Travel and Cruise 1st Quarter 2022

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USVI: America’s Jewel in the Caribbean FCCA’s Prescription for Omicron & Returned Live Events CLIA’s Relaunched Conference & CDC Progress Cruise & Destination Updates Aquila’s Focus on a Strategic Training Plan




The Perfect Cruise Stops Here. Stop at any of our ports for white sand beaches, turquoise waters and picturesque towns with shopping and attractions that offer all the island experiences your passengers are looking for.















FCCA, Member Lines and Destinations Work Together to Beat Omicron and Continue Mutual Growth Online meetings, site visits, live

events and more coordinated by FCCA have helped cruise lines and destinations continue to sail full steam ahead to mutual success. 11 CLIA UK & Ireland to Host Their Annual Travel Trade Conference in Southampton


Colorful, Cultural St. Maarten


Why Martinique Is the Ultimate Destination for Nature Lovers


Resorts World Bimini: The Caribbean’s Newest and Hottest Cruising Destination


Puerto Rico’s Record Year for Tourism


Saint Lucia Surpasses Projections


The Dominican Republic Remains Firm in the Reactivation of Cruise Ship Tourism, Closes 2021 with a New Record


St. Kitts Continues Cruise Tourism Rebound


West Indian Company Port St. Thomas, U.S.V.I.




Cruise Industry 2022 Outlook Report Quantifies Value of Cruise Tourism, Underscores Leadership in Health and Safety, Environmental Sustainability and Destination Stewardship

30 Travel Health Notice Removed for Cruise in the United States Stewardship

Dominica’s New Identity & Greener Future


Panama to Host Royal Caribbean’s Return to Latin America

A Reason to Celebrate: Carnival Celebration


New PortMiami Terminals for MSC Group & Virgin Voyages

Another Crown Jewel: Discovery Princess


Carnival Cruise Line Celebrates 50 Years of Visiting The Bahamas

Norwegian Cruise Line’s New Prima Class


Port Everglades Welcomes World's Largest Cruise Ship

07, 09 President’s Letter 14

Travel & Cruise Magazine © 2022. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, in any form, electronic or otherwise, without written permission of the FCCA is prohibited. To subscribe or change your address, please send requests to Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) 10390 USA Today Way Miramar, FL 33025 Phone: (954) 441-8881 Fax: (954) 441-3171 Published by:



Celebrity Cruises: Beyond the Ascent


Oceania Cruises Floats Out Vista & Sets New Single-Day Booking Record



In Partnership with:


Cunard Sees Strongest Bookings in Decade & Unveils Queen Anne’s New Vision

Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison highlight the importance of a new agreement that will assist the private sector and help all locals prosper from the economic impact that the industry brings.


The information in this publication is provided “as is.” FCCA, CLIA and its Member Lines disclaim all representations and warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to any information, services, products and materials contained herein. FCCA, CLIA and its Member Lines will in no event be liable for any damage or losses as a result of your use of this publication.

The U.S. Virgin Islands: America’s Jewel in the Caribbean

FCCA Partners with the U.S. Virgin Islands on Strategic Development Agreement Commissioner Boschulte and


The U.S. Virgin Islands is continuing to build on the years of cruising excellence that has generated positive impacts on the territory and its communities as much as it does on the visitors who arrive at each port.

Building a Strategic Training Plan – How Important Is It? Beth Kelly

Hatt, President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, shares the significance of developing a strategic training plan. 39

