I’m sure you have all heard the phrase “It takes a village… to raise a child” which essentially means that parenting is very much a shared task. It takes many more than immediate family to ensure that a child is raised with love, and in a safe and caring environment.

As we prepare to return to service the essence of this phrase has never been more true. Each and every one of you, irrespective of team, role or level will play a vital part in our successful restart and growth.

In my many “floorwalks” over the past few weeks there has, of course, been a lot of conversation about our restart. I hear everyone referring to it as “When we get back to normal…” and it has made me think about what is normal? Normal is as individual as each of us and is used to denote our regular routines and behaviour, all of which can be very different according to our varying home lives, dependents and jobs. There is certainly no black and white definition.

From my perspective, working from home, I certainly have enjoyed the additional half hour in bed in the morning and exercising that little bit later – especially in the winter months when it’s so dark and gloomy outside. I’ve also appreciated having a fixed routine, which I can count on every day, as well as getting better levels of sleep, due to not having to contend with jet lag and late night work events.

I haven’t missed the early commute on the Red Jet though and I certainly haven’t missed the significant amount of money I spend on coffees in the office Atrium!

I am though, like many of us, rather fed up of my four white walls. I miss the more personal interaction we have when we are together and those serendipitous moments in the lift or on the stairs when you meet a colleague, catch up and agree a way forward or brainstorm a great idea which just wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Whilst we have all adapted superbly to working at home and meeting on Zoom it’s the strong relationships both in the office and outside work which feed our minds and our souls. That’s what is missing and that’s the reason I just cannot wait to walk into the doors of Carnival House and see the bustle, the huddles and that daily sense of purpose – it is that intrinsic essence of togetherness which contributes to the success of our business.                                                                           

And as for our return to service – unfortunately this week we have had to extend the pause for P&O Cruises a little further as we await more clarity from the Government on the guidelines and dates for international travel. As you will have seen though, there is certainly brighter news as we soon announce a series of short UK coastal cruises this summer. Sparkling seas, fresh air, sunshine, someone else to make the bed and cook wonderful meals every day, cocktails and shows – I’m sure that it really will be the ultimate escape that our guests have all been waiting for…

And as we all rally round, as we slowly return to service, with the ships operational and sailing, we will realise that when we all come together, “our village”- our business – can do extraordinary things which give unforgettable holidays to many thousands of guests.

I, for one, can’t wait for “back to normal”.

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