Sunday, 12 July 2020

Carnival to Delay New Ship Introductions

Carnival to Delay New Ship Introductions

Costa Firenze Under Construction at Fincantieri

Carnival Corporation said it expects only five of nine new ships set for delivery in the fiscal year 2020 and 2021 to be delivered prior to the end of the fiscal year 2021.
Carnival said that due to shipyard delays and the COVID-19 pandemic, it expects later deliveries of ships originally expected for the fiscal year 2022 and 2023. 
Arnold Donald, CEO, speaking on the company's business update call earlier in the week, said they had negotiated 16 delayed deliveries. The company expects two to three new ships to be delivered on a yearly basis going forward. 
The company did not elaborate on which ships would see delays and further commented there would not be cancellations. 
"We are not in discussions about cancelling ships," said Donald. "We are in discussions with the yard about timing and deliveries." 
Pre-COVID Carnival Corporation Anticipated Delivery Schedule/Orderbook:
Cruise LineShipCost1TonnageCapacityYardSailingDelivery
lngP&O CruisesIona$950183,9005,200MeyerEurope2020
PrincessEnchanted Princess$760141,0003,660FincantieriEur/Carib2020
lngCarnivalMardi Gras$950183,9005,200Meyer TurkuCarib2020
redCosta CruisesFirenze$780135,5004,232FincantieriChina2020
lngAIDA CruisesAIDAcosma$950183,9005,400MeyerEurope2021
Holland AmericaRyndam$52099,0002,660FincantieriTBA2021
expSeabournVenture$22523,000264MariottiWorld2021
PrincessDiscovery Princess$760141,0003,660FincantieriTBA2021
lngCosta CruisesToscana$950183,9005,224Meyer TurkuTBA2021
expSeabournUnnamed$22523,000264MariottiWorld2022
lngP&O CruisesUnnamed$950183,9005,200MeyerTBA2022
lngCarnivalUnnamed$950183,9005,200Meyer TurkuTBA2022
Cunard LineUnnamed$600113,0003,000FincantieriWorld2022
lngAIDA CruisesUnnamed$950183,9005,400MeyerTBA2023
lngPrincessUnnamed$1,000175,0004,300FincantieriTBA2023
redCarnival ChinaUnnamed$750135,0005,000CSSCChina2023
redCarnival ChinaUnnamed$750135,0005,000CSSCChina2024
lngPrincessUnnamed$1,000175,0004,300FincantieriTBA2025
(1) In Millions (USD) | Costs May Be Estimated 
lngLNG Powered
expExpedition Vessel
redChina/Asia Market Dedicated Vessel

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Carnival Corporation to Begin Cruises in Phases

Carnival Corporation to Begin Cruises in Phases

Carnival Cruise iconic Funnel.

Carnival Corp said on Friday it was planning to resume operations in a phased manner and would operate with a smaller fleet on its return, months after suspending trips due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company’s shares, that have lost more than two-thirds of their value this year, rose as much as 11% to $16.12 in morning trading.
The world’s largest cruise operator said it has reduced capital expenditures by more than $5 billion over the next 18 months and raised a couple more billions to navigate through the virus outbreak.
The cruise business has been one of the worst-hit after several ships, including some owned by Carnival’s Princess Cruises, became coronavirus hotspots.
To survive through the pandemic, cruise operators have raised billions through various means, even pledging ships and private islands.
Carnival alone, raised over $10 billion through a series of financing transactions since voyages were paused, enough to withstand another full year in a zero-revenue scenario, Chief Executive Officer Arnold Donald said on a conference call.
As it restarts voyages, the company expects future capacity to be moderated, while some ships could be removed and new deliveries would be delayed, Carnival added.
“We are also reorganizing the company to emerge stronger, leaner and more efficient,” Donald said.
“Even when we return to full-scale operations, we don’t expect to return to the same staffing requirements as we are addressing our work streams to work in a more efficient manner.”
The 13 ships expected to leave the fleet represent a nearly 9% reduction in current capacity, and the company expects only five of the nine ships originally scheduled for delivery to be delivered.
On Thursday, Carnival said it would resume voyages run by its German cruise line AIDA next month. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Shounak Dasgupta)
(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.