FCCA Platinum Member Highlights






Many likely again were eagerly looking to the turn of the calendar for a new year signaling a wind of change, and 2022 certainly has been a whirlwind so far. Especially for those of us in travel and the cruise industry, things have been quite eventful with the rise and fall of the Omicron variant. However, through the eye of that storm, we have once more seen the resilience of the cruise industry – along with the effectiveness of cruise lines’ and destinations’ protocols – and the importance of destinations, stakeholders and cruise lines working together. In this issue of Travel & Cruise, some of that cooperation is featured, including meetings and initiatives FCCA has recently coordinated to weather the storm during Omicron’s rise, as well as the site visits and upcoming live events to help build back better. Some notable updates from Michele meeting with Hon. Roger Lawrence, St. Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, destinations, stakeholders and cruise Transport & Telecommunication lines are also detailed in the following pages, which should further buoy confidence in that resurgence. Plus, Beth Kelly Hatt, President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, FCCA’s official training partner, shares how to build a strategic training plan. But perhaps what I personally am most excited about in this issue is information on FCCA’s strategic partnership with the U.S. Virgin Islands that will better the lives and livelihoods of so many throughout the destination by maximizing the impact of cruise tourism. This signifies the kind of partnership that will help us to continue to sail toward a brighter future by working collaboratively and proactively – and why our live events are becoming exponentially more significant to bring all the parties together to develop business and relationships. For those of you reading this at Seatrade Cruise Global, you can visit us at Booth #1841 to learn more about FCCA and see some of our meetings and events in action, and we look forward to seeing you all in San Juan, Puerto Rico this June 1-3 for the FCCA Caribbean Cruise Summit that will offer one-on-one meetings between delegates and cruise executives, along with workshops and networking opportunities.

Michele M. Paige President FCCA



NOW IS THE TIME TO START PL ANNING YOUR NEXT VACATION CRUISE PORT TAMPA BAY Choose from some of the world’s most popular cruise lines and a host of itineraries throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. While in Tampa guests’ have an amazing variety of options to enhance their cruise experience. Destinations near the cruise terminals include Ybor City, Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium, Sparkman Wharf, Downtown Tampa / Riverwalk, and the world’s top-rated beaches, to name a few. • Western, Eastern & Southern Caribbean itineraries • More than 4,000 safe and secure parking spaces steps from the cruise terminals

• North America’s second-best airport and fifth in the world in customer satisfaction1 Airports Council International


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Welcome to this edition of Travel & Cruise. The cruise industry, still facing the COVID-19 pandemic, remains focused on navigating towards full resumption of cruise operations. While nearly 90 markets have reopened to cruise tourism, we have much work to do to restore our industry to pre-pandemic levels, even as the industry now faces challenges associated with the ongoing conflict in the Ukraine and the surrounding regions. In the face of challenges, one thing remains true: our community is resilient, and I am confident that we will sail back better and stronger. We are much stronger and more resilient than we were two years ago. We have worked together through the pandemic – resolute in our determination to tackle a once-in-a-life time pandemic to keep our industry afloat. Our unity never wavered. Our industry showed how to evolve and adapt to meet all the challenges coming at us. The safety and security of our guests, the physical and mental health of our crews and the safety of communities we visit remain our top priority. CLIA is working with the global maritime community to find the most effect solutions to mitigate the effects on seafarers. To that end, we are keeping abreast of difficulties due to flight cancellations, port cancellations and sanctions. No doubt, the industry as a whole is sailing towards a brighter and better future. The demand for cruising is high, with 84% of cruisers saying they will cruise again. Our health and safety protocols instituted during the pandemic remain second to none. They have proven they work, and we will continue to adapt them as we hopefully shift to the end of this pandemic. Throughout it all, CLIA and the cruise industry has never taken its focus off our crucial commitment to responsible tourism practices. We have a young fleet sailing the global waters, with more ships on order – all equipped with new technologies to reduce our carbon footprint. We are formulating sustainable tourism initiatives to help preserve world’s most treasured destinations, provide the social and economic benefits of tourism for residents and safeguard the sustainability of the cruise destination for future generations. We have much to do, and our industry is up for the challenge! Together in cruise, Kelly Craighead President and CEO



