THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE CRUISE INDUSTRY FIRST QUARTER 2021
Puerto Rico Throttling Forward Michael Bayley Discusses Return to the Caribbean
Pierfrancesco Vago Spotlights MSC’s Restart of Operations
Optimism on the Horizon, New Ships on Deck
Cruise Industry Reaffirms Commitment to Environmental Best Practices
FCCA Launches Private Destination Meetings
CLIA’s Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion
Frontline & Travel Agent Training
Tour Operator Insurance Program to Resume
a vibe like no other The U.S. Virgin Islands is open and ready for your crew and passengers with several ports and berths across the Territory. Throughout today’s pandemic, we have been working tirelessly to COVID-proof our destination and ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to our shores. Across our islands, ships can find some of the Caribbean’s best port infrastructures while visitors immerse themselves in our culture, history, shopping options and delectable cuisine; stroll along our award-winning beaches; or enjoy exciting water sports activities. For more information visit: www.viport.com • www.wico-ltd.com • www.usviupdate.com ©2020 U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism
N°1 ST. MAARTEN
N°1 PORT IN THE CARIBBEAN
PORT ST. MAARTEN
NO1 PORT IN THE NORTH EASTERN CARIBBEAN. THE GATEWAY TO MEMORABLE & ENRICHING EXPERIENCES.
37 WHITE SAND BEACHES – WORLD MOST FAMOUS PLANE-SPOTTING AT MAHO BEACH – DUTY-FREE DESTINATION OF THE CARIBBEAN – DELICIOUS CARIBBEAN CUISINE – SECRET ESCAPES TO RECOVER & RELAX ST. MAARTEN, THE ‘FRIENDLY ISLAND’ OF THE CARIBBEAN
SPOTLIGHT FIRST QUARTER 2021 WWW.TRAVELANDCRUISE.COM
ON THE COVER
10 Cruise Industry Builds Positive Momentum for Restart of Operations
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises, shares some of the hurtles the industry has leapt due to COVID-19, leading to safer than ever sailings 12 Michael Bayley Discusses Return to the Caribbean The President & CEO
of Royal Caribbean International divulged details about the service resumption during an FCCA Platinum Member webinar
ON BOARD 14 New Ships on Deck 16 Optimism on the Horizon 17 Environmental Best Practices Continues to Be a Priority
ON LAND 18 Cruise Industry Leaders Seek Resumption of Cruises at U.S. Ports
Carlos Mercado Santiago, Executive Director of Puerto Rico Tourism Company, updates on the diligent work driving the destination’s tourism return
20 Puerto Rico Throttling Forward
07, 09 President’s Letter
Travel & Cruise Magazine © 2021. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, in any form, electronic or otherwise, without written permission of the FCCA is prohibited.
Features 23 Partnering for a Future of Responsible Tourism 24 Chefs and Food Suppliers Join #WeAreCruise Campaign
MEMBERS & TRAVEL AGENTS 26 FCCA Launches Private Destination Meetings FCCA and Member Line
executives Zoom together to discuss a host of issues preparing for the return of cruise
28 2020 Vision: A Conversation with ExcursionInusrance.com Ken Furlow,
Global Development Officer, tells how they are ensuring the FCCA Global Tour Operator Program will relaunch
30 As We Reopen, Are Our Frontlines Ready? Beth Kelly Hatt, President of
Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, highlights how frontlines can be armed for success and service excellence
32 Travel Agent Training Plays Critical Role in Recovery 33 CLIA’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion 34 FCCA Platinum Member Highlights
22 New Reggae Rafting at Lethe
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The information in this publication is provided “as is.” FCCA, CLIA and its Member Lines disclaim all representations and warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to any information, services, products and materials contained herein. FCCA, CLIA and its Member Lines will in no event be liable for any damage or losses as a result of your use of this publication.
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Where adventure is more unique than you imagine
When the serenity of a peaceful pier is brought to life with the laughter and happiness of youth that’s the moment when adventure happens. What will your unique adventure be? Discovering a cavern in the North? A garden in a gully? Or the top of an age-old deep-sea volcano on the East Coast? Find your adventure and so much more in beautiful Barbados.
Free to explore
PRESIDENT’S LETTER: FCCA
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Micky Arison FCCA CHAIRMAN CHAIRMAN CARNIVAL CORPORATION Michael Bayley PRESIDENT & CEO ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL Thomas Mazloum PRESIDENT DISNEY SIGNATURE EXPERIENCES Richard E. Sasso CHAIRMAN MSC CRUISES (USA) INC. Frank J. Del Rio PRESIDENT & CEO NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE HOLDINGS LTD.
FCCA STAFF Michele M. Paige PRESIDENT Adam Ceserano SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT Terri Cannici VICE PRESIDENT, OPERATIONS Omari Breakenridge DIRECTOR, DIGITAL STRATEGY & CREATIVE SERVICES
New Year’s resolutions likely look different for many this year, and the cruise industry is no stranger to this. However, while many of the plans have been delayed like gym days due to the administration change in the CDC, the industry remains resolved and resilient. Evidence of that has been seen throughout the quarter with everything from record booking days showcasing the pent-up demand and numerous guests awaiting cruise’s return, to new ships and drydocks that continue on – and even ahead of – course. It has also been displayed throughout every meeting we have held with both our destination partners and Member Lines, and if any silver lining can be seen in this fog, that partnership itself has certainly been a highlight and proven that you truly know who your friends are when experiencing hardships – and our friends throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico have gone above and beyond to assist cruise’s return however they can, from developing Michele meeting with Francisco Santos Calderón, Ambassador of Colombia to the United States and health and safety protocols to even former Vice President, to discuss the restart and establishing vaccination programs for ways the destination can assist the industry. crew members. Some of these developments in and involvement from the cruise community at large follow in this issue, and while we all will likely soon celebrate the gradual return of cruise around the globe, especially those poised to benefit after a long hiatus and could eventually see longer port stays, increased ships in the region as people stay closer to home and year-round traffic, this still might not signal an immediate wave of economic contribution for all because of the first phase of operations being in a ‘bubble’ and having limited itineraries and options. That is why we must all remember that normality will return eventually, and in the meantime remain fixed on our long-term plans – and this is perhaps also why our retooled FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show, with a new, streamlined schedule adaptable for any developments with COVID-19, takes on increased significance. We look forward to sharing more details about that as they become available – and to seeing you live in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Mario Aguirre DIRECTOR, MEMBERSHIP EVENTS & PROGRAMS Justin Paige DIRECTOR, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS & STRATEGIC MARKETING PARTNERSHIPS
Michele M. Paige President FCCA
Jessica Lalama EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Vanessa Gutierrez ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
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Santo Domingo feel the vibe
PRESIDENT’S LETTER: CLIA
CLIA GLOBAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Pierfrancesco Vago CLIA GLOBAL CHAIRMAN EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN MSC CRUISES Micky Arison CHAIRMAN CARNIVAL CORPORATION & PLC Michael Bayley PRESIDENT & CEO ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL Frank J. Del Rio PRESIDENT & CEO NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE HOLDINGS Arnold Donald PRESIDENT & CEO CARNIVAL CORPORATION & PLC Richard D. Fain CHAIRMAN & CEO ROYAL CARIBBEAN GROUP Thomas Mazloum PRESIDENT DISNEY SIGNATURE EXPERIENCE Charles B. Robertson PRESIDENT & CEO AMERICAN CRUISE LINES
CLIA STAFF Kelly Craighead PRESIDENT & CEO Mike McGarry SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS AND NORTH AMERICAN SECRETARIAT Caroline Johnson SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MEMBERSHIP OPERATIONS Brian Salerno SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MARITIME POLICY Joshua S. Good SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL FINANCE AND OPERATIONS Anne Madison SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING AND STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS
Welcome to this issue of Travel & Cruise. As we embrace the New Year, we have much to look forward to as CLIA directly engages with government officials worldwide to advance the resumption of our cruise operations which will implement innovative health and safety protocols on all member ships. To that end, we have called upon the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to lift the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) and allow for a resumption of cruise operations for U.S. ports by July 1, in keeping with President Biden’s forecast that the U.S. will be “closer to normal.” We have direct evidence that this is the right move. Nearly 400,000 passengers have successfully sailed in more than 10 major cruise markets. These voyages were successfully completed with industry-leading protocols that have effectively mitigated the spread of COVID-19. The cruise industry has demonstrated leadership and a proven ability to resume operations responsibly. In addition, we welcome a major advocate for cruise resumption – Pierfrancesco Vago, CLIA’s new global chairman. Mr. Vago, the executive chairman of MSC Cruises, is a visionary who will help us in our efforts to recover from the devastating impact of the global pandemic. He will guide the restart of the cruise industry internationally and in the United States, as well as support our destination stewardship initiatives. In this issue, we share with you details of the 2021 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, the extraordinary steps that cruise community has taken in response to COVID-19, and the actions the industry has taken to advance our commitment to responsible tourism practices. All sectors across the cruise industry are showing their support for the resumption of cruises. Food and produce suppliers have become the latest businesses to join CLIA #WeAreCruise campaign, helping to raise awareness of the enormous economic contribution of cruise tourism. In a series of videos, business operators who supply ships with food and beverages explain the importance of the cruise industry to the local economy and offer their insights on the impact of the region’s ongoing cruise suspension. Our industry has gone through a very challenging year with the global pandemic but has exhibited exceptional unity and resilience despite the economic fallout from COVID-19. There, however, is room for optimism for our industry this year. A recent poll showed that two out of three cruisers are willing to cruise within a year and 58% of international vacationers, who have never cruised, are likely to take a cruise in the next few years. As an industry, we are prepared to resume cruises with state-of-the art health and safety protocols. Let’s hold on to that hopeful view that the worst days are behind us and know our best days are ahead! Together in cruise, Kelly Craighead President and CEO FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 9
Cruise Industry Builds Positive Momentum for Restart of Operations By Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises
ruising offers one of the best ways to see the world, and this holds truer today than ever before thanks to the enhanced health and safety protocols that cruise lines have adopted in response to the global pandemic. It is safe to say that COVID-19 has been the greatest challenge to ever confront our industry. From the global halting of operations, to the relentless effort to repatriate passengers and crew in the face of border closures and travel restrictions, over the past 12 months we have witnessed the unwavering resiliency, unity, and innovative spirit that defines our industry and all those who are a part of it. Despite facing such arduous challenges, the cruise industry did not give up; instead, it forged ahead and immediately shifted focus to find ways to return to the sea with multiple layers of protective health and safety measures. Cruise lines resolved to make science-led, people-first decisions at every step, consulting with scientists, medical experts and local governments to develop COVID-19 protocols to mitigate risk while still maintaining the magic of a cruise holiday.
