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Weekly Round Up
14 June 2021
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Rise of the river cruise
Even a global pandemic wouldn’t stop river cruise lines from taking to the waterways of Europe in summer 2020. Elly Earls speaks to Marcus Leskovar, executive vice-president of Amadeus River Cruises, and Rudi Schreiner, co-founder and president of AmaWaterways, to find out how their experiences last year have prepared them to capitalise on pent-up demand from ocean cruisers in the months and years to come.

Sea change
Cruise ships were among the most high-profile casualties of coronavirus as several vessels became major sites for transmission. But with mass vaccination on the horizon, how do operators plan on maintaining safety practices and restoring passenger confidence? Andrea Valentino chats to Dr Calvin Johnson, the new chief medical officer at Royal Caribbean, and Dennis Peyton, director of Vikand’s public health practice, about what operators are doing to keep passengers secure, the challenges of controlling a virulent disease at close quarters – and why heightened health measures are likely to persist even once we’re all vaccinated.

Machine learning
Despite orders being delayed, postponed and cancelled, 16 new cruise liners were delivered in 2020 and more are on the way in 2021. With an impressive roster of ships set to be unveiled next year, shipbuilders have proven themselves capable of producing vessels in the most testing circumstances. Jim Banks talks to Ulstein Verft’s managing director Lars Lühr Olsen and lead naval architect Terje Våge about how Covid-19 has affected working practices and vessel design.

Appetite for adventure
With many large cruise liners dry docked for the foreseeable future, and towns and cities along more populated routes still in lockdown, the expedition cruise sector looks well placed to capitalise on its growing appeal as an intrepid form of travel. Will Moffitt speaks to Monique Ponfoort, CEO of Aurora Expeditions, about how the traditional company model is being adapted to suit the current climate – and whether the expedition sector could thrive in a post-pandemic world.

Dining with a difference
Dining has always sat at the heart of cruise travel, with the buffet a mainstay of the on-board experience. However, the risks posed by Covid-19 are set to fundamentally reshape this aspect of cruising. Elly Earls speaks to Wes Cort, vice-president of food and beverage for Norwegian Cruise Line; chef, mixologist and consultant Kathy Casey; and Fabio Scaglione, director of F&B at Celebrity Cruises, to find out how protocols are changing in the wake of Covid-19 and what post-pandemic dining might look like.

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