LATEST NEWS & PRESS RELEASES
August 20, 2020
It is hard to believe that just a few short months ago, 2020 looked like it would be a banner year for business.
But with such optimism on the horizon, the world was taken entirely off guard by an unexpected pandemic called COVID 19. As an international company traveling the world, it was inevitable that we, just like the entire tourism industry, would be swept up in the fallout. The consequence of this virus has changed everything, an unprecedented event.
With the ceasing of operations for all ships and flights and the closing of borders and ports worldwide, we found ourselves with a severe crisis on our hands. The whole world seemed to stand still; quarantine became the new norm. Crisis brings out the best and worst in people. As they say, “a calm water seaman is not a sturdy seaman.” Not only were we all challenged with our immediate
need of disembarking guests and getting crew repatriated, but as an industry, we became part of the story for a time in the media.
We operated the OCEAN ATLANTIC, OCEAN ADVENTURER, SEA SPIRIT,
and GREG MORTIMER in the Antarctic, finishing up their final cruises for the season. In mid-March, they would head north for their Arctic season. The OCEAN ADVENTURER and SEA SPIRIT left
without any issues; however, the OCEAN ATLANTIC and GREG MORTIMER,
unfortunately, found themselves in the thick of the pandemic, with limited ports and flights available. The M/V WORLD ODYSSEY finished her fall semester at sea earlier in Capetown on March 18, 2020 and the hotel crew remained onboard.
On April 1, the OCEAN ATLANTIC bid farewell to the last guests in Montevideo with no COVID-19 cases onboard. Conversely, the GREG MORTIMER did have some COVID-19 cases among the guests and crew, creating a much more challenging operation for everyone. After daily calls and video conferencing, we served the last passengers on April 15th.
As the world closed ports, the ships moved to the Canary Islands, awaiting their next assignment. Our hotel crew remained on board (as with all cruise ships during this crisis) in the Canary Islands and onboard the GREG MORTIMER in Montevideo, Uruguay. The biggest challenge was finding flights for our hotel crew. Flight restrictions, limited airlifts, daily domestic travel cancellations, and closed airports were regular issues.
To send our crew home earlier, in late April, the hotel crew from all the ships in the Canary Islands were relocated to the M/V OCEAN DIAMOND. She would then sail to Portsmouth in the UK, enabling us to get flights from London’s airports. At the time of print, there are still hotel crew onboard the ships.
How did those in the office fare with all of these challenges? On March 23, we started to work from home. With the help of our shareholders, we immediately began the challenge of protecting the future of our company and affiliate companies, Sunstone, and CMI. The Crew Loan Program was initiated, designed to assist those with financial need (including our CMI Leisure hotel crew) as a result of our client’s decision to lay-up their ships for the entire Arctic season. We are fortunate and very grateful to have shareholders with a long-term vision, immediately supporting the welfare of our hotel crew during these challenging times.
In April, we realized that this would not be business as usual; the future would look quite different. How we adapt to change and our willingness to “get on board” with it will differentiate us in the industry. Change will be the new normal.
We have been hard-hit as a company by the Corona Virus, as has the world. Sadly, one crew member died from the disease, and others onboard the GREG MORTIMER tested positive. There will be six ships (our clients) laid up during the Arctic season as well as the M/V VICTORY II, which adds tremendous financial challenge to the company.
Due to severe governmental restrictions around the world, some of our crew members have still been unable to get home or face quarantine upon their arrival. The new- build, OCEAN VICTORY, will be delayed until next year.
What have we learned? As the author of the One-Minute Manager, Kenneth Blanchard purports, as a leader during a crisis, you must be decisive. You must implement and follow the protocol in place to protect all your constituencies. Communication and education are essential, and the unknown becomes the enemy. While crises always vary a bit, we all remember and did gain valuable experience during the 2008 recession.
What feels like a category five hurricane decimating our industry, just know that we will prevail. They will find a cure or develop a vaccine. We are social creatures, and human interaction is part of our DNA. The fundamental values of cruising will not be blown away by one hurricane. Awareness, innovation, and flexibility have always been the hallmarks of the cruise industry and will continue to be. Our onboard public health standards and procedures have always been above and beyond compliance.
Thank you to our crew. Your humanitarian efforts throughout this crisis are much appreciated. Despite the fear and anxiety you faced, you rose to the occasion.
The cruise industry has overcome significant obstacles over the years, and it is resilient.
We will endure and flourish thanks to our excellent crew, employees, clients, suppliers, and guests. I am confident that the small-ship cruise segment will be well-positioned moving forward. Our remote and unique, once-in-a- lifetime destinations will still be in demand once travel restrictions are lifted. Until then, my sincerest thanks for all you do.
We stand ready and anxiously await the time when we can resume operations and continue doing our part and what we do best; contributing to memorable guest experiences!
July 16, 2020
February 25, 2020
With a new generation of ships on the horizon and the first one already in service, we had a wonderful 2019 and are looking forward to an exciting 2020 and beyond.
