Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2021

KEYNOTE Staying tenacious in testing times Arnold Donald explains to Rebecca Gibson how Carnival Corporation and its brands are working hard to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis stronger than ever before L ike many others, Arnold Donald is missing cruises. “I’ll be on the first cruise ship I can get on as soon as restrictions lift!” says the Carnival Corporation president and CEO. “I can’t wait to feel the sea breeze and catch up with our amazing crew members to let them know how grateful we are for everything they have done, and continue to do, for our business and for our guests. I’m also excited to meet our guests and see the happy expressions on their faces as they enjoy our innovative ships and delight in the life-changing experiences we offer.” It’s been a year since Donald was forced to halt all cruise operations across Carnival Corporation’s AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises, P&O Australia, Princess Cruises and Seabourn brands due to the global Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. Neither Donald nor anyone else in the cruise industry expected the virus to still be ravaging countries around the world after 12 months. “Unfortunately, when a ‘stealth virus’ like Covid-19 is circulating in so many countries worldwide, no one can ever guarantee with absolute certainty that their business will remain virus-free, regardless of which industry they operate in,” says Donald. “However, we can effectively minimise the risk of it coming onboard our vessels by implementing layers of strict health and safety protocols.” Noting that the cruise industry is acutely aware of how quickly illnesses can spread in confined spaces, Donald says: “We’ve successfully dealt with the threats posed by serious contagious diseases, such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome and Ebola, in the past. Consequently, we’ve had a raft of health and safety measures, sanitation practices and onboard medical teams in place for many years and this gave us a solid foundation on which to build our Covid-19 protocols.” Carnival Corporation devised its own enhanced protocols with the help of some of the “best minds in medical science, public health and infectious disease control”. It has also adopted six mandatory measures set out by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). One of the core protocols is that all guests and crew members will be required to test negative for Covid-19 before embarkation. “First we test the crew members in their home country, next they are tested and quarantined in the country of embarkation prior to boarding, and we continue to routinely test them while they’re working on the ships,” says Donald. “Of course, we recognise that this is time consuming and restrictive for the crew, so we’re very grateful that they all understand the importance of these measures and are willing to comply to help protect themselves, their colleagues, our guests and the communities we visit. Guests will be tested before boarding and retested if they present symptoms during their cruise. We’ll encourage them to quickly report any possible symptoms to our onboard medical teams – even if it’s just a runny nose they think might be caused by an allergy.” New social distancing measures will be enforced in cruise terminals, in public spaces on ships, on private “ I’m optimistic that most, if not all, of our vessels will be back in service by the end of 2021 or early 2022” 9