Travel Weekly is doing its best to prevent you from watching Netflix’s entire content catalogue with plenty of news in this week’s Cruise Wrap.
CMV and Hurtigruten extend operation suspensions
Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) has announced it will extend the suspension of its cruise operations until 24 May 2020 due to the escalating nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will apply to CMV cruises across the globe and affects passengers booked to embark from 24 April – the original suspension cut-off date – until 24 May 2020.
Hurtigruten has also extended the temporary suspension of its operations worldwide.
All Hurtigruten expedition cruises will be suspended until 12 May. In addition to already cancelled cruises, this includes the MS Fridtjof Nansen’s departure from Hamburg, Germany on 29 April as well as MS Spitsbergen’s departure from Longyearbyen on 6 May.
Hurtigruten’s Alaska expedition cruise season will be postponed to July due to new travel restrictions from Canadian authorities. This means that the 17 May, 31 May, 12 June, 24 June, and 1 July MS Roald Amundsen Alaska departures will be cancelled.
The cruise line’s operations on the Norwegian coast will be suspended through to 20 May. As of now, the first scheduled round trip departure from Bergen will be on 21 May.
Carnival closes share offering, as Saudis acquire stake
The Carnival Corporation has announced the closure of its registered public offering of 71,875,000 shares of common stock of the at a price of US$8 ($13) per share. This includes 9,375,000 shares of common stock of the company sold pursuant to the full exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional shares.
Carnival said it expects to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes.
The cruise giant has also received backing from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, which has acquired an 8.2 per cent stake in Carnival.
Crystal goes virtual, announces 2023 World Cruise
As the world puts a collective pause on travel, Crystal is sharing its renowned Crystal Experience with an engaging new virtual program created to satisfy the wanderlust of its guests while they remain at home.
Utilising varied digital and social media platforms, travellers are invited to stay connected and interact with Crystal and each other via Crystal@Home, which offers a weekly series of live streaming events, conversations on the cruise line’s social media channels, compelling stories on the Crystal Insider blog, a re-release of Crystal Storytellers, Crystal’s podcast guest lecture series, and more.
The company is also looking ahead toward future explorations with luxury travellers, announcing its 2023 World Cruise, which is now available for booking.
The extensive ‘Wild Kingdoms & Exotic Discoveries’ world cruise aboard Crystal Serenity is packed with 73 diverse destinations – including five maiden ports and 16 overnight cities spanning 40 countries – with a focus on the world’s greatest wonders and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Taken in full, the 140-night journey embarks from Miami on 11 January 2023, ending in Barcelona on 31 May, with two alternate disembarkation options in Venice and Athens for 128- and 119-night itineraries, respectively.
Fares for Crystal’s 2023 Wild Kingdoms & Exotic Discoveries World Cruise begin at $72,399 per person, including Book Now Savings.
Agents key to recovery, says CLIA
Travel agents and the wider cruise community will be key to recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA’s) managing director for Australasia, Joel Katz, who has rallied industry supporters to make their presence known.
Katz said the cruise industry faced a lack of understanding about its size and economic significance, even after decades of strong growth in Australia.
The number of Australians taking a cruise reached a record 1.35 million in 2018, while the cruise industry contributed more than $5 billion to the Australian economy last financial year.
CLIA has written to travel agent members in Australia seeking their support to inform others of cruising’s significance.
“We’d like your help in speaking out about how deeply rooted cruising is in our part of the world, and how vital it is to our tourism industry and the wider economy,” Katz wrote.
“Although we are in a challenging news environment, our wider CLIA community is well placed to tell a more positive story.”
Viking has announced the official launch of Viking.TV, a new digital platform designed to provide enriching cultural content and live-streaming video experiences from around the world.
The announcement was made by executive vice president Karine Hagen in a video for current and past Viking guests, posted on the homepage of Viking.TV.
“Right now, we are all staying at home instead of travelling together, but that does not have to mean that the only thing we can do is watch the news,” Hagen said.
Viking.TV has been created to enable the cruise line’s customers to stay connected and share positive experiences at a time when people are staying home.
In addition to housing a library of enriching content that Viking guests would have enjoyed on board their respective cruise itineraries, Viking.TV will also feature live content from a variety of experts, cultural partners and notable individuals.
A-ROSA staff adopt new way of working
Germany based A-ROSA River Cruises just completed the mammoth task of successfully transitioning its entire head office team of 130 employees to working from home.
The move was strategically planned to ensure business continuity in an environment ruled by social distancing measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the cruise line.
“We started the project early. It was in January that I instructed our IT department to compile a feasibility study and purchase the necessary equipment,” A-ROSA chief executive Jörg Eichler said.
“My top priorities were staff protection from COVID-19 and business continuity during these uncertain times. We just didn’t know what was coming and wanted to be prepared.”
“It’s a big relief to know that our employees are all well and can work from the comfort of their own homes, doing what they do best – look[ing] after the needs of our valued guests and trade partners around the world.”
Coral Expeditions’ all Australian-flagged fleet safely home in Cairns
Responding quickly to the current pandemic and daily changing regulations around port access in the Asia-Pacific region, Coral Expeditions has brought back its four ships to Cairns homeport.
Coral Adventurer returned early from Sulawesi and Coral Discoverer was able to steam from Tasmania to Sydney to disembark guests there.
Coral Expeditions I simply terminated her last Great Barrier Reef trip as per normal in Cairns port. By 22 March, all guests across the fleet were back in port on Australian soil with no operational issues, and by 31 March, all ships were safely berthed in Cairns and crew home.
“A very difficult decision”: Silversea CEO’s video message to guests
Silversea Cruises CEO Roberto Martolini has updated travellers on the cruise line’s response to the COVID-19 crisis in a message from its headquarters in Monaco.
Martolini said that in his 40-plus years in the travel industry, he has never experienced anything “as far-reaching and impactful” as COVID-19.
Silversea’s CEO also noted the difficult decision to stop its ships from sailing, and said that in the longer term, the cruise line “will never stop being curious and wanting to learn more about the beautiful world that surrounds us”.
Watch Martolini’s video message in full below:
Lindblad Expeditions brings remote places to guests
During this time of social isolation, Lindblad Expeditions is bridging the distance through virtual expeditions to explore the world’s remote pristine reaches.
The small-ship adventure travel company’s virtual expeditions are designed to offer the engaging and reassuring rhythms of life on board, from morning stretch classes, to exhilarating sights, photo ops and an evening recap daily at 6pm, complete with cocktail recipes from fleet menus.
Guests can get travelling virtually with Lindblad here.
Genting Dream lights up with message of hope
Dream Cruises’ Genting Dream is currently tendering in Langkawi with her sister ship, Explorer Dream, both with only essential crew on board.
The vessel took the opportunity to issue a special message to the cruise and wider travel community. Check it out below:
#StayStrong The safety of every passenger is always our first priority. Hang in there until we may set sail to celebrate that peaceful moment of life again.#GentingDream #DreamCruises #StaySafe
Posted by Dream Cruises on Thursday, 2 April 2020
Featured image credit: iStock/PeskyMonkey