The World’s Cruise Ships Can’t Sail. Now, What to Do With Them?

The World’s Cruise Ships Can’t Sail. Now, What to Do With Them?

Port of Miami

By Fran Golden (Bloomberg) –Hundreds of people lined the banks of Glasgow’s River Clyde a few weeks ago for the rare sight of a small, high-end cruise ship sailing upriver—practically into the heart of the city. The Azamara Journey thrilled socially distanced onlookers by blasting its horn, typically a heralding of lively celebration. But this time nobody was there to wave on the deck of the 700-passenger ship, aside from the couple dozen members of its skeleton crew. This was no celebratory arrival, after all: it was a vessel on life support, just like every other ship dealing with the pandemic’s brutal wake.
Since mid-March, only a small handful of the world’s 400-or-so cruise ships have been able to accept passengers—all on hyperlocal itineraries. A few dozen are sailing the world with purpose, repatriating crew members from every corner of the globe. The rest are sitting idle in cruise ship purgatory, unable to sail commercially for the foreseeable future. (In the U.S., the industry has agreed not to resume business at least until Sept. 15.)
The problem for many cruise lines? Idling through the pandemic isn’t just bad for the company’s bottom line, it’s a potential death warrant for their costliest assets: the ships themselves. From mechanical issues to hurricane risks to regulatory hurdles that can constitute criminal offences, it’s a quagmire that the industry has never faced on this scale before. The expense is staggering. In a recent SEC filing, Carnival Corp.—whose nine brands comprise the world’s largest cruise company—indicated that its ongoing ship and administrations expenses would amount to $250 million a month once all its ships are on pause. With the company saying it’s unable to predict when cruises resume, that’s a long-term line item on a balance sheet that logged $4.4 billion in losses in the second quarter alone.

Here a Ship, There a Ship

As with aeroplanes, the first issue with maintaining an idle cruise ship is simply finding a place to park it. As many as 16,000 planes have been grounded in the pandemic, hiding out in dry and rust-proof places that range from hangars and airport tarmacs to desert boneyards. Ships are similarly scrambling to find the right conditions to weather the storm.
There’s not enough port space for every ship to dock at once, especially for huge ships that ordinarily carry up to 8,880 passengers and crew. This explains the celebratory sounds of the Azamara Journey’s “homecoming” in Glasgow (it docked at a cargo port rather than its usual cruise berth further outside the city). Less lucky vessels have had no choice but to drop anchor at sea, occasionally stopping in to the nearest port for provisions and fuel.
AIS Marine Traffic screen dump showing cruise ships (Blue) laid up.
This week, a cluster of 15 ships from Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity Cruises was hanging out near the Bahamas, according to Cruisemapper.com, a ship-tracking site. The 6,680-passenger Symphony of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, was off the Dominican Republic.
According to Bill Burke, a retired U.S. Navy vice admiral and Carnival’s chief maritime officer, getting the company’s 105 ships to their pause destinations—20 in the Caribbean, 40 in Europe, 35 in Asia, and 10 in the eastern Pacific—is a process that will stretch into the third quarter of the year.

High Maintenance

Parking is just the first pain point. To keep things shipshape and avoid costly repairs (much like how your battery might die if you leave your car sitting too long), the vessels must also be kept operating.
“Modern cruise ships are not designed or built to just be turned off and left at a pier,” says Monty Mathisen, managing editor of Cruise Industry News. “You are talking about massive amounts of machinery, electronics, and even steel that needs maintenance, checking, and preventative work.”
That mostly involves one of two scenarios, referred to in the industry as a “warm” or “cold” layup.
In warm layup, most systems are kept functioning; in cold layup more are shut down, such as ballast tanks, turbines, and gearboxes. Cold layups come with extra precautions, too, such as sealing off external doors and windows, moving linens to a dry place, putting mattresses on edge, opening all dresser drawers and closets, and sealing bathroom fixtures, to name a few.
An advantage to warm layup is shipping can quickly be put back into operation. Once the word comes down, Burke says, the ship can resume carrying guests within weeks—though it will still need to get a full crew on board and sail to the appropriate destination.
But warm layup requires more upkeep, and therefore more staff. Each ship has a “safe manning” team—about 120 crew members for a large ship. Among the necessary personnel, according to Carnival’s Burke: a deck crew to drive the ship, an engineering crew to run the electrical power and propulsion, a medical team to tend to staff needs (particularly in the time of Covid-19), security, and enough housekeeping and kitchen staff to keep everyone looked after and fed.
In the event of hurricanes or other bad weather, the ships have to be able to move. They also have to comply with environmental, safety, and other regulations or risk stiff fines, criminal charges, and other penalties, says Burke. In 2016, for example, Carnival received five-year probation and a $40 million fine on a criminal pollution conviction.
But there’s a time limit on this half-on strategy: According to shipping analysts at maritime intelligence company Lloyd’s List, the warm layup is only appropriate in the short term. After as little as six months, ships may lose certain certifications that allow them to sail legally.

