Cruise Wrap: Silversea to welcome new ship, Scenic expands suspension, CLIA’s new training offer + MORE

Since working from home, we’ve been using our daily wraps to work out what day it is. We’re not sure what this day used to be called, but it’s now officially Cruise Wrap Day.

Silversea prepares to take delivery of new ship + extends commission protection


Silversea Cruises is preparing to take delivery of new ship Silver Origin (pictured above), following a great display of resilience, determination and fine European craftsmanship from Dutch shipyard De Hoop. 

On 15 March 2020 – four days after coronavirus was declared as a global pandemic – the Netherlands implemented a national lockdown, and the country ground to a halt to safeguard the health of its people. Relatively isolated in Lobith, a remote corner of the Netherlands, De Hoop shipyard offered its approximately 250 employees the option to cease working.

While many returned to their country of origin before borders closed, approximately 200 employees mainly skilled carpenters opted to continue, working tirelessly to apply their craftsmanship to the ship’s guest suites. Many employees were accommodated in an on-site residential facility, Barge Rossini, which had a reduced capacity from 200 to 100 for safety purposes.

The finishing touches are now being applied to Silver Origin, ahead of the ship’s delivery in the coming weeks. Currently docked in Pernis in the NetherlandsSilver Origin will set sail for the Galapagos Islands after delivery to Silversea.

The line has also announced it will pay commissions on cancelled voyages for all guests who have paid in full, regardless of whether they choose cash refunds or a future cruise credit. This is retroactive to Silversea’s first cancellations in March 2020.

This policy will remain active until Silversea is able to resume sailing, or until further notice.

On top of this, Silversea is extending its ‘Cruise with Confidence’ cancellation program to all voyages currently scheduled to depart before 31 December, 2020.

Under the policy, guests may cancel their cruise for any reason up to 48 hours prior to sailing and receive a 100 per cent Future Cruise Credit for the amount paid, valid for two years from the date of issue.

When guests opt for Future Cruise Credit and have paid in full, the travel agent’s commission is protected for both the cancelled booking and the future reservation on which the correlating Future Cruise Credit is applied.

Scenic Group announces suspension of all cruises and land touring from 1 July to 31 August 2020

The Scenic Group has today announced the suspension of all river and ocean cruises, and land tour operations on its Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Emerald Cruises and Evergreen Cruises & Tours brands, from 1 July to 31 August 2020, as part of its ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. Scenic Eclipse sailings will be suspended through to 30 September 2020.

The Scenic Group is offering booked guests flexible Future Travel Credits valued at 110 per cent of monies paid on any affected river and ocean cruise booking and 100 per cent of monies paid on any affected land tours, including Egypt. Guests will be able to apply the Future Travel Credits on any new or existing bookings on any of the Scenic Group brands and for flexibility, the Future Travel Credit is fully transferrable to another guest. Should a guest be unable to travel by 30 June 2023, they will be given a cash refund equal to the amount that was paid.

The Scenic Group is also committed to protect travel agent commissions on bookings for suspended cruises, that have been paid in full and for the total amount of the Future Travel Credits.

New CLIA training to support Cruise Champions

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is backing the champions of the cruise community with a new online course for travel agents, helping them to gain a greater understanding of the industry and help combat common misperceptions.

Called ‘Cruise Champion’, the new course is an interactive program that takes travel agent members deeper into the workings of the global cruise sector and offers them the knowledge to become ambassadors for the industry. 

CLIA’s head of international training, Peter Kollar, said the course would allow cruise specialists to respond to many of the common issues their clients brought up. 

Some of the topics Cruise Champion covers include regulations, safety, health, security, environmental protection, and corporate social responsibility.

Cruise Champion has been introduced within CLIA Australasia’s new Members Hub online learning platform, launched last week to provide an improved and streamlined education service for travel agents.

Celebrity Cruises launches first in series of travel agent surveys

Celebrity Cruises has launched a series of surveys aimed at gathering insights directly from travel agents to learn exactly how the brand can best support trade partners through these unprecedented times.

