“If you want something new, you gotta stop doing something old.”
— Peter F. Drucker
The Pathway out of the Pandemic
2020 and the first half of 2021 have been challenging. The pandemic is still intense in many countries, but there are some positive signs in other regions. In my last message we anticipated operation for the 2020 Antarctica season. A year has gone by since that message. A lot has happened in that year: lockdowns on different continents and strict protocol issues. The world tourism and travel business were put on hold and, in some instances, are in the holding pattern. The positive news is that the clouds and wind of the hurricane are calming. We have more vaccinations worldwide in place, and the distribution of those will get us back on a more “normal” track where we left off. Here in the US (specifically in Florida), we have made great strides, and the vaccinations available are pushing us in the right direction.
We had to right-size our office organization in Miami last year and hope that our loan program from our ship owners made a difference in the lives of our crew members to support their families in these critical and crucial times. Most of us worked from home during last year. We found a new way of communicating with virtual calls, which we will continue to utilize after the crisis.
Time has flown since our last newsletter a year ago. Fortunately we have the M/V OCEAN DIAMOND currently operating Iceland cruises and the M/V OCEAN EXPLORER due to set-sail during the summer. Hopefully, most of our crew will be back on board, and we can start where we finished last year.
Most of the Fleet has been laid up in the Canary Islands. One of the most significant blows to the industry came from Canada closing all their cruise ports on both the East and West coasts, a disaster to Alaska and the typical New England and Great Lakes cruising areas. With the Canadian Government’s ruling on cruises, we have not started operating our new ship in Alaska, M/V OCEAN VICTORY for Victory Cruise Lines, nor the other two ships in the Great Lakes. Additionally, Adventure Canada, our Canadian partner, had to pause their 2021 summer season, including the M/V OCEAN EXPLORER with her New England and Canada itineraries.
Looking ahead, it seems that we can start cruising again during the fourth quarter of 2021, meaning we should have most of our ships in Antarctica. Though nothing is for sure, the vaccinations should make a difference for all of us in the tourism, hospitality, travel, and cruise industries.
Our Owners have requested that all guests and crew members be vaccinated on our ships to protect each other and make the cruise environment as safe as ever.
CMILM had a significant growth plan in place, and it looks like we will continue with new ships coming into service this year and the next two years. There is a starkly increased demand for travel with everyone wanting to go back to pre-COVID 19 times.
As for this fall, the forecast for the 2021/2022 Antarctica season will commence with; > > >
M/V SEA SPIRIT, M/V OCEAN ATLANTIC and M/V OCEAN ADVENTURER. We will also operate three brand new vessels from the Infinity Series: M/V OCEAN VICTORY for Albatros Expeditions, OCEAN EXPLORER for Vantage Deluxe Travel, and M/V SYLVIA EARLE for Aurora Expeditions. We will operate M/V OCEAN ENDEAVOR for
our new client CHIMU for the first time and await news regarding M/V WORLD ODYSSEY and her 2021 itinerary.
Many of us cannot wait to travel freely again, especially cruise-lovers, and the vaccine is
a game-changer for all of us. Both smaller and larger cruise lines are currently requiring
mandatory vaccinations. In the meantime, the cruise industry has taken many steps to improve safety and hygiene on board their vessels.
It appears that small luxury/expedition ships are making an impression on the industry. With 40 new ships on the books to be built in the next five years, the demand for a high-end, adventurous, and intimate cruise experience is greater than ever.
During this transition time, we have been working on our shoreside systems and are happy to announce that we have implemented Microsoft Teams for our office and a cloud-based intranet for each ship, making it easier for us to access important information at our fingertips. We also started to work on our training programs and will implement our CMI LEISURE MANAGEMENT ACADEMY to provide our shore-side employees and hotel crew on board with proper guidance and training material to make their job easier, develop and move up the ranks for their career navigation.
Our upcoming fall season looks to be busy, and we are excited to start cruising again and moving towards normalcy.
The outlook is still somewhat unclear. There is a new term we all need to pay attention to; VUCA, which we learned during the pandemic as one of our leadership lessons,
which I like to share with you.
VUCA: “Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous” acts as a catch-all for the challenges of a rapidly evolving business environment. These include the speed of technological progress and the respective repercussions for operations, business models and data privacy, rapid change across the
board, dynamism, disruption, and fierce competition. These are all against the backdrop of high-velocity markets, flux and a whole host of additional environmental considerations, corporate social responsibility, and even public health. These diverse factors are purely examples of the myriad of issues in which companies are entangled, adding a general feeling of a lack of control.
Volatility: Characterized by or subject to rapid or unexpected change, transitory.
Uncertainty: Not known beyond doubts, not reliable, variable, indefinite, indeterminate.
Complexity: Hard to separate, analyze or solve.
Ambiguity: Capable of being understood in two or more possible senses, obscure, indistinct.
As the breakdown demonstrates, VUCA is more than just a catchy phrase or acronym with which to feather your bow. Instead, it speaks to a mindset of awareness and agility. It describes the challenges of the workplace, the markets, and the world at large. In doing so, it highlights the need
for cognitive flexibility, inclusivity, and both computational and lateral thinking in leadership.
That said, we look forward to welcoming and seeing you all back on board.