Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2022

COVER STORY compliance. We don’t see this changing unless the whole thing changes and it [coronavirus] becomes part of our lives. The thing we have learnt most is to be flexible, agile and just go with it. We cannot control what is going on, but we can control how we handle it.” Having sailed and visited several ships in the past months, Lutoff-Perlo is only too aware of how people are feeling about socialising and travelling. “I am nervous to go out too, particularly on a plane where you don’t know who you are sitting next to,” she admits. “I was on Celebrity Summit for the New Year and our crew was worried I would cancel because of Omicron, so they were very grateful that I showed up. “When I was on the ship, I was not nervous at all; knowing the guests and crew were fully vaccinated and boosted meant I could finally relax and enjoy myself. It was a wonderful experience because I knew I was in the safest environment I could possibly be.” Celebrity’s record of not yet having to cancel any cruises due to Covid-19 outbreaks since resuming operations is testament to the effectiveness of its health and safety measures. Although there have been some guest cases, these have been “very, very low” and the same can be said of the crew. In total, 98 per cent of the crew members have said they want to return to the ships if they have not already done so. “Hand on heart, the best part of returning to service was bringing the crew back to work, which was very important to all of us,” says LutoffPerlo. “They suffered tremendously from not being able to make a living. Some had to do different things for a while.” In terms of itineraries, some modifications have taken place, for example Grand Cayman shut down so an alternative had to be found in the Caribbean. However, Lutoff-Perlo says: “In Europe, we’re still visiting the ports we were visiting pre-pandemic. Generally, destinations were keen to see us as economies had suffered very badly in some places.” With all three Edge ships and others sailing in Europe this summer, the hope is that for the first time in three years it will be a normal tourist season both there and, in the Caribbean, and Alaska. Looking 12 months out, Lutoff-Perlo shares Celebrity’s priorities: “I think the next 12 months will be about getting our fleet back into operation, hoping our business normalises and working hard to set ourselves up for 20232024. There has been a bit of pushback because of Omicron, so we’re building back the demand and optimism for this industry and for the brand. Working with the marketing team in building up consumer confidence in our industry. We have taken quite a beating; I believe very unfairly in many cases. We are going to work hard to recover from all of it and I have no doubt that we will.” CFR Celebrity Beyond’s Sunset Bar will be almost twice as large as on her sister ships and feature a globally inspired design and cascading terraces with ocean views at the ship’s aft “ The thing we have learnt most is to be flexible, agile and just go with it” Photo: Celebrity Cruises 5 2