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“…THE LEARNINGS FROM THESE EXPERIENCES COULD SERVE AS A BLUEPRINT FOR RESUMPTION IN NORTH AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN.”
These measures are being put to the test as we speak, with impressive results. More than 350,000 passengers have sailed on a variety of modified itineraries from Europe and parts of Asia under strict protocols since last summer, with more countries anticipated to come online in the near future. Although we do not always hear about the sailings that occur without a hitch, the success of these initial voyages clearly demonstrates that the new protocols are working as designed – to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 among passengers, crewmembers, and the destinations cruise ships visit. The feedback from passengers has been overwhelmingly positive, and this is consistent with research and booking trends. A recent survey from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) shows widespread support for the measures that cruise lines have agreed to adopt. Even more encouraging is the fact that demand for cruising remains high, with nearly 75% of cruisers from across the world indicating that they are likely to cruise again in the next few years, and two out of three cruisers indicating that they will cruise within the next year.
As I begin my global chairmanship of CLIA, I am committed to continuing to build on this tremendous progress. Our success in Europe and parts of Asia are strong indicators that a resumption of cruising is possible, and the learnings from these experiences could serve as a blueprint for resumption in North America and the Caribbean. Moreover, the introduction of multiple COVID-19 vaccines is driving a sense of hope across the entire travel and tourism sector, the cruise industry included. Our community is poised to reach new heights as we work to overcome the impacts of the pandemic and emerge stronger than ever. With that said, much work lies ahead. The pandemic and the subsequent suspension of cruising has had devastating economic consequences on our community, especially in the industry’s largest markets in North America and the Caribbean where cruising has been suspended for over a year. The cruise industry supports jobs across multiple sectors and geographies – tourism in large and small cruise ports, travel agents, food and beverage services suppling vessels, the airports, hotels, restaurants and transportation businesses utilized by passengers and crew, pilots who dock ships, and the personnel who load and unload ships. Unfortunately, as of last September, the worldwide impact of the pause in operations was estimated to be $77 billion,
“REST ASSURED, WE HAVE EVERY REASON TO BE OPTIMISTIC.” 518,000 jobs and $23 billion in wages lost. These numbers tell the story of real people and businesses whose livelihoods have been upended by the current situation. Thus, there is an urgency with which we are working to bring cruising back. As an industry, we share in the excitement around the potential of the COVID-19 vaccines to help quicken the pace of recovery from the pandemic. We are cautious, however, that there remain some unanswered questions regarding the vaccines and that it will take some time for the rollout to be complete. For these reasons, and based on the insights and continued guidance from leading experts in health and science, we remain committed to our multi-layered approach. As we mark one year since the world was brought to a standstill as a result of COVID-19, it is starting to feel as though the much anticipated “new normal” is on the horizon. More and more people are getting vaccinated every day, and our knowledge about the virus itself has
improved immensely since this time last year. As we work to reopen in more markets, collaboration with local governments and other stakeholders is a critical priority, and we will continue to be led by the science in our pursuit of bringing ships back to sea and serving as a bridge to economic recovery. Rest assured, we have every reason to be optimistic. Although we still have much work ahead of us, we have made it this far and have the tenacious determination to keep working on behalf of our members, crews and passengers. I have faith in the resiliency of the cruise industry, its leadership, partners, crew, destinations and passengers. We have been through so much with this global pandemic, but there are much better days ahead for our industry and the whole world. Hold on to that hope and know that we will be back soon, stronger and better than before. Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises, was appointed to a two-year term as global chairman of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in January 2021.
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Michael Bayley Discusses Return to the Caribbean
fter making waves announcing Royal Caribbean International’s return to its namesake region with Adventure of the Seas, President & CEO Michael Bayley joined an FCCA webinar on March 22. A lightly edited transcript of that webinar follows: We actually started cruising in December from Singapore using our Healthy Sail Panel protocols, and we’ve now operated for multiple months, carried close to 50,000 guests out of Singapore with great success. A few weeks ago, we announced that we would start operating from Haifa, Israel with Odyssey of the Seas in June, and late last week, we announced that we would start operating Adventure of the Seas from Nassau on 7-day cruises commencing June 12. The Singapore product is protocols and testing; the Israeli product is testing and vaccines; and the Adventure product is going to be vaccines for guests 18 and over and all crew, with testing for the kids – and testing for everybody to come to The Bahamas and then reenter the United States. The response has been very positive. We also get a lot of number of our guests who are critical of our vaccine-only cruise, and I just want to say that we don’t think the resumption of cruising for the industry is going to be one or the other. We think it’s going to be some combination in the future. But this is our attempt to restart cruising in the Caribbean, and so far, it’s been very well responded to. How did you pick this itinerary? First of all, we picked The Bahamas because it’s been one of our longest relationships – 50 years we’ve been operating to The Bahamas. The first cruise with Royal Caribbean went to The Bahamas. We’ve got a long-term relationship. It’s the number one most popular destination for our guests. We’ve been in discussion with the Bahamian government for months about how to do this. And, of course, we have Perfect Day at CocoCay, which is a massively popular destination 12 FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
“THE MAJORITY OF CONSUMERS NOW BELIEVE THAT THE WORST IS BEHIND US.” within its own right – plus we can have a lot of control over the environment. The other thing of course is its proximity to the major market of Florida and the United States. How long will the ship be staying in the ports? It will be in Freeport for the best part of the day. It’s going to be in Perfect Day at CocoCay for two days. And then it’ll be going to Cozumel for the day. What have you seen reflecting the pent-up demand and pricing? We’ve been surveying our customers ever since the pandemic started – and when things were looking pretty bleak, the confidence of consumers was extremely low. The vast majority of the people felt that the worst was ahead of us, not behind us…in the past few months since the vaccines have rolled out, that has completely changed. The majority of consumers now believe that the worst is behind us. The majority of consumers feel as if this really is the beginning of the end of this.
