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Carnival UK’s port and land ops guru Steven Young to retire

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Young, pictured here at a Seatrade Cruise event in Dubai, has been a key public face of Carnival UK at cruise industry gatherings around the world

He has been with Carnival UK since 2011 providing strategic leadership for the planning and operational delivery of port calls for the P&O and Cunard fleets worldwide.

Young also manages the company’s strategic stakeholder relationships with destination governments, port authorities, service providers and agents at over 300 ports.

Well travelled

Being responsible for itinerary planning and port ops, passenger embark/debark, ground handling and air logistic operations for a fleet of eleven cruise ships making 2,200 port calls per year, Young is well travelled and has been one of the key public faces of Carnival UK at cruise industry gatherings and Seatrade events around the world in the last nine years.

Poacher turned game keeper, Young started his landside career in the ports sector holding positions in both Australia and the UK.

Between 2009 and 2010 he was executive gm & harbour master with Sydney Ports Corporation.

Prior to that he worked for Associated British Ports for ten years including posts as deputy port director at the Port of Southampton between 2006 and 09 and the port’s harbour master from 2004 to 2006.

Both sides of the table

‘Having shared my career  pretty evenly between both the ports and the cruise sector and sat on “both sides of the table”, I have a perspective from each,’ Young told Seatrade.

‘This has certainly helped give me empathy and insight during the latter. They both have direct connection to the sea which is my first love, they both provided great variety and challenge, but by far the most enjoyable aspect, has been the camaraderie and friendship of the people who make up the international cruise community and this is what I will miss the most,’ he remarked.

Young started his engagement with the maritime sector serving as a master mariner with experiences at seas as a deck officer with P&O/Princess Cruises.

‘Since serving on ships such as P&O's Canberra and the Princess 'Love Boats' that gave me indelible memories, I would say the biggest change has been how cruising has evolved to appeal to all tastes and demographics. This through the sheer innovation and amenities that go into the modern cruise ship design and the seamless efficiency of how service is delivered to guests despite the significant logistical challenges. This never ceases to amaze me,’ Young shared.

Careers in cruise

With a lifelong interest in sailing having bare boat chartered in the Caribbean and Mediterranean on multiple occasions Young holds an RYA Yachtmaster Offshore certificate and he would definitely recommend a life in the cruise industry ashore for any cadet currently serving.

‘I firmly believe the industry will return stronger and wiser from its current adversity and my advice to any cadet currently serving, is to stay with it and get fully qualified.  

‘If being at sea doesn't remain a lifelong calling, then take your skills ashore and you will find fabulous opportunities within the cruise industry to help shape and take it forward to an even more sustainable and exciting future,’ he advised.

‘There can be no greater satisfaction than being part of an  organisation that aims to make people “happy” and give them unrivalled experiences and memories,’ Young concluded.

Young told Seatrade he is planning on keeping a close eye on the industry going forward and will be looking at consultancy opportunities.

With SeaDream in Norway, a start to international ocean cruising

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SeaDream I alongside in Norway

SeaDream had initially planned to sail with one ship, SeaDream I, for nine voyages. After the first cruises started quickly selling out, SeaDream II was added, raising departures to 21.

Size matters

Thanks to their size, SeaDream’s 112-passenger superyachts are able to quickly adapt their itineraries to comply with government regulations. SeaDream chose Norway this summer for its extremely low incidence of COVID-19, and the destinations were hand-picked by SeaDream CEO and Founder Atle Brynestad.

The ships also visit Skagen in Denmark.

Crew completed WHO's COVID-19 protocols course

SeaDream’s almost 1:1 crew to guest ratio allows them to provide a luxurious experience while also protecting health and safety. The pause in operations was an opportunity for the crew to hone their skills, rejuvenate the yachts and complete the World Health Organization's official COVID-19 course for hygiene procedures and infection management.

Good news to the industry as a whole

'Our preparation has paid off as we are able to maintain the experience of luxury on board while ensuring everyone’s health, comfort and safety,' EVP Andreas Brynestad said. 'Everyone around the world has been affected by the health crisis. This historic moment feels like good news not just to our team, but our industry as a whole.'