A Ship Out of Water

Cold layups require fewer systems to run, and therefore, as little as 40 crew members: a bridge team, engine room operators, fire wardens, and hotel staff. But grinding operations to a near-halt makes it more difficult and expensive to restart. According to Lloyd’s Register’s layup guide, every corner of a ship, from the pump room to the living quarters, needs to be inspected for things like gas leaks and mould; electrical equipment, including the navigation systems, need to be removed from safe storage and reinstalled; and dehumidifiers all need to be removed before furniture and soft goods can be cleaned and put back in place. That’s why cold layups are seen as advantageous only in the event of an outage stretching to many months.
Burke says Carnival could move in this direction in the long term. According to Mathisen, Royal Caribbean has already committed to this tact. Its fleet is largely being protected by dehumidifiers—deployed everywhere from engine rooms to public areas.
When they’re ready to set sail again, the restart “can take weeks to months,” he explains, detailing delays that range from transporting crew back to the ship, going through bureaucratic recertification processes, or even financing expensive dry dock repairs.
A more drastic option is tying up the ship, shutting down all systems, leaving only some emergency generators running and a few fire safety crew and watchmen on duty. Cruise historian and writer Peter Knego paint a grim picture of what can happen in that scenario.
“The first thing that goes is the plumbing,” Knego says. “If you don’t have the plumbing active and somebody’s actually flushing toilets and running water through the system, rust sets in, the pipe starts to disintegrate, and then you have major problems.”
HVAC systems and wiring are next to go. “And then just the fact they are laid up in saltwater, salt air, decaying everything very quickly,” Knego explains. “You literally have to tear the infrastructure to make repairs if a ship has been idle for too long.” With long-term layups, issues like rot start to crop up.
If that sounds like a slow and painful death, some companies are just ripping off the Band-Aid instead. In its second-quarter financial filing, Carnival said it plans to retire at least six older ships, which could potentially be sold another cruise company or for scrap—usually for anyone’s best offer. Costa Cruises brand’s 24-year-old Costa Victoria is reportedly destined for a scrapyard. A ship out of water is, alas, worth less than the sum of its parts.
© 2020 Bloomberg L.P

Hurtigruten ‘in talks with government’ over UK cruise plans

Hurtigruten ‘in talks with government’ over UK cruise plans

News and press releases: New hybrid explorer ships | Hurtigruten UK

Hurtigruten has confirmed it is in discussions with the UK government over plans to operate a series of short-break itineraries around the British Isles following the FCO’s updated advice against all cruise travel.

The line also said its plans to run the series of cruises in September were “underpinned by a flexible booking policy to reassure guests”, including a refund if sailings are cancelled.

Anthony Daniels, UK & EMEA general manager, said: “Health and safety of guests and crew is Hurtigruten’s number one priority, and we comply with all Covid-19 regulations and policies in the waters, coasts and ports we visit.

“We currently operate five ships on both domestic and international cruises, with two more re-entering services next week. By the time of our first UK departure, Hurtigruten will operate more than 10 ships across the Arctic, Norway, Germany and UK waters.”

He added: “Hurtigruten’s announcement to bring Short Break expedition cruises to UK waters has been underpinned by a flexible booking policy to reassure guests, offering a refund if sailings are cancelled; reduced capacity to 350 guests (or c65%); professional operational protocols, robustly tested and in practice now.