The first in a four-part agent survey series to be released over the coming months, this short 10-question survey will help align Celebrity Cruises on maximising current support efforts, ensuring the brand is delivering on what agents want and need most during the COVID-19 crisis.

In addition to questions centered around cruising perception, support tools, and information sources, the survey also asks agents for their expert opinion on several critical subjects, including health and safety.

To access the survey, click here. The survey is open until 27 May 2020.

Aqua Expeditions launches ‘Dream Now, Travel Later’ campaign

Aqua Expeditions has launched ‘Dream Now, Travel Later’, a campaign to inspire consumers through strong visual storytelling.

The campaign digitally celebrates the destinations Aqua Expeditions visits, as well as the adventure, wildlife and culture which lies at the heart of that destination.

Aqua Expeditions currently explores three destinations: the Amazon (Peru) with Aria Amazon and Aqua Nera (to begin service in late 2020), the Mekong (Cambodia and Vietnam) on Aqua Mekong, and the seas of East Indonesia including Komodo National Park, the Spice Islands and Raja Ampat on Aqua Blu.

The videos showcase some of the Aqua Expeditions’ guest experience including swimming with beautiful whale sharks in Indonesia, meandering through Amazonia’s tributaries in search of exotic wildlife, and discovering the magnificent Buddhist temples and centuries-old traditions of the mighty Mekong.

The first two campaign videos which feature East Indonesia with Aqua Blu and the Peruvian Amazon with Aria Amazon and Aqua Nera are now live and can be viewed across Aqua Expeditions’ social media channels.

Avalon’s path forward to ‘welcome aboard’

In anticipation of setting sail on the world’s waterways once more, Avalon Waterways has developed a new Avalon Assurance program to safeguard the health and happiness of travellers throughout their Avalon river cruise. 

The Avalon Assurance program currently features seven major categories and protocols that span across guest experience touchpoints – all of which are being shared, explored, reviewed and renewed, accordingly. They include:

Welcome aboard

Among the company’s planned changes are mandatory health screenings, including touch-free temperature checks and luggage disinfection, prior to boarding. 

Fresh air – onside and out

Eighty per cent of Avalon Waterways cabins are Panorama Suites, offering guests an Open-Air experience on each ship. In addition to Avalon’s Open-Air staterooms, the air in its ships is not circulated between staterooms; only within an individual stateroom and mixed with fresh, outside air.

New technology to ensure cleanliness

To further advance Avalon’s new Assurance protocols, the company is also introducing new, top-of-the-line technologies including Electrostatic cleaning systems and UV disinfecting systems.

Touching hearts, not hands

Avalon’s new assurance protocols will also ensure more risk-free and hands-free services onboard, such as more hand sanitiser stations throughout the ship (including all public areas); replacing buffet and self-serve stations with crew services and hourly disinfection (at a minimum) of all public areas.

Blending cultural proximity with social distance

River cruising presents guests an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy the world around them, docking in the heart of destinations. Avalon will continue to deliver this, with more space for social distancing including reducing ship capacity and alternative dining venues as well as providing guests and crew masks for use, as needed or required.

Commitment to the cleanest ships

Avalon has an unwavering commitment to ship cleaning procedures. Some new steps that go above-and-beyond its already stringent policies include deep-cleaning and disinfection of each stateroom during turnover – including soft goods; disinfection of all dining areas between meals and disinfection of shared items such as bicycles or umbrellas after each use.

Focus on crew health & education

Ensuring a happy, healthy Avalon crew is also a priority.  Standards include required medical screenings and certificates of health, new social distancing in crew living quarters and ongoing training in PPE use and hygiene.

In addition, Avalon Waterways is reviewing excursion standards and protocols with partners across the globe.

New departure date for popular Viking itinerary

Viking has unveiled a brand-new departure date for one of its most popular itineraries, the 15-day ‘In the Wake of the Vikings’ voyage from Bergen, Norway to Montreal, Canada via Iceland and Greenland.