June 24 updates: Harry Sommer hosts NCL health video, Coral Expeditions details SailSAFE

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'We're not comfortable putting guests on our ships until we're comfortable putting our own families on board,' NCL's Harry Sommer said

Harry Sommer hosts NCL health videos

Norwegian Cruise Line posted a health and safety video outlining the company's previously announced COVID-19 protocols. These hinge on six areas: enhanced screening protocols, all-new air filtration, increased sanitation measures, responsible social distancing, enhanced medical resources and extended ship to shore safety.

'At the end of the day, we're not comfortable putting guests on our ships until we're comfortable putting our own families on board,' said Harry Sommer, president and CEO of NCL, who hosts short (2:26) and extended (4:40) versions of the videos.

Also appearing are Katina Athanasiou, chief sales officer, and Todd Hamilton, VP international business.

Coral Expeditions outlines SailSAFE plan

Cairns-based Coral Expeditions launched a health and safety management plan for its proposed coastal cruises around Australia.

SailSAFE protocols have been developed over the last six weeks in partnership with health emergency specialist Respond Global.

The protocols, together with a 100-passenger limit for all departures, limited community interactions on shore visits and a 100% domestic Australian passenger and crew mix, are designed to create a secure atmosphere for passengers in the current environment.

SailSAFE has three key platforms. The first is prevention, robust and mandatory screening of all passengers and crew to ensure voyages are 100% COVID-19 free prior to sailing. The second is mitigation, screening carried out during pre-boarding, on-board and post-cruise. The third, response, is focused on patient care and management of passengers with shoreside and health authority support. 

Coral Expeditions GM Mark Fifield said the company has submitted the SailSAFE plan to all national, state and territory authorities.

Shelter port Marseille ready to resume cruise activity

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Cruise ships in waiting at Marseille

'The port ecosystem, agents, airport, etc., all are ready' and updated sanitation protocols are in place, a Marseille Provence Cruise Club spokesperson said.

Ponant ready to roll out

As soon as authorized by the French government, Ponant's L'Austral will embark on the first of 14 planned cruises using Marseille as turnaround port to explore the Côte d'Azur (Camargue, Estérel coast, Hyères Islands and the Saint-Tropez Peninsula).

Costa and MSC, the leading cruise companies in France — which in 2009 teamed on the Marseille Provence Cruise Terminal — hope to restart cruising sometime in August. No other company is currently scheduled.

Before COVID-19, Marseille had targeted 2m cruise passengers in 2020.

Ship lineup

On May 21, the 10 cruise ships already present were joined by Norwegian Getaway, docked at the Chantiers Navals near Norwegian Breakaway, both there for refits. A newcomer, Silver Spirit, which left Southampton where it was repatriating crew, is to arrive early Friday morning, probably docking behind Silver Shadow. Along with Silver Wind, Whisper and Shadow, the ship will be laid up until cruises resume.

Donations

As previously reported, thanks to a close coordination organized by the Marseille Provence Cruise Club with local authorities, several cruise lines stepped up to donate surplus food and supplies to local charities over the past months.

With the help of the Marseille Firefighters Sailors, port customs, the Bouches du Rhône Prefecture and the Cruise Club that connected the stakeholders, MSC and Costa were the first to organize several tons of surplus food donations in April and May, followed by the Marseille-based Ponant. Ponant also recently gave some 130 cubic meters of furniture in good condition to the local Règie Service 13 Association. Coming from L'Austral, the furniture included chairs, tables, cushions, blankets and bedsheets.

Earlier in the pandemic, cruise passengers were disembarked at Marseille and sent home on chartered buses or flights. Crew remaining on board have been offered different types of services by the Seamen's Club.

In Focus: Covid-19 Solutions

COVID-19 monitoring, contact tracing, virtual care with new netTALK health solution

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The system integrates seamlessly with Tritan Software's SeaCare platform, used by 90% of the cruise industry

Seamless integration with Tritan's SeaCare

The system works seamlessly with the Tritan Software SeaCare platform, allowing frequent, critical, real-time health information to be sent electronically to the ship’s medical team without any initial physical interaction needed. SeaCare complies with all government requirements and can receive, process, monitor, protect and manage the required health data of passengers and crew.

Vitals checked via smartphone — even (to come) temperature and SpO2

NetTALK Maritime's new contactless screening process includes noninvasive pulse reading, respiration rate and, coming in the fourth quarter, fever detection and blood oxygen (Sp02) saturation, all using a smartphone camera. The screening includes a chat-bot questionnaire based on current triage protocols used by hospitals. A photo is taken at time of measurement to ensure identity.

