The UK’s maritime minister says the cruise sector is a “shining example” of how an industry can work with government to overcome Covid-related challenges.
Robert Courts called the relationship between the Department for Transport, cruise lines and trade association “very co-operative” and hinted that similar joint efforts could help shape the sector’s sustainability drive.
He highlighted how the industry had successfully worked on the protocols currently in place to ensure passenger safety on ships operating in the pandemic.
Speaking on a Travel Weekly webcast, Courts said: “The protocols for the safe operation of cruises –the industry went away, developed themselves and brought them to government.
“[It’s] an incredible programme of work and a real shining example of how to work closely between a sector and government.”
While he would not be drawn on the government’s upcoming review of travel restrictions or when cruising might “return to normal”, he noted that lines had proven their ability to navigate “unpredictable” setbacks through a “constructive and imaginative approach”.
Clia cruise line members agreed to pursue net carbon neutral cruising by 2050 last year as the association reported “continued progress” on the development of environmental technologies.
On the industry’s sustainability push, Courts said “every” cruise vessel now operating was “cleaner, greener and more efficient than its predecessors”.
According to Clia, 52% of incoming vessels have committed to relying on liquefied natural gas (LNG) as their primary propulsion.
Courts said while LNG was “not the whole story”, it was “a big step forward”. He also pointed to hull design, ship construction and passenger operations onboard to emphasise how the sector was improving its sustainability credentials.
“All of that helps a lot,” he added. “We’re looking to do is to decarbonise maritime, in its totality, so not just cruises, of course, but also cargo ships, ferries and all the others.”