experience like nowhere else.
Atlantis holds a lifetime of spectacular memories. Only at Dolphin Cay can you get up close to playful dolphins and interact with friendly sea lions. Snorkel the Ruins or glide alongside sleek stingrays. At Aquaventure, one of the world’s largest and most amazing water parks, every day is ﬁlled with non-stop fun, thrills and adventure. Continue the rush at Atlantis Casino. Place your bets at the Caribbean’s grandest gaming destination. To learn more about these exciting programs, please visit our cruise partners’ websites: Carnival Cruise Lines, Disney Cruise Lines, MSC Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines or Royal Caribbean International. Or to begin oﬀering these Atlantis Excursions through your cruise line, please contact PIDfirstname.lastname@example.org. Atlantis. There’s no such thing as too much amazing.
Download our FREE app at atlantis.com/app.
BEST KEPT SECRE SECR ET patricia y, New York
Flamenco Beach, Culebra
If you only stay in San Juan during your time in PR, you are missing out, my friend! Take the ferry to Culebra, a small island off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico. When you get there, go to the #2 ranked most beautiful beach IN THE WORLD, Flamenco. Its super fine white sand and crystal clear calm waters await you. It's TOTALLY worth it if you're looking to unwind. It's my favorite part of PR. I GO EVERY YEAR. Flamenco is not only one of the most award-winning beaches in the Caribbean. Itâ€™s a five star world class attraction. Live your own five star vacation story.
WEST INDIAN COMPANY
GALLOWS BAY DOCK
A GREAT CRUISE STARTS WITH A GREAT PORT. OR FOUR. Head toward a cruise destination both you and your passengers will appreciate. The four ports of the U.S. Virgin Islands offer well-established cruise destinations with newly renovated and fully appointed facilities. Additionally, St. Croix offers highly efficient bunkering services. Plus, our white sand beaches, turquoise waters and picturesque towns offer all the island experiences your passengers are looking for. For more information on the ports of the U.S. Virgin Islands, visit www.viport.com and www.wico-vi.com.
ÂŠ2014 U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism
By land or by sea.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC HAS IT ALL
FLORIDACARIBBEAN CRUISE ASSOCIATION
THE FLORIDA-CARIBBEAN CRUISE ASSOCIATION MAGAZINE First Quarter 2014
Micky Arison Chairman Carnival Corporation
21 FCCA PAMAC Cruise Paired Platinum Members with Key Cruise Industry Decision Makers for Meetings, Business Opportunities and Family Fun
Karl L. Holz President Disney Cruise Line
24 Full Speed Ahead for 2014 Cruising Growth, Developments and Trends
Richard E. Sasso President & CEO MSC Cruises (USA) Inc. Kevin Sheehan FCCA Chairman, President & CEO Norwegian Cruise Line
Cover photo: Port of St. Maarten
Stephen A. Nielsen Vice President, Caribbean & Atlantic Shore Operations Princess Cruises
Adam Goldstein President & CEO Royal Caribbean International
12 Cruise Industry News & Platinum Highlights
66 Faces in the Industry
Omari Breakenridge Director, Communications & Design
68 Around the Caribbean
Terri Cannici Vice President, Operations Adam Ceserano Senior Vice President Nathalia Gomez Membership Administrator James Kazakoff Manager, Special Projects Jessica Lalama Executive Assistant Justin Paige Manager, Communications, Research & Marketing Michele M. Paige President Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) 11200 Pines Blvd., Suite 201, Pembroke Pines, FL 33026 Phone: (954) 441-8881 • Fax: (954) 441-3171 Website: www.f-cca.com • E-mail: email@example.com Cruising Magazine © 2014 ~ All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, in any form, electronic or otherwise, without written permission of the FCCA is prohibited. To subscribe or change your address, please send requests to firstname.lastname@example.org
29 The Tour Guide: More Important Now Than Ever! By: Amilcar Cascais, Vice President, Tour Operations, Carnival Cruise Lines 33 Government Relations’ Role with Destinations By: Michael Ronan, Vice President, Government Relations, Caribbean, Latin America & Asia, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. 39 Excerpts from the CHTA Caribbean Travel Marketplace’s Official Opening The Most Honorable Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica
Preparations in Full Swing for 21st Annual FCCA Conference & Trade Show
So You Want to Work with the Cruise Industry?
FCCA + Cruise Shipping Miami = Opportunities for Success
New Tour Operator Designation Exclusive to FCCA Members!
Rediscover St. Croix
Martinique: Make It Your Own!
Port Canaveral Builds As Demand Grows
How Carnival Restored Consumer Confidence in Its Cruise Brand
FCCA Member Lines AIDA Cruises • Azamara Club Cruises • Carnival Cruise Lines • Celebrity Cruises • Costa Cruise Lines • Cunard Line Disney Cruise Line • Holland America Line • MSC Cruises (USA) Inc. • Norwegian Cruise Line P&O Cruises • Princess Cruises • Royal Caribbean International • Seabourn • TUI Cruises The information in this publication is provided "as is." FCCA and its Member Lines disclaim all representations and warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to any information, services, products and materials contained herein. FCCA and its Member Lines will in no event be liable for any damage or losses as a result of your use of this publication.
First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 7
President’s Letter “The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” –Winston Churchill
Michele with Maria Claudia Lacouture, President of Proexport Colombia.
A new year is often accompanied by thoughts of renewing ourselves. The fresh calendar’s blank slate sometimes forces us to focus on our past faults and errors as we consider resolutions or perhaps throwing everything away and starting as immaculate as the empty pages. But we must avoid these delusions of destruction and instead think about how to build from our past. After all, any construction takes a solid foundation, which is established through consistency, determination and hard work. We look to our experience and knowledge when progressing or expanding, and we use our current relationships and contacts to form new ones or assist with future ventures.
This is exactly what the FCCA aids through all of its functions, especially the membership programs and plentiful events, some of which are highlighted in this issue of Cruising. The PAMAC Cruise Summit recaps another successful annual event that gathers Platinum Members with cruise executives to discuss business and industry events in an engaging environment; a spotlight on the FCCA’s affiliation with UBM Live and offerings at Cruise Shipping Miami showcases more of these opportunities; Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence discusses the benefits of their tour operator training program developed in collaboration with the FCCA; and another article emphasizes how the FCCA can positively impact your cruise industry business by offering a direct line to the cruise industry’s decision makers—FCCA Member Line CEOs, presidents and executives. Some of these decision makers are featured, with Amilcar Cascais, Carnival Cruise Lines’ vice president of tour operations, discussing tour guides’ vital role, along with a concentration on government relations by Michael Ronan, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s vice president of government relations, Caribbean, Latin America & Asia. A few FCCA Platinum Members’ and Member Lines’ continued advancement and plans for the future are also displayed, such as Carnival Cruise Lines’ resurgence and regaining of consumer confidence; Port Canaveral’s growing demand and infrastructure; and Martinique’s increased calls, upgraded infrastructure and new tour offerings. The future of the Caribbean and the cruise industry itself are also studied through 2014’s cruising developments and trends, along with excerpts from a speech by the Most Honorable Portia Simpson Miller, prime minister of Jamaica, which discusses the Caribbean keeping up with these competitive times. And St. Maarten’s future is tied to the FCCA as host of the 21st annual FCCA Conference & Trade Show—taking place October 6-10—because of its constant improvements and long-standing, mutually beneficial relationship with the industry. This edition of Cruising is sure to provide some inspiration for your own future, and I hope you find ways to move forward with the rear-view mirror set. Of course, the FCCA offers many vehicles for this progression, and you can see them in motion and learn how we can travel together during any of our upcoming events. May your year ahead sail smoothly. Respectfully yours,
Michele M. Paige President FCCA First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 9
Cruise Industry News & Platinum Highlights Onboard Media Selected As FCCA’s Multi-media Partner for Cruise Shipping Miami
In its third year of partnership with the FCCA, Onboard Media’s award-winning video production team will capture every highlight of Cruise Shipping Miami—including interviews with top executives, upcoming ship innovations, and industry and destination insights— to produce on-site social media coverage and unparalleled wrap-up videos. Onboard Media has been instrumental in creating the niche market of cruise shopping promotion and continues to set trends in all forms of media, from print to digital. Drawing on the iconic brand-building tradition of its parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and the content expertise of its core business, Onboard Media recently launched a game-changing online destination—Onboard.com. The new online destination fills a clear void in the cruise market, featuring an artfully designed mix of rich content and an inviting community where consumers can learn about, research, plan and share everything they love about cruising. Be sure to follow both @OnboardMedia and @HelloOnboard on Twitter and Facebook to catch all of our exciting news and coverage as Cruise Shipping Miami celebrates its 30th year. Conference Program Announced for Seatrade Med The much anticipated conference pro12 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
gram for the 2014 Seatrade Med Cruise Convention has been announced. Key issues surrounding cruising’s rapid expansion in the Mediterranean region will be discussed during this highly informative conference from September 16-18, 2014 at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via Conference Centre in Barcelona, Spain. The program will begin with the opening session, “State of the Cruise Industry in the Mediterranean,” where a high level panel from the cruise lines will discuss the outlook for the region as the world economy moves out of recession and as the range of offerings in the Med proliferates, with new ships, new itineraries and new ports of call. Other topics include: • Upscale Cruising • Logistics & Ship Supply • Build, Repair, Refurbish – a Lifecycle of Change • Marketing, Sales & Distribution of the Cruise Product • Ports, Terminals & Cruise Lines • Green Ideas & Inspirations • Itinerary & Shorex For more information about Seatrade Med, please visit www.cruiseship pingevents.com/med The Seatrade Med Cruise Convention is owned and organised by UBM in partnership with Seatrade and in association with the Port of Barcelona. Porthole Cruise Magazine Announces Redesign of Magazine and Logo and Complete Re-launch of Porthole.com Porthole Cruise Magazine, now in its 18th year, announced a redesign of the magazine with the upcoming March/April 2014 issue. Baseline Creative Group’s Mike Bessire was
recruited to work with Porthole’s publishing team to redesign not only the look and feel of the magazine’s interior, but also a new masthead logo for the magazine. Available bimonthly on the newsstands in bookstores and airports, as well as by both print and digital subscriptions, the magazine continues to include ship reviews, destination features, photo essays, and editorial on food and wine, spa and well-being, entertainment, kids activities, and other onboard amenities. Additionally, Porthole.com will be simultaneously re-launching in early March to reveal a brand-new design, as well as increased original editorial and video content, new blogs, and fun and entertaining cruiser interaction, including through Porthole’s social media networks that include, or will include, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. Virgin Port Services Receives Editorin-Chief Award, Porthole Magazine Virgin Port Services, sister company to Virgin Excursions LLP in St. Thomas, received the 2014 Editor-in-Chief Award from Porthole Magazine for Best Port Agency. Virgin Excursions LLP had previously won the 2010 Editor-in-Chief Award from Porthole Magazine for Best New Tour Operator. According to Bill Panoff, editor-inchief, Porthole Magazine, “From various lines and sectors of the industry, we hear nothing but stellar remarks about the services provided by Virgin Port Services.” Virgin Port Services and Virgin Excursions LLP is a multi-faceted company that provides high-quality shore excursion, port agency and consultancy services to all of the world’s major cruise lines, high-end mega-
Cruise Industry News & Platinum Highlights yachts and concession/retail operators, regularly servicing approximately 600 cruise ship calls per year as port agent, as well as providing an extensive and innovative line-up of various shore excursions.
Additional information regarding the cruise schedule is available online at: www.tourismbonaire.com. Balmoral Island: The Place Where Heaven Touches Earth
Comprised of personnel from diverse sectors of the cruise, marine and hotel industries, Virgin Excursions’ professionals have long-standing and welltrusted industry relationships and possess a combined cruise industry experience of approximately 100 years. Bonaire Welcomed Over 16,000 Cruise Passengers and $1.15 Million to Economy in Single Week
There is one destination that will put a smile in your soul that will last forever: Balmoral Island.
Bonaire experienced its busiest cruise week of the 2013/2014 cruise season during the week of January 20 - 26, 2014. Bonaire welcomed six cruise ships and over 16,000 passengers. Bonaire had cruise calls from P&O Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Aida Cruises, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises. Friday January 24th, 2014 was the busiest day, with over 6,000 cruise passengers and two cruise ships in port.
Here dolphins are kings, and you can touch, play and swim with them. You will have the time of your life!
“We are extremely happy to see that our cruise high season is going well. The week alone contributed USD $1.15 million to our economy. As we continue to expand our cruise calls both in the high and low season, we also strive to observe Bonaire’s carrying capacity,” commented Ethsel Pieternella, director of Tourism Corporation Bonaire. “TCB would like to thank all the operators, taxi drivers and our private sector for providing our cruise passengers with an excellent customer service and experience. The organization at the port and the relaxed approach of our island is being greatly enjoyed. Bonaire is at the top of the Caribbean in service to our visitors.’’
