THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE CRUISE INDUSTRY SECOND QUARTER 2021
PortMiami Launches Return of Live FCCA Events
Engages in Onboard Employment Opportunities
Casts Light on Resumption for Platinum Members
Cruising Returning Around the World Industry Celebrates Seafarers CLIA Enacts New Campaigns & FCCA Cruise Conference Making a Comeback Aquila’s Tips for Welcoming Cruises Again
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MEETINGS AND EVENTS SECOND QUARTER 2021 WWW.TRAVELANDCRUISE.COM
ON THE COVER
10 Cruise Executives and Destination Stakeholders Gather in Person for First Time Since COVID-19 at the FCCA-PortMiami Return to Sail Summit Recap of and input from the
over 40 cruise executives, including nine Presidents and above, that participated with a capped out 200 attendees at the relaunch of live FCCA events
21 Cruising Resuming Around the World
ON LAND 22 Coastal Mississippi Is Primed for Cruise Departures 24 Ready, Set, Sail Campaign Rallies Thousands in Australia
14 FCCA’s Live Events Move Full Steam Ahead with Return of FCCA Cruise Conference
25 Ben Bouldin Appointed New CLIA Chair for UK & Ireland (UK)
15 APEC Nations Look to Cruising’s
25 Fit for 55
Future in Asia
MEMBERS & TRAVEL AGENTS ON BOARD 16 Employment Opportunities Getting a Boost in FCCA Partner Destinations
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.
Michael Bayley, President & CEO of Royal Caribbean International, and Amy Alexy, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer of Royal Caribbean Group, shared how they are looking to give a raise to the employment of seafarers hailing from destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico 20 Cruise Industry Celebrates Seafarers Around the World
26 Arnold Donald Weighs In for FCCA Platinum Members Arnold Donald,
President & CEO of Carnival Corporation, updated on things to come in the hopes of moving full steam ahead to economic recovery upon cruising’s return
30 Are You Ready for the Return of Cruise? Beth Kelly Hatt, President of
Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, provided recommendations for destinations to ensure a successful return of cruise
33 FCCA Platinum Member Highlights
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SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 3
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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 Mario Aguirre DIRECTOR, MEMBERSHIP EVENTS & PROGRAMS Justin Paige DIRECTOR, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS & STRATEGIC MARKETING PARTNERSHIPS Bruna Milazzotto MANAGER, RESEARCH & DATA Jessica Lalama EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
Cruising has officially resumed to the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico. While it may not be quite business as normal during these initial phases, the ‘new normal’ has already proven to present opportunities for our partners, with more homeporting already happening in the region, as well as the possibility of more ships, longer stays and multi-port calls. Plus, we continue to see evidence of pent-up demand with record booking, and we along with our Member Lines have kept working even during the pause on initiatives such as focusing on ways to improve mutual benefits for destinations and stakeholders, including increasing employment opportunities, and reworking our live events. The theme of partnership has also been displayed in every meeting we have held with both our destination partners and Member Lines, and if any silver lining can Michele meeting with the Hon. Andrew Fahie, Premier & Minister of Tourism of British be seen in this fog, that partnership Virgin Islands itself has certainly been a highlight and proven that you truly know who your friends are when experiencing hardships – and our friends throughout our partner destinations have gone above and beyond to assist cruise’s return however they can, from developing health and safety protocols to even establishing vaccination programs for crew members. Some of these developments in and involvement from the cruise community at large follow in this issue, including Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, discussing some of the new employment opportunities for our partner destinations; Arnold Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Corporation, giving an update for FCCA Platinum Members; and details of our renewed live events. 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, with a new format focused on one-on-one meetings, takes on increased significance, especially after our return of live events from PortMiami that brought together stakeholders with more than 40 cruise executives, including nine Presidents, CEOs and/or Chairmen. We look forward to moving full steam ahead and helping our partners seize these new opportunities – and to seeing you in Panama from October 18-21.
Michele M. Paige President FCCA
Vanessa Gutierrez MEMBERSHIP ADMINISTRATOR
SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 7
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
Welcome to this edition of the Travel & Cruise. At long last, and after 15 months of suspended passenger operations, the first ships have sailed out of U.S. ports. There are several more sailings scheduled for the months ahead. This includes Alaska, where CLIA’s ‘Ready Set Sail’ initiative – along with support from an influential congressional delegation and the efforts of tens of thousands – have helped save part of the summer season that is so critical to many local communities throughout southeast Alaska. We continue to be grateful for the support the industry has received from throughout the United States. As the world’s largest cruise market gradually returns to service, it builds on the momentum building in Europe and the surrounding regions where more countries are opening to cruising. Most recently, this includes Norway, where sailings are now permitted along the coastline and Svalbard. With more than 100 ships expected to be sailing from North America, Europe, and Asia by August, we remain focused on Australia and New Zealand with the ‘Ready Set Sail’ initiative underway. In more exciting news, as the public health landscape continues to evolve, we are thrilled that in person events are once again a reality and are so grateful that we have and will continue to have the opportunity to meet face to face once again. A few upcoming events to keep your eye out on this summer are CLIA’s Cruise360 in Florida, CLIA’s Cruise360 in Australia and of course, Seatrade Cruise Global in Miami this September. One constant throughout this challenging time is the knowledge that cruisers love to cruise. Research shows that cruise enthusiasm keeps gathering strength as 82% of cruisers are likely to cruise again in the next few years, which is back in line with pre-pandemic findings. Read this issue to learn more about the ongoings through the cruise community. Together in cruise,
Kelly Craighead President and CEO
Joshua S. Good SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, GLOBAL FINANCE AND OPERATIONS Anne Madison SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING AND STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS
SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 9
Meetings & Events
Cruise Executives and Destination Stakeholders Gather in Person for First Time Since COVID-19 at the FCCA-PortMiami Return to Sail Summit
prestigious crowd gathered at PortMiami on June 22 to embark on the first live event coordinated by Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCCA-PortMiami Return to Sail Summit. After a networking event complete with breakfast, coffee and the chance for the capped out 200 attendees to meet with more than 40 executives from FCCA Member Lines, the Summit was officially opened by Juan M. Kuryla, Director, PortMiami. He noted that “we have everybody here today” while praising the attendance of the nine Presidents, CEOs and/ or Chairmen from cruise companies – in addition to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava – while also acknowledging and thanking PortMiami employees: the longshoremen, shore operations, people, executives and middle management who continued to work hard despite the pandemic. After a round of applause from the audience honoring that work, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava took the stage to celebrate the work by the industry and stakeholders that set the stage for the return of cruise tourism – and recognize
10 SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
“…IF THESE 15 MONTHS HAVE PROVEN ANYTHING, IT’S THE RESILIENCE OF THE CRUISE INDUSTRY AND THE EXTENDED NETWORK OF PARTNERSHIPS THAT WE HAVE.” –JAN SWARTZ, GROUP PRESIDENT, HOLLAND AMERICA GROUP
the attendance of all at the event who both contributed to many of those efforts, providing that “sign of resilience,” and were “eager to see each other and get together again…[to] emerge stronger than ever.” That is exactly what happened during the one-day series of workshops and net-
working opportunities to help prepare for the broader return of cruising to the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico – and to assist the destinations and stakeholders in optimizing the potential benefits arising in the ‘new normal’ including more homeporting already happening in the region, along with the possibility of more ships, longer stays and multi-port calls. “After 15 months, it was beyond exciting to again gather with our partners during this pivotal time to prepare how to make it out of this crisis, hopefully even better than ever,” said Michele Paige, President, FCCA. “We are grateful for PortMiami hosting the event and showcasing some of the protocols that will drive cruising’s return from North America.” “I can confidently say on behalf of all people and destinations the FCCA represents that we are ready to get back to business,” said Micky Arison, Chairman, FCCA and Carnival Corporation & plc, who attended the event and participated at the functions, including the opening and ‘View from the Top’ round table. “It has been a long, arduous time, but we now see the light at the end of the tunnel and know the importance of working together to make it to the other side even stronger.”
