During the 18 years that I’ve worked for Carnival UK, there have been countless extraordinary, memorable and happy days at work. However, on Monday, when we began our consultation period, it was, quite honestly, the worst day since I started with the company in 2002. It’s heart breaking that we’ve had to deliver distressing news to so many colleagues who have given so much to our business for so many years.

The dreadful irony of it all is that this week should have been a huge celebration – the delivery, arrival into Southampton and naming of our new P&O Cruises flagship ship, Iona.

So many of you across P&O Cruises have worked so hard on every single aspect of Iona – from the build and design, to the hotel operation, guest experience and promotion of our holidays. So much careful thought and attention has gone into every detail and this week would have been the culmination of it all. It is just incredibly sad that our celebration plans have had to be postponed for the foreseeable future.

I never take this job for granted and I never underestimate the feeling and affection that you all have for the ships and for the business as a whole. It is a huge privilege to lead a team of people and their wider teams for whom this industry is their passion –  that is what makes the situation that we are faced with so devastating.

This consultation is about roles, not about people. It is not about scores and appraisals or performance. It is just a very necessary fight for survival of the business under really difficult circumstances. Monday felt very much about people though.

Having calls on Zoom and not being able to reach out to support people face to face was so difficult and not how we would want things to be. However, the thing that stood out was that you showed a huge amount of professionalism and understanding, despite the sadness and distress caused to you as individuals. This response from you all is a testament to the years of exemplary service given by so many of you – for which I am just so grateful.

I understand the impact that this consultation has on you, your families and your lives and truly wish that we could avoid it. However, we have a very real duty to protect the business and ensure it has a future.

So thank you for your dedication and understanding under such difficult circumstances. I am proud of you all and believe that every single one of you has made an amazing contribution to the P&O Cruises team.

Take care and stay well.

Paul Ludlow,
President, P&O Cruises

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