This summer was very busy for all of us, those onboard our ships and in our corporate offices in Miami. The M/V VICTORY I and M/V VICTORY II (Victory Cruise Lines) operated on the East Coast and in the Great Lakes of the US most of the summer and into the fall. The M/V OCEAN DIAMOND with Iceland Pro Cruises had a strong summer season, circumnavigating Iceland and visiting Greenland.
Also, in the Arctic, were M/V OCEAN ADVENTURER with Quark Expeditions, M/V SEA SPIRIT with Poseidon Expeditions, as well as our first summer of operation onboard the M/V OCEAN ATLANTIC with Albatros Expeditions. M/V OCEAN ENDEAVOR was up north in Canada and Greenland with Adventure Canada. Due to its successful implementation last season, we added an additional “Slow Food” voyage onboard the M/V OCEAN ENDEAVOR for Adventure Canada who were pleased and have said they are increasing the voyages for next year. In September, we began our fall program in Amsterdam for Semester at Sea with the M/V WORLD ODYSSEY.
Very exciting news is the successful launch, VIP Voyage, and the inaugural Antarctica cruises onboard the brand-new M/V GREG MORTIMER with Aurora Expeditions out of Ushuaia. We are all very excited about the new addition to our fleet as it is our first new build as operators for CMI Leisure. The ship is a beauty with excellent performance. One very welcome and exciting upgrade is the crew area onboard, as well as the crew cabins, which are well appointed including large screen televisions and bathrooms in each cabin. Kudos to the owners and all who have been involved in
the building and start-up process.
What does the launch of the new GREG MORTIMER mean for us? It is the beginning of a new dawn and future growth pattern for CMI Leisure. With every innovation, we need to embrace new techniques and knowledge in order to keep up with the expectations of our clients and their guests. Continuous learning becomes reality!
There are over 40 new expedition ships on order in the next few years. The expedition segment continues to become increasingly more popular and we have been riding on that trend for some time. Most of our managed ships fall into the expedition segment and we have one of the largest market shares.
With such excitement, we must remember to stay focused on our existing clients, as well as those who will see growth with the new builds from the Infinity Class of ships, namely Aurora Expeditions and Albatros Expeditions. We hope to add a few new names to our client roster as the new ships are completed.
I am excited about the bright outlook for all of us these next few years. However,
“If anybody asks us what we do, first we are hoteliers, and we must be proud
hoteliers … we are professionals, no less than a doctor, an engineer.”
— Nakul Anand Executive Director, ITC LTD .
Corporate Hotelier of the World, 2019 > Hotel’s Magazine
with the challenges ahead comes great responsibility to be ready and prepared. We will need more crew members and hope to promote from within our onboard crew for future shipboard management positions; keeping in mind that some of our current ships will still be in service for several more years in addition to the introduction of new ships, providing ample employment
We restructured our onboard organization last year, implementing new middle management positions with a focus on succession planning, i.e. the Food and Beverage Service Manager will move up to the Hotel Director position. One of our goals for next year will be to standardize
our programs even further, modifying our IT systems, simplifying and becoming more accurate. We are working with MXP, our systems provider to implement their next version and have also upgraded our accounting system in our corporate office.
Our guest satisfaction scores have been on target and we have received a lot of positive comments about the excellent “hospitality attitude” demonstrated by the crew onboard our ships. Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each one of you for all your hard work and support this year, making our guests and clients happy. It is a great feeling to read all the wonderful comments from our ships. Thank you for making us proud here in Miami. This is the True “Cruise Hospitality Experts” spirit.
We pride ourselves in providing each client with a customized package for their onboard guest experience. As Cruise Hospitality Experts, we have demonstrated our ability to deliver just that and will continue to do so. Preparing for growth is our motto for the next several years. We anticipate implementing at least one new ship each year for the next three years, and possibly even more. That means that we must be organized in order to deliver the desired level of product for our clients with high guest satisfaction. We have some exciting times ahead.
We had a change of management in the Miami office this summer as Mr. Donald Cameron and Mr. Shahbaz Kazi left the Company. We restructured our organization and welcomed back Mrs. Annabelle Alvarez as the new Director of Operations Support, added our new Vice President of Finance, Mr. Laz Hernandez to our team and Mr. Tayfun Aybar took over the position of Vice President of Hotel Operations. Please join me in welcoming our new team members.
Regional influences in the culinary world is still a trend our clients and their guests are asking for. It is getting more and more demanding; many of our guests wanting greater variety and healthier options in their dining experiences. We are committed to improving our carbon footprint by removing single use plastic items such as straws, water bottles and small plastic containers, etc., in order to protect our environment, particularly our oceans, which is our home.
On December 13t, we celebrated the season with our annual Holiday party, thank you to the many involved in the planning and organization of this wonderful event. We introduced some fun new features with the addition of a Julius Meinl coffee and Padre Tequila station to showcase some of our suppliers. We want to thank them for their support and participation this year.
Thank you all for a wonderful year.
Keep up the fine work!
Best regards from Miami, Happy New Year.