Sun will caress your skin as you relax and sip on one of the many tropical drinks in our cabanas, pool, or paradisiacal beaches. Snorkeling will open your eyes to the best underwater surprises you can imagine. Our stingray encounter will put you side-by-side with these exotic creatures in a wave of excitement. Come visit us. Let us show you the place where everything seems to be surreal—where dolphins are kings, and you are part of their court; a unique place where heaven touches earth. Say no more; come to Balmoral Island.
the container port in Freezone and also for Aruba’s cruise port in Oranjestad, which will be able to undergo the necessary development to accommodate more cruise lines and passengers. The Green Port Policy was approved to protect and improve the environmental conditions of the waters under jurisdiction of the Oranjestad and Barcadera harbors. The port is also collaborating with TNO (Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research) to work on a new waterside security solution—technology that is environmentally friendly and can be considerably cheaper than existing solutions. And as of December 1st, 2013, the port added reduced water and bunkering prices for the summer incentive package, which attracts more ships during the low season with discounts on the cruise passenger fee, wharfage fee, and pilotage fee. Attractive new developments have also taken place directly around the Port of Oranjestad, and port visitors will be able to catch the Oranjestad trolley right at the port’s main gate to experience great shopping and dining while traveling through many significant eras in small island nation’s history. Princess Cruises Rewards Cox & Company
2013: A Year Replete with Advances for Aruba Ports Authority In early 2013 Aruba Ports Authority announced that they were ready to begin the necessary work to move the container operations to Barcadera—a project that will generate new opportunities for
On January 16, 2014 Cox and Company Limited attended an awards ceremony onboard Pacific Princess, First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 13
Cruise Industry News & Platinum Highlights where its “Sulphur Springs, the Pitons, Scenic Cruise & Lunch” was awarded the 2012/2013 “High Volume Tour of the Season.”
couples cruises and Groove Cruise, with large groups and unique requirements, all with outstanding outcomes and satisfied guests.
Representatives from Cox and Company Limited Laura Trezelle, Tracey Elliot, Amanda Magloire and tour guide Selwyn Jn. Baptiste proudly accepted the award presented by Captain Karl Duke Austin and shore excursion manager Michele Bosco. The ceremony also included a tour of the ship and lunch onboard.
With many projects to come, Playa Mia not only remains in the forefront of the tourism offer in Cozumel, but also continuously sets new standards of quality and entertainment.
Over the last 5 years, Cox and Company Limited has consistently won this award and welcomed the recognition given by Princess Cruises. The company strives to ensure that the products and services offered to cruise passengers are of a high quality in customer service and safety.
At Playa Mia Grand Beach & Water Park, the fun never ends!
The Bigger, the Better: Playa Mia’s Hard Work Yields Amazing Outcomes
With state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities, the highest standards in service, guest satisfaction and F&B handling processes, Playa Mia Grand Beach & Water Park offers a wide variety of possibilities to cater to the most demanding groups, not only in special arrangements, but also in volume capacity—a unique combination that appeal to the industry’s big players. In recent years Playa Mia has successfully catered events for, among others, prestigious charter companies such as 14 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
Stand by for the unveiling of Playa Mia’s new project to be launched in the upcoming months!
The Guadeloupe Islands News for 2014 Guadeloupe expects to receive over 300,000 passengers from several cruise lines. This season, homeporting and interporting will increase significantly— 50% more than last year: •
Costa will homeport two ships— Costa Magica and Costa Mediterranea.
MSC Cruises will interport for its second season with MSC Musica.
Carnival UK will call for the first time.
Norwegian Cruise Line will call for the first time in Pointe-à-Pitre.
For this reason, the Port Authority invested $USD 2 million for a second cruise terminal to simultaneously receive two ships up to 3,500 passengers each—in transit or homeporting. Facilities for guests and crew have also significantly improved with free Internet WIFI in the first terminal.
Fidelio Cruise Smart Onboard MSC Divina!
As part of its on-going drive to offer the best onboard customer experience, MSC Cruises has adopted one of Fidelio Cruises’ applications—FC Smart iGuest. The app has been installed initially onboard the 3,960passenger MSC Divina, but is likely to be rolled out across other ships in the Italian cruise line’s fleet in the months ahead. The clever software can be downloaded to smart phones and mobile devices when cruise guests arrive onboard. Available in six languages onboard MSC Divina, it keeps guests informed of the ship’s features and cruise status. Passengers can browse through onboard activities and excursions; reserve tables in the ship’s restaurants; or book appointments in the spa. Furthermore, guests can chat message family members and other guests free of charge. The app also helps cruise managers to market onboard promotions in real-time to passengers. Fidelio Cruise’s Smart iGuest also enables shoreside managers to monitor daily statistics on shipboard activities and revenue canters. St. Maarten Port and Destination on the Move Within the past couple of months, there have been significant developments for the Port of St. Maarten and the destina-
Cruise Industry News & Platinum Highlights tion overall. On December 18, 2013, the port catered to eight cruise ships in one day with more than 22,000 cruise passengers who spent several hours on the island.
Appleton Estate Rum Bar, Jablum Coffee House and Walkerswood Jerk Hut, where guests can see, smell, touch and taste the locally manufactured products.
In January 2014 the new Simpson Bay Causeway Bridge was officially inaugurated. The Causeway was constructed to alleviate traffic congestion and to have an alternate route leading to the country’s national airport. Construction started in early 2012 and was completed in December 2013. The Causeway has a total length of 2493 feet and features a two-lane motorway, a bicycle track and footpaths. The Causeway offers a scenic view while driving over the Simpson Bay Lagoon.
New park passes offer something for every guest visiting Good Hope, whether you’re seeking adventure, culture or leisure!
Chukka at Good Adventure Estate!
Trinity Air Ambulance’s Developments
A recent multi-million dollar expansion to Good Hope includes a 9,000-squarefoot aviary of indigenous and exotic birds; a swimming pool and children’s play area; and an adult challenge course on the Colonial Estate. The Colonial Estate features an
Antigua & Barbuda’s Attraction: D-Boat
Dating back to the 18th century, Good Hope Estate sits on over 2,000 lush acres, with scenic views and access to the majestic Martha Brae River. From zipline adventures to river tubing and estate tours via horse and carriage, Chukka at Good Hope offers an unrivaled variety of experiences.
Ambulances); or just come by to visit us, and we will be glad to see you!
The owners of Trinity Air Ambulance have recently purchased another Learjet 35—the newest addition to their fleet of air ambulance aircraft. The newly acquired Learjet has a range of 2,000 NM, allowing it to fly non-stop from Miami, FL to regions like Quito, Ecuador or as far north as Gander, Newfoundland, Canada. It cruises at an altitude of 45,000 ft., reaching speeds of 500 mph. This Learjet is equipped with a large panel entertainment system, capable of playing DVD/CD/MP3 for the enjoyment of passengers inflight. Trinity’s recently completed, 10,000ft2 hangar will be fully operational by February 21st, housing their full fleet of aircraft and providing new offices for their pilots and medical crew. For more photos and information, visit our website (TrinityAir Ambulance.com); follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/TrinityAir
Moored in the picturesque turquoise waters of Jolly Harbor sits Antigua’s newest-found treasure accessible by a 10-minute ferry-ride—D-Boat. This enchanting restaurant, bar and lounge is quickly establishing itself as one of Antigua’s most desirable entertainment locations, boasting magnificent views from the ocean. D-Boat, a 1974 decommissioned oil tanker, is now completely modernized and sits dramatically atop stunning aquamarine waters, its well-appointed menu offers a vibrant selection pleasing all tastes and appetites. Come for lunch and relax with our famous mojito before enjoying the 25ft. slide or water trampoline. Then venture onto some of our specialty dishes such as the ceviche, coconut shrimp, D-Boat burger or seafood pasta. For dinner, the restaurant is romantically transformed with candle-lit lamps providing the perfect ambiance. Early diners can enjoy radiant sunsets over the tranquil waters whilst sipping on one of our specialty cocktails. Eat. Drink. Relax. We promise your experience on D-Boat will leave you delighted and longing for more. For more information visit: www.dbaot antigua.com
Cruise Industry News & Platinum Highlights Norwegian to Begin Sailings from Bayport in October
Fall 2014 will mark the second full season of cruises, and the Port of Houston Authority is preparing for the October 11 launch of Norwegian Cruise Line and the November 11 return of Princess Cruises at its Bayport Cruise Terminal. Norwegian will offer weekly sailings through April 11, 2015, while Princess will sail weekly through May 3, 2015. Both cruise lines will offer sailings to the western Caribbean. The Bayport Cruise Terminal provides some of the finest, most modern and traveler-friendly amenities available. Located in Pasadena, Texas, on the western shores of Galveston Bay, Bayport Cruise Terminal’s proximity to fine restaurants, hotels and both regional airports make it an ideal point of embarkation and disembarkation. The state-of-the-art facility combines visual appeal, passenger convenience, accessibility and innovative security systems.
After serving more than 1.5 million passengers through the Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) Cruise Terminal, Jacksonville recently celebrated two cruise special anniversaries. In October 2013, the region marked 10 years of cruise service from the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal in North Jacksonville. Just a few months later, JAXPORT and Carnival celebrated 10 years of partnership. The first Carnival ship sailed from Jacksonville in Feb. 2004. Currently home to the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fascination, Jacksonville offers four- and five-day cruises to the Bahamas and Key West. The ship’s Hollywood-themed décor and VIP service make it a favorite of cruise aficionados from around the southeast and beyond. Carnival and its customers consistently give JAXPORT highest marks for quality assurance and customer service.
Inspired by 152 years of history and Cuban heritage of Bacardi, the bar and terrace feature the BACARDÍ bat logo, original BACARDÍ advertising artwork and Cuban-inspired fixtures including specially-designed tiles and shutters, all combining to create a BACARDÍ bar like no other. Guests can choose from a menu of freshly made BACARDÍ cocktails, and the bar will host exclusive events and entertainment, including live mixology and DJs, plus a variety of interactive games each week. Martinique Tourism Cruise Village
JAXPORT’s Cruise Terminal features year-round homeport and port-of-call service. The terminal is located minutes from I-95 and Jacksonville International Airport, and northeast Florida is ideally suited for the large drive-to market within the southeastern United States. Ultimate BACARDÍ Experience Now Available for Norwegian Cruise Line Guests
Jacksonville Celebrates 10 Years of Cruising
Norwegian Cruise Line guests are now 16 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
able to enjoy the ultimate BACARDÍ experience at the new BACARDÍ Bar on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s 250acre private island in the Bahamas.
The Martinique Tourism Authority is thrilled to announce its Cruise Village, the latest initiative to greet cruise visitors to the island. The complex, which consists of vendors and information points, is located at the Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal at the entrance of downtown Fort-de-France. Welcoming all cruise passengers, the village is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm on days of ship calls. The village features a wide variety of vendors, who all accept US dollars, including: local clothing stands, jewelry and accessory designers, locally-produced skin care products and perfumes,
Cruise Industry News & Platinum Highlights souvenir shops, local artists exhibiting their paintings and artisanal treats. Set to the rhythm of live music, the experience is enriched by local dancing and rum tasting.
tive services, which include availability for hull maintenance works, mooring and unmooring of food supplies, and incineration services for organic waste disposal.
The Martinique Tourism Authority and Fort-de-France tourist office have information booths at the Village. Visitors will also be assisted by multilingual “city stewards,” easily noticed by their red jackets and dispatched throughout the city to answer questions, give directions and greet visitors.
The Port has also been working on new projects that include the refurbishment of the handcrafts market, the construction of a new beach tourist corridor, and the upcoming opening of a new beachfront marketplace.
