Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

1 2 6 INTERV IEW The good news is it’s all manageable, and the management of communicable disease and illness has always been part of operating a vessel. For a long time, cruise vessels have had stringent operating and reporting requirements for influenza-like illnesses and norwalk-like viruses, for example. What are some of the biggest nautical, technical, compliance, safety and security challenges facing river cruise operators? One of the biggest challenges we face is retaining young talent. When you operate vessels which are either lower in tonnage or lower in propulsion power than the regulations require for license upgrades, it becomes challenging to retain young officers who are hungry for professional growth. However, that hunger and desire for self-improvement is exactly the type of personality trait we look for in passenger operations. The second is river congestion. It’s clear river cruising is a growing market and is experiencing increased popularity akin to the situation we faced while I was involved with International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators and the Antarctic expedition market. There’s already a great amount of mutual respect and understanding amongst, and between, river cruise operators and the ports we visit. With the projected future number of vessels operating on the rivers, we’re going to have to use that understanding to find some creative solutions to make sure we can all offer first-class port experiences to our guests. What are your top priorities for helping American Queen Voyages overcome these issues? Although there are many similarities in how river cruises operate, there are some fundamental differences, so my short-term goal is to absorb as much knowledge as I can to ensure I’m as valuable as possible to the organisation. Another short-term priority is to successfully complete our current plan for off-season lay-ups, which are golden opportunities that you don’t get in ocean cruising. Having a successful return to service is a key. In the mid and long term, it’s all about ‘value’. A common theory of success in business is that an organisation must create and/or capture value in order to be successful. Cruise lines, for example, create value by offering a product for which guests are willing to pay a premium, and the goal is to capture some of that value in the form of profits from ticket sales. If we approach all elements of our business with that mindset, we’ll ultimately be successful. The definition of value is fluid in this case, but the principle applies. With this perspective, some areas for exploration are creating value for our crew members through improved training and professional development programmes, risk mitigation and process standardisation, and increased operating efficiencies. We also want to create shared value with our competition through long-term strategic port planning. The use of existing and emerging technology, and the analysis of data, will play a big part in how we move forward in marine operations. The goal for marine operations is to use modern technology to aid in data-informed decision-making, allowing us to provide safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally sound experiences for our guests and crew – all while retaining the rich heritage, legacy and traditions that keep them returning year after year. CFR American Queen Voyages' flasgship vessel is American Queen, the largest steamboat ever built “ The goal for marine operations is to use modern technology to aid in data-informed decision-making”