Departing 1 September 2021, the itinerary on Viking Star visits six countries and includes nine guided shore excursions. It is only offered once a year.

Priced from $11,995 per person in a Veranda stateroom, the sailing includes savings of $1,000 per couple and is backed by Viking’s Risk-Free Guarantee*, delivering peace of mind to plan with the freedom to change your cruise up to 24-hours prior to departure.

Discover this cruise and some of Viking’s other most popular voyages in the brand-new interactive digital catalogue called ‘Journeys Worth Planning’ – now available for agents to customise at Viking’s Marketing Centre.

Norwegian launches ‘NCL’s News and Network’ for travel partners

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has launched its inaugural ‘NCL’s News & Network’ webinar for Australian and New Zealand travel partners, the first in an ongoing series.

The first in the series takes place on Friday 22 May and focuses on NCL’s newly unveiled sailings for 2021-2022 across its 17-ship fleet, with itineraries spanning all seven continents including Antarctica.

Queensland travel partners are invited to join Craig McLaurin, NCL’s business development manager for the state, at 12pm AEST for some tunes and a bite to eat.

NSW and ACT travel partners are invited to join Angela Middleton (senior sales manager for Australia and New Zealand) and Jacinta Baker (business development executive) at 2:30pm AEST for cocktail and guacamole recipes to finish up their Friday.

Victorian, South Australian and Tasmanian travel partners can grab a coffee with James McCullagh, NCL’s business development manager across the three states, who is hosting a morning event at 9:30am AEST/9am ACST

Western Australian and Northern Territory travel partners can join Kate Hansen, NCL’s business development manager for both WA and the NT, for a spot of tea and a chat at 10:00am AWST/11:30am ACST.

Kiwi travel partners can join Chris D’Anvers, NCL’s national sales manager for New Zealand, at 12pm NZST for some lunch vibes.

To register for your local BDM webinar click here.

NCL’s business development team will continue to host additional webinars from 1 June, with sessions to focus on specific regions and itineraries from its new season of sailings.

Kevin Rabbitt to join Hornblower Group as CEO

Hornblower Group has appointed Kevin Rabbitt as CEO. Rabbitt is expected to take up the role in July, while founder, chairman and current CEO Terry MacRae will continue as executive chairman.

A member of the Hornblower board since 2018, Rabbitt joins from NEP Group, a global provider of tele-production services for major events, where he has been CEO since 2012.

A Kansas City native, Rabbit has enjoyed a productive career stretching two decades. This includes a stint at management consultants Bain & Co, and Las Vegas-based Global Experience Specialists.

Rabbitt’s appointment comes at a pivotal time for Hornblower, with many parts of the group’s operations prepare to resume operations when current pandemic restrictions are lifted.

American Queen Steamboat Company offers early bird discount Memphis cruises

The American Queen Steamboat Company will have 94 river cruises starting or ending in Memphis in 2021.

The cruise line is offering an early bird discount on all 94 cruises. Prices begin from US$1,598 per person, twin share, and guests can save up to US$2,000 per couple if booked before June 30, 2020.

With demand from the cancelled 2020 season due to COVID-19) spilling over into 2021, early bookings are essential.

Adventure Canada and Cruise Traveller offers discount on Vikings voyage

Australians seeking adventure in 2021 can cruise the same seas and explore the same horizons as the Vikings once did as part of an expedition voyage offered by Adventure Canada and Australian small-ship specialists Cruise Traveller, which are offering a 15 per cent discount and supplement-free fares for singles for bookings made by 1 June 2020. Special relaxed booking conditions are also on offer.

The new 12-night ‘In the wake of the Vikings’ package includes a free one-night’s stay in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik pre-cruise.

New bookings made until 30 June 2020 can be made with a reduced non-refundable deposit of US$500 per person (was $1,000 per person).

Until 30 June, a flexible transfer policy also allows travellers to transfer their booking up to 121 days prior to departure to another Adventure Canada departure, or select a future travel credit, with an alternative departure available within 30 months of the original expedition date. Conditions apply.


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