The Voice of the Cruise Industry

TUI UK cruise boss Chris Hackney: ‘Flexibility more important than ever’

Chris_Hackney, TUI, tui river cruises, marella cruises

TUI UK & Ireland managing director of cruise Chris Hackney discusses the number of Covid-related policies that the company has implemented as it strives to provide flexibility to guests.

It feels like a lifetime ago that we were ready to launch TUI River Cruises back in March, which ended up being the start of the first lockdown and here we are in another one. However, we’re optimistic about the year ahead.

We’re looking forward to launching our ships and we are excited to sail on Europe’s best waterways.

We’ve taken extra measures to ensure safe and enjoyable cruises in 2021 with a number of health and safety protocols on board, from deep cleaning our ships to ensuring our crew have been given full Covid-19 related training.

And because we know we are living in uncertain times and people may feel anxious about travelling, we’re being super flexible and ensuring we have everything covered to give people maximum peace of mind.

We have free amends on all new bookings for summer 2021 and customers can change their holiday for free up to 21 days before departure. Plus, guests can book with added confidence thanks to our TUI River Cruises travel promise guaranteeing TUI standards, quarantine-free cruises and flexibility if their cruise can’t go ahead.

We’ve also introduced Covid cover, a package of benefits including free changes if customers get Covid-19 before they travel, and overseas medical assistance as part of our Holiday to Home insurance policy.

We’re always looking at ways we can offer our customers more choice and flexibility and that’s why we are offering shorter durations of three or four nights to provide the perfect option for those looking for a mini getaway.

In addition, we have more cabins available for solo customers with a current no single supplement offer. What’s more, TUI Maya will become all-inclusive for summer 2022, providing even more variation.

Travel agents are hugely important to us and so we provide the same price to all our customers and agent partners, regardless of the channel they use to book. We’ve also set up a specialist river cruise contact centre team to answer any queries from our customers and agents.

The CLIA community has been so important to us since our inception and we’ve been able to become really involved, hosting regular training and webinars for our agents. We’re committed to strengthening our relationships with travel agent partners and are keen to partner with new agents, so I would encourage anybody interested to get in touch.

We have a wonderful product that we are very proud of and we can’t wait to showcase it to our customers this year.

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