Video Discussion: How Will Cruise Shorex Return?
Carmen Morosan, Global Shore Excursions Manager, joined other cruise industry experts for ‘Seatrade Talks’, a series of 'curated video discussions', to discuss what needs to be done for the cruise industry to return, with a focus on shore excursion operations. Watch it Here
You can also read Carmen's answers below, including some additional comments:
What areas are you focusing on in order to create a controlled and safe environment for cruise guests on shorex and what will that look like in practice?
Everything that we are looking at is dependent on the industry and destination requirements and guidelines. At the moment there are four key areas:
- Health & Safety – This has always been a priority and we are looking at all areas of our operations and how they will need to be adapted, working with all stakeholders in this area, including cruise lines, ports, destinations and suppliers. As part of the TUI Group, Intercruises teams have been able to work with some of the leading experts in travel and occupational Health and Safety, during both the initial response to the epidemic, and how we can prepare to return to operations in a way that is safe for cruise guests, Intercruises teams, cruise line colleagues and all those involved in our operations.
- Capacity - We expect there to be smaller group sizes due to social distancing measures on vehicles, at venues and in general, which will of course impact the number and type of vehicles used, venue entrance availability and number of guides. This will need to be evaluated in every destination to identify which experiences can be delivered.
- Technology - We are intensifying efforts to incorporate technology that better enables social distancing, such as audio guide devices, or even better, apps, which would not need to pass through a rigorous sanitizing procedure. One silver lining of the lockdown is that the world’s population has gone through a digital crash course and adoption of new tour technology could be smoother.
- Sustainability - We were already implementing sustainable principles in our operations wherever possible, but we are using this downtime to further enhance how we operate so we can return to operations in a more sustainable manner. This includes looking at the new H&S equipment that will be required and ensuring it is managed correctly, i.e. Locally sourced materials and that are disposed of correctly after use. Transportation is a challenge, as social distancing may mean vehicles operating half empty, so we are identifying potential solutions, such as alternative transport and walking tours.
What needs to be done to restart operations?
Industry collaboration and regular open dialogue between all stakeholders is key to how we move forward. This includes the different governments and destination authorities, which need to help set clear guidelines and timelines for how and when ships can return to port, with well-defined health and safety measures, consistent across destinations, ideally across the world. The cruise lines themselves have maintained a collaborative dialogue to enable destinations and suppliers to understand expectations and prepare accordingly.
Once operations have restarted, all parts of the cruise industry must set the benchmark in terms of compliance with the new H&S measures and regulations, showing the cruise industry as a leader in the travel sector. There will also need to be ongoing monitoring of any new protocols and continuous evaluation to identify if they can be enhanced. I think one positive to come out of this situation is the togetherness we see between cruise industry stakeholders in battling this virus - this is reassuring and makes me believe that the cruise industry will not only come back stronger, but also better.