Eighty percent of the consumers we survey are going to get the vaccine. Sixty percent of the customers who booked with Royal Caribbean since January have been vaccinated. We surveyed our crew – close to 70,000 crew from 100 countries, 97% of which responded that they are going to get the vaccine, and already our crew are getting vaccinated in their home countries. And what we see now is the fundamental relationship with consumer confidence and our bookings are very strong. As people become more confident, they are booking. In the past year in the American market, credit card debt for the consumer has dropped significantly, and savings have increased. There is a lot of pent-up demand, and there’s money in everybody’s pocket. We’re now seeing for our Q4 2021 into 2022 real ramped up bookings; it’s looking very positive – and the relationship between demand and pricing is extremely strong. If there is demand, then pricing tends to be very robust. What will be the capacity? We’ll start first sailings around 50% capacity. The crew are coming back to operations after over a year, so there’s a lot to reestablish with training. As soon as we’re comfortable that everything is operating as it should and in partnership with the Bahamian government, we’ll increase that load factor week over week. Can you describe the bubble environment for tours? With the first cruise three months away, we see the evolution of the environment drastically changing in the coming months. As more countries, destinations, communities and populations become vaccinated, we believe the thinking of the protocols of the past will not necessarily be how we operate in the future. We think it’s going to be a combination of vaccines, testing, masks, sanitation, etc. We’ve been very careful of those sailings in June not to be very specific
of the details on protocols because we believe it’s going to change. We already see this vaccine is very powerful. We’re going to follow the science and utilize our Healthy Sail Panel to define that. In its simplest shape, I think what the customers and destinations expect is that there’s a pragmatic, sensible approach to protocols. From a commercial perspective, what’s important to know is that we will work in complete partnership with our destination shore excursion providers as we have always done to find win-win outcomes. How have your talks with CDC gone? We are in regular communication with CDC. Over a week ago, I communicated with the Deputy Director
about our plans in The Bahamas. I also shared our discussions with Israel before that announcement, and we’ve shared information about our operations in Singapore. They are very open and interested in understanding how these different operations are running because it’s going to shape how they view the resumption in U.S. The conditional sail order was issued five months ago before vaccines were widely available. We’re now in communication with CDC specifically around this point – do we really need the order when it’s based on science five to 12 months ago, shouldn’t we now be looking at a new world where vaccines are widely available? We also understand like every health authority, they’re under incredible pressure and we have to be patient. We’re
hopeful that soon we’ll get guidance or the lifting of the order and a sensible, pragmatic approach to resuming operations. President Biden made comments about opening up the United States by July 4, and we would love if cruise were a part of that. What vaccines are you accepting for passengers? We know that the American consumer will have FDA-approved vaccines and that in other parts of the world, other vaccines have been approved. As we’re initially starting with vaccine cruises in Israel, the vaccines will be determined by the Israeli government – and in The Bahamas, we’re going with FDAapproved vaccines and also WHO vaccines because The Bahamas accepts those as well.
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New Ships on Deck
espite the COVID-19 pandemic, FCCA Member Lines have continued full steam ahead with their plans for developing the latest, greatest and most efficient ships – as well as updating existing fleets ahead of schedule with vessels out of revenue service. CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE Carnival Celebration celebrated the maritime tradition to mark the first steel cut for a new ship at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland on January 13 as Carnival Cruise Line prepares for its next Excel-class ship that will begin sailing from PortMiami in November 2022. “Not only will Carnival Celebration feature signature amenities from Mardi Gras, but usher in a new era for Carnival Cruise Line with some special innovations created just for her that we’re sure our guests will enjoy,” said Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line. “We’re equally excited about Carnival Celebration’s role in our 50th birthday festivities, which will serve as an unforgettable way for our fans to mark this exciting milestone in our company’s history.”
COSTA CRUISES Costa Cruises celebrated the float-out ceremony of the new flagship Costa Toscana at the Meyer shipyard in Turku, Finland on January 15. Costa Toscana, as her sister ship Costa Smeralda, is powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) – the marine industry’s most advanced fuel technology currently available for reducing emissions – both at sea and during port calls. Costa Toscana is also the third LNGpowered vessel of the Costa Group, which includes Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Costa Asia, was the first in the cruise industry worldwide to introduce this technology, having ordered five new LNGpowered ships, two of which, Costa Smeralda and AIDAnova, have already entered service. They are part of an expansion plan that includes seven new ships to be delivered to Costa Group by 2023, for a total investment of more than six billion euros. “Despite the current challenging scenario, Costa Group is confirming its investment in fleet expansion,” said Mario Zanetti, Chief Commercial Officer of Costa Cruises and President of Costa Group Asia. “We are confident in the
recovery of our industry, and we are excited about the arrival of new ships like Costa Toscana, which embodies the elements we want to focus on for the future. First of all, it is an excellent and innovative ship, attractive for new customers, which is going to be fundamental, especially when people will be able to freely travel again and will have a great desire for holidays. Looking beyond the pandemic, the second element we are focusing on is to complete the transformation of our fleet and operations into a sustainable model. In addition to LNG technology, we are developing other innovative solutions, such as shore power and batteries, as we continue to work towards achieving zero emissions over time.” HOLLAND AMERICA LINE Plans are on course for Rotterdam, the new Pinnacle Class ship under construction and slated for delivery at the end of July – with Werner Timmers, a captain with nearly 40 years sailing for the cruise line, to take the helm of Rotterdam when the ship enters service. “I am deeply honored to be named the first master of Rotterdam, and I look forward to getting on board for the sea trials and seeing the ship come together during the final stages of construction,” said Captain Timmers. “My long career with Holland America Line has been filled with so many wonderful milestones, and this appointment is a highlight.” MSC CRUISES MSC Seashore, which will undoubtedly be one of the line’s most innovative next-generation ships yet, comes into service this August in the Mediterranean before heading to PortMiami in November 2021 to sail The Bahamas and the Caribbean. Building on the game-changing and pioneering design of the Seaside class of ship, aimed at bringing guests closer to the sea, MSC Seashore, the first Seaside EVO ship, has been extended and enhanced with a variety of brand-new features, spaces and experiences for guests.
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and future-focused ship offering an outstanding, varied and contemporary holiday,” said Paul Ludlow, President of P&O Cruises. “Arvia has been designed to travel to the sun year-round and to maximize views of the ocean and the seashore from everywhere on board, so it seemed a very fitting name and one which will reflect the experience for guests on board.”
“MSC Seashore represents an evolution of the Seaside class as an extended and further enriched ship,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises. “Sixty-five percent of the public areas have been reimagined to create something truly unique for our guests. The new aft design has allowed us to introduce a brand-new lounge, Cabaret Rouge, spanning two decks with panoramic views of the sea, offering new entertainment experiences. The specialty restaurant experience has been completely redesigned with the Chef’s Court on deck 8 making this a go-to destination for bars and restaurants. Each of the pools have been enhanced including an impressive double-deck extended magrodome pool and an incredible Infinity pool at the aft.” MSC Virtuosa was also delivered during the quarter – complete with the first-ever humanoid, robotic bartender at sea serving the immersive, futuristic MSC Starship Club. This integrated bar and entertainment experience, inspired by MSC Cruises’ vision of the spaceship of the future – MSC Starliner One – is enabled by state-of-theart technologies designed to create a futuristic atmosphere, including 3D holograms, an immersive digital art wall and a 12-seater infinity digital interactive table, giving guests the possibility to explore space with their own personalized galactic tour. Both ships are part of the Company’s long-term new builds program. As every ship that joins the MSC Cruises fleet, these ships are being equipped with a wide range of latest-generation environ-
mental technologies and equipment that will minimize their impact. Both ships will feature hybrid exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) and cutting-edge selective catalytic reduction systems (SCR), achieving a 98% reduction of sulfur oxide (SOx) emissions and reducing nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 90%. Their wastewater treatment systems have been designed in line with the International Maritime Organization’s MEPC 227(64) Resolution and achieve purification standards that are higher than most wastewater treatment facilities ashore. And as all MSC Cruises’ newbuilds, they will also be equipped with shore-to-ship power connectivity.
P&O CRUISES P&O Cruises highlighted its second LNG-powered Excel class ship, which will join the fleet in December 2022, with a new name – officially dubbing the 184,700-ton vessel Arvia, meaning “from the seashore.” “Arvia will join Iona as an innovative
SILVERSEA CRUISES Silversea Cruises’ new ship Silver Dawn touched water for the first time during her float-out at the Fincantieri shipyard in Ancona, Italy on January 14. The third ship in the Muse-class series, and part of a long-term plan to grow and enhance the cruise line’s already luxurious fleet, Silver Dawn will be a sistership to Silversea’s Silver Muse, built in the Fincantieri shipyard of Sestri Ponente (Genoa) in April 2017, and Silver Moon, which was delivered in Ancona in October 2020 – as well as the 10th ship in the ultra-luxury cruise line’s fleet. Accommodating just 596 guests in 298 ocean-view suites – 96% of which will have a private veranda – and with a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:1.45, Silver Dawn will maintain the small-ship intimacy and spacious accommodation which are the hallmarks of the Silversea experience. DRYDOCKS BUOYED Additionally, there may be a surge in cruise ship drydocks throughout the year as the global fleet prepares to return to service and cruise lines take the opportunity to get work done without worrying about taking ships out of revenue service. “Look, ships have to drydock; they have to stay within the classification society rules,” said Mark Kempa, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), on the company’s year-end and fourth quarter earnings call on February 25. “While we have pulled back on our capital expenditures and some of that is related to investments and enhancements that we would have made during drydocks, we are not stopping drydocks.” In some cases, big ticket items have actually been accelerated, such as NCLH fitting exhaust gas cleaning systems to Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway two years ahead of schedule. FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 15
Optimism on the Horizon the new protocols include crew and passenger COVID-19 testing prior to embarkation, mask wearing, physical distancing, air management and ventilation strategies as well as enhanced medical capabilities.
