Tips on minimising shoreside disruption
Many business and communities have seen a huge gap in their balance sheets and perhaps a chance to value what had been lost and even missed, which hitherto had been taken for granted and, at times, disliked.
Once again collaboration was highlighted. Michelle Lupino, head of destination management ACL, said: “Shore providers, port agents and tourist officers should talk to one another. It is very important.” While Sandra Neffgen, head of shore excursion programme, AIDA Cruises, commented: “Communication between stakeholders can break or make [a visit].”
Bratland highlighted that many guides had left to find other jobs during the pandemic, which a number of delegates and executives mentioned was causing problems in many destinations.
Melanie Lewis Carsjens’, senior manager shore excursions, product development & operations Europe Holland America Group, went further, saying there was a lack of confidence in the hospitality industry, and suggesting that a possible solution would be to work with other ports/towns in the region to share, for example guides, buses, etc.
She also suggested that not every tour has to leave at 0900 in the morning and that running a morning and afternoon tour would solve some congestion and supply issues, particularly when a ship is overnighting in port. Agnes Brochet, director itinerary planner & strategic pricing, Silversea Cruises, pointed out that one of the advantages of the pandemic was that the lines can now adapt far more quickly and could, for example, switch dates/ports if it was signalled that such changes would ensure a congestion-free call.
Lupino confirmed the value of gatherings such as the Cruise Europe conference, saying that she had met delegates from two ports the previous night and was now considering including them on itineraries. For her the ideal would be for just one ship to be in a port every day, hence avoiding any congestion and keeping the experience authentic.
Carsjens highlighted the benefits of engaging communities further in order to provide a better understanding of the cruise business, for example by bringing them to the pier during a call. All four talked about ports communicating with each other to avoid congestion, improve services etc, which does not necessarily negate competition.