CONTRIK-69-hit luxury cruise organisers Viking Threadbone - whose operations have seen a catastrophic 95% fall in profitability since the start of the pandemic - have responded to current market difficulties in what industry observers are calling an unusual, surprising and “frankly utterly unfathomable” way.
The under-threat company was rocked in March of last year when 200 passengers aboard fleet flagship Princess Amanda were struck by a toxic combination of salmonella, legionaries disease and CONTRIK-69 during a two night 43 destination Mediterranean cruise. The unforeseen - and certainly unwelcome - outbreaks meant that the luxury liner was refused permission to dock in any port and passengers spent a total of 113 days at sea - their dream holiday blighted by a lack of fresh food (“more a greenish-brown than the Company's trademark pink - what I took to be brown Windsor was in fact pea and ham”), an acute shortage of toilet paper ["people were even resorting to wiping themselves on the Telegraph, I mean the Guardian you could understand"] and the uninterrupted presence of “mood lifting” entertainers - the Agnes Surridge Trio - who remarkably [make that sadly [Ed]] developed no symptoms and continued to perform “hits from the Blitz” on a twice nightly basis for the entire duration.
One passenger described it as the cruise from hell but others were more critical.
No sooner had the company begun to regain the confidence of holiday makers [the offer of 75% discount on all 2036 cruises booked before may 2021 induced more than a few to overcome any residual qualms] than a socially distanced marine lockdown enforced by the RDC’s Rapid Response Cruise Marshalls massively curtailed the Company’s planned operations forcing them to reduce their cruise-ships capacity by 85%. The RDC’s inflexible interpretation of the 12 metre distancing regulations meant that only 1 in 6 cabins could be occupied at the state room end of the spectrum, through 1 in 34 in steerage and 1 on 68 below the waterline. “Obviously this compromised operations more than a little”, Executive Cruise Director Alat Zee said, “and challenged operational viability - so the situation in the short term at least (2021-2028) looks a little bleak”.
Now that it is clear that a return to normal capacity is “decades away”, the company has been forced to rethink its operations and revise substantially its already heavily redrawn business plan.
In response, rumours suggest, Viking Threadbone have “gone bold”, commissioning a series of brand new ships whose theoretical capacity of 64,000 cabins will enable them to house at least 400 passengers on each and every cruise - perhaps not coincidentally the exact number of patrons required to make employment of the expanded Agnes Surridge sextet [piano trio plus French horn, Wagner tuba, harpsichord and theremin] economically viable.
Sources close to the organisation are playing their cards very close to their chest but a leaked photograph believed to be of CEO Mrs Amanda J Threadbone’s Viking Threadbone office suggests that at least one of the new vessels is already close to launch. The SS Princess Royal Amanda is a revolutionary design fitted with an electronic sanitising system which automatically sprinkles a clear sticky gel on any passenger with the temerity to come within 10 metres of another. “The ones fitted in the cabin ceilings are a hoot”, Ms Zee confirmed. “No sooner will a couple have got into bed than they and their leopard skin Luis Vuitton nightwear will be bonded forever. The state or the art digital hi-res in-cabin CCTV footage will be absolutely hilarious. We’ll recover the operating cost in You’ve Been Framed payments alone".