Those of you who watched ‘Nine Perfect Strangers’ will know Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer, mixed with powdered gold. It’s built on the idea that in embracing flaws, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful, more resilient piece.

This struck a chord with me. Whilst our business was certainly not broken, far from it, our pause in operations has brought additional strength in a number of areas which will stand us in better stead for the future.

Across our company I look at teams of people who hadn’t come together previously but through the last 19 months have worked together solidly in a unified way, collaborating and forging new pathways to resolutions, and solving the many issues as they arose with each evolving piece of external guidance.

On board I see a close-knit family which has maintained our ships’ condition and, equally importantly, kept spirits high amongst crew of all ages and seniority, even through long periods with no guests on board.

And talking of guests, despite the many upheavals, delays and cancellations they have endured I see a new strength of camaraderie, of anticipation for holidays and togetherness, and they once again enjoy the time on board they have missed so much.

I would also like to apologise, once again, for the changes in guidance and which forced us to amend our vaccination policies and which unfortunately resulted in several of our half term holidays being cancelled. I know how much you and your families value these breaks and enforced disruption is the last thing we want to do to you, or to our guests, but we do need to comply with the entry requirements for each destination.

Dealing with all these changes and the surfeit of guest enquiries on the phone, email and social media has been no mean feat and I know at times has felt overwhelming – I am so proud of the way our contact centre and social teams have responded, with patience and dedication.

This attitude, combined with our transparency in communication, our constant updates across all our channels from all departments (again, not an easy task) will, I hope, ensure that we give confidence to our guests and make it clear that whilst other modes of transport and holidays feel complicated and difficult, cruising with us takes the stress out of all the testing and forms required.

I have seen many posts on social media from guests who are new to P&O Cruises who have been on one of our UK coastal cruises this summer and who previously have been to a land-based resort for a holiday. I am sure that the warm welcome they received on board and this ease of travelling with us will retain their loyalty for the future.

Seeing Ventura set sail on Sunday was another milestone in this momentous year. We should never under-estimate the work and scope it takes to get our ships ready to sail from vast teams of people around the business and on board. I know our crew on Azura is greatly looking forward to the departure in December and before we know it Arcadia and Aurora will be preparing for their long cruises too.

Looking ahead to the last quarter of this year we have the launch of summer ’23 itineraries with a number of new ports and destinations and we also have an exciting new partnership to announce for Arvia, giving our on board dining a pinch of Caribbean spice.

It always amazes me how the construction of our ships goes seamlessly from concept to drawing board to the real life build. When I visited Arvia in the yard last month and saw the atrium taking shape I realised the continuous evolution, refinement and enhancement of our brand. It’s something of which each and every one of us should be very proud.

You all saw the news that we will soon be joined by Sture Myrmell as he takes up his new role as Carnival UK President. I know Sture well and I am confident he will be a very strong leader of Carnival UK, bringing different experience and perspective.

I would though, like to take this opportunity to wish Simon well in his new venture – I feel fortunate to have worked alongside him and to have had his support and the benefit of his wise counsel as a colleague and a friend. I wish him all the best, he deserves it.

So as the Autumn days are here I see more and more of you in the office. The pleasure you take in seeing your peers and having meetings and conversations in person is very cheering and I look forward to seeing more of you here.

As the great Enzo Ferrari said, “what’s behind you doesn’t matter” and as we all look to the future and to next year, what’s ahead looks very bright indeed.

…and finally many congratulations to Captain Robert Camby and his wife Danni on the birth of their second son Jenson, perhaps he too will follow in the maritime footsteps of his father.

Take care everyone,


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