The global pandemic has brought about a sea of change in the cruise industry and they can no longer operate the way they used to. Consumers’ mindset, requirements and expectations have evolved when it comes to leisure and travel with focus on health and well-being. However, Genting Cruise Lines (GCL) has been at the forefront to enhance and introduce safety and preventive measures that will become the new norm for their fleet and they hope for the industry too. Naresh Rawal, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Genting Cruise Lines, shares more on the initiatives taken onboard their cruise ships as they are anticipating sailings in a few months time.
The global pandemic has had an adverse impact on businesses globally, including the cruise sector. Cruise companies alike worldwide are going through a challenging period with operations and businesses affected. Genting Cruise Lines’ fleet has been on voluntary hiatus with majority of their crew repatriated home to their respective countries to be with their loved-ones during these uncertain times.
Naresh shares, “The reality is the cruise industry landscape has evolved drastically and the road to recovery will require time with new and fresh initiatives with strong education of the new norms of cruising to boost customers’ confidence once again. The cruise industry is also dependent on the easing of various travel restrictions in different countries based on how the pandemic evolves. We hope to start cruising very soon depending on various evolving factors, such as the reopening of ports and destinations, lifting of travel restrictions etc. We anticipate resuming operations in July or August 2020 and we can start by exploring to offer ‘Holiday at Sea’ itineraries cruising to nowhere as the ship itself is a destination, filled with onboard activities, performances and attractions.”
It is well known that the Asia region has had a solid foundation as a cruise hub and destination with a strong market demand from short to long haul markets over the years. Other regional markets have also shown promising opportunities with countries like China exploring to expand its ‘Travel Bubble’ covering mainland China to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, as well as South Korea. Genting Cruise Lines are also looking forward to the delivery of our new 208,000 tonnage Global Class ships built with the ‘Made in Germany’ reputation for the highest safety standards, Global Dream, is scheduled to be launched between 2021 and 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic will unquestionably change the travel industry and the way we travel, at least in the near future. Travellers will be more cautious and have heightened expectations on hygiene, safety and preventive measures in place. Naresh further shares, “Meeting and exceeding these expectations will become the new norm for the cruise industry and Genting Cruise Lines is committed to maintaining the highest possible safety and hygiene standards. Initially, safe distancing will be a common practice which will see our guests checking-in online with designated times at the terminal to minimize congestion, onboard venues operating at half capacity to ensure ample spacing among guests, the suspension of buffets with F&B being served instead etc.”
“Our enhanced measures developed with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind will be the new norm that include stringent health screening processes and protocols, thorough sanitisation and disinfection and enhanced hygiene practices for guest cabins, various onboard public areas and recreational activities, and increased food and beverage safety,” assures Naresh.
At Genting, it is imperative to continue to educate and create awareness among potential and future guests to boost confidence such as informing them of the ship designs that enable 100 per cent external fresh air to be filtered and supplied to the cabins and onboard public areas – ensuring a constant and healthy flow of fresh air with no recirculation within the ship which is an important feature on their cruise ships.
“Offering new incentives such as our ‘Cruise As You Wish’ assurance that allows flexibility of up 48 hours cancelation before sailing to receive 100 per cent future cruise credit for Dream Cruises and Star Cruises bookings prior to or on October 30, 2020 will allow existing and potential customers to have ease of mind when booking a cruise with us,” concludes Naresh.