Emilio Robba Signature Style
The Port of Yucatan is not only the gateway to the Mayan world; it has a strategic location in the Yucatan Peninsula, connecting with main US ports in just a few hours. It is considered the 6th largest cruise port in Mexico, equipped with all necessary amenities for visitors, and cruise lines, such as: shops, tour guides, bars, taxi services, immigration offices and customs facilities.
businesses to understand the needs and thought process of their customers— the cruise industry,” said Roger. “After spending a lifetime in this industry, I look at destinations and other businesses from a cruise line point of view. I help my clients view their own products through their customers’ eyes, which makes their offerings more valuable for the cruise industry. I create a strategy with my clients to help them succeed.” Cruise & Port Advisors is proud to be an FCCA Platinum Member. MSC Musica Cruise Begins Operating in Santo Domingo’s Sansouci Port
Cruise & Port Advisors Celebrates Third Anniversary Emilio Robba Studio collaborates with interior designers and architects worldwide to create floral and landscape environments with Illusion Flowers®, plants and trees of high quality design and workmanship. Emilio Robba designers give architectural and sculptural form to the arrangements, creating the perfect illusion of nature recognized as the Emilio Robba signature style. www.emiliorobba.com | Miami Design District Showroom | 305 572 0203 | email@example.com The Port of Yucatan: Gateway to the Mayan World The Port of Yucatan (Progreso) is currently offering a better experience for cruise lines by integrating new attrac-
Cruise & Port Advisors, Inc. is pleased to celebrate its third anniversary. During this short period, cruise industry veteran Roger Blum, Cruise & Port Advisors’ Principal, has worked with a variety of clients—both destinations and other businesses—to fine-tune their products to meet the high quality expectations of cruise lines and their guests. Roger then helps his clients connect with cruise industry decision makers so that they can increase their business, as well as offering representation in South Florida. “It’s vital for destinations and other
MSC Musica’s maiden call to Sansouci brings the largest amount of cruise passengers per call registered in the destination, along with the greatest vessel length to visit Port of Santo Domingo. The new cruise departs from Sansouci every Saturday with a route to La Romana, San Martin, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Antigua, Tortola and the British Virgin Islands. MSC Cruise Line’s expanded operations in the country reflect a 41% increase in calls at Sansouci. Jaime Castillo, Executive Director of Sans Souci Ports, expressed that as a result of being a partial homeport, the city of Santo Domingo rebounds as a cruise destination in the region. First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 17
Cruise Industry News & Platinum Highlights “The relationship between MSC Cruises and Santo Domingo grows stronger through the arrival of this ship as well as the consolidation of MSC as a strong player in the Caribbean,” told Castillo. Cartagena de Indias Cruise Ship Terminal: Present at Cruise Shipping Miami’s 30th Anniversary
Cartagena de Indias Cruise Ship Terminal will be present at the 30th anniversary edition of Cruise Shipping Miami. Together with Proexport Colombia, it will be showing the port, its facilities and services, as well as Cartagena as a tourism destination—its attractions and venues. In the past year, the port has received over 210 cruise calls and 350,000 passengers, cementing it as one of the most important terminals in the southern Caribbean region. Feel welcome to visit us at booth 899 during the convention. Costa Rica Debuts First International Cruise Route Departing from Puerto Caldera
18 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
This past January marked the first time an international cruise departed from Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica. Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Quest introduced the new 14-night route, “Americas Voyage.” After spending the day docked at Caldera, the ship continued its voyage up the Pacific coast, calling at Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. Travelers then completed their journey and disembarked in Los Angeles, California. The new Mesoamerican cruise route is part of a regional strategy sponsored by the Costa Rica Tourism Board together with port and tourism authorities of the destination countries. “This has been a major cooperation between the Costa Rica’s Tourism Board and port authorities from neighboring countries,” said Mr. Allan Flores, Costa Rica’s minister of tourism. “This new route presents a tremendous opportunity for Central America, as it positions it as a fascinating cruise destination.” For more on news www.VisitCostaRica.com.
Sonora Announces First Homeport in Mexico The state of Sonora is proud to announce that a new cruise homeport is being built in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora in the northern part of the Sea of Cortez. This will be the first homeport in Mexico and serve a new route sailing in the Sea of Cortez and the Mexican Pacific tentatively planned to call at seven different ports, one of them being Los Cabos. Cruisers will have the unique opportunity to see the Sea of Cortez, which was once called “the world’s aquarium” by Jacques Cousteau, while also enjoying the unique and beautiful landscape of Puerto Peñasco.
The new homeport, planned for completion by summer 2015, has an initial investment of 700 million pesos. It is part of a joint effort from the federal, state, and municipal government to strengthen the cruise offering in Mexico. La Place Carenage Duty-Free Shopping Mall in Saint Lucia Offers Affordable Luxuries Over 40% of all Saint Lucia cruise passengers visit La Place Carenage DutyFree Shopping Mall during their visit. Located alongside one of the main berths in the heart Castries, its quaint, colonial façade is a siren call that never fails to lure customers in to sample the rich variety of offerings. La Place Carenage offers the best of all worlds. At one end of the spectrum is a vast range of products that offer great value. At the other end of the spectrum is high-end merchandise, still offering great value, but in a different price bracket. Capturing the essence of this all-encompassing strategy is the mall’s branding of affordable luxuries, as the mall offers just about everything – jewellery, clothes, souvenirs, arts and crafts, perfume and even two restaurants. There is much more to La Place Carenage beyond its own marketing efforts. For example, the mall is always an integral part of the St. Lucia Jazz Festival, which takes place in early May every year. La Place Carenage will also be the focus of the new waterfront development. The design of the new development will reflect the magnificent façade of La Place Carenage, improving the ambience of the entire area and enabling the mall to offer even better customer service in a shopper-friendly setting.
e g la il V e is u r C w e n r u o T h is y e a r, e x p e r ie n c e m r a w s eâ€™ u iq n ti r a M f o te s a n d g e t a ta w e lc o m e a n d u n iq u e c u lt u re. - C o ra li e
The Bay of Fort-de-France is part of the Worldâ€™s Most Beautiful Bays Club and is just one of the exciting places you can discover. Visit martiniquepro.org/cruise
Discover a place where tourists become travelers. And schedules are optional. Here, destinations can be located by map, but only found with the soul. The true Belize is discovered when you leave expectations behind, and simply be.
FCCA PAMAC Cruise Paired Platinum Members with Key Cruise Industry Decision Makers for Meetings, Business Opportunities and Family Fun
ver 100 Platinum Members, representatives of FCCA’s exclusive membership program and crucial stakeholders in the cruise and tourism industry, gathered with their families, business partners and over 30 FCCA Member Line cruise executives from January 23-27 for the PAMAC Cruise Summit. Taking place aboard Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess, the event offered a schedule of meetings, receptions and specialized activities to give the members a chance to discuss trends; develop ideas; promote and pitch their products and destinations; and develop lasting and worthwhile business relationships with some of the most significant decision makers in the industry—cruise executives varying from fields including shore excursions, port operations, itinerary development, product development and more.
“This is an important tool for both the members and the cruise industry…we frequently learn about new developments and products, and we are able to help fine-tune them to best fit the cruise lines.” - Federico Gonzalez-Denton, director, government and community relations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. From departure to disembarkation, the agenda was stacked with meetings and structured functions designed to foster these relationships, idea exchanges and product promotion. As soon as Ruby Princess sailed from Port Everglades, the crowd congregated for the Business Card Exchange & Reception, hosted by Tony Kaufman, Princess Cruises’ senior vice president of commercial affairs. Here, the members and executives were able to exchange business cards and a few words, often discussing recent trends, business or developments—both business and personal.
Dinner followed, where the members and executives grouped together to continue their discussions and joining more to increase perspective. One of the main features of these events is the collaboration made possible by bringing together some of the premier players of the destinations’ private and public sectors along with the FCCA Member Lines cruise executives, as this is the best way to learn from each other. Tables were privately set in the royally extravagant dining room, and executives and Platinum Members (along with their families) were able to choose their tables and conversation First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 21
partners. This arrangement helped establish free-flowing discussion and guaranteed that members the ability to interact with executives, even during dinner with their families. January 24 made productive use of a day-at-sea, as Platinum Members collected for a two-hour session of oneon-one meetings, where they selected cruise executives to privately meet. Often these executives filled a required need for discussing and presenting new business, as they decide where ships call and what tours and products are sold onboard. Additionally, they have the knowledge to offer any changes or input that is necessary in order to make a more viable business model and the operational information from the cruise line’s perspective in order to know how to best suit their product or destination for the line. Federico Gonzalez-Denton, director, government and community relations for Royal Caribbean Cruises
22 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
Ltd. shared some of the importance of these meetings: “The one-on-one meetings allow for us to address the specific concerns or learn about new products from Platinum Members. This is an important tool for both the members and the cruise industry. For us, we frequently learn about new developments and products, and we are able to help fine-tune them to best fit the cruise lines. For the members, it gives them a real vantage point in knowing what the lines are looking for and how to appeal to them.” A crisp Mexican sunset announced January 25, with Cozumel serving as the port of call and a hub of tour offerings contributed by Platinum Members. Playa Mia Grand Beach & Water Park hosted an all-day beach party, complete with speed boating, snorkeling and Segway adventures; Discover Mexico gave a taste of Mexico with the Jose Cuervo Tequila Tasting Experience; Dolphinaris supplied the chance to swim and play with dolphins; Fury
Catamarans sailed a route of partying and snorkeling; and Sand Dollar Sports thrilled with a genuine experience of America’s Cup 12-Metre Yacht Race. These provided opportunities to see and learn from successful tour offerings and the destination’s port and infrastructure developments, while balancing business with pleasure by having some good, old fun. The tour offerings also put the shoe on the other foot for tour operator members, reversing their role and allowing them to see what they want to experience and how they want to be treated, along with getting a different perspective of crowd control, passenger flow, transportation from and to the cruise ship and tour guide interaction. They also led to a different form of networking, with tour groups and participants often forming a deeper connection through shared experiences. The day was capped by an exclusive reception hosted by Carnival Corporation. Before bidding adios to
Mexico, the group gathered at Puerto Maya’s terrace to network and sample an array of local cuisine. An extra treat was the attendance of Cozumel’s mayor, Fredy Marrufo Martin, who welcomed all to his city. One of the most important proceedings—the PAMAC Meeting—was saved for the last day. Here, the latest developments and issues in the industry or any topic/question offered by members were discussed by an expert panel in order to stay informed on all of the most recent trends and how to best actualize the knowledge gained. As Matthew Sams, vice president of Caribbean relations, Holland America Line, told, “I am honored to be a vice chairman at the PAMAC Meeting. This is an important feature for relaying all of the latest information to the members while also giving a chance to know how to best learn from it and implement what they need to fully take advantage of this knowledge—
from an individual operational level to steps they must take to improve their regions.” Topics included reasonable head tax rates, using increases to improve services and stimulating destination investments for product and shore services. And presentations were given by Platinum Members—such as Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence on raising the level of excellence; BREA discussing the 2014/2015 FCCA Caribbean Economic Impact Study; Blue Planet Tours’ new offering; and destination/port reports on Port Saint John, San Souci, Belize and St. Maarten, which will host the 2014 FCCA Conference & Trade Show from October 6-10. Atlantis, Paradise Island then helped with the difficulty of saying goodbye by hosting a farewell reception and ensuring that members had the opportunity to talk with whomever they needed and left no ends untied. There was a sense of urgency, encouraging mem-
bers to wrap up (or begin) any ongoing discussions/business proposals. However, this did not stop many from simply enjoying their company, hor d’oeuvres and sunset-view from Ruby Princess’s outdoor terrace. In all, the FCCA PAMAC Cruise provided another successful example of what FCCA’s Platinum Member events seek for its members and executives—to help establish mutually beneficial relationships and instill the necessary knowledge of how to appeal, promote and develop products/destinations to the right entities This is one of the FCCA’s main functions and why it offers proceedings that gather some of the most significant decision makers and prominent professionals in the industry to establish and foster partnerships; develop and promote their products and destinations; cultivate ideas and learn from the latest trends and information in settings that also provide the laid-back fun that leads to real connections and relationship building.
