SCH is making preparations for the resumption of cruising later this summer from all the UK ports where it provides specialist stevedoring services.
Plans are underway to ensure Covid secure handling services are provided at SCH’s major cruise centres of Southampton and Liverpool, along with Portsmouth, where sister company Southern Maritime Services is the port’s exclusive cruise handler.
SCH Cruise Manager Paulo Oliveira says cruise employees are undergoing additional training to ensure that Covid precautions are implemented, including the use of specialist equipment.
He explained: “We recognise that we have an important role to play in ensuring that passengers feel safe when they board cruise ships for the first time again and we are working closely with our customers to put safeguards in place.”
SCH will continue to offer baggage handling and stores loading services to its fleet of cruise ship customers who plan to operate a series of round Britain voyages from various ports, starting in early summer.
Major Southampton customer Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines plans to resume UK operations in early July, with SCH’s other leading cruise customer in the port, Celebrity Cruises, also planning to restart sailings.
Liverpool will host a series of turnaround calls and calling cruises from lines including Disney, MSC and Fred Olsen Line.
SMS, which has continued to support Portsmouth International Port with rope handling services during the pandemic, will also support a wide range of customers using the port to turn around ships sailing in UK waters. Viking Cruises will kick off the programme, while a notable first for the port will be the calls of Virgin Voyages, which will operate six cruises from Portsmouth during August.
“Once cruise operations restart, we expect a busy summer with a large fleet of ships on cruises to nowhere or circumnavigating the UK. We’re also providing help and advice to other UK ports who find themselves on these itineraries,” adds Paulo.