CLIA UK Writes to Foreign & Commonwealth Office – Other Cruise News: Sky Princess Extends Her UK Season – Empress of the Seas Goes To India

by Kevin Griffin

This week we look at more positive developments. From London comes news that CLIA is proposing to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office that it loosen its ban for passengers sailing on members’ cruise ships from the UK. Elsewhere, the Sky Princess is to expand her UK season this autumn. And Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas is moving to a new base in India.

THIS WEEK’S STORY

CLIA UK Writes to Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The Cruise Lines Industry Association’s UK office has written to the government urging it to set up a clear timeline for the resumption of cruising from UK waters. CLIA has also urged the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to remove its blanket advice against all ocean cruising during this “crucial” time of year, so called “Wave Season,” when lines put out their offers and huge number of bookings are usually made.Cruise Lines International Association - CLIA (logo)

“While Government understands the importance of getting the industry sailing again, they must now set a timeline for a phased resumption of operations,” said Andy Harmer, CLIA director UK & Ireland.

“For several months, the industry has worked collaboratively with Government to agree health protocols that go beyond any other travel sector operating today.”

Azura at Ocean Cruise Terminal Southampton (Courtesy ABP)

Azura at Ocean Cruise Terminal Southampton (Courtesy ABP)

“As we head into 2021, our hope is that the Government will recognise our uncompromising commitment to public health and act now to help protect the tens of thousands of jobs that depend on a successful UK cruise industry.”

In the letter to the FCO, CLIA stresses the importance of cruising to the UK economy’ generating £10 billion every year and supporting more than 88,000 jobs.

“The cruise sector, which plays a key role in supporting a number of coastal communities in the UK, has been in voluntary suspension since March, as we have sought to prioritise the health and safety of our passengers. While this was the correct decision, it has cost the UK economy nearly £7 billion and the loss of an estimated over 52,000 jobs supported by the industry.”

Port Of Dover: cruise terminal (Credit: constructionnews.co.uk)

Port Of Dover: cruise terminal (Credit: constructionnews.co.uk)

”The industry also supports an extensive supply chain, including many small businesses and travel agents,” the letter states.

“Acting now is absolutely crucial, as this is the time of year when marketing campaigns are being designed for bookings in the key wave period. Updating FCO travel advice to remove specific advice against cruise is crucial to ensuring passengers can book with confidence and for the industry to support and create jobs.”

OTHER CRUISE NEWS

Sky Princess Extends Her UK Season

Sky Princess

Sky Princess

Princess Cruises has extended Sky Princess’ ex-UK season with six additional departures in September and October. The 3,660-passenger vessel’s season had been due to end on September 11, 2021, but will now conclude on November 5, when it repositions to Fort Lauderdale.

The vessel is the largest Princess cruise ship to have been based in the UK. The six extra departures include a 10-night British Isles cruise, departing on October 5, 2021. The itinerary includes calls to Portland, Cobh, Belfast and Liverpool.

Also part of the extended season is a  seven-night Spain & France sailing, departing on October 15, 2021. Ports of call include La Rochelle, Bilbao and St Peter Port in Guernsey.

Princess Cruises UK & Europe vice president Tony Roberts said: “it’s been fantastic to see such strong demand for Princess Cruises’ sailings from Southampton.”

Royal Caribbean's Empress Of The Seas in Miami

Royal Caribbean’s Empress Of The Seas in Miami

Empress of the Seas Goes To India

New York-based Dream Hotel Group has been named as the buyer of the 1,600-berth Royal Caribbean cruise ship Empress of the Seas. She will be operated by Mumbai-based subsidiary Waterways Leisure Tourism Private Ltd.

This company has taken over the former Jalesh Cruises, which will be re-launched under a new brand name Cordelia Cruises.

Karnika (Jalesh Cruises)

Karnika (Jalesh Cruises)

The Empress will be renamed and redeployed for the Indian market, according to Waterways Leisure ceo Jurgen Bailom, who since 2019 had headed up Jalesh Cruises.

Indian conglomerate Essel Group had introduced the 1,708-berth Karnika (previously P&O Australia’s Pacific Jewel) in April 2019, but business came to a standstill in early 2020 due to Covid-19.

Essel sold Jalesh’s brand and remaining business assets to Waterways in November, shortly after the judicial sale of the Karnika to the Shree Ram Group recycling yard in Alang the same month.

(Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)

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