First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 23
Full Speed Ahead for 2014 Cruising Growth, Developments and Trends
t is easy to categorize 2013 as a successful year for the cruise industry. A record-breaking estimated 21.3 million passengers sailed globally, according to CLIA (representing a 1-million-passenger growth over 2012’s previous record); 17 new ships were added to CLIA’s fleet; over 60 percent of 500 CLIA travel agents surveyed noted sales ranging from good (steadily improving over the recent past) to excellent (best year ever); and according to Brad Tolkin, cochairman/CEO of World Travel Holdings—parent company of CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. brands—“…we see a very robust booking environment with us beginning to feel the wind at our back again.” And this is just the beginning, with increased demand and return of first-time cruisers, capacity growth and revitalization/innovation, pricing optimization, strong value, cruise line perks, brand distinguishing, new product offerings and destinations/markets, and more poised to drive further growth in 2014. 24 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
CLIA has already forecast a “conservative” record 21.7 million passengers, and travel agents are echoing this optimism. The same CLIA travel agent survey found that 92 percent of respondents anticipate their 2014 to be as good or better than 2013. Scott Koepf, vice president of sales for Akoya Travel, which experienced a record year in 2013, helped explain this positivity, “At this point we have expectation that 2014 sales will be even better—especially with what we are seeing in terms of advance booking and trends.” Kevin Weisner, senior vice president of Cruise Holidays furthered the fervor by citing that the future business on the books, as of November 30, was about 7 percent ahead of the same point last year, and Michele Fee, CEO and co-founder of Cruise Planners, tells of their wave season’s healthy start—to the tune of 17 percent ahead of last year based on the purchases within the first 20 days of January. Part of the reason for this pickup is the start of a healthy wave
season and optimism about the return of first-time cruisers— especially important after their decline in 2012 and 2013. Though their absence attested to the loyalty of cruising regulars, they were sorely missed in the industry’s bottom line. Now they’re coming in waves. The CLIA travel agent survey found that 87.7 percent experienced similar or increased sales to new cruisers; agents from all Travel Leaders brands reported that 84.6 percent have seen higher first-timer bookings in 2014, compared to the same time last year (with five percent noting an increase over 40 percent); and Vacation.com’s agent poll disclosed 36 percent of its members with more first-timers interested in cruising. First-timers are especially important because cruisers repeat and are historically loyal. According to CLIA’s 2011 Market Profile Study, 58 percent of cruisers had taken multiple voyages (with 87 percent of Luxury cruisers and 85 percent of Premium cruisers taking to the seas more than once), and 38 percent of all three-plus-day trips in the past year included a cruise for those who had cruised more than once prior. And first-timers are getting younger, with many Millennials now introduced to cruising—meaning a bright future for cruising’s younger generations, especially when coupled with other developing cruise tourism markets, such as multigenerational and celebration cruises, social and affinity group travel, rising interest in meeting/business tourism and the increasingly international crowd. Another large factor of the entire industry’s progress is a smaller sector, but the largest growing part: luxury cruising. The overall luxury and premium markets have been stimulated by an improving economy and increased consumer confidence, seeing 2013 increases of about 18 percent for both. And that is certainly trickling down to cruising. Roger Block, president of Travel Leaders Franchise Group, notes that 2014 luxury segment bookings are up 21-34 percent, with strong double-digit performances for the upper-premium segment. Greg Nacco, vice president of Cruise Specialists, confirmed the increase for all luxury lines and pointed out one in particular, Azamara Club Cruises, which has skyrocketed with growth well over 200 percent. One of the industry’s staples—value—is also stimulating growth and leading to 2014’s tubular wave season. Wave season is often marked by added perks and discounts of the industry’s already known and praised value to further incen-
tivize passengers during cruising’s hottest season. However, 2014 is resculpting the mold, with cruise lines introducing innovative new deals that incorporate their brands’ best and further distinguish their individual identities (another trend for 2014 and beyond). Celebrity Cruises’ 123go! sale launched in early 2013 and revived at year’s end. It offered a choice of three bonuses (with Europe cruisers getting two selections)—a free “Classic Beverage Package,” free gratuities or an onboard credit up to $300 per person to apply to shore excursions, specialty dining, wine tastings, spa treatments, boutique items or any other onboard purchase. Holland America Line established Explore 4, with four bonuses (free Signature Beverage Package or beverage card, a free specialty restaurant dinner, free or reduced fares for third and fourth guests in shared staterooms, and 50 percent reduced deposits). And Princess Cruises’ 3 for Free granted upgrades, shore tour credit and free dinners when booking select cruises. Besides adding value, these promotions enhanced onboard and onshore experiences. And they were immensely popular for it, showing cruise lines that guests often preferred these supplemental complimentary experiences to drastic price cuts. They also focused on many of the cruise lines’ trends, like drink packages and sampling lines’ specialty restaurants, onboard offerings and onshore excursions. These are trends that are becoming increasingly cruise line specific, with brands going the extra nautical mile to separate from the pack. For instance, an at-sea day on a foodie-friendly Celebrity ship might include a cooking class, culinary journey at Osine or open-air barbecuing at The Lawn Club Grill. Licensed Broadway productions of Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Chicago and Saturday Night Fever are aboard Royal Caribbean, which focuses on entertainment on and off the stage, with active engagements and “at-sea firsts” like sky-diving rock climbing, ice skating and bumper car driving. Norwegian Cruise Line has not missed the boat on entertainment, featuring Blue Man Group, Rock of Ages, and Legally Blonde. But its innovative Freestyle Cruising concept (and included specialty restaurants and offerings) differentiates it, as does its luxurious accommodations within The Haven, single-passenger studios and more. Holland America Line remains a “traditionalist,” though it has invested in Le Cirque at sea; extended its performances of “Dancing with the Stars” winners; and will install B.B. King’s Blues Clubs First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 25
on most of its ships. Cunard Line offers a fencing program to complement its luxurious and cultured atmosphere. And Carnival Cruise Lines just partnered with Dr. Seuss to star new onboard characters, movies and parades, adding further diversity among Disney Cruise Line’s, Norwegian’s Nickelodeon and Royal Caribbean’s DreamWorks offerings and personas. Even recent fleet-wide renovation projects have become brand names, such as Celebrity’s “Solsticization” or Carnival’s “Fun Ship 2.0”—making the new, innovative features synonymous with the cruise line. And there are certainly plenty upcoming new-builds that encapsulate these brand initiatives and innovations, as 2014’s order book adds 18,000 lower berths. To name a few (and a couple attributes): Quantum of the Seas brings a new vessel class and wealth of onboard firsts from Royal Caribbean. Norwegian Getaway extends the Breakaway class and Norwegian’s commitment to the south Florida market, with the largest cruise ship sailing from PortMiami for the full calendar year, along with restaurants and bars designed to evoke south Florida’s tropical feel. Regal Princess follows in its sister’s (Regal Princess) royal footsteps with her soaring atrium, over-water SeaWalk, Princess Live! television studio, Chef’s Table Lumiere and balconies on all outside staterooms. Costa Diadema features a large shopping piazza, outside promenade and new international food and beverage sites, from a bierkeller to teppanyaki and authentic Italian venues like a proseccheria, pizzeria and gelateria. Globalization is also still in, so many of these ships will find themselves sailing exotic itineraries; in fact, Regal Princess and Costa Diadema will homeport in Europe, not surprising considering the Mediterranean’s 18.9 percent and northern Europe’s 11.1 percent share of 2014 global itineraries, along with increased interest in river cruising. But other hot spots are surging, like Australasia’s 22 percent 2014 deployment rise; Asia’s 31.6 percent upturn; the intensifying attraction of remote, exotic locations—like Iceland, Antarctica, the Galapagos and the Russian Far East—for passengers who have seen and done almost everything; and other 2014 trendy spots, such as Bordeaux, the Panama Canal and the Black Sea. Yet the Caribbean retains its heavyweight title and the lion’s share of all global itineraries (37.3 percent) and a 12 percent deployment escalation. Of course, there are plenty more developments in Caribbean cruising, including a more internationallysourced market, Honduras’s new cruise port (Banana 26 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
Coast), Norwegian’s upcoming project in Belize and St. Croix’s resurgence. Also growing in popularity for cruise lines and passengers are shorter cruises. Premium brands like Princess and Holland America have incorporated many three- to five-day journeys for people wanting to cruise without risking too much money, which is also a crucial market for turning contemporary cruisers to premium lines. And two- to four-day trips have become reserved for cruise line fleets’ older ships, also appealing to first-timers and local residents looking for a quick getaway or last minute deal. And now ports offer more to do, both at home and on call, with modernization and development of their infrastructure and services to keep pace with new ships and passengers. Plus many cruise lines have created new, immersive shore experiences—like Disney Cruise Line’s family archeological digs in Athens and extreme experiences that are handson and Facebook-friendly—to get a bigger chunk of the 80 percent of passengers pre-booking shore excursions (45 percent currently book through independent operators). Homeports have also invested to lure passengers to stay longer pre- and post-cruise, such as Port Canaveral’s sevenstory Exploration Tower and plans for a welcome center, museum, 3,000-seat amphitheater, campground and a marketplace with local vendors. A more accessible, engaging cruising world isn’t the only thing trending in cruising that benefits the entire industry. Passengers’ communication concerns have been heard, and cruise lines should improve access in another way. E-mail and phone calls will no longer be too expensive to afford another cruise, as many cruise lines have linked with satellite providers to develop and test networks that will allow lower priced, more reliable cell access and faster, cheaper Internet. There will also be further integration of smartphone and iPad technology—for example, downloading the ship’s daily schedule from the local network or, possibly, eventually offering free social media access so passengers can post, tweet and Instagram their cruise experience and repay with publicity. These are just a few hot topics in cruising that have continued the progression of leisure travel’s fastest growing sector. Despite navigating some choppy water, 2013 was certainly a positive year, but 2014’s path looks crystal-clear for record highs and heightened customer satisfaction, so full speed ahead.
HOUSTON: WHERE YOUR JOURNEY BEGINSâ€Ś Embark on your next Caribbean cruise from a World Class City where there is no shortage of things to do, places to go or events to experience. Whether dining at one of our fine restaurants, shopping at unique stores, visiting the NASA Space Center or enjoying the attractions at the Kemah Boardwalk and the Bay Area, you will find Houston outstanding in culture, ambience, sophistication, and non-stop entertainment all year round. The Bayport Cruise Terminal, located in the city of Pasadena, Texas, just 30 minutes from downtown Houston, offers a one-of-a-kind experience with efficient and exceptional services including a stress-free embarkation process and easy access to two airports â€” George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) and William P. Hobby (HOU). Visit portofhouston.com/cruise for information on the cruise services and visitbayareahouston.com and visithouston.com for information on the region and local attractions.
Port of Houston Authority Bayport B ayport C Cruise ruise T Terminal erm minal | Pasadena, Pasadena, Texas Te Texas
The Tour Guide: More Important Now Than Ever! By: Amilcar Cascais, Vice President, Tour Operations, Carnival Cruise Lines
his coming July will mark my 30th year since joining the cruise industry, and how different it was back then, from every aspect that I recall—there were few amenities onboard; we offered a handful of tours in each port, if that; and selling tours comprised of three pursers sitting behind a couple six-foot tables on a stage in some lounge with a few rolls or books of tickets, each representing a tour like old movie tickets. We would give guests this simplistic ticket in exchange for cash or travelers checks (yes, I said travelers checks or cash, which is a good as money, so said Yogi Berra). That was it. The rolls would be marked with the tour’s capacity, usually with a paper clip or rubber band, and the tour was sold out once you reached that not-so-scientific symbol. Period. The session would also end either by no more guests in the lounge or tickets to sell. If we did have more tickets to sell, the purser’s office would hold the tickets and sell on request. One of the pursers would telex (yes, I said telex), fax or call the tour operators with the counts, and that was it. How simple it all was. We had a few tours to offer on a cruise as a whole; however, they delivered excellent experiences by great guides. Turn the clock to 30 years later, and we now offer dozens of tours on a single cruise; do PowerPoint presentations; have stateroom TV channels running shore excursion clips in; arrange presales via websites; provide 40 pages of tour information on any given cruise; produce banners and flyers for
“…from the simplest and inexpensive to the most complex and expensive tour, the tour guide can make the difference.” our dedicated shore excursion teams and audio and visual guides…you get the picture. Now, why did I agree to write this article? I hold the strongest opinion that in all the noise now surrounding shore excursions, little attention is being paid to the most crucial component—the tour guide. There are some exceptions; a few operators do; and I congratulate them on their wisdom. Just like the cruise ships of today nearing or topping a billion dollars to build, with more amenities than you can experience on a single cruise—if you don’t have the right crew with proper skillsets, the intended experience’s delivery can be far from ideal. We receive thousands of communications from guests every week on their incredible cruise experience, and without fail it always ties back to a crewmember who made it exceptional. A memory to last a lifetime, how wonderful is that? The same goes for shore excursions; from the simplest and inexpensive to the most complex and expensive tour, the tour First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 29
guide can make the difference. Unfortunately, the trend I have witnessed the last few years has been that tour guides are not mentioned as often as I recall in the past. Now, the reasons for this are as varied as the destinations we visit and tours we offer, and many are significant. But I call them excuses for mediocrity. Opportunity: this is how I see the current status. Please allow me to elaborate. Not all tour operators have the financial strength and additional bandwidth needed to create new experiences, which may require tens of thousands—if not hundreds of thousands—of dollars to bring to life, along with year-after-year investments to keep up with the industry’s demand, especially for the appeal of repeat guests. However, operators can improve their product with a much smaller investment—the skillset of their tour guides. Now, one may say that local mandate requires hiring from a pool of guides, but nothing prevents from teaching them further while under contract. I am sure that in most cases, if not all, this is possible. Prominence: this what you want to achieve as a tour operator to be at the top of your field, and in my opinion, there is no faster way to get there and stay there then by having the best
guides that will ensure every tour offering and guest experience will represent a lasting memory that they will tell us about, along with the rest of the world, for that matter, with today’s abundance of social media. Marketability: having the best, most experienced and credentialed tour guides is extremely marketable, from my perspective. You give yourself an edge over your competition. When an operator has such a position, it should be promoted loudly and confidently first to the cruise line, which will make the choice to buy or not to buy products from you, and then by the cruise line to the guests, who will have the ultimate choice to buy or not to buy the offering. The product’s perceived value can be greatly enhanced if delivered by the most qualified and experienced guides. The three points I made above should be enough to make you analyze your current state of business. If this is an opportunity for you, then you owe it to yourself and your team to explore it. I hope to see tour guide associations and guides’ roles in your business used more often, for their experience, qualifications and certifications in BOLD LETTERS and integrated into your proposals to cruise lines.
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Government Relationsâ€™ Role with Destinations By: Michael Ronan, Vice President, Government Relations, Caribbean, Latin America & Asia, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
o better understand the role of government relations today, we must take a brief look at the past and the origins of the current cruise industry.