Following the opening, the participating Presidents, CEOs and/or Chairmen took center stage. Micky Arison; Michael Bayley, President & CEO, Royal Caribbean International; Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line; Tom McAlpin, President & CEO, Virgin Voyages; Jason Montague, President & CEO, Regent Seven Seas Cruises; Frank Del Rio, President & CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.; Ruben Rodriguez, President, MSC Cruises USA; Harry Sommer, President & CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line; and Jan Swartz, Group President, Holland America Group joined the moderators, Michele Paige and FCCA Senior Vice President Adam Ceserano for ‘View from the Top.’ “To gather here in person is a remarkable moment, and if these 15 months have proven anything, it’s the resilience of the
“THE PENT-UP DEMAND IS REAL.” –FRANK DEL RIO, PRESIDENT & CEO, NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE HOLDINGS LTD.
cruise industry and the extended network of partnerships that we have,” told Swartz. The time has also shown “how this industry has come together in the past year to solve these problems,” according to McAlpin. “It’s important to understand that we
wouldn’t be here without the vaccines,” said Arison, encouraging the audience to get and support others being vaccinated. “That’s the only way we’ll get back.” Bayley agreed on the importance of the vaccines. “What we do know is we’re all heading in the right direction because of the vaccines. As an industry, we’ve committed to have all of our crew fully vaccinated, and directionally, many of the brands have announced we’re sailing either fully vaccinated or the vast majority vaccinated [because of children sailing]. “There is no country on earth that has a vaccinated population even close. There is no business in any country on the planet that has a fully vaccinated guest and crew.” For Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings,
SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 11
Meetings & Events sailings will initially be fully vaccinated, meaning no children under 12 in the meantime. “We’re comfortable with that to err on the side of caution and safety, which we believe is necessary to prevent any setbacks moving forward,” said Sommer. “In terms of protocols from a port perspective, for us a critical piece is that, to the extent possible, we get the countries of the Caribbean to look at this under a similar lens,” he continued. “If we’re coming with 100% vaccinations – and in the case of other cruise lines, close to 100% vaccinations – we would love to see similar protocols in every country that we visit. “I think for us, the most complicated thing is that each island or each country might have a different set of protocols and that they might change over time if there’s a minor setback along the way…and the message we can give as an industry is one for consistency and longevity on how we face this with the mandate or understanding that we are going forward with the safest possible product on earth.” Arison agreed, pointing out the chain effect that one destination can have on others that are part of an itinerary. If one destination of a three-port itinerary changes protocols, the other two ports will be affected “because the itinerary doesn’t work out…so it’s very important to have that consistency across board.” “It’s important we try as best we can to create predictability for our guests,” told Rodriguez, continuing that relies on the consistency of protocols, along with a phased restart and destinations/stakeholders being patient during that phase. And that patience should be rewarded, since according to Rodriguez, “the pandemic has created a situation where there’s a lot of pent-up demand.” “The pent-up demand is real,” shared Del Rio. “When we arrive, these ships will be full, and I want to make sure that [destinations] will be prepared to handle full ships.” How can destinations increase their own load of those ships – and maximize the opportunities that this “disruption” presents? “If you’re interested, if you think you do have something to offer the cruise industry…that we’ve been missing, then I would tell you to visit us immediately,” said Del Rio. “Tell us; give us your proposal. 12 SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
“We’re reasonable people; were here to make money…and bring our guests to new and exciting places. Over 50% of the customers onboard any of our brands are repeaters and always looking for new things. Our eyes are wide open. This is the time to make your pitch because of the disruption.” Much of the panel also chimed in on the significance of experience and products within the destinations – and mutual work between the destinations, stakeholders and cruise lines to develop them. Montague pointed to the go local programs giving guests a sample of daily life, and Swartz and Duffy both addressed the opportunities for stakeholders to work with cruise lines to increase shore excursion products. Plus, Bayley reminded that Royal Caribbean invests heavily in developing new experiences ashore, which has continued even during the pandemic, along with noting the need to work on planning for the future through new infrastructure to handle the growing volume of guests. McAlpin mentioned a different type of “immersive experience” – something that Virgin sailors crave – they are offering: longer stays and overnights in destinations. Those could also be a trend for destinations to actualize in the ‘new normal’ – along with a host of ships now homeporting in the region. So how exactly can destinations establish this kind of homeporting? “Actively engage with the airlines about the capacity that they allocate to the market and the pricing because the pricing of air tickets is an invisible force to all of our businesses,” advised Swartz. According to Montague, while that airlift – along with hotel options – is important, it all circles back to the “overall experience in the destination.” He shared that Regent is scheduled for seven turns out of Barbados, “and they did an excellent job at pitching the experience.” Attendees then had opportunities for pitches of their own as they broke for a buffet lunch sponsored by PortMiami, along with a break giving the chance to talk privately with the participating cruise executives while observing safety protocols including a mask mandate and physical distancing. Besides taking advantage of the first chance in over a year to talk in person with attendees who can help move the cruise industry’s return full steam ahead in the Caribbean, Central and South
America, and Mexico, many of the other 35 participating FCCA Member Line executives joined the itinerary of workshops to address the larger audience. After the lunch break, cruise executives from the FCCA Operations Committee – Moderator and Operations Committee Chairman, Russell Benford, Vice President, Government Relations, Americas, Royal Caribbean Group; Erika Tache, Sr. Director, Operations & Revenue, Shore Excursions Carnival Cruise Line, and Chair of the FCCA Shore Excursion Committee; Joshua Carroll, Vice President, Destination Development, Royal Caribbean Group; Emilio Freeman, Vice President, Itineraries & Destinations, SeaDream Yacht Club; Albino Di Lorenzo, Vice President, Cruise Operations, MSC Cruises USA; Marie McKenzie, Vice President, Global Ports & Caribbean Government, Carnival Corporation; and Steve Moeller, Sr. Vice President, Commercial Development. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd. – gathered for ‘Grand Tour.’ Asked about the creation of the Americas Cruise Tourism Task Force launched by FCCA, McKenzie told, ““The Task Force came together because I can honestly say in the area of operating in a healthy and safe manner, as an industry we do not compete in that space. We consider ourselves partners; we have very similar concerns...so we felt creating this committee, we could really work well together doing that. “We also felt we couldn’t do this alone; we needed our destination partners. So, the Task Force was formed to create a forum by which we could work together as an industry and work with our destination partners in the hope of coming up with a common set of protocols under which the industry could operate. “We had concerns that if we start cruising post-pandemic that we would be going to destinations that would have a significantly separate set of protocols to call in that destination – and if we had to do that, it would make it operationally challenging for all of us.” While not resulting in those common protocols yet, she believes the Task Force “was effective in that it provided a forum in which we could all share, speak, listen.” That theme of listening and learning – as well as the nimbleness of being a smaller cruise line – was critical in the ability for SeaDream to launch a product
in Norway in just two months, along with the attempted operations in Barbados in November, with Freeman sharing they had to become very familiar in talking to the countries they were calling. “We got to be close, we got to be good friends…and as a small line, they recognized that we were very nimble and could make adjustments quickly.” That smaller focus and audience also allows them to have five separate sets of protocols based on vaccination levels and other factors on a new set of Norway sailings. “We can control the narrative…in what a government might need from us.” Of course, that bigger size has not presented a big obstacle to MSC Cruises’ restart of its European sailings through constant adaptations. DiLorenzo shared that they had already cruised for 11 months without interruptions because of their protocols that ensure “we were able to deliver a vacation experience at the same time ensuring that the passengers, communities and crew still may stay safe without being exposed…” despite interacting with three different governments. Carroll pointed out a different kind of work with destinations – as well as the partnerships and aim of mutual benefits paving the way – that helped turn typical ports of call into homeports, despite the lack of normal infrastructure, airlift and more traditionally required for homeports. “Our goal was to try and create as much economic activity in those places… and get our value chain back up and running. While these cruises were not a profitable endeavor, relatively speaking, we wanted [travel agents, tour operators, etc.] to restart their businesses.” Port agents can also be crucial to the restart, according to Moeller. “It’s what they’re telling us – what’s going on in the communities, destinations. We view [them] as our partners…it’s the dialogue that goes back and forth. “They’re our ears and our eyes on the ground with the local communities, the governments. So we heavily rely on them giving us the best guidance possible.” Moeller also reiterated the “consistency and uniformity” of protocols, without which “we would not be able to put together an itinerary and get the approval to start resuming cruising – not just Caribbean, but worldwide.”