or the cruise community, there is no denying that 2020 was not the year we anticipated. Still, the industry wasted no time adjusting course to address the challenges before us. With the year drawing to a close, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is pleased to share the 2021 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report that highlights the extraordinary steps that cruise community took to develop and implement enhanced public health protocols to keep putting people first, while continuing to focus on innovation and responsible tourism practices that make cruising the best way to experience the world. Despite a challenging year in 2020, the report highlights the industry’s global economic impact, and trend forecasts. New research also reveals there is optimism on the horizon with two out of three cruisers willing to cruise within a year and 58% of international vacationers, who have never cruised, likely to cruise in the next few years. GLOBAL ECONOMIC IMPACT AND PASSENGER DATA The State of the Cruise Industry report includes the 2019 Global Economic Impact Analysis underscoring the tremendous growth of the cruise industry and the corresponding contributions to the international economy prior to the global health emergency. In 2019, cruising sustained 1,166,000 jobs equaling $50.53 billion in wages and salaries and $154.5 billion total output worldwide in 2019. The analysis also found: 16 FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
Passenger Port City Spending Passengers spent $385 in port cities before boarding a cruise and spend $100 in each visiting port destination during a cruise. Global Passengers - Most Cruisers from North America – The cruise industry hosted a total of 29.7 million passengers worldwide in 2019. North America accounts for the highest rate of cruisers with 15.4 million passengers cruising in 2019. Jobs Impact from Covid-19 Suspension – In 2020, every 1% loss of cruisers resulted in a reduction of 9,100 industry-related jobs. Each day of the suspension caused direct and indirect industry losses of 2,500 jobs. FLEET OF THE FUTURE – NEW CRUISE PROTOCOLS CLIA Cruise Lines anticipate debuting 20 new ocean ships in 2021, resulting in a total of 270 CLIA Cruise Line ocean ships projected to be in operation by the end of 2021. Looking ahead, this “Fleet of the Future” will feature enhanced health and safety cruise protocols for the resumption of passenger operations designed to help protect passengers, crew and destinations. Successful Sailings - From early July through mid-December 2020, there were more than 200 sailings with multiple layers of enhanced measures in place. The success of these initial sailings demonstrates new protocols are working as designed – to mitigate the risk of COVID19 among passengers, crew and the destinations cruise ships visit. New Cruise Protocols - Some of
SPOTLIGHT ON RESPONSIBLE TOURISM As CLIA members worked to address the impacts of COVID-19, the cruise industry also remained focused on its commitment to a cleaner, more sustainable future. The report highlights the industry’s $23.5 billion investment in ships with new technologies and cleaner fuels to reduce carbon emissions, partnerships with local governments in key destinations, and a commitment to reducing its rate of carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008. The report highlights the progress the cruise industry is making in the adoption of new environmental technologies. Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) – 49% of new build capacity on order will rely on LNG fuel for primary propulsion. Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (ECGS) – More than 69% of global capacity currently utilizes EGCS, while 96% of non-LNG new-builds will have EGCS. Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems – 99% of new ships on order will have these systems in place, bringing global capacity served by these systems to 78.5%. Shore Side Electricity – 58% of new build capacity is committed SSE compatibility with 32% of global fleet capacity already capable of SSE and 25% of existing capacity will be retrofitted to use SSE. 2020 was a year unlike any other and CLIA is proud of how the industry has united together to weather this unparalleled pandemic. Looking ahead, it is clear that cruisers are eager to set sail once more, just as the cruise community is eager to put people back to work and create unforgettable experiences for valued guests. For the full 2021 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook findings, visit: cruising. org/news-and-research/research.
Environmental Best Practices Continues to be a Priority
LIA and our cruise line members are passionate about clean oceans and are committed to responsible tourism practices and environmental stewardship. While cruise lines comprise far less than 1% of the global maritime community, the cruise industry works every day to advance its responsible tourism efforts. While much progress has been made, the cruise industry recognizes that continued and greater investment in research and development is critical in order to achieve the ultimate objective of zero carbon emissions across the global maritime fleet. Last year, CLIA joined an array of partner associations in the maritime sector to put forth a proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to fund and establish a $5 billion Research and Development Board dedicated to working collaboratively across the maritime sector to identify – and in some cases, develop –
the technologies and energy sources that will enable the cruise industry to pursue solutions that do not yet exist. All of this is to say, even as cruise lines have worked to address the COVID19 pandemic, the industry has remained focused on its commitment to preserve
the air and oceans in which the industry operates. With over $23 billion invested in ships with new technologies and cleaner fuels, substantial progress has been achieved and our cruise line members will continue to work diligently to meet rising expectations.
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Cruise Industry Leaders Seek Resumption of Cruises at U.S. Ports
he Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has called on the U.S. government to allow for the resumption of cruise operations from its ports by July, saying current restrictions do not reflect the cruise industry’s innovative and successful health and science protocols to combat coronavirus (COVD-19). The Framework for Conditional Sail (CSO) from the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) fails to consider the industry’s proven advancements and success operating in other parts of the world since the global pandemic began as well as the advent of vaccines. Over the past eight months, a highly-controlled resumption of cruising has continued in Europe, Asia and the South Pacific – with nearly 400,000 passengers sailing to date in more than 10 major cruise markets. These voyages were successfully completed with industry-leading protocols that have effectively mitigated the spread of COVID-19. With additional sailings planned in the Mediterranean and Caribbean later this spring and summer, this is a testament to the industry’s unparalleled expertise, gained over more than half a century, in coordinating movements of guests 18 FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
“…NEARLY 400,000 PASSENGERS SAILING TO DATE IN MORE THAN 10 MAJOR CRUISE MARKETS.” and crew, efficiently organizing complex embarkations and excursions, and designing vessels that are more technologically advanced and operationally agile than any other mode of transportation. The cruise industry has adopted a high bar for resumption around the world with a multi-layered set of policies that is intended to be revised as conditions change. CLIA members follow this multi-layered approach to enhancing health and safety that has proven effective, making cruising one of the best and most adaptable choices for travel. In addition, the development and deployment of vaccines and therapeutics further strengthens CLIA’s stance to resume cruises from U.S. ports. President Biden expects all adults
will be eligible for vaccinations by May 2, 2021 – that alone is a gamechanger. Following the industry’s voluntary suspension of operations one year ago, the CDC has prevented cruise lines from operating in the U.S. through a series of CDC “No Sail Orders” effectively banning all sailings in the largest cruise market in the world. Cruising is the only sector of the U.S. economy that remains prohibited, even as most others have opened or continued to operate throughout the pandemic. The cruise industry, wholeheartedly supporting President Biden’s efforts to boost the U.S. economy, is an essential component of the overall economy. The cruise industry alone accounted for nearly 450,000 American jobs and contributed over $55.5 billion annually prior to the pandemic. Based on economic modeling by research firm BREA, more than 300,000 U.S. jobs have been lost due to the suspension of cruises. Most are independent business owners or individuals, who are employed by small- to medium-sized businesses and include travel agents, taxi drivers, port employees, baggage handlers, longshoremen and airline, hotel and restaurant workers.
Puerto Rico Throttling Forward By Carlos Mercado Santiago, Executive Director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC)
he Government of Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and the Puerto Rico Port Authority are working diligently to turn the existing crisis into an opportunity to build a longterm advantage for Puerto Rico as a premier cruising destination through a coordinated strategic reopening of the industry. Since the cruising pause at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, and most recently in October 2020 when the CDC released a stricter set of guidelines for sailings, our government and the cruise lines have been preparing and testing out the new health and safety protocols.
“THROUGH AN ORCHESTRATED APPROACH…THE DESTINATION IS GEARING UP TO WELCOME PASSENGERS RESPONSIBLY.”
ALL HANDS-ON DECK AND FULL THROTTLE AHEAD As the health crisis continues to be monitored, the economic resumption activity will be adjusted accordingly, and cruise passengers will gradually return. Based on existing trends and advancement in the vaccine rollout locally and at a US National level, the plan projects to gradually reopen tourism in the summer. By having a substantial operational tourism infrastructure running by summer, the ports of Puerto Rico are preparing to welcome transit call and homeporting operations. This pushback in resumption is based on critical components of the protocol process such as requiring every crew member on being vaccinated.
