John Padgett, Carnival Corporation
"It used to be a comparison of a cruise vacation versus an alternative vacation. But in my view it starts to be – do I want to live on a cruise ship or do I want to live on land."
Quote from John Padgett, chief experience and innovation officer for Carnival Corporation, in an article on PhocusWire this week on cruise lines courting remote workers.
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In what must be one of the more curious "recovery" initiatives, Princess Cruises is touting its ships as places for remote employees to live and work.
It's a bold idea, to say the least, for many reasons - but it's worth exploring how likely such a concept might work.
Say you're a stay-at-home employee or digital nomad, perhaps a few weeks onboard a cruise ship might be the change of scene that many want after a prolonged period of time in your own residence.
Work during the day, while the remaining passengers are off clambering over ancient ruins during a scheduled stop.
Then perhaps enjoying the trappings that cruise liners usually offer their guests in the evening. Stay for a few weeks, then either return home on the ship or fly back home if the vessel - or costs - are heading beyond reach.
But the reality of working in the same location as hundreds (sometimes thousands) of tourists who are there to enjoy themselves is not an obvious one.
Sure, many hotels are positioning themselves as remote places to work for digital nomads or those wanting a change of scene from home.
The cruise environment is wholly different to that found in a hotel, with more people milling around and the opportunity to escape to local area if needs be far more difficult to obtain.
In any other period of recent history, Princess's initiative might have caught the imagination of some but in a pandemic era the cruise line has a far bigger job to do to make it work.
Even with vaccines, testing and health protocols, cruise ships have an enormous effort on their hands to repair their reputation after the early phase of the COVID-19 situation saw ships quarantined due to mass outbreaks or, some argue, a lax approach to operations (many still set sail despite the obvious unfolding crisis).
It will take more than just a steady set of sea legs and desire to hang out with thousands of cruise passengers for this initiative to get much traction.
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