The COVID-19 Questionnaire: Mike Julius – Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line has set its sights on resuming operations on Aug. 1 following a multi-month pause in operations due to COVID-19. Though long-time cruisers, including Carnival Cruise Line’s VP of Field Sales for North America, Mike Julius, are excited more than ever to return to the seas, the cruise experience will look a bit different in a post-COVID-19 world.


Mike Julius

In this edition of The COVID-19 Questionnaire, Julius shares his thoughts on what changes will need to be done to ensure guest safety, and how Carnival Cruise Line will be relying on its trust travel agent partners to help Carnival and passengers make a seamless return to the seas.

Q. How is morale and how is Carnival handling the crisis?

A. “Despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, morale within our team remains high as we continue to develop new protocols and procedures and communicate our efforts to our stakeholders, which includes thousands of travel agents. We are also completing the process of repatriating our crew members to their home countries using our ships as transport and also bringing our ships to safe operational manning levels. During our voluntary pause in operations, we are using this additional time to continue to engage experts, government officials and stakeholders on additional protocols and procedures to protect the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve.”

Q. What do you think travel will look like in a post-COVID-19 world?

A. “There are obviously going to be changes once we start sailing again. We continue to discuss our plans internally and with government officials and public health experts, including the CDC, as we build new operational protocols, enhanced health and sanitation measures and service offerings. We have already submitted our plan to the CDC to manage and support public health priorities. Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing more details with all of our stakeholders.”

Q. What do you think will rebound most quickly, and what might take some time?

A. “COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of society, including of course the travel industry, which has proven to be very resilient over the years. Travel is one of those things people are missing during this extended period of isolation. It’s hard to predict the future, but I think every part of travel is thinking carefully about how they will instill confidence and generate demand.”

Q. With travel at a standstill, how should agents be marketing themselves and keeping themselves in front of clients? 

A. “Ultimately, the value of a great travel advisor is in giving great advice. Now more than ever it’s important for travel advisors to stay in contact with their clients and update them on the latest news and happenings from Carnival and other travel suppliers. Travel advisors will be critical to our success as we move toward sailing again. As we build our return to operations plans and develop enhanced protocols and procedures, we will very clearly communicate those changes to our guests, employees, travel advisors and government officials. It’s very important that you are very familiar with those changes as we announce them, and you can be ambassadors for the industry.”

Q. What new destinations are you really excited about for when this is over, and ideally where will your own first trip be?

A. “On a Carnival cruise of course! I can’t wait to get back onboard and see our amazing crew members who truly are the reason why a Carnival cruise is such a fun and memorable experience.”

Q. What do you like most, and least, about working from home?

A. “The commute is obviously my favourite part of working from home. The least favorite is not being able to see our travel partners and business colleagues in person. A Zoom call just isn’t the same.”

Q. The travel industry is showing its strength and resilience as it rallies to take on the unprecedented impact from the coronavirus pandemic. What message do you want to get out to travel agents?

A. “COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges across every facet of business, including of course the cruise industry. For nearly 50 years, Carnival Cruise Line has provided relaxing, satisfying and safe vacations for more than 80 million guests. Travel advisors have been an important part of our success and now more than ever we will rely on them to keep our long-time fans and first-time cruisers apprised of these enhancements. We can’t wait to get back to doing what we do best – providing wonderful vacation memories for our guests and travel advisors will play a critical role going forward.”

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