What about when cruising resumes and shore excursions again start running? “Communication is always essential… without communication, we would not be able to set expectations for our guests,” told Tache. “Protocols change by destination, so we want to ensure that our guests…will understand the protocols of each destination so there will be no surprises. “Please continue communicating with us so and give us the most updated information so we can communicate to our guests before arrival.” Following that workshop, members of the newly formed FCCA Employment Committee – Moderator and FCCA Employment Committee Chairman Ashley Spencer, Director, Global Talent Attraction, Crew & Travel Operations, Carnival Cruise Line, and Kunal Lakhia, Associate Vice President, Global Talent Acquisition, Royal Caribbean Group – were engaged for ‘You’re Hired!’ “Specifically, within the FCCA’s regions, we’re looking to increase the numbers of crew that we get from the regions,” said Spencer, who also pointed out that he and Lakhia were representing the broader group of the Committee formed just four weeks prior, including Disney, Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Group – and that regular meetings of that group were starting shortly. While new in nature, the Committee has been in the works for some time, he continued. “There was an intent before the pandemic to start the process.” “The whole purpose of this Committee is to be a platform...for all of you to reach out to us to understand all the employment opportunities,” told Lakhia. “Our Committee has been designed to act as a conduit to all the destinations represented here by providing guidance, advice and a general kind of update,” shared Spencer, continuing that some of the guidance is currently in process and planned to be shared with destinations within six months to provide more information as a group. “I think there’s a lot of misconceptions of how we go to market and how we recruit.” That actual recruitment will be brand-specific, with Spencer and Lakhia urging destinations to reach out to individual cruise lines, but the Committee will provide consistency in messaging along with serving as that conduit. SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 13
Meetings & Events
FCCA’s Live Events Move Full Steam Ahead with Return of FCCA Cruise Conference
fter navigating the rough seas due to COVID-19 over a long 15 months, FCCA has an exciting new 20212022 event calendar of live events that have become synonymous with developing mutual understanding and success. In addition to the FCCA – PortMiami Return to Cruise Summit that took place on June 22 and is detailed on the prior pages, FCCA will soon relaunch its keynote event, the FCCA Cruise Conference, this October, with it then going back to Puerto Rico in June 2022. “It has been a long 15 months, but we have been buoyed by the support and efforts of so many to ensure that the show will go on,” said Michele Paige, President, FCCA. “Our events are now more important than ever with the added significance for so many throughout our partner destinations who rely on cruise tourism’s economic contribution to return to their lives and livelihoods.” From October 18-21, the FCCA Cruise Conference – the only official cruise conference representing the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico – will make its relaunch with a new itinerary and host destination: Panama. The reworked format will focus on one-on-one meetings and expanded networking opportunities, while still incorporating a series of workshops with invaluable information for attendees. Additionally, the destination will have sur14 SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
prises in store to showcase its potential for cruise to the prestigious audience. “We are beyond grateful to all those involved throughout Panama for stepping up to the plate to host our keynote event in the wake of the crisis caused by COVID-19,” said Paige. “This year will not only have added significance for so many throughout our partner destinations who rely on cruise tourism’s economic contribution, but also for anyone who has an interest in doing business with cruise lines – and 2019’s record attendance of Member Lines’ presidents and above, as well as the most meetings ever, again displayed the cruise industry’s commitment to the event and its platform for working directly with destinations and stakeholders, along with listening to their needs and understanding how to develop long-term mutual success.” All Conference participants will have access to workshops led by cruise executives and successful stakeholders concentrated on topics focused on everything from navigating
the ‘new normal’ to developing all-encompassing and far-reaching plans – and participants’ needs will take center stage, with most workshops encouraging audience input. All participants will also have opportunities to meet with cruise executives during networking functions throughout the event, which will showcase some of the best to see, eat and hear in Panama while displaying what it can offer to not only cruise guests, but also cruise ships in terms of provisioning and homeporting ability. Additionally, those networking opportunities and the event’s long-standing oneon-one meetings will serve as the main ingredient in the reworked format being created for the FCCA Cruise Conference. The FCCA Cruise Conference will then return to San Juan, Puerto Rico from June 1-3, 2022, looking to build onto the new structure – as well as the past successes of the event in Puerto Rico in 2016, 2018 and 2019, including the record attendance of Member Lines’ presidents and above, along with the most meetings ever, in 2019 – and again welcome the numerous cruise executives and stakeholders that have helped the destination secure itself as a premier player in the cruise industry. “We, along with our Member Line executives and partners around the region, are ecstatic to return to Puerto Rico for the FCCA Cruise Conference in 2022,” said Paige. “This return displays the long-standing relationship we have had with the destination and the ability to constantly grow together, which is truly what the event is all about, so this will be the perfect place and time to gather our partners to develop mutual understanding and success.”
Meetings & Events
APEC Nations Look to Cruising’s Future in Asia resumed last year has reached more than 200,000. Two ships have operated under Singapore’s mandatory CruiseSafe certification program which sets out stringent hygiene and safety measures throughout the passenger journey – from prior to boarding to after disembarkation. Cruises operate as local itineraries with no international ports of call, sailing with reduced capacity and only Singaporean residents on board.
s cruising resumes around the world, CLIA recently took part in important discussions within the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which convened for a session on cruising’s future. Involving representatives from all APEC countries, the virtual forum on the opening and activation of the cruise Industry took a close look at best practice in cruising and the achievements that have been made in response to the global pandemic. CLIA Australasia and Asia Managing Director Joel Katz said the forum provided important insight into the elements that made a cruising revival successful. “What is very clear from all the presentations is that a transparent and cooperative approach between governments and cruise lines is key,” he told.
“We need to lay out the benchmarks and conditions under which cruising can operate, in order to move forward responsibly. Success depends on the implementation of our robust industry protocols, strong support from government agencies, and high commitment and cooperation from stakeholders.” Asian markets have been among the pioneers in resuming cruise operations, including in Singapore and Taiwan, which revived operations in the second half of last year. Hong Kong is also preparing for a cruise resumption, having approved extensive health protocols to support short cruise-to-nowhere itineraries for local residents starting at the end of July. In Singapore, the number of passengers who have sailed successfully from the Marina Bay Cruise Centre since cruising
Singapore’s CruiseSafe standards also include: • Infection control measures at every stage of a passenger’s journey, including mandatory COVID-19 test and screening prior to boarding • Strict and frequent cleaning and sanitization protocols onboard • Safe management measures aligned with prevailing national policy at the time of sailing • Emergency response plans for incidents relating to COVID-19 including contact tracing protocols • Quarantine and testing processes for crew ahead of boarding and routine testing schedules on an ongoing basis. “The successful sailings underway in Singapore demonstrate the effectiveness of cruise line health protocols and the CruiseSafe initiative,” Katz said. “Singapore’s model provides a template for similar industry and government partnerships in other jurisdictions, to enable a strictly managed, carefully staged resumption of local cruise operations. “Together with cruise operations resuming in other parts of Asia and around the world, these sailings show how much has been achieved by our industry in response to the global pandemic and we’ll continue to work hard to maintain health and safety as the highest priority.” SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 15
Employment Opportunities Getting a Boost in FCCA Partner Destinations Amy, what makes your job so unique and fulfilling?
Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International
ruise lines are looking to give a raise to the employment of seafarers hailing from destinations around the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico, with a recent increased push by FCCA Member Lines to work with those destinations to not only source crew members (whose onboard lives bring a host of options for upward mobility), but also foster ways to create bridges leading to high-level positions including captains, engineers and more. Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International (with a multinational workforce of over 58,000), and Amy Alexy, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Royal Caribbean Group (with more than 80,000 employees worldwide), joined a Platinum Member webinar on March 31 to discuss some of those initiatives and opportunities. A lightly edited transcript follows: Michael, you joined Royal Caribbean more than 40 years ago as a purser, can you tell us more about this amazing journey? MB I joined in 1981 as an assistant purser on the front desk of Nordic Prince, which was 16 SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
Amy Alexy, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Royal Caribbean Group
one of the only three ships of the fleet of the entire corporation back then. So I’ve seen our company grow over the decades and become a very successful vacation company, and I feel honored to be part of that journey. I’ve always been incredibly encouraged by my relationships with my fellow employees who bring such passion, dedication and honesty to everything we do and allow us to be creative, innovative, honest and transparent – and I think one of the reasons Royal Caribbean is loved by so many of our partners, employees, travel advisors and guests is we’ve always had a fundamental honesty about our vision: delivering great vacations and wonderful memories. What’s positive about my experience is I was a kid who joined a ship sailing in the Caribbean, and as the company grew, I grew and saw so many of my fellow colleagues grow – and our company has always been very focused on helping people evolve and develop within our corporation. Our ships’ captains have all been with us for decades. We have generations of employees. It’s an amazing company and journey, and it gives me great optimism about the future of our company, this industry and our incredible relationship with the Caribbean.