“In the planning of this short break series, comprehensive Outbreak Prevention Plans and Covid Response Plans were voluntarily submitted to port authorities and local destinations stakeholders for scrutiny and acceptance before launch.

“We are in discussion with the government over the return to operation of expedition cruising for UK guests.”

Carnival Corp. CEO: Demand should be 'more than adequate' at the restart

Carnival Corp. CEO: Demand should be 'more than adequate' at the restart

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald at a Cruise3Sixty event in 2018.

Carnival Corp. expects demand to be "more than adequate to fill ships in a staggered restart," said CEO Arnold Donald during a business update call with analysts.
Donald said he was not concerned about achieving this without substantial bookings from the new-to-cruise market, because two-thirds of its global guests, 8 million each year, are repeat cruisers. He said Carnival Corp. has an active database of nearly 40 million past guests, and the average frequency of cruisers to repeat is every two to three years. 
"Clearly cruise will not come back all at once," Donald said. "We intend to resume with a small percentage of the fleet, which inherently makes us less reliant on new-to-cruise in the early days."
As opposed to other down cycles, the limited capacity will help achieve stronger pricing when cruising initially resumes.  
"Historically we had only two levers to pull in a down cycle: occupancy and rate," Donald said. "In this environment, we'll have a third: capacity."
Donald said Carnival is very encouraged by the booking patterns it is seeing. He said that this week, when it announced that Aida Cruises would resume service in Germany in August, it had over 1,000 bookings in one day, "taking up a significant portion of the first sailings and on a very short notice period."
AIDA Cruises - Ships and Itineraries 2020, 2021, 2022 | CruiseMapper
He said forward bookings include not only a number of future cruise credits (FCCs) but "substantial new bookings and even new-to-cruise bookings, which given the current state of the environment in the world is really a good testament to how strong a vacation experience and value cruising really is."
When asked if brands that were more badly tarnished by the media attention on cruise ship outbreaks in the early days of the pandemic, such as Princess, were being disproportionately affected in terms of consumers' preference, Donald said the line is "trending with all the other brands in the industry."
In fact, he said that none of the brands in the industry had reached what he called "the trough" of 2012 or 2013 when a number of negative, high-profile incidents. such as the engine room fire on the Carnival Triumph and the sinking of the Costa Concordia, rocked the cruise industry and Carnival Corp. specifically.
"None of the brands in the industry, ours or others, have gone to the low levels that we experienced at that time," he said. "The trough in this period has been higher than the trough in that period.
"So there is a lot of pent-up demand, a lot of latent demand," he continued. "That doesn't mean we don't have work to do once we start cruising with much larger volumes of capacity to attract new to cruise. Of course, we will have work to do, but right now the brands are strong, the bookings are encouraging, and with the staggered start we're going to have in the resumption of cruising, there should be plenty of pent-up, latent demand with previous cruisegoers to fill the ships."
Donald also said that having national brands in its portfolio is "clearly an asset" in this situation because as nations reintroduce social gathering and cruising, they are "most likely initially to restrict reactivation to their own residents exclusively." 
 P&O Cruises' Iona arrives in Rotterdam
P&O Iona waiting for delivery.
Carnival's German brand sources 95% from Germany; P&O UK is 98% British-sourced; Costa Europe is 80% continental Europe-sourced; P&O Australia is more than 99% sourced from Australia and New Zealand, and Carnival Cruise Line is 92% U.S.-sourced, Donald said.
"We are very well positioned," Donald said. "Additionally, the fact that these brands are characterized by ready access, with the drive-to market and prevalence of shorter duration cruises, strengthens the possibility for success in today's environment."
Donald said that in general, longer cruises such as world cruises are not booking as well as shorter ones, which he said makes sense given the uncertainty of whether ports are open or closed in different regions.
For the second quarter, which ended May 31, Carnival reported a loss of $2.4 billion on revenue of $740 million,  compared with $451 million in net income on $4.8 billion in revenue during the same period in 2019.
Carnival Panorama wins the “Best New Cruise Ship of 2019” Award ...
2021 bookings  
As of June 21, Carnival reported that approximately half of the guests on cancelled cruises requested cash refunds. The company also said that despite substantially reduced marketing and selling spend, it continues to see new 2021 bookings.
During the first three weeks in June, almost 60% of 2021 bookings were new bookings, Carnival said, with the remaining booking volumes from guests applying FCCs to specific future cruises.
Advanced 2021 bookings are currently within historical ranges at prices that are down in the low- to the mid-single-digits range, which included the negative yield impact of FCCs and onboard credits applied.
Carnival said the majority of its customer deposits of $2.6 billion are in FCCs, and $121 million in third-quarter sailings and $353 million in fourth-quarter sailings.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Royal Caribbean takes complete ownership of Silversea Cruises