Passenger travel started on cargo ships, which provided the lifeblood of global transportation. As passenger movement increased, ships were built to carry more passengers and less cargo. Travelers mostly used ships to move from one point or destination to another, not for leisure, but more and more amenities developed to enjoy while onboard. The regulatory environment under which all operations were governed, however, remained founded in the cargo industry.
After all, they were ships with similar basic measurements and technical characteristics. Fees for pilots, tugs, docks, navigational dues and others were set based on a simple set of measurements and applied to passenger or cargo. Immigration and customs formalities were handled at the beginning and end of the cruise, and almost all passengers boarded and disembarked in the same ports. Enter the age of modern cruising in the 1960sâ€”I say this because previous to this period, cruising was more incidental than core business. The cargo spaces are converted to more guest cabins and/or other amenities. The ships go to one class of service. Year-round itineraries to the Caribbean and First Quarter 2014 â€˘ Cruising Magazine 33
Mexican Riviera with multiple ports of call and defined hours in port—normally 10 hours or less—become the standard of the industry. Larger, higher-capacity ships with new marine technologies—like twin propellers and rudders, side thrusters and, later, azipods—emerge. But the basic regulations remain fundamentally unchanged. The 1960s also witness significant changes in the political makeup, especially in the Caribbean and Central America. Many islands gain full or partial independence. New governments are formed, financial goals set and laws enacted to attract foreign investment and support tourism, the emerging economic component. The need arises to expand or develop port facilities appropriate for the arrival of thousands of tourists. Here is where the need for increased focus on destinations’ government relations becomes more apparent. With each election of a new government or change of official or party, the need to initiate, develop and maintain relations with key ministries or agencies is clear. Now it is essential to address matters like educating key agencies on the value of the cruise visitor to the destination, along with changing global requirements from environment to health, finance and, most recently, compliance. Monitoring of new laws and regula-
tions also becomes necessary. Interactions with governments as a company or industry to assure these new laws support sustainable growth develop into ongoing dialogue. As the industry grows globally, the challenges do equally. Many of the issues and solutions encountered in the Caribbean emerge around the world in some form. And what about the natural disasters and global health challenges that now surface unexpectedly and can have a huge impact on all parties? With a solid broad base of relations between the cruise company and the destination, even these unfortunate situations can be dealt with and potentially minimize the negative impact on the destination while accelerating recovery. And the destinations’ private sector? In a word, cruise lines do not vote. We have no direct say in who is elected or how they will govern. The most productive overall relationship between a cruise line, the industry and a destination ideally will be built on a strong private sector with good ties to the cruise industry and a solid ongoing “relationship” with the government across all key areas that impact tourism. This is why it is called “government relations.”
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Port Canaveral’s easily accessible Central Florida location, close to Orlando and its 55 million annual visitors, helps our homeported ships book more sailings and enjoy 100+ percent capacities. Nearby Kennedy Space Center, abundant wildlife eco tours and reasonable beach-side accommodations are added incentives that bring cruise lovers here. Discover even more reasons we’re Florida’s fastest growing cruise port* – as well as a popular port-of-call with more than 130 ship visits annually – and explore the business opportunities by contacting Cruise Development at 321-783-7831, extension 232. *Source: Cruise Lines International Association
PROMISING THEM PARADISE AT THIS PORT-OF-CALL.THAT’S CAYMANKIND.
A WORLD WORLD A AWAY. WAY. JUST JUST O ONE NE HOUR HOUR FROM FROM MIAMI.
Excerpts from the CHTA Caribbean Travel Marketplace’s Official Opening The Most Honorable Portia Simpson Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica
s small states we in the Caribbean continue to ‘punch above our weight’! We produce remarkable achievers in diverse fields. Names like Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Shaggy, Slinger Francisco, known and beloved to us all as the Mighty Sparrow, come to mind. Rihanna, Machel Montana and Peter Minshall are others who have garnered international interest in our regional family. There are also the Nobel laureates Derek Walcott and Sir Vidia Naipaul, sprinter Hasely Crawford and so many others who have proven to the world that the Caribbean has consistently produced great sons and daughters. We in Jamaica were moved by the support Usain, Shelly-Ann and Tessanne received from our Caribbean brothers and sisters as they made their marks on the world stage. It is in that spirit of cooperation and collaboration, tinged with healthy, keen and friendly regional competition, that you gather…to market the region as the preferred destination to the world’s travellers. We stand together to celebrate the diversity of the Caribbean tourism offering—from the peaks of the Blue Mountains in Jamaica to the lure of Tobago further south, with the
“There is enormous potential within our region to supply this sector’s collective needs.” sparkling beaches of Barbados; the sweet fragrance of Grenada, the Spice Isle; the beautiful Pitons in St Lucia; and so much more in between. Even with all the choices travelers have, visits to the Caribbean figure prominently in the dreams and aspirations of millions of consumers worldwide. Our commitment to regional development and partnership remains firm and finds expression in our active involvement in various regional bodies and initiatives, including the CHTA and CTO. We believe in the power of the Caribbean brand and its ability to demonstrate that ‘a rising tide lifts all boats.’ After all, there is only one Caribbean, and tourism is a critical industry for so many Caribbean economies. …our region’s performance in tourism is one we can all be First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 39
proud of. It has enormous potential for growth. Growth can be expressed in terms of arrivals. It can also be expressed in terms of yield, and it can be demonstrated in terms of increasing the linkages between the sector and others in the economy. In Jamaica, we made a determination to improve the linkages between tourism and other sectors of our economy. A Tourism Linkages Hub has been established in our Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment. It enjoys the active participation of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourism Association, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation. The Linkages Hub is driving a process to further develop and strengthen the linkages between tourism and other sectors of our economy. This need not be a strictly national initiative. I would wish to see similar initiatives taking place on a regional level. There is enormous potential within our region to supply this sector’s collective needs. Some members of our Caribbean community have greater potential for agricultural productivity. Others may be further along the road in manufacturing. Forging firmer linkages between our productive sectors and the region’s tourism sector can only be of benefit to us all. Jamaica would be a willing and active participant in any such initiative.
There is no doubt about the importance Jamaica has attached to tourism over the past several decades; for thousands of workers and their families, it is their ‘bread and butter.’ We ended 2013 on a very high note, having, for the first time, welcomed over two million stopover visitors in a single year. This achievement was made possible through the hard work and investments made by the public and private sectors, over a period of time. …we all know that in the hospitality industry, we cannot rest on our laurels. We must remain on the cutting edge. Our Mediterranean competition acts on that basis. The Latin American Tourism establishments are rapidly embracing that approach. CARICOM must also reposition itself along those lines by building on frameworks and institutions that we have already established. Whoever fears competition today will not survive tomorrow. My own sense is that the Caribbean tourism vision is both narrow and clouded. The vision is narrow because it does not accept that we must compete for primacy of the total product. Most destinations have sea and sun. To compete effectively, policy must be innovative, and strategy must embrace concepts of sustainability, as reflected in Jamaica’s Tourism Master Plan. All successful growth-oriented destinations expect to face competition on the national, regional and international levels. Thinking on this issue in our region is, therefore, somewhat clouded.
Attending this event…we have representatives of the industrial, manufacturing and agricultural sectors of Jamaica, representing the Tourism Linkages Hub that has been established in our Ministry of Tourism and Entertainment. I urge you, the buyers and sellers—suppliers of accommodation, transportation, activities and attractions; buyers from the travel trade as well as media and marketing companies—to broaden your scope where possible. Embrace other sectors that have the potential to supply your needs, across and throughout the region.
Let me paraphrase the words of poet Evon Blake who said:
Our spirit of regionalism also drives our determined efforts to create additional air link between points in the region. This way we cannot only provide a diverse Caribbean experience to our visitors, but also exchange ideas and strengthen bonds on which we can build a stronger Caribbean. We must assertively claim a larger share of the world’s tourism market.
Nature’s beautiful gifts are to be found everywhere—in every land, in every clime, at every time of year; but there is no place on earth where Nature has lavished so much enduring and incredible beauty as in the Caribbean Islands. The beauty of the people in their natural setting—their happy faces, lyric voices, lilting laughter, their easy graceful movements—are part of the island’s magnetic charm.
40 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
To get on the growth path, we must learn to face internal competition on the basis of niche opportunities. Repositioning the industry…means that we must accept the competitive challenge. It also requires the acceptance of the idea that cooperation on certain issues may not mean surrender of individual advantage. We may win a few battles by the go-it-alone approach, but never the long-term war.
Preparations in Full Swing for 21st Annual FCCA Conference & Trade Show St. Maarten: A Port to Remember, A 21st Annual FCCA Conference & Trade Show to Remember
reparations are underway for the prestigious 21st annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference & Trade Show, which will take place from October 6-10. This will be the second time that St. Maarten will host the FCCA Conference. The year 2014 represents 10 years since the 1st FCCA Conference & Trade Show was held on the shores of the “Friendly Island” and marks the 50th anniversary of the Port of St. Maarten. Every effort is being made to make the 2014 FCCA Conference & Trade Show a memorable one. It will be the conference to remember, mimicking the “Port to Remember” branding quote used by the Port of St. Maarten. The port facilities that have been developed during the past 50 years have much to do with the island’s development of the 42 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
cruise sector, evidenced by cruise passengers’ year-over-year growth, along with the top passenger spending—$185.40 per passenger—and second highest crew spending—$135.50 per crewmember—in the Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) 2012 study: Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies. The relationship that has been built with the FCCA has also led this growth while withsanding the test of time. The relationship is based on trust, understanding, cooperation, endurement, mutual benefits and partnership, which have resulted in the positive development of the cruise sector within the Caribbean Basin. To build on this partnership and optimize the benefits offered by the FCCA Conference & Trade Show, the Port of St. Maarten has gone above and beyond to facilitate the much anticipated high turnout.
For those who visited the island 10 years ago, much has changed during the past decade. Besides the destination being known as a cuisine and entertainment capital of the Caribbean, cruise executives and conference delegates will receive a grand St. Maarten welcome, from the arrival at the Princess Juliana International Airport to the many activities planned for the event. In the end it will surely be considered as a conference to remember. The Port of St. Maarten and the Government are working hand-in-hand to make the 21st annual FCCA Conference display the best of the 21st century. Both entities are investing to build a new structure that can host a conference of this size and calibre. Cruise executives and conference delegates will also get first-hand look of what passengers and crew experience during a one-day stopover to the destination. Besides having Government as a partner in this very important process leading up to the Conference and Trade Show, much effort and work is being placed in partnering with various businesses linked to the cruise sector in order to create an amazing experience and WOW factor for all conference attendees. See you in St. Maarten from October 6-10! Port of St. Maarten – A World Leading Cruise Destination The development of the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities is overseen by the St. Maarten Harbour Group of Companies (SHGC), a government-owned consortium of 13 companies responsible for part of the maritime operations of the country. The operations of the Harbour Group can be neatly summarized as what it calls the ‘four pillars’ of cruise, cargo, yachting and real estate. The Group operates and is responsible for the Dr A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility at Point Blanche, the Harbour Pointe Village, the Captain Hodge Pier in Philipsburg, the fuel station at Great Bay and the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority, which is responsible for the Simpson Bay Bridge. The Group has diversified its activities into real estate ownership and port consultancy, as well as owning and operating the port’s two mobile harbour cranes. SHGC employs 65 people in 11 departments: accounting, human resources, executive, clearance, maintenance, information technology, safety & security, maritime, terminal & cargo, commercial and operations.
10 Years of Cruise Growth Over the past decade the Group has invested more than US$100 million into infrastructure and equipment, and the focus for the future investing in personnel and processes to continue efficiency improvement. Over the same timeframe, the Group transformed into a much more commercially orientated operation, including a refinancing package of US$150 million by the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten. A milestone was reached in 2013, when 1.785 million cruise passengers were received, and even higher numbers are forecast in the years ahead. This success is not so much an accident of location (although that helps), but more the result of a systematic approach and good customer focus by the St. Maarten Harbour Group, which is keen to provide the best facilities in the industry. This is one of the benefits of holding long-term agreements with the major cruise lines. In 2007, with one berth already in operation capable of accommodating four cruise ships simultaneously, the Harbour Group took the port to the next level and built a second cruise pier. St. Maarten is now one of the few ports in the Caribbean capable of receiving the world’s largest cruise ships—Genesis-class vessels of over 220,000 gross tons each and a capacity of over 6,000 passengers and crew. Pier 1 is 545 metres in length and can accommodate up to four vessels simultaneously. Pier 2, with a length of 445 meters, was opened in 2009 and can accommodate two Genesis-class vessels. It also has two booths for screening passengers, as this cannot be carried out onboard due to the large number of passengers. The port can now accommodate six cruise ships, with the terminal handling anything from 6,000 to over 20,000 passengers in a single day. Immediately on coming ashore, passengers are welcomed into the Harbour Point Village to the sound of steel pans being played. Built in an architectural style reminiscent of old Philipsburg, the Village contains duty-free outlets, souvenir shops and market stalls, as well as bars and a restaurant. Harbour Point Village is also the pick-up and drop-off point for most tours and excursions. Visitors will find tour bus stands and a taxi rank here. There is also a regular water taxi service to Philipsburg. Friendly harbour staff is on-hand to assist visitors, and there is an information centre in the main building to provide advice to visitors.