AA I started in 2018, and I will tell you that you can immediately feel the passion and energy that our employees and crew members have for the work that we do and the guest experience that we all desire. Passion’s the word that continues to come to mind when you think of that experience, and at the end of the day our guests are left with memories – and our job is to leave them with the best memories possible. The energy is really contagious. Even though this past year has been a challenge, I’m confident we’re going to emerge from this as a stronger organization and industry. Just the collaboration through the different cruise lines and the connections we’ve built despite the virtual environment and hardships have been outstanding. The employment landscape for us is extremely positive. We have five ships on order for the Royal Caribbean International brand alone, and we’re growing. There are a lot of dynamic employment opportunities for people to join our organization, and one of the main goals we have as a company is to bring in great talent to help us grow and talent that can flourish with us as an organization for many years to come. How has the pandemic changed your view on how you will crew ships, and what will life be like onboard? MB I think this has been an extraordinarily difficult time for our crew members. When we first voluntarily stopped sailing as an industry, all of us had tens of thousands crew members who needed to get home. Every country had introduced new rules and regulations, and it was phenomenally difficult to get our crew members home to their families, and the whole industry worked together.
Many crew members decided to stay on our ships because they didn’t want to go home and were fearful for their families. And then our crew got home, and it was just as difficult in dealing with the pandemic in their home countries, concerned about their families and their livelihoods. As a company, we tried to care for them and pay them as much as we could before they went home and created a fund for hardship to help with medical bills, mortgages, etc. to try to help them through this. Nevertheless, this has been a long period of time and extremely difficult for our employees all over the world. The world changed, and many lost family members, but what has been amazing is we have been in constant communication with our employees. Not long ago, we sent a survey and asked our more than 80,000 employees if they are coming back, and 98% said they were excited to come back. During this period, we have operated our ships with minimal crew, around 100 per ship, and now we are starting to open operations – announcing 7-8 ships starting in May-July. We’re starting to now bring crew to the ships, and today we took delivery of Odyssey of the Seas and already have hundreds of crew on that ship. Things are starting to become more optimistic, but crew today have to go through a lot of hurtles related to COVID that are not easy for them. We have entered a new phase, and the vast majority of crew understand that and the fact that we will have protocols, vaccines and guidance. But we will soon get through this, and life will return to a new normal. The thing about our crew is they are always optimistic, they have a can-do attitude, they’re great problem solvers, wonderful communicators and will always find solutions to the issues we have to deal with. As Amy said, we’ve got new ships coming and a lot of employment opportunities – and the thing about growing is it gives you promotion opportunities. Our entire system is built on promotions. We love to promote our people because they have the passion for our company, they learned a lot about our business, they understand our customers and are experts at making them happy. In my whole career, especially as I
was shipboard, I watched so many of my colleagues be promoted up to senior management positions – so many of those people were from the Caribbean. This is the way Royal Caribbean has always worked, and I think that is how we will continue to work. What is a change you have seen in crew over the decades? MB We have always recruited around the world – and one of the aspects our guests love is the ability to interact with crew from around the world. However, in the 70s, the majority of our crew came almost exclusively from the Caribbean, and recently that has shifted to large sourcing from the Asia/Pacific – and it would be great if we could find more balance, certainly for the Royal Caribbean brand, we would love to have more Caribbean crew working on Royal Caribbean ships. Why do you think this shift has happened? MB I think one of the reasons is related to the disproportionate number of claims we have received from our employees from Caribbean countries, possibly related to the active lawyers in Miami creating a network in Caribbean countries to solicit and talk to former crew members. Because of all the time we may spend in the various litigations that come from that, it changes the whole dynamic – and we just do not see that from other parts of the world.
How can the destinations work with FCCA to increase employment opportunities? MB If you’re competing, albeit for a job or in business, you need to understand the competitive landscape. We’ve had conversations in many Caribbean countries about what is happening in different parts of the world and what’s favoring more hiring in different regions, and a contributing factor to that is legislation put into place by various countries focused on both seafarer rights and ensuring a process and dispute resolution where things are fairly handled. For example, the Philippines – which has seafarers as one of their largest exports – has tried to figure out seafarers’ rights and put in a mechanism that protects the employee and the employer while making things fair in terms of resolution. That’s a model that Caribbean countries should look at and understand. With FCCA’s help, we should have discussions on seafarers’ rights and ensuring things are set up the right way so that it works for the employee and employer. We’ve had more detailed conversations with some countries, and they seem more open to this idea. Royal Caribbean Group has been named one of the world’s most ethical companies – and has been for a number of years. We pride ourselves on how we connect with, manage, support and provide for our employees wherever they come from, and we have a very focused culture in terms of making sure everybody can do well and thrive.
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On Board From our ongoing surveys of our employees, we consistently score in terms of employee engagement on the very high end compared with other companies or industries. The other thing is that there is an actual maritime labor convention that provides a good framework for the rights of crew and obligations of employers, but interestingly a lot of countries have not ratified that agreement. There’s work that needs to be done in this space by Caribbean nations, and I think FCCA could help facilitate that. Maybe when we have our next Conference, we could place this on the agenda for a discussion with the industry and communities to at least start exploring this. We would also encourage our destination partners to individually explore this idea of enacting seafarer legislation which would contain things like arbitration in their country that can resolve any disputes that may come up and think about things such as compensation and damages – all of these issues that can be better resolved than this system that is an international legislation landscape, with legal representatives that make more out of the disputes than the employee does. Please understand that I joined as a crew member and worked as a crew member for 11 years. I am 100 percent familiar with how it works on a ship, and I can assure you that it is an incredibly positive environment, a very caring environment, and everyone only wants a win-win outcome for our employees and their families. We care about our employees, and we need to figure out how to get a mechanism in place that cares for people and protects people.
legislation would also include building up the hiring partner network. We know this is an unlock because we do it in other countries, partnering with very reputable hiring partners to facilitate this process. We know it would be little to know money to join and that this would allow crew members to get access to quality healthcare. Another enabler is partnering with training schools. We have a number of partnerships around the world with local governments and different schools that provide extensive training. A lot of times you’ll find us on campus several times a year. We’ve actually provided curricula to schools to help crew members prepare for life onboard. We’ve gone in and trained ourselves with shoreside staff members. We also have done workshops at local schools with resume writing and interview skills. The goal is not just getting crew members on board our ships and to our private destinations, but also providing life skills that they can take with them far beyond their time with Royal Caribbean. A success story we do have is our partnership with Saint Lucia, which first had roadblocks including students’ limited access to the internet; inability to pay for medical testing or travel to ships; and not having an approved medical facility to conduct our testing – so we worked closely with the local government and Monroe College to overcome the barriers, and as a result over two quarters increased the number of Saint Lucians on board our ships by 50 percent. We know there can be ways we can work together to achieve this common goal.
If the legislation is in place, what type of trainings or programs can you implement to support the crew?
Can you explain the potential career path for crew and how to get in more senior roles?
AA We know that there are a few enablers that would allow us to unlock the potential of the hiring goal we have. We have said internally 10 in 10, with an aim to hire 10,000 crew members and promote 10,000 crew members every year. Every year we go back to the sheer opportunity that exists within our organization, and the enablers in addition to having some type of a harmonized seafarer
AA As Michael mentioned, we have three generations of family members that have been with us, and we have people who retire from Royal Caribbean and start their own successful business in their home country with the skills that they gained with us. When we’re looking for people to join us, what we see a lot is entry level positions such as cleaners, galley, assistant waiters – roles where people can join us and have
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the ability to learn the skills onboard our ships and advance with us. A number of years ago, we developed a comprehensive training program to teach our crew members about jobs they might be interested in before actually getting in the position. There are also opportunities for skilled professionals, specifically in managerial roles like hotel operations and marine, and interestingly enough nine percent of our shipboard managerial roles are held by crew members from the Caribbean – so we know when we hire Caribbean crew members, they stay with us longer and advance to these managerial positions, which is what we’re looking to do more of in the future. We also have international partnerships with maritime universities, including scholarships that hire them into the cadet program when they graduate, and there are always opportunities for training and advancement. Why are you looking to increase Caribbean hiring? MB When our guests book a cruise for the Caribbean, they want to experience the culture and connect with people who are from the Caribbean, which enhances their enjoyment and creates memories. After all, we are Royal Caribbean, and our whole vibe is Caribbean. We have a calypso band on every one of our ships, even in China. It’s kind of our DNA, and being Royal Caribbean, having more Caribbean crew would be fantastic. What’s the game plan moving forward? MB I think we should talk more together. Countries, destinations that are interested in developing a stronger connection for employment should think about it individually as groups. I’d suggest two things: 1. Reach out to Russel Benford, Vice President Government Relations, Americas of Royal Caribbean Group, and start talking how to move forward, and 2. If people are interested, let FCCA know so we can come together to talk it through and see what we can develop for the future as a community.
