FCCA Travel and Cruise Magazine – 3rd Quarter 2023

When the unexpected happens, it is important to be prepared to provide the necessary support for cruise guests, and for our teams to be prepared with the necessary tools. At the annual FCCA conference in Mazatlán, a panel including the Carnival Care Team, Norwegian Guest Experiences and Costamed Mexico helped the conference attendees understand the importance of providing emotional and logistical support during a crisis and how essential this can be to successfully manage these sensitive, complex situations.

The panelists talked about the importance of building trust and providing timely and accurate information, all while maintaining clear lines of communication. With all our training over the years, dealing with difficult situations and managing risk has been where most participants find very helpful and look for more. We have been asked about preparing teams for crisis situations and have been unable to help until now.

Cruise lines continue to help teams as they offer Care Training in their major ports throughout the Caribbean. Destinations and tour operators have the opportunity to receive this training directly from the cruise lines’ Care Teams and we would recommend taking advantage of that as they are such a great asset at your disposal. However, the cruise lines’ Care Teams cannot always get to those smaller ports and destinations or those who don’t have full cruise ship schedules. And that is where Aquila is offering a solution.

A few months ago, we were introduced to Gregory Crick through our Global Trainer, Ellen Lynch, who felt that some destinations might benefit from us partnering. Gregory has extensive experience in customer service and navigating crisis in the cruise industry. During his career, he saw the opportunity to take his passion for customer service and apply it to crisis management, an unfortunate but important part of business today.  Having dealt with multiple challenging situations, he always ensured his customers were taken care of and that the company’s reputation was upheld. This included successfully navigating several large emergencies, mass casualty incidents, and a global pandemic during his 15 years as Director of Family Assistance and Care Team programs at Holland America Group. He looks forward to sharing his extensive knowledge with cruise destination stakeholders and frontlines.

When Aquila delivers training, we find that stakeholders, tour guides, tour operators, and frontlines often list navigating a crisis or dealing with a difficult situation as among the top stressors and challenges. This is always where we see the most questions, where we see people perking up to listen and they rate that part of the training as the most helpful. Care training is designed to provide the knowledge, skills, and most importantly, the confidence to manage these unexpected situations with excellence. This newly developed training is now available for small teams of 12 to 20 via Zoom as a tour hour session for either destination teams or tour operator teams.

We cannot stop accidents from happening, but we can arm ourselves with knowledge and prepare for the unexpected. Planning ahead is key!

Beth Kelly Hatt is the President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, the FCCA’s official training partner who celebrated 40 years in business in 2022.  Contact Beth for more information about this and other training at Beth@CruiseExcellence.com.