Through an orchestrated approach, involving all areas of the supply chain management of cruising, the destination is gearing up to welcome passengers responsibly. Cruising resumption goes hand in hand with air seats capacity planning and access management. Ongoing planning sessions and negotiations are taking place with the US airlines to safeguard the seat capacity and frequency levels needed for tourism resumption. As of March, the vast majority of the 24 US airports with nonstop service have recovered SJU service. And currently, one international, BOG-SJU and PTY-SJU, have commenced operations with MAD-SJU geared start on June 1. Furthermore, Puerto Rico man-
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ages approximately 200 daily operations which include cargo and passenger flights. Averaging between 7,000 and 8,000 passengers per day and this number will increase once the Aguadilla and Ponce airports open on April 1. Through the gradual reopening plan, the destination seeks to ensure a safer and stronger recovery, restore shore experiences and attractions while preserving the financial health of the travel and tourism infrastructure. Based on the revised cruising outlook and itineraries scheduled, Puerto Rico can expect an estimate of 86,000 passengers for FY2021 and approximately 731,000 for FY2022 with an approximate economic impact of $8.3 million and $73.8 million, respectively. (Economic impact is based on 60% capacity and 70% debarkation.) Noteworthy new cruise ships included in the itineraries for the referred seasons include MSC Meravigilia, Carnival Mardi Gras, Celebrity Apex, Mein Schiff I, MSC Armonia, Valiant Lady (Virgin Voyages) and Ritz Evryma from the new Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. ON SHORE, SAFETY ABOVE ALL The Puerto Rico Tourism Company designed and implemented rigorous standards that all tourism businesses must comply. Last May 2020, the PRTC launched its Tourism Health and Safety Program Guide with the purpose of
establishing strict measures and safeguard the highest health and safety standards throughout the entire tourism ecosystem on island. Puerto Rico was also one of the first travel destinations to issue health guidelines specifically designed for the tourism industry. With the measures implemented, the island set a new norm to secure that travelers feel in control of their health and safety. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company believes the best way to achieve the speedy and safe recovery of our destination is to assure our guests that we are ready to meet and exceed their expectations. With this in mind, we led the way towards guaranteeing access to first-rate experiences in an environment that safeguards everyone’s well-being with PRTC’s Destination Health and Safety Seal Program. The initiative, which goes above and beyond basic safety measures, plays a vital role in our strategic reopening plan. By ensuring all tourism industry partners are complying with its comprehensive health and safety protocols, we make Puerto Rico even more competitive and attractive to travelers. The safe experience begins prior to the arrival process. All passengers are required to complete a Travel Declaration Form and upload negative COVID-19 test results taken within 72 hours of travel. Upon arrival to the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), the Island’s main airport, in collaboration with the Puerto Rico National Guard, is using advanced technology to administer a quick health check-up to passengers arriving to the Island. The process has proven to be effective as the airport has remained open as Puerto Rico never closed its borders. LEARNING FROM THE PAST TO ENERGIZE THE FUTURE AHEAD Crisis management and business recovery planning, unfortunately, is not an estranged matter for the destination, as in the past three years Puerto Rico has gone through a series of them. The existing crisis is an unprecedented global calamity. But despite the uncertainty and complexities, Puerto Rico’s coordinated gradual recovery plan and ongoing actualization of health and safety measures sets the destination on the right path to resume cruising responsibly and effectively.
Carlos Mercado Santiago holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a major in Marketing and an MBA in Strategic Management and Leadership. Mr. Mercado worked as a Multimedia Specialist for the US. Forest Service, USDA, where his work on sustainable tourism in Latin America earned him awards from the International Academy of Visual Arts. After his service in the federal government, he worked for the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico as a Legislative Affairs Consultant on regional economic development matters. In January 2017, he was appointed Deputy Director of the Puerto Rico Trade and Exports Company. During his time there, he worked with smalland medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as he supervised the development of Creative Industries, oversaw business innovation training programs, administered over 5 million square feet of commercial space, and promoted the export of Puerto Rican goods and services to overseas markets. He started his work at the Puerto Rico Tourism
Company (PRTC) as Deputy Director in 2019, and in January 2020, Governor Pedro Pierluisi appointed him Executive Director Designee. The PRTC is in charge of promoting domestic tourism, destination management, and fostering the development of air and maritime access to Puerto Rico. Mr. Mercado was vice-president of the board of directors of the Cooperative Development and Investment Fund (FIDECOOP in Spanish) and is member of the following boards and advisory councils: Colmena 66, an entrepreneurship development support network program which is part of The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust; the Echar pa’ Alante initiative from the Banco Popular Foundation; and the Kingbird Innovation Center, a tourism-industry business incubator affiliated to the Ana G. Méndez University. He has also served as an alternate board member of the board of directors of Discover Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico’s destination management organization) and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA).
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NEW Reggae Rafting at Lethe CHUKKA Ocean Outpost Expedition Experience
amaica’s only ocean-inspired nature-adventure outpost has added another expedition experience to its menu to give guests an opportunity to experience Jamaican culture by ‘Reggae, Roots and Romance.’ Chukka Ocean Outpost at Sandy Bay has redefined the way travelers can immerse themselves into the destination by showcasing the best of Jamaica from a conveniently located hub on the western side of the island.
The new Reggae Rafting Expedition has been added to an already robust menu of destination defining experiences, such as the Mountain to Sea ATV/Buggy, Mountain to Sea Horseback Ride ‘N’ Swim, Power Snorkel Party Cruise and Expedition to the Jungle for a zipline and river tubing experience through a pristine and untouched rainforest. This is also in addition to the many Instagrammable spots and spaces that the Outpost offers, such as the Seaside Infinity Pool & Bar, two beaches with ocean swings, the Hammock Zip Splash into the ocean, Gilly’s Restaurant & Bar, overwater gazebo with ocean swings and lounging nets, seaside sanctuary with lounging beds and ocean swings, and more. Located in the hills of Hanover, Jamaica and nestled on the bank of a mag-
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nificent stretch of the Great River is the countryside community of Lethe. Home to picturesque views of the lush surrounding valleys and tranquil gardenscapes – from the rolling hills to the calming ripples of the cool water, guests who visit this Chukka Expedition location will leave with memories to last a lifetime. Spanning 200 acres, Lethe was home to a former banana plantation estate. Today the estate is home to garden experiences and river excursions. The Chukka Expedition Safari to the Reggae Rafting at Lethe brings a unique twist – with an experience that will be immersed in culture through Reggae music and country roads. The reggae melodies that flow through the veins of Jamaica’s culture and people will set the tone as soon as
you board the reggae-themed bus. Learn about how this rich musical genre influenced the world through the life of the legendary Bob Marley. On arrival to the Lethe village, step aboard a hand-crafted 30-foot bamboo raft piloted by a certified expert raft captain. You will learn about the history of the land, the lifestyle and culture of historic Jamaica that is still alive in the rural community and about the surrounding flora in the lush valley. Included in the package for your ‘limo on the river’ experience is a Lethe village classic – in the form of a limestone foot rub and a bottle of prosecco with two flutes, or four bottles of cold Red Stripe (light beer also available) and a coconut with two bamboo straws. Visit chukka.com for more info.
Partnering for a Future of Responsible Tourism
ontributing to the success and sustainable development of cruise destinations is of vital importance to the cruise industry. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is partnering with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), city leaders and port authorities to map out the future of sustainable tourism in popular destinations. CLIA and GSTC have teamed
with the cities and ports of Corfu and Heraklion in Greece to develop Destination Assessments that will help the municipalities understand how to capture the social and economic benefits of tourism for residents while safeguarding the long-term sustainability of these popular Greek destinations. This latest cooperation, which builds on CLIA’s collaboration with GSTC and the City of Dubrovnik,
Croatia, offers an example of how city authorities, industry and local communities can collaborate to achieve a common vision for responsible tourism. More information can be found at cruising.org/en/news-and-research/ sustainability. Cruising is the one of the best ways to experience the world, and CLIA and our cruise line members look forward to welcoming passengers back from around the world.
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Chefs and Food Suppliers Join #WeAreCruise Campaign
ood and produce suppliers have become the latest businesses to join CLIA Australasia’s #WeAreCruise campaign, helping to raise awareness of the enormous economic contribution of cruise tourism. In a new series of videos released online, people who help supply ships with fine food and beverages explain how important the cruise industry is to the local economy and provide their personal insight into the impact of the region’s ongoing cruise suspension. Among them is Sam Burke, Corporate Chef for representative body Meat & Livestock Australia, who joins P&O Cruises Australia Corporate Executive Chef Uwe Stiefel to explain the impact on the region’s meat industry. In a video available on Facebook and YouTube, Mr. Burke says as much as 2.5 tons of Australian red meat is ordinarily purchased for a three-day cruise. “As you can imagine, that’s a significant volume for the industry,” Mr. Burke said. “We’re all waiting in anticipation for the cruise ships to return, because that will drive more volume through those channels and then assist the economy.” Mr. Stiefel highlighted the losses being suffered by while cruise tourism was on hold. “We use anything from 1,000 to 1,500 tons of red meat annually. They’re massive volumes, and everything is locally grown and locally made. Many of the farmers, manufacturers and producers have lost a lot of their business.” Other videos tell the stories of suppliers including Select Fresh Providores Group General Manager Steven Biviano, whose company works with local farmers to supply fresh fruit and vegetables to cruise ships, and Kollaras & Co Managing Director John Kollaras, whose family-owned company provides beverages including beers and wines from across Australia and New Zealand.
