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Holidays on board: “Like being in a secure bubble”

© Alonso Reyes

Cruise lines express their optimism at ITB Berlin NOW

During his ITB CEO interview at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, Pierfrancesco Vago, head of Geneva-based  MSC Cruises, admitted that this company found itself on a fast learning curve at the start of the pandemic: beginning in March 2020 the shipping line had to repatriate 70,000 passengers and 30,000 crew members from all over the world. “We learned many lessons“, said Vago, who is currently also the chairman of the industry body Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). With 17 ships around the world his company has had to think on a worldwide scale, while also understanding what is happening locally.

Testing is one of the most important measures for MSC, Vago explained: “On board our ships we create a bubble, within which the passengers and crew can feel safe.”  This is now being augmented by vaccinations as a potential game changer, which must be accompanied by standardised health documentation.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, CEO of Celebrity Cruises, was not only delighted with the weather in Miami: bookings were also very encouraging, and there is plenty of light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccinations are progressing much better than expected in the USA, and this is generating a great deal of enthusiasm among customers.

Lutoff-Perlo was also able to report on something other than coronavirus: the first all-woman bridge crew, who took to sea in March 2020 on board a Celebrity ship, and who met up again on the occasion of the International Women’s Day to discuss the year’s challenges. “Making history with these women was something out of the ordinary for our sector”, a delighted Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said.

Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, reported on the strenuous but successful efforts to enable people to resume vacationing afloat. “We are sailing with 60 per cent of our capacity and strict adherence to social distancing, hygiene and obligatory facemasks on board. We are also carrying out comprehensive testing.” TUI Cruises is also hoping that its vaccination programme will be the fast route to success. 

Media Contact:

MSC Cruises: www.mscpressarea.com

TUI Cruises: www.tuicruises.com/presse

Celebrity Cruises: www.celebritycruises.com/company/press-releases

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