First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 43
So You Want to Work with the Cruise Industry?
olumbus sailed the ocean blue, but not all by himself. He needed vendors, suppliers and crew. The 21stcentury cruise industry needs partners, too—and finds them at the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.
“Establishing relationships among Member Lines and partner destinations’ public and private sectors was, after all, the goal behind the 1994 founding of the FCCA Conference,” says Michele M. Paige, president of the association.
Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA), 21 participating destinations saw cruise tourism economic contributions of $1.99 billion, including 45,225 jobs. And who would pass up playing time on a team with that record? Join the Team To get in the game you have to know the players. But how? If you were having a problem with your electric bill, you probably wouldn’t call the president of the power company; you would probably spend plenty time on hold before reaching a customer service representative.
In today’s volatile economic climate, the cruise game’s rules constantly change—and you’re not the only one longing for a chance to get on the playing field. Plenty providers vie for the competition to get on the roster of a winning team, and the cruise industry is the fastest growing leisure travel sector and consistently posts over 100 percent occupancy and yearover-year growth.
But what if you and the electric company president had a mutual friend who introduced the two of you at a dinner, cocktail reception or even on a Caribbean cruise?
Its significance can also be seen in its direct economic impact on cruise destinations. According to a study performed by
What if you were able to discuss your ideas, products and services over a friendly luncheon or a private one-on-one
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meeting with cruise executives that decide what products are sold onboard and where ships call? The FCCA is your friend. The association serves as a liaison between providers and destination partners like you and the cruise industry movers and shakers looking for services in every area of tourism and hospitality. “The most important reason to join the FCCA is the immediate and direct contact a company will have with the decision makers in the cruise industry,” tells Steve Nielsen, vice president of Caribbean and Atlantic shore operations for Princess Cruises. And those Member Line decision makers carry a lot of weight and influence throughout the industry and world. Though the FCCA focuses on the Caribbean and Latin America, its Member Lines circle the globe: AIDA Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruise Lines, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises (USA) Inc., Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn and TUI Cruises. Game On You’ll find the names in the FCCA Membership Directory, Highlight Issue and quarterly Cruising Magazine. And you’ll see the faces at Platinum Member events, meetings, the annual FCCA Conference & Trade Show and even now—congregating in the FCCA booth at Cruise Shipping Miami. But you won’t have to worry how to catch their attention. The FCCA offers many ways to get in and on the minds of these decision makers and the FCCA’s numerous partners. One is through a number of marketing options, all offering unique, tailored approaches to spotlight you in FCCA events and publications. Event sponsorships prominently display your logo, brand, message and partnership with the cruise industry where these crucial stakeholders gather. Looking around the FCCA booth now, you should see examples, as you will if you attend the Gala or closing party, taking place during Cruise Shipping, along with the Conference & Trade Show in St. Maarten from October 6-10, 2014. Traditional print advertising is available in FCCA publications that are distributed to, read by and participated in by over 300 FCCA Member Line executives. And over 13,000 travel agents and 5,000-plus industry partners representing all sectors of the cruise industry—such as retailers, attractions, port agents, suppliers, hoteliers, tour operators, shipbuilders, purchasing, food and beverage operations, enter-
tainment personnel, finance and administration departments, marketing and PR representatives and international press and media correspondents— receive FCCA publications. Other marketing opportunities include direct mailing to over 18,000 contacts, mailing inserts, advertising on the FCCA website and in FCCA staff’s e-mail signature and participating in a free weekly newsletter to deliver your brand, news or PR message to over 10,000 travel professionals. And chances, prospects and advantages abound in the FCCA’s membership program. FCCA membership, like membership in most organizations, provides you with some basic benefits, such as discounts and savings on advertising and event registration fees; collateral support; access to cruise executive meetings and the most up-to-date industry research and trends; and more. One of these membership discounts is for the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade show, which gathers about 100 cruise executives and 1,000 industry stakeholders for workshops, seminars, meetings, private functions and networking. “More can be accomplished in the four days at the FCCA Conference than during the other 361 days of the year,” states Adam Goldstein, president & CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “Everybody who’s anybody in the cruise industry attends this event. Decision makers are quite open to hearing about new products, services, destinations, shore excursions and ideas.” However, the real prize is through Platinum Membership, which gives you a calling card and puts you on a first-name basis with these decision makers. Besides granting special privileges and complimentary registrations at FCCA events like the Conference and Gala, numerous private Platinum Member events cater to fostering relationship building between Platinum Members and cruise executives, such as the Platinum Associate Member Advisory Council (PAMAC) Cruise Summit, inaugural cruises and Cruise Shipping Miami closing party. Another, the PAMAC Conference, brings the group and executives together in a partner destination for more of what all FCCA events seek—a healthy mix of business and pleasure. PAMAC members have seen this balance while closing deals at onboard parties or getting an inside look at industry projects while taking in the scenery on an unforgettable land tour. “I can’t tell you how many productive people I’ve had a chance to get to know while attending the PAMAC First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 47
Conference,” shares Giora Israel, senior vice president of port & destination development for Carnival Corporation. “These are the people who have ideas and projects I want to know about—and need to know about.” Scoring Points A good coach knows that team members who work together to reach a common goal develop unbreakable bonds. FCCA members—destination ministries, port agents, tour operators, product and service providers and more—come to appreciate each other’s talents as they form teams to tackle a wide range of projects that not only boost the regional cruise industry, but also give back to the destinations that welcome FCCA Member Line cruise ships. Imagine how it feels to know you and your colleagues provided smiles, gifts and holiday festivities for needy children throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. This heartwarming experience is delivered every year through the FCCA Foundation’s Holiday Gift Project. “Working with the FCCA Foundation, the association’s charitable arm, has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life,” informs Michael Ronan, vice president of government relations for Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. “The added
benefit is that I meet great people through the Foundation, and we end up doing great things together in the cruise industry.” Final Score The FCCA can put you in the middle of the action, but it is much more than a door to the cruise industry. Members make business contacts, but also form significant relationships with colleagues as they work together to reach the championship. Consider the FCCA your keystone for success—a team that will still play its heart out, even when the weather turns fields muddy. “Never has it been more important for cruise and travel partners to link arms and share ideas,” as Paige tells. “That’s what the FCCA is all about.” Go for the win. If you want to bring the lines to your destination; get your product onboard the ships; target the audience doing the above at FCCA events; advertise in numerous publications with the same audience, along with an extensive database; or collaborate to find a specific opportunity for you, the FCCA is your source. Become an FCCA Associate or Platinum Member, and advertise where your message will be seen by discerning eyes that can make a difference. The team wants—and needs—what you have to offer.
FCCA + Cruise Shipping Miami = Opportunities for Success
ruise Shipping Miami (CSM) is an exciting time for the FCCA. It is one to renew or create business partnerships, cultivate ideas and tackle issues affecting the cruise industry with the increasingly global congregation. Of course, these opportunities are vast during this event’s standard programming, especially given the dynamic, constantly growing nature of the cruise industry. But the FCCA maximizes these chances for its Platinum Members.
After all, UBM Live—the organizers of CSM—and the FCCA have developed a strong, synergistic relationship. For nearly a quarter-century, the FCCA and UBM have worked together for the success of the cruise business, initially regionally in south Florida and the Caribbean Basin, but increasingly globally. The collaboration began back in the early 1990s, with FCCA actively participating in the planning and organization of the Cruise Shipping Miami show (originally Seatrade) and UBM supporting the FCCA’s Caribbean-based annual
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meeting, fund-raising events and charitable activities. As UBM grew its global portfolio of Cruise Shipping events—including maritime events Cruise Shipping AsiaPacific, Seatrade Med, Marintec China, Naval Shore and Sea Japan, plus an array of digital products like webinars and Cruise Shipping Virtual online shows—the FCCA continued to be a supporter wherever the collaboration took it. “FCCA is an essential partner in our growing group of cruise- and maritimerelated events,” said Daniel Read, director of UBM’s Cruise Shipping Portfolio. “As we go forward, we will continue to count on FCCA’s ongoing support.” That support now comes for FCCA members participating in 2014 CSM. As with everything in which the FCCA participates, one of its main goals is to positively impact the working relationship between its members and Member Cruise Lines. It does this by providing multiple
events and opportunities to put members on a first-name basis with FCCA Member Line executives, presidents and CEOs. It is through these interactions that relationships are born, which provide the best way to get your foot in the door or to create a doorway. It is also why the FCCA Platinum Membership program truly is a vital resource for any entity doing or desiring business with the cruise industry. Working directly with the key decision makers is simply the best way to reach your goal and save time and money. To foster these engagements during Cruise Shipping Miami and actualize its resources and attendees, the FCCA programs a block of functions coinciding with the event. These gatherings and features ensure that Platinum Members always have a direct line to the FCCA Member Cruise Line executives and each other. The FCCA booth itself (#695) will host many of these during 2014 CSM. Besides serving as a one-stop shop for all attendees to learn more about the FCCA and what it offers, the booth also
acts as an event organizer. Proexport Colombia and the Port of St. Maarten have sponsored cocktail receptions at the FCCA booth to promote their destinations and companies while bringing together the Platinum Members and cruise executives in a private atmosphere. Additionally, many of the same executives and members will cycle in and out of the booth for meetings arranged by the FCCA.
12 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Made possible through the partnership between the FCCA and event sponsors Port Everglades and PortMiami, the Gala’s festivities include a 90-minute cocktail reception and a silent art auction composed of a magnificent collection donated by Park West Galleries.
Of course, there are also the annual FCCA events that have become synonymous with CSM for many cruise executives and Platinum Members. An annual pre-event barbeque takes place at FCCA President Michele Paige’s residence to offer members and cruise executives an intimate affair (along with libations and finger-licking fare) so they can reacquaint and prepare for the long days ahead.
However, the main attraction of the night is the Gala dinner. This is because attendees sit at tables headed by the cruise line executive of their choice, all representing FloridaCaribbean Cruise Association Member Lines and valuable networking opportunities. And private sponsored tables with Member Lines’ presidents and CEOs allow personal attention from the distinguished host, along with special benefits and recognition during the evening.
The FCCA Gala Dinner and Entertainment Extravaganza offers a chance for any participant to spend the evening with a cruise executive hosting tables for an unforgettable evening and cause. In its 20th year, the 2013 FCCA Gala will be held Wednesday, March
All proceeds from the Gala benefit the FCCA Foundation, the FCCA’s nonprofit, charitable arm. Created in 1993, the Foundation funds humanitarian causes in the Caribbean and Latin America. Numerous worthy projects receive funding each year throughout
the FCCA Foundation. Most recently, the FCCA Holiday Gift Project brought smiles to the faces of nearly 7,000 underprivileged children throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. To close out CSM is the FCCA Official Cruise Shipping Miami Party. Taking place at LIV—the hottest nightclub in Miami—for a third consecutive year, this is a much-anticipated reprieve after a week of meetings, receptions and business dinners. It is a chance for the tired, sore and overworked attendees to loosen their ties, let down their hair and put on their dancing shoes for a fun night with some of the cruise industry’s most important decision makers. Indeed, 2014 Cruise Shipping Miami has much in store for its participants with its success-proven formula combined with many new features by UBM, along with good news about the growth and future of the cruise industry. But it is the FCCA that offers backstage passes so you can talk to the real rock stars, and you can pick up your ticket at the event by simply stopping by the booth—#695—to learn more about the FCCA and how it can benefit you.