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CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said many Australian and New Zealand businesses had been devastated by the suspension of cruise operations and were voicing their support for a carefully planned revival through the #WeAreCruise video series. “Cruising ordinarily contributes more than A$5 billion a year to the economies of Australia and New
controlled resumption of domestic cruising in the region. Though cruising is still subject to government suspensions in the region, Mr. Katz said initiatives like the cruise industry’s commitment to 100% COVID-19 testing for all passengers and crew were part of a multi-layered approach that would uphold safety when cruise operations resumed. “The people in our #WeAreCruise
Zealand, and supports more than 25,000 jobs across the region,” Mr. Katz said. “These jobs are all at risk, so it’s vital that we plan a pathway towards resumption with extensive health measures in place, so that we can restore economic opportunities to communities around our coasts.” Mr. Katz said low levels of COVID19 in Australia and New Zealand, together with the extensive new health protocols introduced globally by CLIA cruise lines, presented an opportunity for a carefully
videos are just some of the tens of thousands of personal stories behind the current cruise suspension,” Mr. Katz said. “Cruise lines spend hundreds of millions of dollars in Australasia, and the health protocols our industry has developed can help restore this economic contribution for businesses and communities right across this region.” The videos appear on CLIA Australasia’s Facebook and YouTube channels.
Members & Travel Agents
FCCA Launches Private Destination Meetings
uring the quarter, FloridaCaribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) launched an ongoing series of private meetings with destinations to prepare for cruise’s return from North America and how to move full steam ahead during the pause. The beginning of a happily ever after started Wednesday, February 3 with Aruba, ‘One Happy Island,’ including a delegation with Minister of Tourism Dangui Oduber and with FCCA and Member Lines represented by FCCA President Michele Paige and FCCA Operations Committee Chairman and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Vice President of Government Relations, Americas, Russell Benford. Minister Oduber told the destination reopened borders in July, which had been successful, but was expected to be even more fruitful after the destination’s robust planned vaccination rollout, with the Dutch government supplying a first batch for about 50% of population for people in hospitals and elderly in February – and assisting with providing enough vaccines for the whole population, with plans to have at least 85% vaccinated by the end of June. Plus, this could be buoyed by cruise lines’ plans to stay closer to North America upon resuming operations, with more year-round calls, longer port stays and a hunger for authentic experiences, informed Paige, urging the destination to work on developing products to feed that need and prove that this short-term solution could become a long-term plan. Meetings took no break, continuing Thursday, February 4 with Antigua and Barbuda and a delegation featuring Minister of Tourism Charles Fernandez again joined by Paige and Benford. Minister Fernandez relayed the previous tourism success after opening borders on June 1, 2020, but expressed how a rise during the winter holidays led to a mask mandate in April – with the destination being one of the first in the region with that mandate – and other measures to 26 FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
curb the spread, protect the people and regain tourism. He continued that other initiatives included training all frontline tourism workers and zeroing in on the yachting sector, with the top yachting hotel sold out since November and protocols including bringing medical personnel trained in infections disease onboard and the Ministry of Health constantly evaluating – and shared that such initiatives would carry over to cruising as soon as possible, which would be further aided by completion of the fifth berth, as well as dredging the turning basin and a landslide build out slated to be finished soon. Proof of the destination’s tourism protocols and ability to handle cruise when it returns was in the data, with zero frontline tourism workers infected from tourists – and 100% ready to handle more year-round ships during the return, which Paige again emphasized and stressed the need to educate the private sector about the ‘bubble’ operations being a short-term effect, which will be followed by a larger economic impact through those year-round operations and longer stays, and to develop more products built around the history and culture to optimize that opportunity. Meetings proceeded with new company, joined by Marie McKenzie, vice president of global ports and Caribbean government relations for Carnival Corporation, in addition to Paige and Benford on the February 10 meeting with The Bahamas and a delegation including Minister of Tourism & Aviation Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar and Dr. Kenneth Romer, Executive Director of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation. After sharing the good news on the American home front with increased vaccinations, as well as noting that many ships and guests will likely stay closer to home, leading to more year-round and summer traffic, Minister D’Aguilar gave some updates for the destination and region. He told The Bahamas is well situated to take advantage of the bounce back when operations resume – and that
the people are starting to see the benefit of private islands in diversifying product and giving guests another way to enjoy The Bahamas besides going to city centers, which he told is especially important as the first stages of cruise’s return will likely not happen as usual, with operations mainly first taking place in private islands and controlled tours. He also reported that infection levels are infinitesimal and had no doubt guests will be exposed to far less risk than in the United States. As an example, he told at that time only 16 people were in hospitals, and infection levels were far below the 5% threshold. He continued that the Caribbean overall has likely done better than any other region on the planet due to small populations and ability to enact protocols. As far as vaccinations, he shared that they are aligned with the World Health Organization (WHO), which has essentially guaranteed 20% of the population for smaller countries, with 50,000 vaccines expected for Bahamas in the first phase and the goal of vaccinating 60-80% to reopen tourism and protect the population. Plus, guests should have plenty to experience with the new Nassau cruise port nearing completion and the destination focusing on COVID-friendly activities. On February 16, the same FCCA and Member Line delegation met with Barbados Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator Lisa Cummins. After praising some of the progress of the North America Cruise Tourism Task Force chaired by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Royal Caribbean International President & CEO Michael Bayley, Cummins shared some of the vaccination progress, with a first wave of 200,000 doses and goal of 70% of population to achieve herd immunity – along with already helping neighbor destinations like Dominica and distributing doses via CARICOM to help Caribbean nations vaccinate their tourism frontlines. The destination’s own tourism was still holding relatively strong after
November-December witnessing great numbers and flights from major source markets with high loads and hotel occupancy from 79-100%, but then seeing a decline, with occupancy around 45% in January and February expecting to be flat especially considering the Canadian ban and U.K. closedown. However, she shared that United States was staying steady, and JetBlue was looking to increase flights. She continued that key to that was supporting land-based tourism, with the destination moving away from challenges facing short-term travel to looking at longstay holidays – and working to play into its strength in the U.S. market to appeal to long-stay visitors. Further to that support, Senator Cummins shared that about $7 million per day was lost during the lockdown, but the government implemented the BEST program to keep hotels and tourism service directors going for 24 months, while also requiring a compulsory training component and renewable energy initiative. For those reasons and more, she felt confident that everyone in the private sector was ready for cruise’s return – and enthusiastically agreed to a Town Hall Meeting with FCCA to further rally and educate the communities for what to expect when that time comes. The FCCA delegation followed up that meeting with a pair of meetings
the same day with Belize and Grenada officials. Grenada Tourism Authority Acting Chairman Mrs. Kirl Grand-Hoschtialek focused on the preparations for reopening, including working with local stakeholders on the ground and the Minister implementing a strategic advisory committee along with a GTA action-oriented task force for the short term – and the cruise sector protocols already approved by the Ministry of Health, with talks in the work to take advantage of the extra ships in the Southern Caribbean and potentially longer stays. Belize Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Hon. Anthony Mahler shared that the destination was already working on its vaccination program with a target of around half the population, as well as protocols for visitors that have been vaccinated to be processed, with waived testing upon arrival in Belize. The destination delegation then shared some of the outreach they have done to inform and prepare the private sector for cruise’s return – and requested a Town Hall Meeting with FCCA to assist with that and give an indication about what kind of sites and activities would be part of ‘bubble’ operations, and to buoy the enthusiasm of people who are currently unemployed, underemployed and anxiously awaiting that return.