Royal Caribbean takes complete ownership of Silversea Cruises

Royal Caribbean to take majority stake in Silversea Cruises
Silver Muse

Royal Caribbean Group has taken complete ownership of Silversea Cruises, two years after acquiring a two-thirds share of the ultra-luxury line.

Royal Caribbean Group is the recently-introduced new name of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, the parent company of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara, Silversea and other lines.

Richard Fain, chief executive of Royal Caribbean Group, said; “Silversea has been a great fit for our company from the very first day. The cultures of the two organisations have proven to be harmonious, and guests have responded favourably to the combination.”

Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, who took over the company from his late father, will serve as chairman of Silversea. Roberto Martinoli will remain the brand’s president and chief executive.

Fain added: “Manfredi and Roberto have brought a fresh point of view to our company, as well as deep knowledge of their brand’s unique audience. Their skills – and Manfredi’s inimitable style – will continue to play an important role in growing Silversea into the future.”

Lefebvre said: “The combination of our companies has been everything I hoped for. The skills and resources of the Royal Caribbean Group have helped us grow and flourish. We share a vision about the bright future of cruising, and I look forward to being a shareholder in the broader Royal Caribbean Group.”

Martinoli added: “Thanks to the incredible resources and skills of Royal Caribbean Group, Silversea will grow and thrive. Today marks another key step in our drive to uncontested leadership in ultra-luxury and expedition cruising.”

The remaining stake in Silversea held by Heritage Cruise Holding Ltd was paid for in the form of 5.2 million shares of Royal Caribbean Group common stock, representing about 2.5% of its total common stock.

Carnival Corp to dispose of 13 ships

Carnival Corp to dispose of 13 ships

P&O Oceana Cruise Ship Review - paulandcarolelovetotravel.com


Carnival Corporation has confirmed it will dispose of 13 ships across its brands as well as delaying the deliveries of new ships.

The cruise giant said the move to reduce its fleet size was in response to an expectation that “future capacity [will] be moderated by the phased re-entry of its ships. The 13 ships represent a 9% reduction in current capacity.

The news comes just days after it was confirmed P&O Cruises had sold one of its oldest vessels, Oceana.

Carnival Corp said it had agreements for the disposal of five ships and preliminary agreements for an additional three ships, all of which are expected to leave the fleet in the next 90 days.

It said these agreements were in addition to the sale of four ships which were announced prior to the current financial year.

On future deliveries, the company said it expects only five of the nine ships originally scheduled for delivery in the 2020 and 2021 to be delivered before the end of the 2021 financial year. It also expects ships that were scheduled to launch in 2022 and 2023 to move to alter delivery dates.

Arnold Donald, Carnival Corporation’s president and chief executive, said the decision meant his brands would emerge “leaner” and “more efficient”.

He said: “We have been transitioning the fleet into a prolonged pause and right-sizing our shoreside operations. We have already reduced operating costs by over $7 billion on an annualized basis and reduced capital expenditures also by more than $5 billion over the next 18 months. We have secured over $10 billion of additional liquidity to sustain another full year with additional flexibility remaining. We have aggressively shed assets while actively deferring new ship deliveries. We are working hard to resume operations while serving the best interests of public health with our way forward informed through consultation with medical experts and scientists from around the world.

LNG-powered newbuild Costa Smeralda gets its funnel | seatrade ...
Carnival cruises' Mardi Gras in Meyer Turku shipyard.

