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According to Hans Lagerweij, upper right, the biggest concern for potential passengers is not being able to return home

Protecting wild animals and isolated communities from COVID-19 is key

Expedition cruising will encounter ‘significant growth’ albeit following a process of ‘slow recovery’ – but close animal encounters and experiences with indigenous groups will be revised.

These were the comments from Robin West, VP expedition operations, Seabourn Cruise Line during ‘Expedition and Small Ship Cruising - View from the Bridge,' hosted by Liz Gammon, Creative Cruise Consulting, on the first day of Seatrade Cruise Virtual

West went on to add that these measures will be particularly important in the south where it will be essential to protect penguin populations from COVID-19 infection. 

Hans Lagerweij, president, Albatros Travel/Albatros Expeditions said is ‘very likely’ some experiences will change, and passengers will be expected to give approaching animals a wide berth. On safeguarding Inuit populations, he said, ‘these are the most vulnerable in the world… I hope they will be prioritised.’

Alana Bradley-Swan, director of product, Adventure Canada said expedition cruising is about ‘acting responsibly wherever we sail.’

Market outlook

Lagerweij said Albatros is a market leader in China and he is optimistic about the number of bookings also coming from Australia for November next year onwards. He added the biggest fear for potential passengers is the inability to return home if the pandemic led to further lockdowns.

Emilio Freeman, VP itineraries & destinations, SeaDream Yacht Club said it took the cruise line just seven weeks to redirect one of its vessels to the Norweigan coast when COVID-19 led to a freeze in operations elsewhere. The company is now working with authorities in Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada to ensure its can assume operations there on November 7.   

All speakers said bookings were strong for next year.


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