Meetings & Events

FCCA, Member Lines and Destinations Work Together to Beat Omicron and Continue Mutual Growth


ith roller coasters now available on ships, it can be said that this quarter resembled an onboard offering. It certainly was a ride with dips and scares after the onset of Omicron, but destinations, cruise companies and Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) all working together again helped regain a semblance of normalcy and show the importance of collaboration. During the quarter FCCA held a series of online meetings to establish new protocols and procedures in the wake of Omicron, as well as furthering its relationship with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and fulfilling other destination requests such as holding calls with local stakeholders and media, while also resuming some of its normal networking activities, including a new and exclusive event with The Bahamas in addition to site visits in the Cayman Islands and Belize, and announced details of the upcoming FCCA Caribbean Cruise Summit in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


AMERICAS CRUISE TOURISM TASK FORCE The initiative coordinated by FCCA and co-chaired by Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley again proved pivotal, with numerous Zoom meetings held to navigate the turbulent waters of the Omicron variant. After some destinations turned away cruise vessels at the beginning of the outbreak, the Task Force convened to work together and form a new set of protocols and procedures, including the supplemental medical information ships would provide to destinations. Through this work, cruise companies and destinations were able to align on the requirements, varying based on destinations’ risk levels, and operations were able to move full steam ahead – and should pick up more steam now that infection rates have dropped, signaling that the peak started its descent, and with the success of onboard protocols continuing to show

cruise guests with severe illness at infinitesimally small levels and with hospitalizations and any impact on transit destinations’ medical resources practically nonexistent. Additionally, requests and recommendations from the Task Force propelled FCCA to engage further dialogue with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), with an online meeting held that also had Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in attendance, as well as prompting Zoom meetings between cruise executives and destination representatives to inform local stakeholders and media about onboard and on land protocols. EXCLUSIVE NETWORKING EVENTS Despite the success of online meetings, getting away from the screen for in-person meetings and networking events continues to carry a different weight in creating familiarity and developing relationships – and FCCA organized a star-studded affair when hosting a delegation from The Bahamas led by the Hon. Chester Cooper,

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investment & Aviation, at Komodo Miami on February 3. The exclusive sponsored event featured a menu of business and networking opportunities with high-level Member Line executives, including Richard Sasso, Chairman of MSC Cruises (USA); Thomas Mazloum, President of Disney Cruise Line; Josh Weinstein, Chief Operations Officer for Carnival Corporation; and Jay Schneider, Senior Vice President, Chief Product Innovation Officer for Royal Caribbean Group, among other senior executives represent-

ing AIDA Cruises, Azamara, Celebrity Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Silversea Cruises, TUI Cruises and Virgin Voyages. With many having their plates full as the environment continues to change

through evolving Covid-19 variants, the event was a vital ingredient for attendees to serve up conversations on navigating the current situation and sailing to a brighter horizon. It was also an appetizer of subsequent courses to come as FCCA continues to work with other destinations and stakeholders on similar events in the future. FCCA CARIBBEAN CRUISE SUMMIT SAILING AHEAD Similar opportunities to work directly with cruise executives will be available to a wide audience at the upcoming FCCA Caribbean Cruise Summit. Taking place in San Juan, Puerto Rico this June 1-3, the event will let attendees participate in pre-set one-on-one meetings with cruise executives where delegates can target key decision makers to promote products and receive individualized input. It will also feature workshops led by industry experts giving information to help attendees learn about and excel in doing business with the cruise industry.

OPERATIONS COMMITTEE SITE VISITS Site visits have long been a fixture of the FCCA Operations Committee, comprised of Member Line executives committed to the core functions: discussing cruise industry topics, such as tourism development, ports, safety and security; fostering an understanding of the industry and its practices; building bilateral relationships with FCCA’s partner destinations’ private and public sectors; fostering increased revenue opportunities for ports and destinations; and enhancing the destination experience and amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors. After making a return last year with a few visits, this year is already on pace for chart-topping growth – with site visits to both the Cayman Islands and Belize during the quarter. Cayman Islands In the Cayman Islands, eight cruise executives – representing Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Royal Caribbean International – and FCCA President Michele Paige joined government officials and the private sector to discuss safely reactivating cruise tourism in the destination. The day of meetings on February 2 culminated with a networking event at which business owners from the private sector could meet with the cruise executives. Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan, speaking at the networking gathering following the day’s meetings, said, “At the very top of the list are our health and safety protocols that will allow cruise shops to return while keeping our com-