“We will emerge a leaner, more efficient company to optimize cash generation, pay down debt and position us to return to investment grade credit over time providing strong returns to our shareholders.”

In June, Carnival Corporation said it was speeding up the disposal of ships after a registered $2.4 billion adjusted net loss in the three months to May 31.

Carnival Corporation today said it had raised $10 billion through a series of financial transactions since March, adding that it had “taken significant actions to preserve cash and secure additional financing to maximise its liquidity.

It has also confirmed $8.8 billion of credit facilities to fund ship deliveries originally planned through to 2023.

In a trading update, Carnival Corporation claimed demand remained for 2021 sailings, despite “substantially reduced marketing and selling spend”. It said almost 60% of bookings in the first three weeks of June were new business bookings, with the remaining amount coming from guests using their Future Cruise Credits from a previously cancelled cruise.

Chief financial officer and chief accounting officer David Bernstein said: “Quickly recognising the financial situation, we took swift action to improve our liquidity by reducing expenses and leveraging our strong balance sheet to complete several capital transactions”.

Highlighting the cost of pausing its global operations, Carnival Corporation side its monthly average cash burn rate for the second half of 2020 would be an estimated amount of approximately $650 million, adding that it was looking at ways to reduce that figure.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

FCO advises against Cruise ship Travel

FCO advises against Cruise ship Travel

Home - FCOS Careers


The government has issued advice against cruise ship travel.

The hardened advice follows on from FCO guidance against over-70s and those with existing health conditions taking cruises, which was issued in March as the Covid-19 pandemic hit Europe.

The government updated its advice on Thursday, saying: “The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against cruise ship travel at this time.

“This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.

“The government will continue to review its cruise ship travel advice based on the latest medical advice.”

The FCO added: “If you have future cruise travel plans, you should speak to your travel operator or the travel company you booked with, for further advice.

“The Foreign & Commonwealth Office continues to support the Department for Transport’s work with industry for the resumption of international cruise travel.”

Updated advice against cruise travel follows changes to the global advisory against non-essential travel, the FCO added.

Cruises from the UK have been halted since March but Hurtiguten announced plans this week to run a series of departures from UK ports in September.

The FCO’s previous advice on March 12 said that British nationals aged 70 and over, and those with underlying health conditions such as chronic diseases and diabetes, should not to travel on cruise ships in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

A Clia UK and Ireland spokesperson said: “We have noted the advisory issued today.

“The health and safety of guests and crew is an absolute priority for our member lines.

“Since the voluntary suspension of operations, we have been working collaboratively with the government on the road map to resumption involving a ‘door to door’ strategy – from the time of booking through to the passengers’ return home – with enhanced health protocols.

“We look forward to completing this planning exercise with the government and for the advice to be updated.”

Carnival UK president Simon Palethorpe said: “We acknowledge the FCO’s guidance and P&O Cruises had already extended the pause in operations for all sailings up to October 15, 2020, and Cunard had extended the pause in operations until November 2020.

“Our current focus is to work in partnership with public health agencies at the highest level as well as Department for Transport; EU Healthy Gateways and Clia, the industry governing body.

“We will follow applicable guidelines to further enhance our already stringent measures to keep our guests and crew healthy and well and we will not resume sailings on either of our brands until this framework is in place. This will include rigorous protocols pre-boarding, on a ship and in the destinations, we visit.

“Confidence in cruising is strong and we are seeing increasing demand from our guests, who we look forward to welcoming back on board when the time is right.”

