Olaf Groeger reveals the true cost of inefficiency for cruise operators

COLUMBIA Cruise Services’ Olaf Groeger tells Elly Yates-Roberts about the changing demands suppliers are facing from cruise lines that are renewing their focus on budgets and sustainability

Olaf Groeger reveals the true cost of inefficiency for cruise operators
“Environmental consciousness and optimisation go hand in hand,” says COLUMBIA Cruise Services’ Olaf Groeger

Suppliers are facing changing demands from cruise lines, according to Olaf Groeger, managing director of COLUMBIA Cruise Services.  

“Before the pandemic hit, many cruise lines had started to reflect on the number of suppliers they were dealing with,” he says. “This was solidified during the crisis, with brands moving towards bringing many functions in-house. 

“In the post-pandemic world, we have seen the appointment of new senior cruise executives whose mindsets are more pragmatic and understandably driven by budgets. This attitude has led to many cruise lines outsourcing specialised services.” 

While cruise lines previously outsourced full ship management services to suppliers like COLUMBIA Cruise Services, they are now opting to contract providers for more specific, partial management services. “Larger cruise lines will ask us to look after the health- and hygiene-related projects, whereas smaller owners will come to us for all their supply needs, covering crewing, technology and hotel services,” says Groeger. “Ultimately, post-pandemic requests are more diverse and we are pleased to offer a flexible approach that means we are able to satisfy these requirements, whether for specific or niche solutions, or for a full service.”  

COLUMBIA Cruise Services has adapted its business to cater to these changing and diverse demands. “During the pandemic, we restructured our services under the COLUMBIA blue umbrella so that each of our new brands addressed specific cruise needs, for example in leisure services, hotel business and hygiene projects,” says Groeger. “We are also fully transparent, so have been flexible to comply with the changing landscape and explain costs when facing additional scrutiny from budget-focused decision makers.” 

While costs have been a considerable driving factor for modern cruise operations, so has sustainability. “Environmental consciousness and optimisation go hand in hand,” says Groeger. “Our second-to-none performance optimisation control room provides our customers with state-of-the-art technical support in optimising itineraries to improve cost efficiency while reducing carbon emissions per passenger mile sailed.” 

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue of Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe to Cruise & Ferry Review for FREE here to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox or your door.

Elly Yates-Roberts
By Elly Yates-Roberts
15 May 2023