With this interactive method, symptoms are quickly caught, allowing the sick person to be quarantined immediately. This minimizes the chance of broad contamination. The medical staff is alerted to any potential health problem, allowing them to make an assessment, a diagnosis and a recommendation for care.

NetTALK Maritime is a communications platform embedded in cruise line apps that enables calls/texting and location services. With the advent of COVID-19, the Health Monitoring System was created. Data is transferred securely to Tritan's SeaCare, used by more than 90% of the cruise industry, according to netTALK Maritime's Nicholas Kyriakides.

Reducing medical center visits/exposure

'This solution helps in a lot of ways, so cruise lines will be able to monitor, do contact tracing and minimize visits to the medical center since people can chat or have a video consultation with a doctor,' said Roger Blum of Cruise & Port Advisors, which represents netTALK Maritime to the cruise industry.

This could also allow virtual consultations for people who have non-COVID issues, such as a cut, reducing their potential exposure at a medical center waiting room, he added.

Custom-configured screenings

Screenings can be custom-configured by passenger or crew location in real time, by certain time intervals or by enabling self-reporting at leisure, such as before a person leaves their cabin — not just at embarkation and debarkation. People are also quickly checked when entering public areas to prevent contamination of large gatherings. Crew members are screened at key points, such as before entering guest cabins, before manning workstations and at other scheduled times to verify their health.

Virtual checkups

For sick people required to quarantine, virtual checkups continue directly from their cabins. Using the passenger’s smartphone and the cruise line’s app embedded with the netTALK Maritime system, the medical team can communicate with patients via voice, video, walkie-talkie and chat features, and can facilitate shoreside doctors to speak directly with patients.

Once a sick person is identified, contact tracing can be enabled to locate, test and potentially quarantine people at risk of infection. Contact tracing also identifies locations where an infected person spent time so those areas can receive extra sanitization.

No shocker to cruise lines if EU bars Americans this summer

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Such a decision would put the US in with China, Brazil and a number of developing countries considered too risky, according to The New York Times, which obtained two draft lists of the nations that would be allowed. Both exclude Americans.

Many US-based lines have already canceled Europe

Should this come to pass, it will have a huge economic impact in Europe but won't shock destinations there or US-based cruise lines. Many had earlier canceled European seasons, and with Cruise Lines International Association's decision to pause operations from the US through Sept. 15, further US-based operators scrapped departures most everywhere through summer

Bubbles

So far plans to resume cruising in Europe have been limited to domestic operations or 'bubbles' of countries where the virus is under control and that mutually allow their residents to cross borders. Examples are Ponant's coastal France itinerariesSeaDream Yacht Club's Norway-Denmark sailings and short Baltic/North Sea jaunts for Germans.

River cruises for Europeans

Countries like France and Portugal are opening to river cruises. However, as reported in Seatrade Cruise Review's June issue, the industry association River Cruise Europe had forecast that 'only European passengers will be cruising on Europe’s rivers, as it is very uncertain if and when guests from other continents can resume flying to Europe.’

This will be a big change since typically, 75% of travelers on the European rivers are from abroad, mainly the US, Canada, China and Australia.

Nearly three months ago, AmaWaterways Co-founder and President Rudi Schreiner told Seatrade Cruise News some European lines were expecting to be cruising in late June/early July, but it wasn't clear if Americans would be allowed.

Travelers from outside Europe have mostly been barred since March, apart from repatriations or 'essential travel.' Even so, it has been very challenging for cruise lines to get crew repatriated via Europe, although European Commission guidelines identify seafarers as essential transport workers whose movement across borders should be facilitated, regardless of their nationality.

Biweekly policy review

According to The New York Times, an EU decision on allowed nationalities is expected next week, ahead of the July 1 opening of borders among the bloc's 27 member countries, and Brussels would look to revise the list every two weeks as conditions change.

New Zealand Cruise Association calls for ‘Kiwi Cruising for Kiwis’

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Debbie Summers said it will be a 'lost opportunity' not to allow small ship coastal cruising in New Zealand

Indefinite suspension

This follows the government’s decision this week to suspend the operation of cruise ships in New Zealand waters indefinitely.

The NZCA has asked members to contact Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis to support its catchcry — ‘Kiwi Cruising for Kiwis.’