Meetings & Events munity safe, because, right now, due to the pandemic, we have no cruise tourism at all, and that’s a sad day for our country. So, our immediate priority has been to discuss a way forward that will allow cruise ships to return while keeping our communities safe.” Another topic of discussion at Wednesday’s meetings was how local tour and water-sports operators on Cayman could get a higher percentage of revenue from the pre-booked tours and experiences. Bryan said there was a “compelling need” for government, FCCA representatives and all cruise sector tourism stakeholders to work collaboratively “to find ways to rebalance the distribution of income derived from the cruise tourism industry so that Caymanian business owners have the opportunity to increase the earnings in return for the hard work they put into consistently delivering a high-quality tourism product.” Paige, addressing the gathering, said the cruise industry was looking forward to “renewing [the relationship] with the Cayman Islands.” She continued, “The Cayman Islands, because of the private sector, has always delivered a phenomenal experience. You’ve always been at the highlight of every single cruise passenger’s experience. So, it is only fitting, that with the work that is being put in place, to make sure that we elevate the product and elevate the expenditure that the passengers and crew spend in the Cayman Islands, that it is going to be a very rewarding time for all Caymanians.” She also pointed out that cruises to Cayman may not resemble those that took place before the pandemic, and that the industry was looking to the future, not to replicate past experiences. “The cruise industry has to respect what the Cayman Islands wants in terms of the cruise industry product,” she said. “So, it’s a respect back-and-forth, and that’s where we are right now, is discussing that respect. It’s almost like when you’re painting a picture, it’s like a blank canvas, and you can do whatever you want. There are no preconceived notions.” Belize An Operations Committee delegation, including five Member Line exec10 FIRST QUARTER 2022 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

Cayman Government and Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association representatives pose for a group shot at a networking event at the Kimpton Seafire. In the center of the front row, from left, are Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan, Governor Martyn Roper, FCCA president Michele Paige and Premier Wayne Panton. Photo: Cayman Islands Ministry of Tourism

utives and FCCA’s Michele Paige and Senior Vice President Adam Ceserano, then traveled to Belize for a site visit from February 28 to March 1. The first day kicked off with a meet and greet on arrival with transfers to the hotel for check in and refreshments. A meeting in the hotel’s conference room followed for a briefing on the Port of Magical Belize (Portico Enterprises Ltd), including background on the project, its justification, the partnership with Royal Boskalis, the environmental clearance process, the environmental compliance plan secured by Portico Enterprises Ltd., the agreement signed with the Government of Belize, and updated information on the phases of environmental clearance being carried out. The meeting also featured a Q&A session with the cruise executives and finished on a high note with FCCA signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Government of Belize. The new modern cruise port in Belize will provide a mainland docking facility in the Belize District, thereby sustaining the cruise industry and relevant Belizean stakeholders; the construction of two piers in Phase 1 that will accommodate four of the largest ships currently in service, with plans to develop a third pier to accommodate an additional two ships in subsequent phases; a

safe, secure, and scenic environment for the operations of cruise ships in Belize; faster access to traditional tour sites and attractions being offered to cruise passengers; appropriate security, duty-free and local handicraft shopping, Belizean branded food and beverage facilities, and amenities and attractions such as swimming pools, beaches, and over the water cabanas; traditional cultural attractions, exhibits, and entertainment; and development of new and nearby tour infrastructure. The group then departed for dinner at Casa Sirena with Minister of Tourism Hon. Anthony Mahler. The next day started with breakfast at the hotel followed by a transfer to the Astrum Helicopter departure facility for flights to the Port site and a flyover of the Northern Lagoon and the Peccary Hills National Park. The helicopter also landed at the designated Landings Site in the Peccary Hills for a tractor and trailer ride through the scenic Karst Hills to Golden Sands Beach on Northern Lagoon – with all areas visited within a 10-mile radius of the new port. The group then transferred by boat from the Northern Lagoon via the Sibun River to Old Belize Marina for a return to the hotel and lunch before catching flights home.