On March 1, cruise line brass rang during a momentous meeting with United States Virgin Islands Governor Albert Bryan Jr. and Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte along with numerous Member Line executives, including Chairmen, Presidents and CEOs such as Micky Arison, Chairman, Carnival Corporation; Michael Bayley; Frank Del Rio, President & CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings; Richard Sasso, Chairman, MSC Cruises USA; and Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises. In addition to discussing ways to further work with U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the technical specifications to allow the resumption of cruises, as well as the impressive progress the destination has made in its own vaccination efforts – with 50 percent of the population expected to be inoculated by July – and protocols allowing tourism to thrive, the meeting focused on other progress USVI has made through refreshments during the downturn, including the imminent completion of Veterans Drive, and more ways to make St. Thomas seem completely new to guests with additional attractions, plus the possibility of multiport stops with St. Croix creating a ‘bubble’ using a similar model to cruise lines’ private islands. FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 27
Members & Travel Agents
2020 Vision: A Conversation with ExcursionInsurance.com By Ken Furlow, Global Development Officer, ExcursionInsurance.com
ntil March 13, 2020, most of us were very pleased when we found out that we had 20/20 vision, in other word, perfect vision. March of 2020 brought us to a new reality, and this was not a “perfect vision.” This was when 2020 was literally stamped into every person on Earth’s memory as “the worst disaster in modern history,” and this disaster disproportionately affected the cruise industry, our industry. Nothing has ever compared to the depth and breadth of this global pandemic, hitting developed and developing nations alike, the wealthy and impoverished with the same ruthless and reckless abandon – not one part of our wonderful Earth was left unaffected. And yet, with all the devastation, the grief, the personal and financial hardships, here we stand, poised to welcome a return to the cruise industry and a return to the normalcy of cruising. None of us can accurately predict the “when” of cruising’s return, but all of us can see the need for a return to cruising. The early bookings show a tremendous pent-up demand, and in our conversations with our tour operator clients, we know that when the ships return, they will be met with highest level of professionalism and safety protocols ever put into place by any industry…ever! The global pandemic has affected almost every part of our lives and businesses; the insurance industry was not spared. Prior to the pandemic, most insurers were in the process of evaluating their positions and product placements, or what we call “risk appetites” for all lines of business due to the recent storm, fires etc. The pandemic put this process into overdrive. Insurance companies have dropped entire lines of business, raised and hardened rates in most other lines of business, and now with 80% of the insurers’ staffs working remotely, they have slowed the processes and the amount of time needed to receive and bind quotes putting the 28 FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
“WE ARE READY, WILLING, AND ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY RELAUNCH THE FCCA GLOBAL TOUR OPERATOR PROGRAM.” insured and the brokers responsible for them in a difficult position. Well, that is the bad news, but there is some very good news related to the FCCA insurance program. We have been able to negotiate the rates for our 2021 FCCA Global Tour Operator Program with 0% rate increase…yes, that is ZERO! The importance of the FCCA Global Tour Operator Program to the success of our return to “normalcy” in the cruise industry cannot be underestimated. With the recent changes in the insurance industry as a whole, knowing that the FCCA Global Tour Operator Program has come through this unchanged and without a rate increase is a tribute to the confidence the insurers have in the FCCA Tour Operators. Many of the cruise lines have reached out to ExcursionInsurance.com directly to make sure that during these uncertain times we would still be able to provide the required coverage for their tour operators, and of course, we stand ready to welcome everyone back into service. Working with the FCCA, the members and the cruise lines, ExcursionInsurance.com has a multipronged plan for the re-entry process when cruising begins. We have two programs that support the FCCA Global Tour Operator Program. Here are the programs and how we will handle the re-entry process for each:
AIG – if you were insured with our AIG program before the pandemic, we have proactively been reaching out to check your status and remind you that we will need a new application for the re-entry program because 2021 will not be a “normal” season of cruising. We need to provide the insurance company the best information available for your quote. We are asking that you give us a minimum of 3 weeks to bring you back into the re-entry program. Remember, we will be working with a large volume of tour operators that need to get their certificates to the cruise lines and get back in business. Lloyds – Most clients insured with the Lloyds program had their policies “suspended” and will be effective once it is known that you will have cruise ships coming to your destination. If you are an insured of the Lloyds program, we ask that you give us at least 2 weeks to get your policy activated and the proper certificates to the cruise lines so that your tour will be available for guests when they arrive.
This past year has been difficult for each of us, but it is time to look forward and not back. Rest assured, ExcursionInsurance.com has spent our time preparing for the re-entry program and honed our processes knowing that we will be challenged to bring back a large volume of our tour operators in a very short period. We are ready, willing, and able to successfully relaunch the FCCA Global Tour Operator Program. We look forward to the opportunity to work with each of you again in the very near future. If you have not heard from our team, please reach out to us. We are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to work with all our friends again soon. For more information, please reach Ken Furlow via mobile (786-351-3408) or e-mail (ken@ excursioninsurance.com).
A new partner on board brings more choices on shore. Two paths coming together with a steady goal can broaden horizons for all. Through a shared vision and passion for the cruise industry, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and ExcursionInsurance.com have joined paths. As the new administrator of the FCCA Global Tour Operator Insurance Program, ExcursionInsurance.com provides tour operators with the coverage they need to grow their business—and enhance the destination experience.
To learn more about how this partnership can benefit you, contact our experts today. Ken Furlow Global Development Officer M: 786.351.3408 firstname.lastname@example.org
Members & Travel Agents
As We Reopen to Tourism, Are Our Frontlines Ready? By Beth Kelly Hatt, President, Aquila Center for Cruise Excellence
ow are your frontlines doing with giving the best service while wearing masks and distancing from their guests? As countries open their borders to tourism and some to cruise, our frontlines are faced with following many new protocols and procedures, and we still expect them to deliver excellent service. But how do they deliver great service from behind a mask? How do they connect with guests while maintaining physical distancing? Are they prepared to handle difficult situations with these new protocols and processes? Today, providing excellent service to guests in destinations is more important and more challenging than ever. For those who are interacting with guests, the demands are greater, the expectations are higher, and the world is watching. We have to get it right, and we need the service from our frontlines to be excellent. We want them to connect with guests while distancing, to encourage compliance from guests, and to manage difficult situations. We need them to be ready to respond to guests in a positive manner – and to have the skills and confidence they need to deliver excellent service while following the necessary protocols and procedures. How can we set our frontlines up for success? We need to provide them with: • Protocols & Processes: We need to provide them with clear instructions on the protocols and processes that must be followed – and why they must be followed. • Expectations: We need to clearly communicate what we expect from our frontlines in each of their roles, including everything from following protocols and processes to dealing with guests. • Training: We need to train them on how to deliver excellent service with these new protocols and procedures and give them the skills and confidence to do their jobs well. 30 FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
Aquila’s newest virtual workshop –“Service Excellence: COVID-19 Edition” – was designed to meet the need for training, and it is getting rave reviews. Participants comment that the training is particularly helpful in the way it shares very practical ways to deliver excellent service and engages participants in the training. For example, when discussing how to best communicate while wearing a mask, participants practice speaking slowly and clearly, enunciating every word, and smiling while they speak, all while wearing a mask – and they can see and hear the difference. “Aquila had exactly the training we were looking for, and it spoke to how to deliver service in this COVID-19 era, which is very important,” said Clive McCoy, Director of the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board, where more than 2500 frontlines recently participated in the program. “Everyone is Smizing, and we believe that these trainings will make a difference and allow for BVILOVE to shine through.” PROCOLOMBIA also offered their tour operators and frontlines this training
program in Spanish as part of a comprehensive training package that also included product development and much more. We are all eagerly awaiting the return of cruise to our destinations, and we commend those destinations that are using this time to prepare by investing in their most important people, those that hold the guest experience in their hands – their tourism frontlines. Beth Kelly Hatt is the President of the Aquila Center for Cruise Excellence, the exclusive training partner of the FCCA. Reach out to her at Beth@ CruiseExcellence.com.
Members & Travel Agents
Travel Agent Training Plays Critical Role in Recovery
s the cruise industry works hard to forge a responsible resumption of operations, CLIA is taking steps to support travel agents and other industry stakeholders to ensure they are a key part of the recovery. In addition to CLIA Australasia’s lobbying efforts for all those businesses impacted by the ongoing cruise suspension, including for extended government support, CLIA has also recently launched an important new education tool. Called Cruise Dynamics, it is part of CLIA’s Learning Academy for Australasian travel agents and this year focuses on the extensive new health measures cruise lines have committed to globally in response to the pandemic. Even as CLIA continues to outline these health measures to governments and health authorities, travel agents can now gain a thorough understanding of how cruise lines will operate in the future and the lengths they are going to in order to uphold the health and safety of their guests.
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“Cruise Dynamics will be a key resource for agents as they prepare for the resumption of cruising and learn how to give reassurance to their clients,” said CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz. “It explains important initiatives including the rigorous screening, testing, distancing, and sanitation measures that CLIA cruise lines have committed to worldwide.” As CLIA’s recertification elective, Cruise Dynamics is an annual initiative that must be completed by travel agents who hold any level of CLIA accreditation in order to renew their certificate. Each year the course focuses on important new developments in the cruise industry, but this year’s is considered more important than ever given the focus on health, safety and recovery. Among aspects covered in the course is the cruise industry’s commitment to 100% testing of all passengers and crew before embarkation, with a negative COVID-19 result required for boarding. It also provides detailed information on the specific screening, sanitation and medical
protocols that will be in place through the entire cruise experience, from time of booking through to a passenger’s return home. “Cruise dynamics is always essential for CLIA accredited travel agents, but in this critical time for our industry the 2021 course is highly recommended for any CLIA travel agent, regardless of accreditation,” Mr. Katz said. “Among the many layers that make up CLIA’s future strategy is an emphasis on restoring confidence in the cruise industry. This means earning the confidence of our travel agent partners, the confidence of governments, and the confidence of the travelling public. Nothing is more fundamental to that confidence than the new health measures cruise lines have committed to around the world, and Cruise Dynamics will be a key vehicle for us to inform travel agents and other stakeholders about the importance of these measures.” Cruise Dynamics is being offered online for CLIA Australasia and Asia member travel agents.
