Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

188 Although the Covid-19 pandemic had a cataclysmic effect on the cruise industry, it also gave rise to new collaborations, new itineraries and a new way forward, according to Marcus Puttich, senior head of port management and operations at TUI Cruises. “Something I personally take away, but also share with the team, is the greater collaboration we have had in the past three years,” he says. “It’s shown us, more than ever before, that this is a people business. We really need to trust each other and be careful with all the decisions we make to sustain the business and prepare for future.” In the past, a port would pay a marketing visit to the cruise lines to be considered for inclusion on their itineraries, but Puttich explains that the discussions are now far deeper. He partly attributes this to the TUI Cruises’ webinars that took place in 2020 when there was a requirement for both sides to explain and understand the others’ protocols, possibilities and challenges. “As cruise lines, we need to take much more time to sit down with ports and really talk about the destinations,” he says. “What do we need to do for the community to receive, and want to receive, us? It is very important to listen to each other. “Generally, the port community has done a great job providing information. It has brought many of us closer together; we realise how dependent we are on each other which is a great benefit that we can take away from the pandemic years.” Such collaborations were an enormous help when searching for itinerary solutions for the ships. TUI Cruises was Covid-19 caused massive problems but also led to some unexpected itinerary planning solutions that are here to stay. Marcus Puttich explains to Susan Parker how TUI Cruises deepened its engagement with stakeholders and achieved results A new way forward PLANNER PERSPECTIVE Mein Schiff 4 connected to shore power in Rostock-Warnemünde in Germany Photo: TUI Cruises