Meetings & Events

CLIA UK & Ireland to Host Their Annual Travel Trade Conference in Southampton The conference, the 14th to be held and the largest annual travel agent event of its kind in the UK, will include a trade fair, daily conference sessions and a gala dinner. The first day will offer the chance to visit MSC Virtuosa, followed by the trade fair. The second day comprises a visit to P&O Cruises’ Iona, with an evening gala dinner. The final day will be

held onboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. “With the positive cruise momentum continuing, we’re delighted to be able to offer the trade the opportunity to gain the insight and knowledge that will help further support their sales,” said Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland managing director. “We have three fabulous ships available to visit, which will further

inspire and inform delegates. “We can’t wait to welcome partners from across the trade once again, as our flagship event makes a welcome return.” Details of venues, the theme and speakers will be announced in due course. The event is open to CLIA member travel agents, with registration – including an early bird rate – available via


On Board

Cruise Industry 2022 Outlook Report Quantifies Value of Cruise Tourism, Underscores Leadership in Health and Safety, Environmental Sustainability and Destination Stewardship


ruise Lines International Association’s annual State of the Cruise Industry Outlook shows how the industry has continued to resume responsibly with proven protocols that are leading the way, underscores the value of cruise tourism to local communities and national economies around the world, and charts the industry’s continued progress towards achieving carbon neutrality. “The report provides an opportunity to reflect on how far our industry has come as CLIA ocean-going cruise lines have welcomed more than six million guests onboard since resuming operations in July 2020. While our focus on health and safety remains absolute, our industry is also leading the way in environmental sustainability and destination stewardship,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of CLIA. “Coastal and maritime tourism is an important economic driver, and we continue to work in partnership with cruise destinations so that communities thrive from responsible tourism. Our members are also investing in new technologies and new ships and pursuing the goal of net carbon neutral cruising by 2050.”


HIGHLIGHTS OF THE REPORT INCLUDE: Fleet of the Future. By 2027, the CLIA ocean-going cruise line member fleet will reflect significant advancements in the cruise industry’s pursuit of a cleaner, more efficient future. • 26 LNG-powered cruise ships • 81% of global capacity fitted with Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems • 174 cruise ships with shoreside power connectivity 2020 Global Economic Impact. When compared to 2019, the 2020 economic data illustrates the pandemic’s far-reaching effects on the wider cruise community and underscores the importance of cruise tourism to economies around the world. • 5.8M passenger embarkations (-81%) • 576K cruise-supported jobs (-51%) • $64.4M total economic contribution (-59%) • Resumption Progress. Industryleading protocols are facilitating the resumption of cruise tourism around the world, which is putting people back to work and reinvigorating local and national economies. • More than 75% of ocean-going member capacity has returned to service

Nearly 100% projected to be in operation by August 2022

Value of Cruise Tourists. Cruise tourists, and the money they spend, create jobs and opportunities for local communities around the world. • Every 24 cruisers creates one fulltime equivalent job • Cruisers spend an average of $750 USD per passenger in port cities over the course of a typical seven-day cruise • 6 in 10 people who have taken a cruise say that they have returned to a destination that they first visited via cruise ship Destination Stewardship. Continued collaboration with local communities in the destinations cruise ships visit remains a critical focus for the cruise industry, including in Dubrovnik, Croatia, the Greek destinations of Corfu and Heraklion, and the City of Palma in the Balearic Islands. Class of 2022. CLIA ocean-going member cruise lines are projected to debut 16 new cruise ships in 2022, including five LNG-powered vessels and nine expedition ships. The class of 2022 will be 100% equipped with Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems.