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New Tour Operator Designation Exclusive to FCCA Members! Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence announces the official launch of an ACE Tour Operator Designation, exclusive to tour operator members of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association. “With increasing local and global competition, it is more important than ever to distinguish your tour product and present the best possible experience,” tells Michele Paige, president of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA). “One of the best ways to do this is through knowledgeable operations and tour guides, which is why we teamed with Aquila Center for Cruise Excellence to offer an all-encompassing training program so our tour operator members can feel confident that they are armed with the best tool: knowhow.” The cruise industry—especially the lines’ shore excursion departments—applauds the program aimed at providing a base standard for tour operations in the ports in the Caribbean and Central America, along with raising the region’s level of excellence to benefit not just the cruise industry, but also the tourism industry as a whole. “Aquila is one of the best tour operators that we work with anywhere in the world,” says Amilcar Cascais, vice president of tour operations for Carnival Cruise Line. “And they are excellent models to which other tour operators can aspire.” What exactly is ACE Designation, and how does it work? Building on Aquila’s 25 years in the cruise industry, Aquila has spent the past 18 months turning its original customizable tour operator training into a standard-based designation program. After consultation with cruise industry stakeholders and virtual learning experts, the end product is a program based on 42 standards for cruise industry tour operations.
and demonstrating that they have the policies and procedures in place to meet or exceed the standards of quality that are recognized and respected throughout the cruise industry. Aquila provides one-on-one remote coaching through the process, which includes the confidential sharing of information to allow validation of the standards. The process starts with a comprehensive situational analysis that includes a needs assessment, followed by a diagnostic and, finally, evaluation and designation. With the commitment of the tour operator’s management team, this process can be completed within three months, and the amount of time depends on the operation and its current situation. The fee for applying for the ACE Tour Operator Designation is $3500 USD. A few tour operators are presently working through the process, and Discover Mexico—a tour operator in Cozumel—was the first to complete the program. “Aquila’s ACE Tour Operator Designation has been an exceptional tool to integrate our previous training into a complete program that allows us to ensure the delivery of a superior quality product,” shares Jose Villalvazo, director general of Discover Mexico. “[It] also brings the team into a better understanding of the importance of a great tour delivery and understanding of the cruise lines and their necessities, resulting in an excellent operation.”
Pillar 1: Excellence to Guests on Tour Delivery Pillar 2: Excellence to Cruise Lines on Service Pillar 3: Excellence in Operations
Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence’s signature program is its online Tour Guide Excellence International Certification, which launched three years ago and now boasts internationally certified tour guides in over 30 countries worldwide, with the majority in the Caribbean and Central America. Aquila continues to offer FCCA-endorsed workshops and shore excellence training for its member destinations, as well as other training programs in product development, port readiness and tools for creating national standards and evaluation processes for tour guides.
The ACE Tour Operator Designation is awarded to tour operators meeting the requirements for ACE service excellence
For more information, e-mail Beth@CruiseExcellence.com or go to www.CruiseExcellence.com
These standards are divided into three main pillars:
First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 53
Redi scover St. Croi x FCCA Platinum Members will experience the island’s charm at the Platinum Associate Member Advisory Council Conference from June 18-21, 2014.
hroughout history, St. Croix has been a popular Caribbean port of call. Explorer Christopher Columbus first discovered the island in 1493, and numerous European countries governed the island until the United States acquired the island from Denmark in 1917. Today, St. Croix welcomes an even more diverse set of seafaring visitors—cruise passengers. Their first impressions are made in Frederiksted at the Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility. These modern-day explorers are immediately greeted by the brightly colored buildings that punctuate the historic streets. From the Danish street names to the island’s cuisine and cultural traditions, visitors can discover lasting remnants from the two centuries of Danish rule. The island’s eclectic charms are now being rediscovered by cruise aficionados with a quest for adventure, attracted by this idyllic Caribbean destination’s beauty, culture and heritage. FloridaCaribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Platinum Members attending the Platinum 54 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
Associate Member Advisory Council Conference will experience the island’s charm first-hand while St. Croix hosts the event from June 18-21, 2014.
as a diving haven, where scuba divers can explore five unique site options in one destination: piers, reefs, shipwrecks, shores and wall dives.
Dive Into Uncharted Waters The Caribbean Sea surrounding St. Croix is a playground for water-based activities. A day sail to Buck Island Reef National Monument is a must-do shore excursion. Catamarans depart daily from Christiansted to experience the 880-acre, protected coral reef that surrounds Buck Island. On shore, relax on pristine Turtle Beach, consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the world. The bright blue waters full of colorful reefs and endemic marine life will mesmerize exploring snorkeling enthusiasts.
Drive the Road Less Traveled A daylong jeep tour of St. Croix is one of the best ways to become immersed in the island’s lush rainforest and rolling hillsides. Drive the self-guided St. Croix Heritage Trail to explore the island’s 200 historically significant sites. Eco-conscious travelers can drive to Ridge 2 Reef Farm or participate in daylong workshops and volunteer programs to learn about sustainable living at the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute.
For a more active experience, water sport outfitters offer kite-boarding and stand-up paddle-boarding adventures. For a different perspective of the sea, head to Point Udall to take in the views from the easternmost point of the United States.
Be sure to schedule a stop at the St. George Village Botanical Garden while touring the island. There, discover the island’s local fauna and flora, including the endemic healing plants and fruits growing in the Medicinal Herb Garden.
St. Croix is also internationally renowned
Golfers will likely steer directly to
Carambola Golf Club’s par-72 course or the Buccaneer’s par-70 course. Step Back to the Caribbean’s Rich History Seven different flags have governed St. Croix since the late 1400s. As a result, the island has become a microcosm of the region’s unique heritage. Begin at Salt River Bay National Historical Park, where Christopher Columbus first landed. Today, the site provides insight into 2,000 years of Caribbean history and is home to the only surviving structural evidence of the earliest indigenous settl ments. The bright yellow walls of Fort Christiansvaern, erected between 1738 and 1749, continue to dominate Chistiansted’s harbor. The historic town’s churches and pastel buildings filled with eclectic boutiques, art galleries and restaurants can easily be explored on foot. Shoppers can navigate Chistiansted’s colorful streets in search of the perfect St. Croix memento —a custom-designed Crucian Hook Bracelet. This 45-year-old island tradition symbolizes the wearer’s search or success in finding true love, dependent on
the direction the hook faces. At IB Designs, buy exquisite jewelry pieces that feature authentic Danish pottery shards scavenged from across the island.
dozens of restaurants that specialize in preparing fresh catch. On any given day, wahoo, grouper, snapper, tuna, Caribbean lobster, mahi-mahi and conch find their way onto menus.
When disembarking at Frederiksted by Fort Frederik, seafarers are welcomed by a magnificent red structure built in 1760 to ward off invading pirates. A tour of this historic location offers further insight into St Croix’s Danish past.
The abundance of locally-grown food can also be savored through a unique array of desserts, including coconut and guava tarts, sweet potato pudding, soursop ice cream, as well as local rum cake and rum balls.
History buffs won’t want to miss Estate Whim Plantation Museum, a restored 18thcentury sugar plantation dating from the 1700s. The museum offers guests a glimpse into the impact of Denmark’s colonial reign through tours of the great house and surrounding sugar factory ruins.
Both Cruzan Rum and the Diageo Welcome Center—home of Captain Morgan rum— offer guided tours that share the history of rum production in the Caribbean and its heritage on the island of St. Croix. Sample an collection of rums including Cruzan’s numerous infused flavors, such as key lime, mango and strawberry.
Savor St. Croix’s Culinary Heritage The island’s roots as a “bread basket” for the Caribbean can be sampled across St. Croix’s diverse range of dining options. A bounty of local produce can be enjoyed from downhome local food shacks and family-run bistros to haute cuisine at resort restaurants. Seafood is an island staple, and there are
Plan Your Getaway Experience St. Croix’s magic and charm for yourself aboard visiting cruise lines, including Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, Holland America Line and Silversea Cruise lines. To learn more about the U.S. Virgin Islands, visit www.visitusvi.com.
First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 55
Martinique: Make It Your Own!
Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal: A Deep-water Facility at the Heart of the City The Martinique Tourism Authority is delighted to announce that Martinique has been chosen as a port-of-call for the inaugural season of Royal Caribbean’s trend-setting new vessel, Quantum of the Seas. In the past couple of years, Martinique has made great strides in the cruise industry to draw new companies and renew with longtime partners. The Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal has been expanded and can now accommodate the largest cruise vessels in the world. The cruise industry has been steadily expanding, and the growing popularity of Martinique shows that cruise passengers want to experience not only the beauty of the island, but also its unique French and Creole heritage—a lovely je ne sais quoi…!
artinique—the Caribbean island with French flair— remains one of the most enchanting destinations in the world. Cruise ships call in the heart of downtown Fort-de-France, the island’s capital city, at what was recently named one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Martinique’s attractiveness is enhanced by a growing number of new tourist attractions and tours. To meet the needs of the cruise ship industry, the island has significantly developed its port infrastructure. It 56 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
is no wonder that this beautiful island attracts more and more cruise lines and wins their loyalty. Martinique Cruise Industry: A Booming Sector With the opening of a top-notch business and shopping center scheduled for 2014/2015 at the cruise terminal of Pointe Simon, Fort-deFrance is determined to become the shopping capital of the Caribbean, where the best of Parisian fashion, jewelry, porcelain, perfumes and other luxury goods can be found.
The Brand New Martinique Cruise Village for a Warm Bienvenue! Martinique has opened a new facility to welcome its guests, the Martinique Cruise Village. The complex—consisting of vendors, information points and useful tips— is located at the Pointe Simon Cruise Terminal right at the entrance
Photo: David Baude
of downtown Fort-de-France. The village features a wide variety of boutiques and stands that all accept U.S. dollars. These include local clothing, jewelry and accessory designers, locally-produced skin care products and perfumes, souvenir shops, local artists exhibiting their paintings and artisanal treats. Set to the rhythms of live music, the experience is enriched by French Caribbean dances and the legendary rum tastings only offered in Martinique. Get a Taste of the Flower of the Caribbean with New Attractions & Tours! Martinique has expanded its repertoire of excursion and tours. Nine exciting new expeditions have been added, based on the many facets of the destination: nature and eco-adventures, water sports activities, route of the rums, heritage and cultural discoveries. The tours depart from Pointe Simon and Les Tourelles ports in Fort-de-France. A Rich Culture to Discover These new excursions highlight Martinican heritage. One takes you
Photo: Patrick Bennet
to Trois-Islets to visit the Slave’s Savannah, a faithful replica of a maroon slave village. Another recent addition is the excursion known as “ Distillery Clement and Empress Josephine’s La Pagerie,” which allows excursionists to learn more about the making of Martinique’s renowned rum produced at the Rum Clement Estate, the only rum to carry the exalted Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) designation. The tour also includes visits to typical Creole homes and features a stop to La Pagerie Museum, birthplace of Empress Josephine, the wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, who was born and raised in Martinique. Nature & Adventure Activities Martinique is one of the 25 hotspots in the world. In 2014 the island rolls out the “green carpet” to welcome its most valued guests. Though small in size (685 square miles), Martinique boasts a wealth of natural wonders, making it one of the Caribbean’s top eco-destinations. Caribbean World Magazine has named Martinique “Best Eco Island of the Year.” Two-thirds of
the territory is designated and protected as nature reserve. Other new excursions shine a light on the extraordinary biodiversity of Martinique by exploring its amazing rainforest on the nearly 4-mile walking trails or by taking a ride in a 4x4! The excursion at Le Robert, for instance, offers the opportunity to spot iguanas serenely sunbathing in their natural environment. Water Activities The south of Martinique is renowned for its outstanding landscapes and vistas and of course for its beautiful beaches along warm, crystal-clear waters. The new excursion at the famous Pointe-Marin will offer a memorable beach day. Another new southern option is embarking on a catamaran for a turtle-spotting tour. Information on all these activities and more can be found onboard the ships that have Martinique as a port of call. Be sure to find out more by visiting their websites and consider a cruise to Martinique to experience one of the most enchanting destinations in the world! First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 57
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Port Canaveral Builds As Demand Grows
ort Canaveral has been ranked in the top three busiest cruise ports in the world for many years. As more and larger cruise ships seek to make use of this strategically located homeport and busy port-of-call, Canaveral—the only established cruise port in Florida with space for significant expansion—is preparing to develop needed facilities.
Royal Caribbean will complete the set of trilogies at Port Canaveral in the winter of 2014-15 by bringing in a third ship, Explorer of the Seas, to join Freedom of the Seas and newly arrived Enchantment of the Seas.
Three Carnival Ships, Three Disney Ships, Three Royal Caribbean Ships in 2014
Of all the cruise homeports in Florida, Port Canaveral has the most port-of-call business, due to its close proximity to Orlando, Kennedy Space Center and Brevard County attractions. Orlando welcomed a record 57 million domestic and international visitors in 2013 and, with an estimated $5 billion in capital investment being made across Orlando’s tourism industry, new records are predicted for upcoming years.
Carnival Cruise Lines has maintained an uninterrupted presence at Port Canaveral since 1990. Since the arrival of the Carnival Ecstasy in 2011, the line has homeported three ships in Central Florida and is maintaining its fleet size for 2014. Strategic changes have been made this year to provide Carnival’s Central Florida passengers with five cruise durations, seven itinerary options and a total of 14 destinations throughout the Bahamas and eastern, western and southern Caribbean. The first regularly scheduled cruises from Port Canaveral to the southern Caribbean, including Aruba, will begin in May 2014 aboard Carnival Sunshine. Disney Cruise Line, which began at Port Canaveral in 1998, has homeported both of its innovative second-generation ships in Central Florida since their maiden voyages in 2011 (Disney Dream) and 2012 (Disney Fantasy). In 2014, they have been joined by the Disney Magic, originally a member of the Port Canaveral home fleet from 1998 to 2012. Disney has committed to maintaining this three-ship line-up at least through 2015. 60 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
Port-of-Call Business Ranks Number One
In 2014, the Port is scheduled to receive 149 port-of-call visits. Carnival has scheduled Carnival Pride and Carnival Splendor for port-of-call visits. The 4,000-plus passenger Norwegian Cruise Line ship, Norwegian Breakaway, makes regularly scheduled calls during its 7-day round-trip itineraries between New York City and the Bahamas and offers international passengers the option of boarding the ship in mid-cruise at Port Canaveral, as an alternative to embarking from the ship’s homeport of New York City. Royal Caribbean has announced that the Quantum of the Seas, which will be among the world’s largest cruise ships when completed, will make port-of-call stops at Port Canaveral when it begins sailing from New York to the Bahamas in fall 2014.
