Narvik navigates its way through the confusion and uncertainty with the help of BA
Parker responded to CE’s questions following the presentation as below:
What might the webinar content mean for Narvik?
The port of Narvik is a small port compared to many and we are not a home port for any cruiseline. That means some of the measurements presented by the US CDC will not apply. Port bubbles and excursion bubbles has now become familiar terminology and the webinar was very helpful in visualising this. The webinar also reiterates the need for general guidelines applicable to all, at least all ports within the same country.
What measures might Narvik put in place due to the webinar?
The webinar covered several issues that we have already considered, however there are still so many uncertainties, especially with regards to testing. We had however not thought about things like separate entrance for cruise guests or separate dining areas and those are things that is possible for us to implement without extra cost. Testing of guides, bus drivers and other personnel from the port is feasible.
Perhaps Narvik has already made some changes?
Fencing off the area around the cruise pier making sure no one unauthorised enters or leaves is in place. In Narvik we already have an area for stalls to set up so we will be able to offer some products to the cruise guests.
How easy will it be to make the required changes, both operationally and in terms of
Most of our excursions are outside the town centre so managing the passengers on tour should be something we can adapt to without too much change. For the tours that are in town we will have to have good dialogue with all the venues to ensure they can adapt to only having us visit on certain days. The infrastructure on the pier is set up so that we can close the area to everyone not authorised to access, this is not a problem. Testing will be the biggest issue. Where is it done and who does it?
Will this require extra investment which may not be available?
The big question here is testing facilities. If we, as a transit port, are required to test every guest on disembarkation/embarkation, this will definitely be an extra cost that neither the port nor the municipality has accounted for.
How much of a challenge will it be and does it feel like a hill or a mountain to climb?
As a smaller destination we feel like it is more of a hill than a mountain, however everything depends on transparent communication in order for the operation to work as smooth as possible.
How many calls did Narvik receive last year and was due to receive this year?
In 2019 Narvik received 21 ships and was due to receive 30 calls this year, which would have been our best year so far. We are an all-year destination and we would have had ships in port for 11 of the 12 months in 2020, but we only had five calls in January and February before the pandemic broke out.
How many are still planned for next year?
For 2021 we had 56 calls booked in but are now down to 35 and unfortunately I don’t believe we will see all of these.