Travel Weekly is awaiting a response from the FCO to confirm whether the advice relates to both ocean and river cruises.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian to Partner on Health Protocols

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian to Partner on Health Protocols

RCL and NCL Logos
Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings announced a collaboration to "develop enhanced cruise health and safety standards in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic," according to a press release.
The companies have asked Governor Mike Leavitt and Dr Scott Gottlieb to serve as co-chairs of a newly formed group of experts called the "Healthy Sail Panel."
The panel is tasked with collaboratively developing recommendations for cruise lines to advance their public health response to COVID-19, improve safety, and achieve readiness for the safe resumption of operations, according to a press release.
The expert panel has been working for nearly a month and will offer its initial recommendations by the end of August.
The cruise lines said its work will be "open source," and could be freely adopted by any company or industry that would benefit from the group's scientific and medical insights.
"This unprecedented disease requires us to develop unprecedented standards in health and safety," said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. "Bringing aboard these respected experts to guide us forward demonstrates our commitment to protecting our guests, our crews and the communities we visit."
"We compete for the vacationing consumer's business every day, but we never compete on health and safety standards," said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. "While the cruise industry has always had rigorous health standards, the unique challenges posed by COVID-19 provide an opportunity to raise the bar even higher."
Fain and Del Rio said they initiated the panel to assure the plans they will submit to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other regulators apply the best available public health, science and engineering insights. The work of the panel will be shared with the entire industry and regulators.
"In convening the Healthy Sail Panel, we sought the participation of a diverse group of leading experts in areas of science and public health that are directly relevant to the considerations listed by the No Sail Order," said Governor Leavitt. "We view our work as a profoundly important public health effort. The health and safety of passengers, crew, and the communities that cruise ships visit will be the principal focus of this project."
Dr Gottlieb said, "We know that the public health issues that must be addressed are complex, and in some areas, tackling them will require novel approaches. Our goal in assembling this team of leading experts was to develop best practices that can improve safety and provide a roadmap for reducing the risks of COVID-19."
The panel is co-chaired by Governor Leavitt, former Secretary of the U.S. Department Health and Human Services (HHS), and Dr Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The panel's members are globally recognized experts from various disciplines, including public health, infectious disease, biosecurity, hospitality and maritime operations.

Healthy Sail Panel Hopes to Have Plan By August 31 for Royal and Norwegian

Healthy Sail Panel Hopes to Have Plan By August 31 for Royal and Norwegian

Norwegian and Royal Caribbean Ships in Nassau

The Healthy Sail Panel created by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings hopes to have its initial recommendations back to each company by the end of August, according to Vicki Freed, senior vice president of sales and trade support and service, Royal Caribbean International.
Suggestions will then be vetted by each company and presented to the CDC.
Working together with a rival cruise corporation, Freed said: "When it comes to safety and security, there is no competition. We need to work collaboratively as a team, as an industry."
The 11-person panel is already hard at work and is looking at everything from a reduced capacity to staggered embarkation.
Of note, Dondra Ritzenthaler, senior vice president of sales and trade support and service, Celebrity Cruises, said the CDC has been invited to participate in an observatory role.
Added Carol Cabezas, vice president and COO, Azamara: “The work of the panel will be open-sourced … available to anyone that needs it at no cost.”
She added the panel’s work may be helpful to land-based entities from spas to hotels and restaurants.
"We have to think about the destinations as well, we are working very closely with governments and ports we visit all over the globe to establish plans and protocols for the safe resumption of cruising,” said Cabezas, adding that extends to tour operator partners to make sure a safe experience continues from ship to shore.
“The goal is to create an environment that mitigates risk to the greatest extent possible while the virus is (still) a threat.”

The industry is prepping for a comeback. Where is the CDC?

The industry is prepping for a comeback. Where is the CDC?

Cruise industry taps leading health experts for enhanced Covid-19 ...
MSC Cruise has put together a Blue ribbonCovid group to put in protocols for safety.

By Johanna Jainchill
The past week has seen major movement in the shaping of protocols around the resumption of cruising. Last week, the European Union released guidelines for the resumption of cruising. Yesterday, Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. revealed that they had assembled a panel to develop health and safety protocols for the industry to resume operations. MSC Cruises has put together a Blue Ribbon Covid Expert Group that will advise it on sanitation and health protocols.

What's missing from all of these advancements is any word from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which will ultimately determine when large cruise ships can resume sailing from U.S. ports. The agency has said nothing about the cruise industry since updating its No Sail Order on April 9 to expire on July 24.

The cruise industry has not publicly said that the CDC is being uncooperative, but in a conversation with Travel Weekly last month, CLIA CEO Kelly Craighead praised Europe for enabling the industry to "participate in dialogue about thoughtful resumption protocols" but said that with the CDC it was "having some challenges with having that kind of engagement and dialogue with them."

