there were only a “small number” of customers overseas on package holidays, the Civil Aviation Authority said.
However, the company had more than 64,000 bookings – the majority coach package holidays – Abta said, confirming they would be financially protected with customers due to a full refund.
‘It’s crucial to save summer’, says industry coalition
A statement posted on the company’s website this evening said: “The Specialist Leisure Group entered administration on May 22, 2020.
“All tours, cruises, holidays and hotel breaks booked with the Specialist Leisure Group have been cancelled and will not be rescheduled.”
Chief executive Richard Calvert said: “This is a terribly sad day for employees, customers and commercial partners of the Specialist Leisure Group (SLG) and its subsidiaries which have entered into Administration.
“The effects of Covid-19 on our 117-year old company and the wider travel industry have been devastating.
“In the most trying of circumstances, over these past few months, we have fought tooth and nail to save the Group and the jobs of our 2,400 loyal employees serving over 1.1m customers annually.
“It is heart-breaking that the required funding or investment could not be secured to get us through this unprecedented crisis in order to save SLG to and our amazing travel brands.”
SLG confirmed last month that it was in discussions with stakeholders, advisors and the government “to weather the storm of Covid-19”.
Reports at the time said the majority of Shearings’ employees were currently furloughed and said 2,600 jobs would be at risk should the company fall into administration. It had put a pause on new bookings before entering administration.
Shearings Holidays was the UK’s largest escorted tour operator and traced its roots to 1903 when Smiths Happiways was established in Wigan.
It offered holidays to 170 destinations in the UK, Europe and Worldwide, including coach tours, rail holidays and river cruises.
Main stakeholder Lone Star Funds took control of Shearings in 2016, and the company rebranded as Specialist Leisure Group in 2018.
Shearings and Wallace Arnold were both members of Abta. Bookings with Wallace Arnold Travel, which acted as an agent for other suppliers, will go ahead as normal except where bookings have been made with other companies within the Specialist Leisure Group.
John de Vial, director of membership and financial services at Abta, said: “The Specialist Leisure Group included two of the UK’s best-known coach holiday brands, Shearings and National Holidays, two much loved holiday companies who for many years have provided holidays both at home and overseas to a very loyal group of customers.
“Today is a very sad day for these customers and the thousands of staff who will have lost their jobs.
“The fact that two such well-known brands with a loyal customer base have had to call in administrators is a stark indication of the pressure that the holiday industry is under as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Abta has repeatedly highlighted to the government the urgency of the situation and the need to set out a coordinated strategy with clearer communication if it wants to help avoid significant job losses and support companies to weather the storm.”
Atol spokesman Andrew McConnell said: “This is a particularly sad day for customers and employees of Shearings Holidays Ltd, longstanding business and well known UK travel company.
“The company specialised in coach packages and other types of holiday bookings, however, there are a small number of consumers with flight-inclusive packages, which will be ATOL protected. For these bookings, we will be contacting consumers directly or via their agent to provide guidance and support.”
National Holidays and UK Breakaways were members of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, which confirmed affected customers would be due a full refund.
Chief executive Graham Vidler said: “This is a sad day for all those involved with Shearings and the wider coach tourism industry, our immediate thoughts are with those employees who now face an uncertain future. Today’s events show the need for the government to urgently step in and provide support to the wider coach tourism industry, during the Covid-19 pandemic, which has been lacking to date.”
Shearings: Advice for customers
Customers with forward bookings for Shearings Holidays, National Holidays trading as Caledonian and Travel Style, UK Breakaways and Shearings Hotels trading as Bay Hotels and Coach and Country Hotels should click here and follow the instructions on how to progress a claim.
For customers with an ATOL certificate, customers should click here to start the refund process.
Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd posts $1.4bn Q1 lossRoyal Caribbean Cruises Ltd has reported a net loss of US$1.4 billion for the first quarter of 2020.
The parent company of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea paused all operations amid the global Covid-19 pandemic on March 13.
In a trading update today, the company said the pandemic was expected to have hit production at shipyards, meaning delays to new-build Royal ships.
RCCL said the pandemic had led to the cancellation of 130 sailings, which equated to a 20% reduction on its planned sailings and was 17% down on last year’s programme.
The company posted a profit of $249.7 million in the first quarter of 2019 and said it expects to report an overall net loss in 2020.
RCCL withdrew its full-year trading guidance in March, and the update noted: “The magnitude, duration and speed of Covid-19 remain uncertain. As a consequence, the company cannot estimate the impact of Covid-19 on its business, financial condition or near or longer-term financial or operational results with reasonable certainty.”
It expects non-operating expenses of between $590 million and $610 million for the remainder of the year.
Bookings for the remainder of 2020 are “meaningfully lower” than 2019 with lower prices, RCCL reported but noted that before the pandemic took hold it was in “a strong booked position and at higher prices” than 2019.
Looking ahead, it said “the booked position for 2021 is within historical ranges when compared to the same time last year” with 2021 prices “up mid-single digits compared to 2020”. The company stressed it was “still early in the booking cycle”.
RCCL brands had offered customers booked on cancelled cruises either a cash refund or future cruise credit note and said that, as of April 30, 2020, approximately 45% of guests had requested cash refunds.
As of March 31, 2020, the company had $2.4 billion of cash in customer deposits.
RCCL estimates its cash burn to be, on average, in the range of approximately $250 million to $275 million per month while operations are suspended but noted it had “taken significant actions to enhance its liquidity, preserve cash and secure additional financing”. These included securing a $4 billion increase in financing and knocking $3 billion off its 2020 capital expenditure.
“We have taken swift and substantial actions to bolster our financial position by significantly reducing our operating and capital spend and leveraging our strong balance sheet to raise additional capital,” said Jason Liberty, executive vice president and chief financial officer.
As of April 30, 2020, the company had liquidity of approximately $2.3 billion all in the form of cash and cash equivalents, RCCL reported. And on May 19, 2020, it completed a $3.3 billion senior secured notes offering, improving its liquidity position by approximately $1 billion.
RCCL noted that as of May 19, 2020, the expected debt maturities for the remainder of 2020 and 2021, are $0.4 billion and $0.9 billion, respectively.
“Responding to the dramatic change in business conditions caused by COVID-19 has required focus, dedication, ingenuity and improvisation from all our people, and their efforts have been nonstop,” said chairman and chief executive Richard Fain. “We understand that when our ships return to service, they will be sailing in a changing world. How well we anticipate and solve for this new environment will play a critical role in keeping our guests and crew safe and healthy, as well as position our business and that of our travel agent partners to return to growth.”
RCCL is due to complete its repatriation of crew members to their home countries, and said the company’s future focus now turns to four key principles:
- Ensuring the safety of guests and crew
- Proactively enhancing liquidity
- Protecting the Company’s brands, and
- Defining and preparing for a “new normal.”
Battle Over World’s Biggest Wind Turbine Is Heating Up
An illustration of GE’s Haliade-X 12 MW wind turbine. Image courtesy GE
Monday, 18 May 2020
NCL Holdings says cruisers eager for exotic sailings
Oceania Cruises' Marina.