Santo Domingo feel the vibe
Cruise Industry Celebrates Seafarers Around the World
ruise Lines International Association, the leading voice of the global cruise industry, joined the international community in recognizing International Day of the Seafarer. Celebrated on June 25, this year’s theme is “Fair Future for Seafarers,” which is a cause that CLIA Member Lines have long taken to heart and are committed to staying the course. Employing a truly global workforce, crewmembers are the foundation of the cruise industry and every memorable cruise vacation experience. As highly trained and dedicated professionals, cruise ship crewmembers are hard at work implementing enhanced health and safety protocols that protect the well-being of those aboard the ships and the communities that we visit. The International Day of the Seafarer carries particular meaning for the cruise industry this year. After a long and challenging 15 months, hope is finally on the horizon for over a million people who rely on cruise tourism for their livelihoods, including over 200,000 seafarers. On behalf of the entire cruise community around the world, it is CLIA’s distinct honor to recognize the hard-working men and women who are the heart and soul of every sailing, working behind the scenes and on the front lines in the interest of public health and safety. The cruise community is beyond grateful for the seafarers who make it possible for our industry to once again offer travelers one of the best ways to experience the world. Cruise ships are well on their way to offering the traveling public a high level of COVID-19 mitigation, a feat that would not be possible without the seafarers who help to implement and maintain the industry’s robust health and safety protocols. As cruise lines continue to work toward resumption of operations around the world, CLIA research indicates that demand for cruising remains strong, largely attributable to the excellent service of cruise ship crewmembers around the world. 20 SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
Cruising Resuming Around the World
fter 15 months of suspended passenger operations, the first ships have finally sailed out of U.S. ports, with more sailings scheduled for the months ahead. This is a truly remarkable achievement and would not have been possible without the entire cruise community mobilizing to help advance the responsible resumption of U.S. cruise operations. For CLIA, as the trade association representing the global cruise industry – from individual cruise lines to suppliers, travel agents, ports and destinations – advancing the responsible resumption of cruise operations around the world remains their top priority. More than half a million passengers have sailed since last summer, with protocols that have proven effective even before vaccines became widely available. Still, much work remains to reach pre-pandemic levels
and help the industry accommodate the demand of nearly 30 million travelers who cruised in 2019. Public health and safety will remain at the forefront of all that we do. Together with our members, CLIA will continue to engage world-class experts who are helping to guide the return of cruising in Europe, Asia and, most recently, in the United States, where we successfully leveraged the collective voice of the U.S. cruise community to help facilitate a restart of operations. However, cruising remains idle in places such as Canada, Australia, and South America. We look forward to continuing discussions with local governments in these markets to establish a path to resumption, which will put people back to work, contribute to the ongoing economic recovery from the pandemic, and provide one of the best ways to see the world.
At the same time, CLIA remains focused on identifying new opportunities for the industry to lead the way in the areas of environmental sustainability, public health and safety, destination stewardship, workforce development, and economic impact. The cruise industry has invested $23.5 billion in ships with new technologies and cleaner fuels, and we remain committed to the International Maritime Organization’s target of a zero-carbon future. As we work to strengthen our partnerships in local communities and invest in R&D, we look forward to continuing to work with leaders at the local, national, and international level to create a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous future for the whole of the cruise community, which includes hundreds of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses that rely on cruise tourism. SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 21
Coastal Mississippi Is Primed for Cruise Departures Tucked away in the center of the Gulf of Mexico between New Orleans, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama, there’s a coastal destination in Mississippi providing relaxation and a little slice of southern heaven for everyone that visits. Coastal Mississippi may be a secret to some, but all who have found “The Secret Coast” are met with warm welcomes and 62 miles of shoreline dotted with unique coastal communities to explore. Coastal Mississippi’s central location at the southern-most part of Mississippi offers direct access to beaches and Gulf waters. In addition to outdoor activities, the good times roll at the region’s 12 casino resorts, which drive significant overnight stays and maintain Coastal Mississippi’s position as the South’s leading gaming destination. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in southern hospitality and endless opportunities for adventure. With Coastal Mississippi’s central location on the Gulf of Mexico, it is easy to get here from just about anywhere. Commercial air service is available to major cities from Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, which welcomes nearly 800,000 travelers each year. The airport serves as the gateway to the Gulf Coast with five major airlines: American
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Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Allegiant Air and Sun Country Airlines. Primed for even more travelers, this “Secret Coast” also has a newly expanded state-of-the-art port located in downtown Gulfport, Mississippi. The Port of Gulfport, founded in 1902, has serviced vessels of all sizes and currently has a channel depth of 36 feet and no air-draft restrictions. With only an 18-mile channel, vessels can take advantage of more efficient cruising speeds and a short 90-minute transit to the Gulf of Mexico and open ocean waters. With temporary cruise terminal facilities available, the Port of Gulfport was given the opportunity in March 2020 to service Carnival Cruise Line and Royal
Caribbean Cruises with terminal operations. During this time, the companies were welcomed with enthusiasm, even with rising concerns around the spread of COVID-19. During a time of crisis, the Port of Gulfport successfully handled the cruise operations and proved itself to be a viable option for embarkation and debarkation services. Just like most states, Mississippi experienced shutdowns in 2020 that affected the economy greatly. However, Mississippi was able to capitalize on drive-in markets during this time and became the #1 Travel Spending Market in the U.S., outperforming other areas in the Southeast according to Tourism Economics in December 2020. This can be contributed to swift legislative
action with the passing of a Tourism Recovery Fund, allowing for Coastal Mississippi to receive $3.4 million from the CARES Act for recovery initiatives. This investment in the region provided the destination with the tools and resources needed to drive visitor demand and execute pandemic-appropriate visitor campaigns. In an effort to reach those who are ready to travel, Coastal Mississippi has launched multiple campaigns showcasing how travelers can safely enjoy their visit to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. This messaging focused on leisure, outdoors, and gaming, to reach key audiences with an emphasis on drive markets. Utilizing the funds provided by the Tourism Recovery Fund, Coastal Mississippi has been able to develop key strategic partnerships that have stimulated the local economy and demonstrated leadership in the region’s response to COVID19. With mask mandates lifted, whether traveling in Coastal Mississippi for business or pleasure, visitors will discover a unique, versatile region, with plenty of room to travel in a safe and healthy way. If you never thought of Mississippi as an option for cruise operations, the time is now to consider what Coastal Mississippi has to offer your business. We encourage all who have not yet experienced “The Secret Coast” to pay us a visit – you’ll love Coastal Mississippi and realize right away that the Port of Gulfport is primed for setting sail. SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 23
Ready, Set, Sail Campaign Rallies Thousands in Australia
olitical leaders in Australia have been sent an overwhelming message of support for a resumption of cruising recently, with 40,000 emails sent to state and federal Members of Parliament as part of the Ready, Set, Sail campaign launched by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Since May, the initiative has targeted travel agents, industry stakeholders and other members of Australia’s extensive cruise community, urging them to help advocate for cruising’s revival. The campaign involves an online tool which allows supporters to message politicians quickly and easily, similar to a successful campaign launched by CLIA in the United States. CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz said the response to the campaign had been beyond all expectations. “Australia has always been one of the world’s most passionate cruise markets and the number of supporters who have joined our campaign is a sign of that passion,” he told. “It’s also a reflection of the many thousands of people whose livelihoods have been jeopardized by the suspension of cruising, which ordinarily supports more than 18,000 jobs around the country.” He continued that despite the recent extension of Australia’s cruise suspension, the replies many supporters had received from their MPs showed their messages were being heard. “There can no longer be any doubt about how extensive the Australian cruise community is, so we will work hard to maintain the momentum and ensure Members of Parliament know how important cruising is to the Australian economy.” The messages sent by cruise supporters will provide reinforcement to the ongoing discussions taking place between CLIA and governments as the industry works towards revival in the region. CLIA has expressed concern at the lack of progress on a cruise resumption in Australia and has called on the Federal Government to take real steps towards establishing a plan for future cruise operations. 24 SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
“After months of discussions with government, Australia’s cruise suspension was extended again recently without any clear route from government towards a careful and responsible resumption,” Katz said. “The cruise industry has done an enormous amount of work to implement extensive new health protocols globally, but Australia is now the only major cruise destination in the world where there is no progress towards their adoption. “We’ve presented some of the most stringent COVID-19 measures to be found anywhere in tourism, developed with the support of medical experts, and we need governments to take the next steps forward.” The suspension of cruising is estimated to have cost the Australian economy up to $6 billion since March 2020 and threatens thousands of local businesses including travel agents, tour operators, farmers and food suppliers, transport providers and technical support providers. “Our industry’s new health measures are already in place and working successfully in other countries where cruising has resumed,” Katz said. “It’s now time to break the cycle of inaction in Australia and finalize the pathway forward.” Prior to the pandemic, more than 1.3 million Australians took an ocean cruise
each year, or around 5.8 percent of the population, giving Australia the highest market penetration rate of any major established cruise market in the world. Similarly, in New Zealand, discussions on a resumption of cruise operations have met with little progress from government, though the industry continues to advocate strongly for bringing cruising within the country’s travel ‘bubble’ while borders remain closed. “In recent weeks we’ve had some positive feedback in New Zealand, and we’re hopeful of having further constructive discussions with the Government soon,” Katz said. “CLIA and its cruise line members are working closely with the New Zealand Cruise Association, which has been championing the interests of the many New Zealand businesses that rely on cruise tourism.” Mr. Katz said encouraging discussions with New Zealand’s Tourism Minister Stuart Nash had helped reinforce how important cruising is to the New Zealand economy, particularly to travel agents and to many businesses in regional communities around the coast. “We’re hopeful these discussions will result in a closer engagement with the New Zealand Government across multiple ministries, so that we can plan responsibly for the future.”