CLIA’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
n keeping with our stance of condemning racism in all forms, CLIA – as a global organization and the cruise industry’s leading travel trade association – has spent the past year committed to engaging in concrete actions that will make a difference to end systemic racism. CLIA stands in solidarity with the Black community against social injustice and intolerance. Through education and service, we are doing our part to create sustainable change. We believe that through education and training, we can achieve that change. As such, CLIA has held a diversity and inclusion training session for the association’s leadership team and two sessions with staff. Led by Rhonda C. Hight, founder of Let’s Talk LLC, an Atlanta-based human resources consulting firm, the sessions were interactive to allow participants to discuss unconscious biases, microaggression and the difference between equity and equality. Hight provided participants with strategies to foster diversity, equity and inclusion. CLIA also offers monthly lunch & learn session that allow participants to discuss
ways to recognize institutional racism and correct it. In addition, we have encouraged our employees to volunteer their time and skills to assist in their respective communities to support the fight against racial injustice experienced by black people and people of color every day. CLIA is formulating a statement of shared values regarding diversity, equity and inclusion that will be used to guide our daily discussions and actions. We are not alone in this battle to combat the great injustice impacting Black communities and individuals worldwide. We are encouraged to witness all of the companies joining forces in solidary with this fight. Working together, we will make a difference and create a better, more inclusive and more tolerant world. FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 33
Members & Travel Agents ment, St. Maarten has received a little over 8,000 vaccines to start with. The vaccines will first be offered to seniors aged 60 years and older and health care workers. Stay Inspired, Stay Safe. For more information about the destination, visit www.vacationstmaarten.com, www. facebook.com/portstmaarten or www. portstmaarten.com. PUERTO PLATA AND TAINO BAY: TWO COMMERCIAL ALLIES THAT WILL GIVE MORE IMPETUS TO THE COMMERCIAL TOURISM SECTOR The Taino Bay project that began its work in La Novia del Atlántico, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, located in the north of the country, promises with an initiative through the diversification of the tourism sector to attract more than 900,000 cruise passengers a year to the Port of Puerto Plata. With the main goal of rebuilding the existing cargo terminal, the construction of a passenger tourist pier, the construction of a fishing pier, shelter works (beach protection), buildings and port facilities will transform the area into a multipurpose port. This important commercial alliance will create sources of employment that will benefit more than 14,000 people in the tourist area of the Puerto Plata region and surrounding areas. Once again, the Dominican Republic is moving towards the sustainable tourism development of one of its earthly jewels, thanks to the arduous management of the government.
VACCINES ARRIVE AS SINT MAARTEN PREPARES COUNTRYWIDE INOCULATION CAMPAIGN The COVID-19 vaccines from the Netherlands arrived in St. Maarten on February 19 and was received by Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs. In the first ship34 FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
SAINT LUCIA – THREE PEAT ROMANCE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD Saint Lucia continues to be recognized the world over for her stunning beauty, lush vegetation, picturesque underwater, deep culture, hidden gems and, more importantly, its romantic escapes. The destination was awarded the title of World’s Leading Honeymoon Destination for 2020, making it the third consecutive year in recent time that the destination copped this prestigious title. For information on travel to Saint Lucia, please visit www.stlucia,org/covid-19.
SAIL INTO BONAIRE’S TRUE AUTHENTICITY Discover Bonaire’s hidden gems from the highest point of Brandaris to the crystal-clear and blue waters, filled with new colorful and fun adventures and exquisite culinary experiences. Bonaire’s true island authenticity is waiting for you! For more information, please visit www.tourismbonaire.com or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube: @ Bonaire Tourism.
BLUE LAGOON CREATING A SAFE ENVIRONMENT Blue Lagoon Island in Nassau, Bahamas continues to lead the charge in creating a safe environment where cruise guests can enjoy the beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Bahamas and thrilling encounters with dolphins, sea lions, stingrays and sharks. The private island destination was the first excursion in the country to be awarded the global World Travel and Tourism Safe Travels stamp of approval for its comprehensive safety procedures and protocols.
CHUKKA REVAMPS OCHO RIOS TOUR PACKAGES WITH ISLAND VILLAGE CHUKKA Caribbean Adventures has partnered with Island Village, next to the Ocho Rios Cruise Ship Pier, to build out exciting new additions that will attract visitors to the area. In addition to adventure tours to Chukka locations, guests visiting Island Village will have access to shop, eat and play at this newly renovated complex. A three-level viewing tower with slide, interactive water fountain, bamboo rafting and challenge course are just a few of the additions to come.
DREDGING IN ENSENADA DIGS UP OPPORTUNITIES FOR LARGER SHIPS Hutchison Ports invested in dredging its cruise ship terminal in Ensenada. With these works, Ensenada Cruiseport Village will be able to receive the new generation of cruise ships with an increasing capacity, seeking routes on the west coast, having a positive impact on the economy of Ensenada and Baja California.
AMERIMED HOSPITALS OFFERS EXTRACORPOREAL LIFE SUPPORT At Amerimed Hospitals we have always been pioneers in expanding the medical capabilities in each of our locations, and innovation is part of our core values. Amerimed Hospital in Cancun now offers Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS/ECMO) for critically ill patients who meet the criteria for this therapy. Amerimed Cancun is a proud member of the Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) and is registered as the 941st ELSO center in the world.
UTILA: ANOTHER PARADISE TO DISCOVER IN HONDURAS Utila is another of the beautiful islands located in the Bay Islands of Honduras, a must
for diving lovers due to the facilities it offers. If you are an experienced diver or want to learn this sport, Utila is the best place to do it because its deep and crystal-clear waters are the perfect setting to immerse yourself in a magical underwater world of multicolored fish and even with the gigantic Whale Shark. 2021 is a year to live it big, and in Utila you can enjoy adrenaline-filled activities and relax and enjoy its warm landscapes and spectacular sunsets. Utila a small island with great things to offer! PORT TAMPA BAY READY FOR THE RESUMPTION OF CRUISES Port Tampa Bay will be ready to hit the ground running once cruises resume. We have taken extra precautions to keep our cruise terminals clean and disinfected, and we sanitize them with an EPA-approved chemical to prevent the spread of COVID19 every 30 days. We are working closely with our cruise line partners to follow CDC guidelines and have made accommodations to our cruise terminals to ensure safety.
PORT OF SAN DIEGO AWAITS Situated on picturesque San Diego Bay, at the doorstep of the downtown area, you’ll find the Port of San Diego’s two cruise ship terminals. This unique location offers an unparalleled array of visitor opportunities to discover amazing adventure, cuisine, and entertainment, all just steps off the ship. Plus, nearby airport, train, light-rail and Interstate highways provide visitors all access to one of America’s top destinations. Welcome to the Port of Land and See! BERMELLO AJAMIL & PARTNERS HELP PREPARE FOR THE PANDEMIC The pandemic has changed the homeport health screening process indefinitely. Terminal spaces must be repurposed to fulfill protocol requirements for restart using existing, modified, or expanded
areas. Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc. (BA) enhanced our terminal simulator model to assist ports, cruise lines, and terminal operators evaluate the flexible design space required to limit the impact on terminal flows due to the introduction of new health/testing stations, isolation areas and social distancing.
WORKSHOP WITH AQUILA TOURS How do you prepare your community for cruise? During five weeks from November to December 2020, the Aquila’s Tours team and the Tourism Board of Guadeloupe held workshops to get the country ready for the resumption of cruise and delivering WOW Experiences to cruise lines and their guests. We reiterate the importance to Guadeloupe for these workshops to help us build that plan and be a leader in destinations that are prepared for cruise.
FORMER CRUISE EXECUTIVE OPENS CONSULTING FIRM IN BOGOTA, COLOMBIA Well-known and former cruise executive, Federico Gonzalez Denton, recently inaugurated his business consulting firm in Bogota, Colombia for the Latin America and Caribbean regions. Gondens (www. gondens.com) is a multidisciplinary firm offering consulting services is areas such as product development, government relations, marketing, market research, strategic planning, cruise operations and sustainable tourism. Federico is a graduate in maritime law from Tulane University and spent over a decade in the cruise industry with Royal Caribbean Group and Global Ports Holding. Gondens recently joined the FCCA as a Platinum Member. FIRST QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 35
PARADISE AWAITS. ALL IN GOOD TIME. Soon enough you’ll feel the embrace of our sun on your face, our historic cobblestone streets under your feet, and our endless white sand between your toes. All in good time. Find out more at DiscoverPuertoRico.com.