On Board

Travel Health Notice Removed for Cruise in the United States As sailings continue to resume around the world, the cruise industry celebrates the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for removing the Travel Health Notice that has been in place for cruise since March 2020. This is welcome news for the entire cruise community, as the decision to remove the Travel Health Notice for cruising recognizes the effective public health measures in place on cruise ships and begins to level the playing field, between cruise and similarly situated venues on land for the first time in two years.

From the onset of the pandemic, CLIA’s cruise line members have prioritized the health and safety of their guests, crew, and the communities they visit and are sailing today with health measures in place that are unmatched by virtually any other commercial setting. With nearly one hundred percent of the global cruise capacity slated to restart by the end of July, and demand for cruising remaining high, the cruise industry is on track to welcome back 30 million passengers by the end of 2023. In fact, a recent survey shows that 84

percent of respondents that have previously taken a cruise say that they will cruise again. To put that into context, 80 percent of respondents said that they would cruise again in November 2021 and 80 percent in December of 2019 (pre-pandemic). Cruise is one of the best ways to experience the world, and as the industry continue to welcome back passengers, cruise lines look forward to facilitating unforgettable vacation experiences in a way that continues to prioritize the health and safety of everyone onboard and the communities that they visit.


On Board A Reason to Celebrate: Carnival Celebration

Carnival Cruise Line’s next new ship, Carnival Celebration, was floated out at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Finland on February 11. The second of three revolutionary Excel-class ships, she joins Mardi Gras, already sailing from Port Canaveral and Carnival Jubilee, set to sail from Galveston, Texas beginning November 18, 2023 with seven-day Western Caribbean itineraries with stops in Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, as well as Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Honduras. Carnival’s newest and biggest class of ships run on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) technology platform, which Carnival Corporation pioneered the introduction of in the passenger cruise sector as part of the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and emissions reduction. On a Carnival cruise, guests' vacations start in the atrium, and on Carnival Celebration, that is in Celebration Central. Spanning Decks 6, 7 and 8, Celebration Central is an update to the fabulous starboard side atrium that debuted on Mardi Gras, designed as the heart of the ship's celebratory spirit with a whole new look and the feeling of a festive party woven throughout. Celebration Central will also feature the awe-inspiring, three-deckhigh atrium that guests are quickly getting to know and love, but with a ceiling that appears as a burst of a confetti canon made of approximately


1,400 color-changing lighting fixtures that will transform from day to night. Functional as it is eye-catching, the space will include 3,000-square-foot floor-to-ceiling windows on the side of the ship that will change into 16 individually controlled, six- by 14-foot LED screens to work hand in hand with the ever-changing entertainment options, including live music, special effects, aerial acrobatic performances, and high-energy shows. Introducing nods to Carnival's Fun Ship history, guests will spot pieces from former Carnival ships that will be repurposed to blend with the ship's modern decor throughout Celebration Central and beyond. For example, in the Aquaria Bar, ocean-themed glass murals from Carnival Victory by Italian artist Luciano Vistosi will be incorporated into a striking two-deckhigh decorative wall behind the bar to create an aquarium-like effect, inspiring the name. And the Tropicale Bar is named after Carnival's first ship to sport the line's iconic funnel. Carnival Celebration’s first Caribbean sailing will take November 21, with her arrival marking the culmination of the year-long celebration of Carnival Cruise Line’s 50th birthday. Carnival’s newly transformed Terminal F at PortMiami will welcome the new ship. Not long after, the Carnival terminal will also usher in a new era of port infrastructure as one of the first at PortMiami equipped to provide shore power to ships by fall 2023.

