Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has confirmed it is working on a restructure of its head office functions as it looks to “reinvent” the business after Covid-19.
The cruise line, which employs 220 people at its base in Ipswich, said “some redundancies” will be unavoidable as part of a business-wide consultation – but did not confirm how many roles were at risk.
The company said its “streamlined operations” would save it more than a third of its current costs but insisted changes would be made “without affecting guest experience” or its commitment to the trade.
Managing director Peter Deer said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the cruise industry particularly hard. As a company we need to reinvent ourselves to ensure we come out of this stronger, and that our operations are run as efficiently as possible.
“Unfortunately, this does mean that there will be some redundancies as part of this process, because the way in which we will be working will be different.
“We are already seeing a good number of guests transferring to next year, as well as new bookings for 2021, which shows there is confidence and demand for cruise.”
He added: “In order to evolve we are looking at every aspect of our business, and through the use of technology and streamlined operations expect to make savings of over a third on how we are working currently. It is so important to us that these savings bring efficiency without affecting our renowned guest experience, our relationship with our trade partners and customer service.
“Almost every business will have to evolve following the impact of Covid-19. We are a family-run company, and that is something that is felt across all elements of our business, from our head office in Suffolk to on board our ships. We have got ambitious plans for our future as a company, but in order to realise those ambitions we need to ensure we are operating as efficiently as possible.
“We will continue to support any of our team members who are affected by ensuring that every opportunity is open to them in the future, including support with CV writing and interview skills. We will also be looking at alternatives to redundancy as part of the consultation process.
“We are confident in the future of our business, but we do need to make some changes to safeguard our company for many more generations to come.”
Deer also reiterated support for agents, saying: “The trade will continue to be exceptionally important to us, and will be key to our future when we are able to get back in the water.
“Any restructure that we go through now will not change this, and it so important to us that we continue to have such strong working relationships with our trade partners on the other side of the pandemic.”
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