Ben Bouldin Appointed New CLIA Chair for UK & Ireland (UK)
LIA UK & Ireland has appointed Ben Bouldin, Royal Caribbean Cruises’ vice president EMEA, as its new chair. Bouldin will take over the role from Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises’ vice president UK and Europe, who has been in the post for three years.
Bouldin has been appointed on a twoyear basis and will start later this month. He will work alongside the CLIA team to support its membership of almost 4,000 travel agencies and over 50 cruise lines as cruising resumes in the UK and beyond. Andy Harmer, CLIA’s UK and Ireland managing director, said, “We are delighted to announce that Ben will take on the position of chair. His expertise and influence will ensure the cruise industry continues to lead the way as opportunities to travel further open up. “We want to thank Tony for his incredible hard work and strategic direction during the past three years, which
has helped steer CLIA and the wider industry through the most challenging period in its history.” Ben Bouldin said, “I’m honored to step into my new role as CLIA chairman for UK and Ireland and look forward to continuing Tony’s excellent leadership during his time on the CLIA Executive Committee. Over the last year, the industry has experienced unprecedented challenges, but by innovating and adapting, we have shown how strong we are. It is now more important than ever that we continue to drive the industry forward as we begin cruising again in the UK and globally.”
Fit for 55
he “Fit for 55” package is a significant step towards the acceleration of the EU’s decarbonization efforts. The cruise industry supports the long-term objectives of the EU Green Deal and is committed to pursuing net carbon neutral cruising in Europe by 2050. Furthermore, by driving innovation through shipbuilding in Europe, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) believes the cruise industry has a decisive role to play as an enabler of European green growth, as enshrined in the EU Green Deal and EU Recovery Plans. A balanced and proportional regulatory framework for all sectors of the economy can pave the way to achieve the EU goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. It is also essential to address the complexities of such a substantial package of regulations by adopting a holistic impact assessment, because different elements of Fit For 55 will all impact each other. The cruise industry operates mobile assets globally, with ships sailing between
countries and continents, with flexible itineraries and ships often transiting through European waters for limited periods at a time. Special attention should be given to assessing impacts of Fit For 55 on remote European coastal regions and islands that depend heavily on passenger shipping. A phased-in approach and a realistic implementation timeline will be essential to ensure the European maritime cluster has a chance to recover from the negative economic impact of COVID-19 crisis on this sector. CLIA Europe is committed to contributing to the policy discussion and making its expertise and experience available, partnering with all actors in the EU Institutions and member states to accelerate the development of alternative marine fuels that will be necessary for achieving the EU’s and CLIA’s decarbonization ambitions. The introduction of carbon pricing will not alone solve the underlying core challenge, however, which is the lack of alternative marine fuels. Further political
and regulatory attention will be needed to accelerate the development of alternative fuels and making them available for bunkering in European ports. The cruise industry is a European success story, as European shipyards maintain global competitiveness in cruise shipbuilding. This reality offers a significant opportunity to generate green growth and job creation in the European waterborne sector. SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 25
Members & Travel Agents
Arnold Donald Weighs In for FCCA Platinum Members
rnold Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Corporation, joined an FCCA Platinum Member webinar on April 28 to give the group an update and help them prepare for things to come in the hopes of moving full steam ahead to economic recovery upon cruising’s return to the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico. A lightly edited transcript follows: There has been lots of press recently on legislators and local officials and even other cruise line CEOs pressuring the CDC to allow cruising to resume. Where are we really in all this? Are we any closer to the resumption of cruising? In our case for Carnival Corporation, and likely all other cruise companies, our highest responsibilities and top priorities are always compliance, environmental protection, and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, of the people and the communities that we touch and serve – and of course our Carnival family shipboard and shoreside. So we stand with the Ministries of Health across all the nations and islands of the Caribbean to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and shut this thing down, and we all stand together on that. Yeah, we have been more than a little frustrated that we have been singled out as an industry for whatever reason and have been presented with pretty much unworkable solutions until this point, but we continue to be in dialogue with CDC and the Biden administration. There’s momentum, with the CDC coming out and declaring they would like to see the resumption of cruising by mid-July, and certainly the administration is saying they would like to see things resume in mid-July. We see positive indicators in other sectors of society and from the U.S. We see definitely positive indicators from activities outside the U.S.; six of our nine brands have announced resumption of sailings in other places, including the U.K., Greece, Germany, Italy, etc. – and most recently, Seabourn announced it would have some 26 SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
“…WE CAN SEE THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL.” sailings homeported out of Barbados this summer. So, we see progress, and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. None of us know how long that tunnel is yet, but we’re working with everyone. Every port has its own jurisdictions and mayors, governors and so on, and similarly for the destinations we visit – and we continue to work with everyone to try to get back so all the people who depend on cruise for their livelihood have an opportunity to get back to work and restore the quality of life for themselves and their families. Can you share a broader update on the Carnival Corporation family of brands? Many hear ‘Carnival’ and think only Carnival Cruise Line, but I know you do have nine global brands, many that have already started operating. Like others, we started in Germany and Italy and have been successful both from
a guest perspective and health and safety standpoint – and that’s before vaccinations. We were able to safely sail, carrying thousands of guests with very few incidents. The few incidents were handled seamlessly without any major disruption either to the communities or ships and guests. So we have demonstrated a capability, as we have with other viruses, to provide a high guest satisfaction while deploying enhanced protocols to ensure to the guests, crew and destinations we visit that we are doing our part to mitigate the spread of the virus. We’ve expanded with Cunard, P&O and Princess all with sailings this summer around coastal UK. AIDA has expanded some of its itinerary areas, as has Costa. Seabourn has announced in Greece. I know everyone’s anxious for Carnival, especially for the Caribbean, and we are too – and Carnival has not yet announced, and we’re cautiously optimistic and putting a lot of energy within our energy in the U.S. so that we will be able to start Carnival, we hope, sometime this summer. A number of brands outside of your brands have announced operations homeporting in the Caribbean. Are you also considering this as an option? If so, which homeports are you considering? We announced one with Seabourn out of Barbados for some sailings. We have not broadly done that. Carnival has not done that yet, and there are a host of reasons for that because Carnival typically sails out of 14 different ports in the U.S. – and has a drive-to guest base. We have large ships, and airlift is a challenge – even if you charter, it drives the cost up. Most importantly, we just want to have the Caribbean accessible to the most guests so we can generate the biggest turns in the economies in the islands so all the people depending on cruise for their livelihoods have the best opportunity to recover and again get back to the quality of life they enjoy – and hopefully even better. We’ll continue to look at the situation,
but in terms of having the level of activity that really is going to drive the economies, we need the U.S. to open up. You hosted a recent COVID Science Summit with close to 10,000 online attendees. What struck me was that you did not talk about cruising. Why was that? We did talk about cruising the first Summit, but we didn’t want to be self-serving. We co-hosted with WTTC, with Hilton and U.S.T.A. sponsoring – and the message was about the misinformation with COVID, with the idea to have a pure science summit. We believe that if you follow the science, then cruise will be fine, and we’ll be treated like other sectors. Our goal was to basically do a public service and bring together global experts to talk about the myths, fictions, but also the facts and the strong opinions to get everybody grounded on the science of epidemiology, transmission, treatments, vaccines, protocols, etc. – and amongst these global experts, their opinions on dealing with this, how they and their families manage it, and what levels of risk they’re taking. It wasn’t to promote cruise. It wasn’t even to promote travel. It was really to get the science out there because we think once everything’s well understood, then the rest will naturally follow, and we’ll be in a great position. What were some of your takeaways from the Summit worth sharing? We got tremendous feedback, and in fact a number of people said it was obvious you weren’t biased, which is exactly what we were trying to do because we want people to have the facts. People became far more knowledgeable about the vaccines, and one of the points of clarity was that all the vaccines minimize the risk of hospitalization and long-term effects or worse. The fact that all of them minimize serious effects from contracting the virus is a foundation to encourage people to take the vaccines.