ANOTHER CROWN JEWEL: DISCOVERY PRINCESS Princess Cruises revealed a first glimpse of its newest MedallionClass ship, Discovery Princess, while celebrating her maiden voyage to the Mexican Riviera on March 27. The 3,660-guest Discovery Princess was built at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, and is the sixth and final RoyalClass newbuild sharing all of the spectacular style and luxury of her sister ships – Enchanted Princess, Sky Princess, Majestic Princess, Regal Princess and Royal Princess. "Cruising is back and the elegant Discovery Princess showcases the many reasons why travelers should take a cruise now,” said John Padgett, Princess Cruises president. “We also recognize and applaud the ship's company, who will work tirelessly to deliver memorable cruise vacations to all who sail on this magnificent cruise ship." Discovery Princess expands the cruise line's fleet to 15 vessels. With an array of innovative new experiences, guests will enjoy 270-degree sweeping views from the Princess' largest balconies at sea in the Sky Suites, unwind in ultimate comfort at The Sanctuary and indulge the senses with worldclass dining options. Plus, Princess live entertainment presents mesmerizing Broadway-style production shows that can only be seen in the state-of-the-art Princess Theater, including the newest show, Spotlight Bar. Discovery Princess uses the latest technologies to reduce fuel consumption, treat wastewater, and support the cruise line's environmental compliance efforts.

On Board Norwegian Cruise Line’s New Prima Class

Norwegian Cruise Line will serve up an elevated culinary and beverage offerings for its highly-anticipated Prima Class vessels: Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva. The first two of six vessels within this cutting-edge class will push the boundaries of traditional cruise cuisine with the debut of nine new dining and beverage venues including Metropolitan Bar, the Brand's first sustainably-focused bar. It will also feature the company’s first three-level atrium, the Penrose Atrium, in addition to major F&B updates including the launch of its revamped main dining menu set to rollout on Norwegian Prima as well as the enhancement to Norwegian's guest-favorite culinary staples Le Bistro, Cagney's Steakhouse and

offer the highest staffing levels and space ratio of any new cruise ship in the contemporary and premium cruise categories and largest variety of suite categories available at sea, but also boast a redefined The Haven by Norwegian, NCL's ultra-premium keycard only access shipwithin-a-ship concept. The Haven's public areas and 107 suites designed by Piero Lissoni, one of Italy's most renowned designers, will feature an expansive sundeck, a stunning infinity pool overlooking the ship's wake and an outdoor spa with a glass-walled sauna and cold room. The Prima Class' variety of recreational activities also make their elevated comeback on Norwegian Viva with onlyavailable-on-Prima-Class experiences including the fastest freefall drop dry Food Republic, as well as NCL's coveted slides at sea with The Rush and The Drop and the largest three-level racetrack Observation Lounge. at sea with the Viva Speedway. Norwegian Viva will also provide Norwegian Viva will feature Ocean guests with other elevated experiencBoulevard, the 44,000 square foot outes, including more wide-open spaces, door walkway which wraps around the thoughtful and stunning design and entire ship; Indulge Food Hall featuring exceptional service. Mirroring the 11 varieties of eateries; The Concourse upscale design and structure of her boasting an outdoor sculpture garden; record-breaking sister ship Norwegian expansive pool decks and infinity style Prima, Norwegian Viva will debut at 965 pools at Infinity Beach and Oceanwalk, feet long, 142,500 gross tons and accommodate 3,219 guests at double occupancy. showcasing glass bridges above water. Norwegian Viva will begin sailing Travelers will live up every second of Mediterranean itineraries in June 2023 their journey in the most spacious accomand then sail the Southern Caribbean for modations including the brand's largest her 2023-2024 Winter Season offering inside, ocean view and balcony category warm-weather getaways from San Juan, staterooms. Puerto Rico. The world-class vessel will not only

WONDER OF THE SEAS SETS SAIL Wonder no more, Royal Caribbean International's highly anticipated ship, Wonder of the Seas, welcomed its first guests on March 4 as it set course for the Caribbean from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The cruise line invites vacationers of all ages on board the world's largest cruise ship to experience the ultimate combination of all-new adventures and Royal Caribbean favorites designed to inspire wonder and awe. Wonder sailed 7-night Caribbean cruises through April before heading to Barcelona, Spain, and Rome for a summer in the Mediterranean.


