MedCruise: Luxury Cruise Lines Respond to Challenges

Cruise line executives from key luxury and expedition brands discussed the new normal of cruising as well as operational challenges during a recent panel discussion at the MedCruise General Assembly in Costa Brava.

“When we restarted cruising after the pandemic, and even more now due to the geopolitical issue, we came back to a world that shrank,” said Daniela Sordi, senior manager, destinations management, Swan Hellenic Cruises.

“There are fewer destinations than there were before the pandemic and we need to reposition our ships somewhere.”

“We have moved from very strict and sometimes difficult to understand health protocols to a situation which getting better and better,” added Hugues Lamy, director of port operations for Scenic.

“I think maybe the institutions have not fully embraced or engaged with the smaller brands that are being represented here on panel. When I think about CLIA, as an example, or other major organizations in the industry, it’s all about the big ships and many times you tend to forget about the smaller vessels,” said Emilio Freeman, vice president, itineraries and destinations, SeaDream Yacht Club.

Freeman said one of the challenges he was facing currently was communicating changing protocols to guests, especially in transit ports.

“When we started there were different interpretations of COVID protocol requirements in different countries, although we are in the Mediterranean, most are European Union. You think it is going to be centralized but you go from one Italian port to another Italian port and the expectations are different so it was not easy but we have manage them,” said Aleksander Bieniek, vice president, marine operations, Star Clippers.

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