CLIA said it had been actively engaged in the development of the guidance published last week by the EU.

UBS analyst Robin Farley said in a note to investors in June that according to her sources, the reason CLIA announced a voluntary suspension of cruises through Sept. 15 is "likely so that [the] CDC would not have to extend its No Sail Order while negotiations continue."

"It sounds like there needs to be an agreement with the CDC in place about 30 days before ships can restart," Farley said.

However, Farley also said that according to Royal Caribbean Group management, the company "is in constant communication with the CDC in a constructive dialogue, and at this point, they are going back and forth with iterations of an agreement."  And one of the co-chairs of the Royal/Norwegian panel, Mike Leavitt, a three-term governor of Utah and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said that the CDC was "very pleased to know the panel was being proposed. We described the membership and told them how we were going to work and we pledged transparency and they received it warmly."

But publicly, at least, the CDC has been quiet. And several industry stakeholders have privately said the CDC is being unresponsive and uncooperative with the industry. The CDC did not respond to outreach from a Travel Weekly reporter.

It has been suggested that the CDC has been hamstrung by the Trump administration, such as in a scathing New York Times report in June that detailed the CDC's failures overall in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic. In one example of its shortcomings, the article cited the CDC's No Sail order and reported that the CDC wanted the order to be indefinite, but that the White House intervened, and so the agency replaced it with the order the ends in July.

It's not the only article on the agency's failures: the Washington Post this week reported that the CDC's mishandling of the coronavirus is similar to the mistakes it made with the Zika outbreak in 2016.

CLIA and the cruise industry may not want to rock the boat and cause any further delay, but given the fact that so many travel advisors depend on the ability to relaunch operations in the world's No. 1 cruise market, ASTA CEO Zane Kerby might have spoken for the industry at large when he called the CDC's communications about travel "uneven at best." In a letter to its director, Robert Redfield, on June 9, he said that prioritizing of the restart of the cruise industry is one of four main goals the CDC should tackle.

"In the absence of clear communication, the entire population remains essentially in the dark, left to rely on a patchwork of regional, state and local pronouncements to inform their decision-making with respect to travel," Kerby wrote. "Airlines, hoteliers, cruise lines, tour operators, car rental companies, insurance providers and others are similarly left to their own devices as to when to restart operations in the face of an unprecedented global pandemic."

P&O Cruises sells Oceana

P&O Cruises sells Oceana

P&O Cruises sells Oceana to 'fit for future growth' | seatrade ...


P&O Cruises ship Oceana has been sold and will not return to service when operations resume following the Covid-19 cancellation of sailings.

The UK line confirmed that Oceana “will leave the fleet from July this year” but the identity of the buyer has not been revealed.

Passengers with bookings on the ship will be offered a 125% future cruise credit or refund, although all the company’s sailings are paused until October 15.

The sale of 1,950-passenger Oceana for an undisclosed sum comes ahead of the arrival of giant new ship Iona, which has been delayed from its original debut in Southampton in May due to the global cancellation of cruises due to the pandemic.

A sister ship to 5,200-passenger Iona is due to join the fleet in 2022.

Parent company Carnival Corporation revealed plans last month to speed up the disposal of ships after registered a $2.4 billion adjusted net loss in the three months to May 31 as the coronavirus pandemic shut down global cruise operations.

The cruise giant said “preliminary agreements” were in place for the disposal of six ships, expected to leave the fleet in 90 days, with others likely to follow.

Oceana originally entered service in 2000 operating for sister brand Princess Cruises as Ocean Princess.

P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow said: “Whilst we and many of our guests will miss Oceana, her departure will allow us to focus on our remaining ships in the fleet, as capacity expands with the delivery of Iona later this year followed by her sister ship, scheduled for 2022.

“During this pause in our operations, we need to fit the fleet for the future and ensure we have the right mix of ships once we resume sailing.

“I am so sorry to disappoint those guests who were booked on Oceana but I hope they will be able to find a similar alternative holiday, whether that is ex-UK from Southampton or a fly-cruise itinerary.”