The past three months have been the most challenging period ever for all of us involved in cruise and the wider travel industry. Princess Cruises has been at the heart of developments and we have found ourselves taking centre stage across the world’s media.
Firstly and most importantly I must acknowledge the ongoing Covid-19 situation. Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by this illness.
Onboard our ships we have always prided ourselves on the health and hygiene measures we have in place. Around two million guests holiday with Princess every year and we do our utmost to offer everyone a safe and secure environment, with controls that go above and beyond the required standards.
Of course the whole onboard experience is geared towards enjoyment and relaxation while keeping everyone happy and healthy.
And that’s been reflected in the messages we’ve seen from colleagues and stakeholders who have rallied around to support our industry. They know that cruise lines offer a wealth of amazing holiday options and I’ve lost count of the amount of times someone has said to me "we’ll get through this together". The strength, resolve and knowledge of people in the cruise and travel industry has been genuinely uplifting.
Importantly we also know we can always improve, so expect to see new guidance in due course which will give even more reassurance to people who already enjoy a cruise holiday, and will help persuade the yet-to-cruise market there is still a line and a destination for them.
What has been frustrating about the current situation is how quickly certain groups and individuals have been to pass judgment. Some of the claims, including from observers who have never set foot on a ship, is unfair and excessive. This includes criticism of the health testing and quarantine procedures that have taken place on our ships, which were in fact led entirely by the relevant authorities. Our crew worked tirelessly to carry out their instructions.
Off the ships, the unprecedented disruption to business has of course affected all of our agent friends and colleagues and we’re doing whatever we can to support them in the short-term. The decision to pause our operations for an extended period has been the right and responsible choice and we will get back up and running as soon as it is safe and sensible to do so.
The ripple effect from the Coronavirus outbreak will of course persist across the travel market for the months and years to come. But as we face these challenges, the perseverance and dependability of colleagues across the industry shines through. We will continue to partner with everyone as best we possibly can. A sincere thank you to everyone we work with for their support and let’s keep championing cruise and travel during these uniquely testing times. #WeWillBeBack
Tony Roberts is vice president UK and Europe of Princess Cruises