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Tribe and Machel Montano’s Melé cruise is still on for 2021.
However, the organisers say they will consult with patrons regarding a possible change in the date of the event which is scheduled for May 2021.
Rhiannon Pemberton, project manager for Melé, told Loop that a survey will be sent out to those who registered for the cruise to determine their comfort levels regarding the May schedule and when they would prefer.
Dean Ackin, Managing Director of Tribe, assured that they are looking at the COVID-19 situation daily and they will decide on a new date if necessary.
“I think one of the major considerations is the safety of the passengers, so that is something that we are hoping for. If there is a vaccine or some kind of treatment or a positive outcome, we could set a more firm date and one that would be liked by the passengers,” he said.
When registration opened on March 1, Melé received about 75 percent of its bookings before the spread of COVID-19 forced a temporary closure of registration.
Ackin said out of those registered, less than three percent have requested cancellations. Refunds are being processed.
“People are losing jobs so it is a very positive sign that the majority of people are holding on to their bookings. When we opened bookings, passengers knew the event was 13/14 months away, COVID-19 hasn’t changed their minds,” he said.
He revealed that to his surprise, they have been receiving bookings over the last month.
While a large number of overall sales have been from cities such as New York, Toronto, Houston, London and other places in Europe, about 20 percent came out of Trinidad and Tobago.
Melé has also seen requests from artistes representing different genres and DJs who have expressed interest in being part of the inaugural sailing.
Kim Kirton, Marketing and Communications Manager for the cruise, stressed that Melé is not a soca cruise and patrons can expect a variety of music.
“It is a cruise for the Caribbean,” she said.
Asked if they expect a bump in demand since many events for this year have been cancelled, Ackin said they didn't expect it but would welcome it. It's a wait and see situation, he said.
“Life and limb before fete and fun,” said Ackin of their plans for 2021. “We were pleased that people jumped onto the concept without knowing the destination or ship and that was an endorsement of Machel and the Tribe brand. Then came COVID but they still believe in us and we promise them the experience of a lifetime once this is all over.”