The other one was that with the advanced treatments and protocols around treatments that you can mitigate the risks of having serious effects if you do contract the virus. In addition, we still need to practice some basic things, even with the vaccines – which are not a panacea that solves all the problems. You still want to minimize the risks, so in certain settings you still need to wear masks and practice physical distancing. The last one is that even with the global experts, there’s a range of risk tolerance amongst them. One of them was willing to go to a hockey game. Another, even having been vaccinated, still wanted to sit isolated outside at a table. So that’s the range of risk tolerance, which everybody’s entitled to and is a personal choice, instead of medically based. I think it’s important in society that we realize people have different tolerances of risks and personal choices, and we have to respect that and allow for freedom of choice. Is there a lot of demand for cruising right now? As we shared in the business update, we’re in the high end of the range in bookings, especially in 2022, versus where we would have been in 2019 or prior. This shows there is robust demand. Also, we continue to have a number of people choosing onboard cruise
credits or future cruise credits rather than seeking cash back on their deposits, which shows there’s a high demand. Then the logic kicks in, which is that there are in our brands alone about 14 million repeat cruisers once every two years – and there’s been a whole year where the repeat cruisers haven’t been able to cruise. So that’s a huge base of people chomping on the bit about getting back on a cruise ship, not to mention the fact that many haven’t been able to do anything, and the pent-up demand is going to be the Roaring ‘20s again. Add to that the constraint that we’re not going to be able to bring back all the ships at once; it’s going to be a staggered introduction of ships as we come back because the destinations are going to be uneven in terms of when they open and what the rules and regulations will be, along with getting all the crew ready. So, we’re going to have greater demand than you’d have in a normal year combined with fewer ships sailing plus exiting a number of ships out of our fleet – so more demand, less capacity, it’s going to be a robust environment in that regard. But the good news is people are anxious to go, engage again and visit places. In the U.S., we know most of the stimulus money hasn’t been spent yet, so there’s going to be great opportunity for economic vitality in the places ships go. SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 27
Members & Travel Agents As you know many cruise companies have been promoting and announcing ‘vaccinated cruises.’ We have not really heard Carnival taking a stand on vaccinated cruises. What are your thoughts on a vaccinated-only cruise approach? Our thoughts are very simple: this is all evolving. If you went back six months ago and established protocols, that was a completely different environment. Vaccines have just been introduced. Distribution is still uneven. Today children aren’t even eligible, which will hopefully change soon. So, we’re letting it evolve. We’ve announced some selected sailings, but not a brand policy for any brand, where all guests are vaccinated by choice for some sailings, like in the U.K. and with Seabourn’s sailings in Greece and Barbados. We also have cruises that started before the vaccine where nobody was vaccinated, and they’ve gone safely with a different set of protocols. We’ll see how it all plays out, but today we as companies don’t have direct access to vaccines. A number of islands in the Caribbean have been gracious to suggest they would help us to vaccinate crew, but the vaccines are not available to us. Hopefully that will change; everybody thinks there will be plenty of vaccines available soon, we hope so because we encourage everyone to get vaccinated. But we’re not at a point yet to declare anything to be mandatory. Everyone keeps asking exactly what the onboard and excursion protocols will be once cruising resumes, especially with vaccinated guests possibly on board with non-vaccinated guests and further complicated by crew that may or may not be fully vaccinated. What will these protocols look like? I can share what exists today, but it’s going to change. Hopefully whatever protocols the destinations are establishing, they’re going to do it in a manner where it can adapt to the realities as society moves forward. But today, where we have no vaccinated people on board a few months back, we had universal testing prior to or 28 SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
of the flu, but if we learn to live with it and manage it, then we’ll be okay.
“WE BELIEVE THAT IF YOU FOLLOW THE SCIENCE, THEN CRUISE WILL BE FINE…” at embarkation. We had testing capability on board, additional medical screening, physical distancing, mask wearing and enhanced air handling and sanitization protocols. Then of course protocols for handling any incidents, with isolation protocols and a quick exit from the ship to a facility where people could be treated. We’ve had things for excursions where similarly to all of our crew needing testing, the tour providers all need to be tested along with our protocols of mask wearing, physical distancing, etc., as well as following a certain route to stay in the ‘bubble.’ That’s today – tomorrow, if people have vaccines, how much of that will be required remains to be seen and will be informed by the medical experts and in compliance of what the rules are wherever we go. What will occupancy look like? Initially, occupancy on sailings will be lower so that the crew can get used to handling everything. Then thereafter it will ramp up, assuming that community spread is low in the places we’re going and we have some decent proportion of the guests and crew vaccinated. In the near term we also need to consider physical distancing, so it may be a little while, maybe next year, before we see 115-120% occupancy. It all depends on how this virus migrates around the world and to what extent it has been contained and people are not at risk to serious effects. The fewer we see deaths, long-term effects and hospitalizations, the more we can feel comfortable. I don’t think COVID-19 is going away, with it likely becoming like a variant
What message do you have our destination partners, and what can they be doing as they prepare for the return of cruising? Thank you for weathering the storm to this point – I know it has been extremely challenging. Economies have been devastated. We had to repatriate 90,000 crew members back home. It’s been painful for us to have furloughs and workforce reductions – so the first thing is that we’re all in this together because we are partners. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but we have to get to it. So, thank you for weathering to this point, and please continue to work with us so we get through it together. The second thing is to please pay attention to the science, not just the emotions and fears, while knowing you have to deal with public sentiment as well. But please be grounded in what the science and facts are and then do your best to stay as close to that as possible because that’s the best path forward for all of us. And tell us what you need from us and what you expect from us so we can be prepared to try to honor that. Last question. We used to ask you what keeps you up at night. Now, has that changed? I would always give a flip answer in the past, like a Netflix show or replay of a game, before the serious answer that used to be the only thing that really bothers me is if people are afraid to travel or can’t travel. Well, what happened? Bottomline is now what keeps me up at night are only positive things because I’m never having another negative thought. What keeps me up is being excited about the joy, the exuberance, bringing people together, of them learning what they have in common and celebrating their differences – the human spirit and elevating experience of travel. The excitement of that is what keeps me up at night, especially having those experiences on a cruise.
Members & Travel Agents
Are You Ready for the Return of Cruise? By Beth Kelly Hatt, President, Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, the FCCA’s Official Training Partner
s your destination ready to welcome cruise guests? Both FCCA and CLIA are talking about soon being able to welcome cruise ships in our destinations again. FCCA’s Michele Paige said in a recent mailing that their membership was built on the foundation of creating a family of partners that now more than ever will play a fundamental part in bringing our industry back stronger than ever. And CLIA’s Kelly Craighead said that the cruise industry has demonstrated leadership and a proven ability to resume operations responsibly – as evidenced by the successful sailings in Europe and other parts of the world. With both associations saying we need to be ready, with vaccines now widely distributed, we are seeing momentum. And the question remains, is your port destination ready for the return of cruise guests? Are your stakeholders prepared? What is the sentiment in your communities about cruise returning? Have your experiences and tours adapted to the changes in protocols and consumer interests? In a recent survey sent to destinations and tour operators that Aquila has worked with over the years, the respondents’ top concerns when asked were: 1) how their communities would react to the return of cruise, 2) how everyone would all feel about the safety of the communities, and 3) 30 SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
would they prepare and all be ready with the proper protocols, tours and precautions that needed to be implemented. Those are all things that are important to talk about and have addressed prior to that first call. For a destination to be ready for the return, there are several measures that are needed and here are a few important recommendations to ensuring a successful return of cruise: PREPARE YOUR STAKEHOLDERS Working together is more important than ever for all stakeholders in a community from the port to tourism to the tour operators and the retail and transportation sectors. Give your stakeholders the opportunity to collaborate and work together on the plans, protocols and procedures that will need to be implemented for the successful resumption of cruise in the destination. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY In the last Travel & Cruise article in the first quarter, I expanded on tips to prepare your community and the importance of communication. A good communication plan that manages expectations, focuses on shared key messages, and monitors community sentiment is crucial to ensuring the community embraces cruise. You cannot over communicate!