Desperately needed support

Summers said there are cruise lines waiting to deploy ships to New Zealand, giving ‘desperately needed’ support for regional cities, towns and the countryside.

‘This is the exact restart we need,’ Summers said in a newsletter that has just gone out to members and stakeholders.

‘There is much appetite for such domestic cruising programmes and for the relief the spend will bring to regional New Zealand in particular.

‘We know that Kiwis love to cruise and right now our options for travel are severely limited like no other time in our history.’

Lost opportunity

Summers said not putting in place ‘Kiwi Cruising for Kiwis’ would be a ‘lost opportunity.’

Royal Caribbean pause to mid-September excludes China sailings

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Quantum of the Seas is pictured in Shanghai in this file photo

China sailings suspended through July

Today the company extended the suspension of most sailings through Sept. 15, with the exception of cruises from China. Those are suspended through the end of July.

Bermuda through October

Also, Bermuda cruises are suspended through Oct. 31.

AQSC offers special pricing to Uniworld customers this summer

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AQSC's first cruise is expected to sail July 20 aboard American Duchess on the Mississippi. Pictured here: one of the vessel's Loft Suites

Closer-to-home option

The companies called AQSC’s itineraries a perfect match for Uniworld’s curious and culturally minded customers who are looking to take a river cruise closer to home this summer.

'While we wish we could welcome guests back on board Uniworld cruises at this time, we hope this special offer from American Queen Steamboat Company will allow our guests to still enjoy all of the things they love about river cruising while exploring America's rivers and riverside communities,' Uniworld Presient and CEO Ellen Bettridge said.

'We trust AQSC to take excellent care of our guests while we prepare to resume operations in the near future and look forward to sharing a special opportunity for guests of AQSC to expand their love of river cruising abroad in 2021,' Bettridge added.

Uniworld to reciprocate with offer for AQSC customers

AQSC, which aims to resume operations on July 20, will offer impacted Uniworld travelers a special offer on summer 2020 AQSC cruises. Uniworld will reciprocate with a special offer for AQSC customers to cruise in Europe, Russia, China, Vietnam and Cambodia, India, Egypt or Peru in 2021.

'While we sail in different regions, this alliance makes perfect sense as both AQSC and Uniworld guests have come to expect the best in on-board and shoreside experiences, and we can offer that high level of service to guests who want to sail this July and August,' AQSC Founder and CEO John Waggoner said.

American Duchess is expected to be the first of AQSC’s fleet to set sail, July 20-27, from St. Louis (embarking at Alton, Illinois) to Minneapolis (Red Wing). This 'Mark Twain’s Mississippi' cruise includes a pre-cruise hotel stay on July 19 in St. Louis.

American Empress, American Countess and American Queen are expected to resume operations later this summer.

Travel restrictions ease, led by Europe, but borders still shut at 65% of global destinations

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Destinations that have eased travel restrictions number 37 in Europe, including 24 of the 26 Schengen member states. Here, CroisiEurope's Elbe Princess

The fifth edition of UNWTO's 'COVID-19 Related Travel Restrictions: A Global Review for Tourism,' show the sector is slowly restarting, though this restart is significantly more pronounced in some regions.

Change from 100% of destinations closed in late April

At one point, on April 28, UNWTO reported 100% of destinations had travel restrictions.

According to UNWTO, as of June 15, 48 destinations, or 22%, had eased travel restrictions, up from just seven destinations on May 18. Destinations that have eased travel restrictions number 37 in Europe, including 24 of the 26 Schengen member states.

Others easing restrictions are six destinations in the Americas, including five small island developing states, three Asia-Pacific destinations including two small island developing states, and two destinations in Africa.

One-quarter of destinations have had restrictions for 19 weeks

At the same time, the UNWTO report makes clear that many destinations are maintaining a cautious approach. As of June 15, 24% of all destinations worldwide, or 51 destinations, have had travel restrictions in place for 19 weeks and 37%, or 80 destinations, for 15 weeks.

In total, 65% of destinations, or 141, continue to have closed borders. That includes 85% of African destinations. 76% of destinations in the Americas, 67% of destinations in Asia-Pacific and 92% of destinations in the Middle East. In Europe, these full border closures are now reduced to 26% of destinations.

The changes are reflected in some river and a few ocean cruises resuming in Europe on a limited basis, for certain nationalities.