Passenger Count Expected to Double Port cruise consultant Luis Ajamil of Bermello Ajamil & Partners says current trends indicate that Port Canaveral’s cruise business will more than double by 2043. The cruise industry is growing, with new ships and itineraries every year. Port Canaveral is in a good position to grow with the industry, based upon the success demonstrated by a homeported fleet that typically sails well above 100 percent capacity. This capacity figure is due both to a predominantly family market which typically results in more passengers per stateroom and to other port-related factors such as closeness to the drive-to markets of Orlando (sixth largest metropolitan area in the southeastern United States) and the rest of the Southeast: 60 million people reside within a six to eight hour drive. Passengers also choose this Port based on conveniently located airports connected by uncongested highways, closeto-ship parking, enhanced public safety and a relaxed cruisefriendly atmosphere. Cruise lines also benefit from the Port’s fast and easy ocean access, modern waterside facilities, lower pilotage costs and cost-efficient fuel availability (with dedicated pipelines). More State-of-the-Industry Cruise Facilities Based on Ajamil’s projections and the expressed needs of its cruise-line customers and prospects, the Canaveral Port Authority anticipates building four new terminals to accommodate expected business during the next 10-15 years. These are in addition to Cruise Terminal 6, the Port’s seventh dedicated cruise facility, which opened in 2012. The next new venue, Cruise Terminal 1 (CT1), already is under way and includes a 187,500-square-foot terminal, dockside improvements and gangways and a 1,000-vehicle parking facility. The complex will be able to accommodate the largest
cruise ships now sailing as well as 6,000-plus-passenger vessels still on the drawing board. It is scheduled to be ready for new business by November 2014. For the first time, CT1 will place passengers and crew members within walking distance of The Cove dining and entertainment district, including the new Exploration Tower, an iconic seven-story 22,000-square-foot attraction built to welcome visitors to the Port and Central Florida region with displays, interactive exhibits, a made-to-order movie and two far-seeing observation decks. The opening of the Exploration Tower and the anticipated development of restaurants, retail and entertainment venues with up to 250,000 square feet of space in this area during the next several years will make this an opportunity for pre- or post-cruise recreation and port-of-call shore visits. The next facility on the drawing board for Port Canaveral, Cruise Terminal 4, will be located adjacent to Jetty Park, the Port’s oceanfront beach park, and its completion is expected in 2016. Wider, Deeper, More Efficient Channel In addition to new facilities, the Port Authority has other plans to enhance the Canaveral experience for ship lines and their passengers. Harbor improvements for easier navigation by larger cruise vessels — widening the channel by 100 feet and deepening it to minus 46 feet — will be complete by fall of this year, with a further deepening initiative already in development. In addition, procedures and processes are being improved to smooth the way for passengers, including ground operations, commercial transportation, parking automation and cruise customer assistance programs. The Canaveral Port Authority is actively and strategically investing in a future that, given recent record growth and berth reservations already on the books, is well on its way. First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 61
How Carnival Restored Consumer Confidence in Its Cruise Brand
n January 2014 Carnival Cruise Lines sold more than a half-million cruises, 536,000 to be exact, setting an alltime one-month record. That was 17 percent higher than January 2013 and fueled by an amazing 13 million visits to its carnival.com website. Not bad for a company that experienced major reputation damage following a fire that left Carnival Triumph adrift in the Gulf of Mexico in 2013. Reestablishing consumers’ confidence in what has long been the world’s most popular cruise line was a daunting task. However, through a combination of product enhancements and innovations, attractive promotions, renewed support from travel agents, a compelling national advertising campaign and some unique new shipboard programming features, the company has come back. It took creative thinking, a willingness to break away from the norm and hard work, but in less than a year Carnival’s brand perception has rebounded.
The road to recovery began last April with the announcement that the cruise line was going to spend $300 million to enhance operating reliability and guest comfort across its 24-ship fleet. That was followed in June by the introduction of “Carnival Conversations,” which aimed to strengthen ties with travel agents.
was not for them within 24 hours of embarking, they would receive a 110 percent refund and free transportation home— no questions asked. That same month Carnival rolled out the $25 million “Moments that Matter” national advertising campaign in TV, radio, digital and direct mail media. Carnival guests submitted more than 30,000 photos, videos and personal stories from their cruises, and that content was packaged into ads featuring real vacation moments from real people. The line added the new American TABLE and American FEAST dining concepts in December. American TABLE evokes a modern restaurant experience emphasizing exceptional American cuisine. American FEAST is an elaborate special occasion in the main dining room. Following that, the line unveiled Carnival Seuss at Sea, a family-oriented program that will bring the beloved characters, stories and movies of Dr. Seuss—even a Green Eggs and Ham breakfast—to Carnival ships in 2014 and 2015. In January came the Shore Excursion Best Price Guarantee, the only program of its kind in the cruise industry. If a guest books a Carnival shore excursion and finds a comparable tour at a lower price, the line will give an onboard credit of 110 percent of the difference.
The next month Carnival named a new Safety and Reliability Review Board composed of a team of outside experts in maritime safety, reliability and maintenance, as well as regulatory compliance and quality control and assurance.
The same month the company rolled out the “Carnival LIVE Concert Series,” a lineup of 49 shipboard performances in 2014, with big-name artists like Olivia Newton-John, Daughtry, Gavin DeGraw, Jewel, Lady Antebellum and Chicago, among others.
In September, the line launched its groundbreaking “Great Vacation Guarantee.” Carnival is so confident in its product it assured consumers that if they decided a Carnival cruise
More developments are on tap for the balance of 2014 and beyond as Carnival continues to roll out new innovations and programming. Be sure to stay tuned.
62 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
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Faces In The Industry Hernan Gonzalez Rios – Maitre D', Norwegian Cruise Line My name is Hernan Gonzalez Rios. I was born and raised in Panama in one of the provinces of Panama by the name Chiriquí, where I first started to learn the English language at the San Benito School, Volcan. Afterwards I moved to Panama City in order to continue my education at the National University of Panama. Along with my regular courses, I took additional courses at a private school in hospitality and hotelier industry onboard ships. After graduation, I was selected to be in the first batch to work on Regency Cruises in January 1995. After my first contract with Regency Cruises, I decided to move to Norwegian Cruise Line, where I first boarded in the port of Piraeus, Greece onboard Norwegian Crown. Since then, I’ve been working for Norwegian, and I’m pleased to say this is one of the best companies to work for, especially when it comes to crewmember treatment and facilities, overall life and working atmosphere onboard the ship. Panama
My current responsibilities are scheduling and monitoring the performance of more than 200 crewmembers in the restaurant department. With the cooperation of my excellent team, we achieve goals and objectives set by the company. I ensure everyone is following the company’s standards to accomplish significant results in guest satisfaction during every cruise. My greatest career achievement has been the ability to move up the ranks within Norwegian. In my personal life, I was able to meet my lovely wife from the Philippines onboard Norwegian Jewel in 2008. We settled down in Panama with our two wonderful children. And last, but not least, being able to assist employees to develop themselves and continuously grow within the company is also a great achievement. One of the most enjoyable things about working onboard the ships is being able to work amongst so many different nationalities, with diverse cultures and religions all working towards the same common goal: our guest satisfaction.
Rodney Bennett – Executive Chef, Norwegian Cruise Line After graduating culinary school in Barbados in 1995, I joined SS Norway in Miami on December 12, 1996, and this has been the only company I have worked for during the past 17 years. My responsibilities then and now have drastically changed over the years. I was assisting the roast cook and sauce cook, and now I am in charge of the entire galley onboard Norwegian Jade. This has been my greatest professional achievement. What is great about Norwegian Cruise Line is that they give you a chance to grow and progress through the ranks and train you as you go. I am grateful also to Norwegian Cruise Line for the job security and the opportunity to live the best life at home and be able to provide well for my family in Barbados.
I met my beautiful wife onboard Norwegian Wind, and she is from Romania. We have two lovely daughters. I started cooking at the age of 12, first taught by my father. My favorite food to cook is Italian, and I like experimenting with cheesecakes. My hobbies are bike riding, listening to music and trying out new recipes.
Emily Peralta – Deck Cadet, Norwegian Cruise Line My name is Emily Peralta from Caracas, Venezuela. I started sailing with Norwegian Sun in October 2013 as deck cadet. I chose this career because it has become an interesting opportunity for women nowadays. I started sailing two years ago on tanker ships, and now Norwegian has given me the opportunity to continue my career onboard cruise vessels. This is a challenging opportunity for me and the other few female deck officers in the company to demonstrate that we are capable of performing our jobs the same or better than the male deck officers. My professional goal is to succeed and progress in the company as far as possible and become captain. Venezuela 66 Cruising Magazine • First Quarter 2014
Faces In The Industry Charesse Dunkley – Bartender, Carnival Cruises My name is Charesse Dunkley, and I’m originally from Port Antonio, Jamaica. I joined the Carnival team in April 2007 as a waitress and moved to Carnival Breeze when it launched in May 2012. On Carnival Breeze, you can find me at the RedFrog Pub, where I am one of the bartenders. My dad, Fitzroy Dunkley, who also works for Carnival, inspired me to join the cruise industry, as I was seeking an opportunity to better support my family and also wanted to travel the world. Of the places I’ve had the opportunity to visit, my favorite in Europe is Monaco. I visited Monte Carlo at least 12 times in 2012 when Carnival Breeze was positioned in the Mediterranean. Monaco is a very small country, very European with a lot of class. In the Jamaica Caribbean, apart from my home country of Jamaica, I also enjoy St. Maarten, as the weather is always great; the beaches are amazing; and I can relax for a few hours. I find the job very interesting, and I learn a lot every day. I’ve met people from at least 60 different countries. I learn about cultures different from mine, and I look forward to career progression. I’m learning Spanish through the shipboard crew training center, as well as on my personal tablet computer. It is a lot of fun to work onboard; I live the Carnival service values every day. With Carnival, young people like me have tremendous opportunities to succeed in life; the work environment is safe; you meet thousands of people; you wake up in a different destination every day; and the payout is generous. I am very proud to work for the biggest cruise line in the world.
Oliver Ardila Guzman – Maitre D' Hotel, Cunard Line Oliver was born in Bogota, Colombia, but spent some years early in life in the U.S. and later on in Poland where he is currently domiciled for the past 16 years. Oliver’s passion for ships began some years ago when a friend sent him a beautiful postcard from some exotic place in the Pacific Islands. About a year later he found himself working for his first cruise company, thus embarking on his sea career in 1996.
That very first experience made him realize it was the path he wanted to follow in life and after some time he decided he wanted to join Cunard Line and be part of such an exclusive company.
Oliver’s first ship with Cunard was the most loved ship ever, QE2, which he joined in November 2000 as a waiter. He worked hard through different ranks and, with valuable support and assistance from Cunard and different head of departments, he developed his skills and knowledge until he achieved the position of Maitre d’ Hotel in 2006. Oliver remained in that position with QE2 until the ship’s final voyage to Dubai in November 2008. Oliver was then appointed to Queen Victoria from 2009 until mid -2010 when he was delighted to be selected as part of the opening team for the newest Cunard ship, Queen Elizabeth, and joined her in Monfalcone, Italy at the Fincantieri docks. He says it’s hard to understand that three years have gone by already since the newest ship’s opening ceremony, as he is still loving every single minute that he sails on her. Oliver enjoys meeting new people every day on board and certainly seeing many regular guests year after year, as well as sharing memorable moments with all of his colleagues on board. He says he feels very proud and lucky to be where he is now and to work for the legendary Cunard Line.
First Quarter 2014 • Cruising Magazine 67
A delegation from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), lead by CTO Chairman and Commissioner of Tourism for the U.S. Virgin Islands, Hon., Beverly Nicholson-Doty (6th from right); Hon. Richard L. Sealy, Minister of Tourism for Barbados (4th from right); meets with the FCCAâ€™s Executive and Operations Committees in Miami.
A delegation from St. Maarten meets with the FCCA Operations Committee.
68 Cruising Magazine â€˘ First Quarter 2014
Dr. Hon. Wykeham McNeill, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment for Jamaica (seated center), meets with the FCCA Operations Committee.