HELP YOUR FRONTLINES AND TOUR OPERATORS BE READY Frontlines are responsible for the safety of your guests, but the expectations of your guests go beyond that to include excellent service, professional behaviors, and managing difficult situations. Cruise guests want to enjoy their time and take away fond memories of your destination. And this is a time where Tour Operators need help reimagining their experiences and tours. How can we provide options that will give your guests exciting and enjoyable experiences that respond to today’s trends and opportunities? The expectations are now higher, and it will be especially important to get it right as the successful return of the cruise industry to your region depends on it. Aquila continues to offer training, virtually and online, to help with destinations and tour operators’ needs, and I invite you to check all the new programs at www.cruiseexcellence.com. The cruise industry is made up of incredibly resilient people. Cruise will return…demand from avid cruisers to set sail again is at an all-time high – and we want you to be ready! Beth Kelly Hatt is the President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, the FCCA’s official training partner. Contact Beth for more information at Beth@CruiseExcellence.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 DOMINICA PREPARING TO WELCOME CRUISE GUESTS Dominica is preparing to welcome cruise passengers back to the Nature Island. Robust health and safety protocols, a COVID19 vaccination drive, training of the cruise sector and port enhancements are all ongoing. Additionally, site upgrades and health and safety measures are being implemented at major cruise sites. FRONTIER AIRLINES TO BEGIN ST. MAARTEN SERVICE THIS SUMMER Low-fare carrier Frontier Airlines has announced plans to begin service at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) in St. Maarten with nonstop Miami and Orlando f lights beginning in July. “We’re overjoyed to add St Maarten to our route map this summer with nonstop Miami and Orlando flights,” said Daniel Shurz, Senior Vice President of Commercial, Frontier Airlines. Stay Inspired, Stay Safe. For more information about the destination, visit www. vacationstmaarten.com, www.facebook. com/portstmaarten or www.portstmaarten.com.
CURACAO SELECTED BY CELEBRITY CRUISES Curacao is happy to announce that Celebrity Cruises has selected the port of Willemstad to be part of the 2021 Celebrity Millennium itinerary with St. Maarten as homeport. The itinerary includes Curacao, Aruba and Barbados as ports-of-call on a 7-night cruise that started June 5. The island is excited with this first step in the process of restarting the cruise sector.
The many cascading waterfalls and rich cultural heritage await. Come experience and feel safe in nature on your cruise stop to Dominica! ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA COMMITTED TO CRUISE TOURISM Antigua and Barbuda remains committed to the development of its cruise tourism product. The recent completion of the fifth berth and the ongoing dredging will soon position the destination to host the largest cruise ships in the world. This new development has also attracted new business, as Antigua and Barbuda is now preparing to welcome the homeporting of P&O and Crystal Cruises vessels - the latter commencing in August.
GUADELOUPE ISLANDS IS TOO BEAUTIFUL TO BECOME A TRASHCAN Those are the words of CLEANMYISLAND. This Guadeloupean organization founded in June 2019 aims to protect the environment, inform and raise awareness in order to encourage them to pick up the waste left in nature. Recently, the Tourism Committee of Guadeloupe Islands partnered with CLEANMYISLAND to support their actions. Now the organization has more than 600 members. For more information on the organization, visit www.cleanmyisland.fr.
COSTA RICA’S NEW REGULATIONS FOR MARITIME TOURISM Costa Rica approved regulations to promote marinas and to strengthen coastal development. Expanding the scope of the Law of Concession and Operation of Marinas and Tourist Berths, it will become an ideal destination for luxury yacht charter and an attraction for maritime tourism lovers. The law authorizes foreign-f lagged vessels to carry out lucrative activities involving water transportation and tourism – a consistent effort with the sustainable development model and key to boost the economy in coastal communities.
EL SALVADOR REACTIVATING TOURISM Thanks to the efforts made by the Ministry of Health in El Salvador while managing the pandemic, the country is in the process of reactivating tourism, through the organization of promotional and commercialization projects that allow the creation of business relationships with other countries. Some of these projects are virtual meetings with travel agencies in Brazil and Japan, B2B meetings with Guatemala and Panamá, tourism conference with Mexico and press trips with international media, among others. SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 33
Members & Travel Agents
WELCOME TO CAYOS COCHINOS Another piece of paradise on earth is Cayos Cochinos, located northeast of La Ceiba, Honduras. You just have to take an exciting 30-minute trip, where dolphins can be your companions along the shades of turquoise water that seem to be painted, and where you can snorkel and be amazed of the underwater life before relaxing on one of the most beautiful beaches you can imagine. MINISTRY OF TOURISM OF THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC COMPLETES FCCA TRAINING SERIES We at the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic are pleased to announce that we have received the FCCA “How-To” Workshop Series training modules, offered by Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, and designed specifically to help destinations and ports during these uncertain times. This FCCA workshop series included four training workshops, one about service excellence during COVID, then help with building an operational plan that adapts with change, a third on reimagining product development and guest experiences, and the final one about creating a culture of service excellence. The Dominican Republic is ready for the reopening of the cruise industry. We will come with more force, and for this reason, we are preparing to provide a superior service with all the corresponding biosafety protocols with a fully trained staff in our ports. “We are always thrilled to help destinations to be ready for the return of 34 SECOND QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
cruise,” said Aquila Founder Beth Hatt. “Preparing your teams and adapting to new protocols and procedures requires change to our products and guest experiences, and now more than ever, delivering excellent service and making your cruise clients and guests a priority is the way to success.”
able practices has been internationally recognized, becoming the first dolphin facility in the Caribbean to be American Humane certified, and to achieve the Travelife Partner Award and the Safe Travels Seal.
VALPARAÍSO DECLARED A ZONE OF TOURISTIC INTEREST Last month, Valparaíso was declared a Zone of Touristic Interest, a designation awarded by the Chilean government. This is an important step for the city, since it will promote investment, new jobs, and the overall improvement of tourist conditions for visitors. Furthermore, the new designation will provide better facilities and greater security for the cruise industry.
BLUE PLANET TOURS SENDS REGARDS After the toughest year in our industry ever, we the team at Blue Planet Tours in Guatemala, Roatan and Cartagena want to send our love and care to everyone in the industry – and let our cruise ship partners know that we will be ready for the restart with superb and caring experiences in amazing destinations for our mutual guests!
OCEAN WORLD’S INTERACTIVE PROGRAMS Ocean World in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, highlights personal experiences between guests and marine animals through interactive programs with dolphins, sea lions and sharks. The park features snorkeling, birds’ habitat, swimming areas and the ‘Dominican Village’ to experience the local culture.
ENSENADA CRUISEPORT VILLAGE IS READY TO REACTIVATE ACTIVITIES With the objective to open our doors to bigger cruise ships, on the f irst months of 2021 Ensenada Cruiseport Village (ECV ) invested on dredging works for both of our quays. Now ECV is ready to reactivate the activities with cruisers with the COVID-19 protocols.
Ocean World’s commitment to sustain-
placed in us and are willing, able and open to receiving cruise ship traffic, whether it is for maintenance and/or leisure cruises that include Progreso as a port of call.
DISNEY WONDER ARRIVES IN PROGRESO The port of Progreso, Yucatán, México welcomed 225 crew members aboard Disney Wonder last Monday, April 5 at 9:20 AM. The ship, a Disney Cruise Line vessel, arrived in Progreso to undergo minor maintenance work for five weeks. Receiving this ship is our way of letting cruise lines know how committed Progreso is to support the cruise industry and its prompt resumption of operations. Here in Progreso we appreciate the confidence
WE CAN´T MASK HOW EXCITED WE ARE TO WELCOME YOU BACK It has been an extremely difficult season for all, but we are ready to move on and restart the cruise trips we miss so much. For this, Costamed is prepared with all the sanitary measures to solve any medical need and face this COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring the safety of all your passengers and crew, making Cozumel and Mahahual safe ports to welcome you again.
AMERIMED AGAIN GAINS ‘ACCREDITED’ STATUS As the leading hospital network in the Mexican Caribbean, our commitment to quality and patient safety in healthcare services is one of our greatest assets. Thus, every one of our hospitals embarks on one or more accreditation endeavors. Today we proudly announce that Amerimed’s flagship hospital in Cancun has just been re-awarded with “ACCREDITED” status by the Joint Commission International until April 2024. Please visit www.amerimedhospitals.com.
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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
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.