Good morning everyone

Today we’re into our second day of full lock-down in the UK; Germany has been there for a while, Australia has its first working from home day and California and other parts of the USA have taken similar measures. It all feels pretty surreal. I do hope you are starting to get comfortable with working from home. I certainly wish I’d bought shares in Zoom!

It’s at least as strange on our ships. QE is at anchor off of Cairns, QV is heading back to Southampton, arriving tomorrow with around 1,000 Guests who’ve been around South America with us and QM2 is doing the long haul back to Southampton via South Africa with just 264 Guests onboard.

So, where are we headed now and what are we doing? The first thing we need to do right now is to look after our remaining Guests and all of our crew. For all but QE this means getting CUK ships safely back to the UK. This will soon be complete but it’s not without logistical challenges. Many on this email are involved in this huge effort and have been for some time – thank you.

Next, we need to plan for when our ships will go back into operation. It’s tricky to tell exactly when this should be, but we are building what we hope is a realistic plan. This won’t be on April 11 as I’m sure you already know and we will be announcing an update on this in the coming week. When we do go back into operation, there will need to be significant planning and then a big ramp up in marketing and sales activities to make sure we get things kick-started strongly.

Machiavelli is reported to have said “never waste the opportunity offered by a good crisis” – wise words! This temporary suspension of operations presents us with an opportunity to spend time on some of the things that we might not otherwise get to because ‘business as usual’ always gets in the way. I’ve spent significant time over the last few days with the Cunard SLT planning this out (some of you have been involved already) and communication will be made in the coming days. I love the way that the crew of QE have taken this to heart and are already doing works to make the ship look better than ever.

Lastly, I realise these are testing times on a personal level and we’ll all have concerns about family, partners, wives, husbands, kids, parents as well as ourselves. If you need to change work patterns to be able to manage more effectively, please do talk to your line manager. We’re committed to supporting you. I also just want to emphasise how critical it is for you all to look after your own health and wellbeing. Please do look after yourselves – your sleep, your diet, your exercise. It’s all to easy for these things to fall by the wayside when under pressure.

It’s going to take some time but we will get through this and we’ll come out the other side better. I’ll try to keep everyone updated on a weekly basis with a short email round-up of activities. Please do drop me a line if you have any questions you’d like us to address. As always, if you’ve got a question, it’s likely others will have the same.

A big thank you for all your hard work, your resilience and your dedication to Cunard.

Take care. Safe travels to all those on our ships.

Best wishes

Simon Palethorpe
President, Cunard

Read all of Simon’s updates here

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