With another month passed, it’s time again for me to share what’s happening here at Bolsover Cruise Club, as well as in the industry more generally. After some difficult months, I’m happy to be able to offer an increasingly positive outlook with each and every update.
We began September with the fantastic news that Bolsover Cruise Club has been shortlisted for three categories in the British Travel Awards. This year has been the most testing we have ever had to deal with, not only as a business but as an industry, so to have the opportunity to have the hard work of the whole team recognised by the public means more than ever. If we have been there for you over the last few months and perhaps even in the many years before, please do give us your vote here.
You may have seen news that MSC Cruises have completed the first of their Mediterranean sailings on MSC Grandiosa quite seamlessly, something which offers light at the end of the tunnel for mainstream cruising. While MSC became the first large-scale cruise line to return to the seas, others are also successfully restarting around the world, with Ponant sailing in France and TUI running scenic cruises in Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway. SeaDream were the first cruise line to restart service back in June and have since completed a selection of itineraries in Norway, while Paul Gauguin Cruises are lucky enough to be cruising the islands around French Polynesia, somewhere I think we’d all like to be right now.
Seeing cruise lines return to the seas in such numbers is so reassuring and with Costa Cruises joining them this week, plus Riviera bringing river cruising back to Portugal in September, it is only a matter of time before more of our most-loved operators are joining them. The industry’s steady return means we’re also starting to see how new protocols are working in practice and it’s comforting to see how well they are being adhered to by both cruise lines and guests. While things like temperature checks, wearing a mask and social distancing are still by no means normal in the grand scheme of things, the world has quickly adapted to this new way of life.
In other positive developments, this week brings the launch of new programmes from two of our guests’ favourite cruise lines. Itineraries for Fred. Olsen’s new flagship, Bolette, are on sale now and have proven very popular, while Cunard has launched Queen Mary 2’s World Voyage 2022. With her 2020 sailing curtailed and 2021 cancelled, Cunard have created an itinerary that is worth the wait, with some unmissable World Sector sailings too.
Finally, we are seeing great progress with new ships. Silversea completed sea trials with Silver Moon in August, along with Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, MSC Cruises’ Seashore and Saga’s Spirit of Discovery. With P&O Cruises scheduled to take delivery of Iona later this year, the future still looks bright.
On a less positive note, refunds and the production of Future Cruises Certificates continue to be a problem for many operators. In particular, most of the Carnival brands have been further delayed as the company suffered a significant system failure in the middle of August. I fully appreciate just how frustrating these delays are and I can assure you we have dedicated teams working with each operator troubleshooting daily wherever we can. I reiterate that refunds are controlled by the operators themselves and we are just as frustrated as anyone by the ongoing delays. There is also a large number of outstanding Future Cruise Certificates from both P&O Cruises and Cunard. Again, we continue to press both operators to release these and we are assured that these are scheduled to be released by the end of October. I thank everyone for their patience in these very difficult times.
With regard to our own operational plans for the Call Centre, Cruise Bureau and Meadowhall, we will remain closed until the end of October at the earliest. We are currently examining plans for our full workforce once furlough comes to an end and you will be the first to know when we start to reopen. Please remember, our phone lines remain open seven days a week, so if you need to discuss an existing booking, or want to look at a new cruise for 2021 or beyond, call us now. In the meantime, please don’t forget to vote for us via the quick link I have provided above; I know my team would really appreciate the recognition they deserve.
I hope despite everything you have managed a break this year and look forward to helping you get back to sea soon!