On Board Celebrity Cruises: Beyond the Ascent

Celebrity Cruises is going above and beyond the height of new luxury with its new ship, Celebrity Beyond. The latest ship in the company’s Edge Series, Celebrity Beyond conducted her sea trials during the first week of February. Celebrity Beyond will not only hold the title of the largest ship in the Celebrity Cruises’ fleet, but the distinction as the brand’s most luxurious vessel. Standing at 17 decks high and 21 meters longer than her innovative predecessors – Celebrity Edge (2018) and Celebrity Apex (2020) – Celebrity Beyond’s look and feel has been carefully curated with newly imagined spaces and expanded versions of the brand’s popular signature spaces. Additionally, Celebrity Ascent, the

fourth ship in the award-winning Edge Series, which made her way from concept to construction on November 22, 2021, will make her highly anticipated maiden voyage on December 3, 2023. Following her maiden voyage, she will ascend on the Caribbean with round-trip sailings from Celebrity’s state-of-the-art Terminal 25 at Port Everglades every Sunday, journeying through the islands on seven-night Western and Eastern Caribbean itineraries Celebrity Ascent will be joined in the Caribbean by her island-hopping Edge-Series sisters, Celebrity Apex and Celebrity Beyond – and in total Celebrity Cruises’ 2023-2024 Caribbean season will have eight ships navigating the idyllic island region.

MSC Seascape’s Inaugural Season in the Caribbean September saw Seatrade Cruise Global celebrate 35 years of hosting the cruise community with an in-person event at the Miami Beach Convention Center and a complementary virtual event embracing cruise professionals around the world. Event manager, Emma Bond, commented, “It was fantastic to see the domestic audience in Miami, and we are hugely excited about reuniting them with international attendees at the next Global event in April 25-28, 2022.”


OCEANIA CRUISES FLOATS OUT VISTA & SETS NEW SINGLE-DAY BOOKING RECORD Oceania Cruises celebrated the float out of its new 67,000-ton, 1,200-guest Vista on February 25 at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri Ponente, Italy. Shortly after the ceremony, the massive building dock began filling with water and Vista became one with the sea for the very first time. Vista will sail her maiden voyage from Rome to Barcelona on April 14, 2023, followed by 12 additional European voyages prior to commencing sailings from the United States to the Canadian Maritimes and New England, the Panama Canal, and the Caribbean. Additionally, Oceania Cruises’ 2024 Around the World in 180 Days voyage aboard Insignia sold out within 30 minutes of opening for sale on March 2. In conjunction with the world cruise, the company also launched four new 72- to 82-day Grand Voyages in the AsiaPacific region aboard Regatta, Nautica, and Riviera. The sell-out of the sixmonth-long world cruise and the enthusiastic response to the four Asia-Pacific voyages resulted in a new single-day booking record that surpasses the previous record set in September 2021 by almost 12 percent.

On Board Cunard Sees Strongest Bookings in Decade & Unveils Queen Anne’s Extraordinary New Vision

Cunard's Summer 2023 itineraries – which unveiled over 150 new, international voyages – saw a record-breaking first two days of trading, with demand especially strong for Princess and Queens Grills Suites. "We are thrilled by the robust response to our recently announced Summer 2023 voyage program, which has surpassed our record-breaking sales in 2021 when Queen Elizabeth's summer at sea sailings became available to book," said Jamie Paiko, VP of Sales for Cunard North America. "Cunard's two strongest booking periods in more than a decade have happened in the last 12 months, which is a true reflection of Cunard's global appeal, and our guests' enthusiasm to rejoin our luxury ocean

travel experience." Additionally, following the name reveal of Queen Anne on February 8, Cunard introduced details of the design. Queen Anne has been created with an extraordinary new vision, taking some of the finest talent of our time to write a striking new chapter in Cunard's a story inspired by the brand's remarkable past. The principal concept was founded on heritage, craftsmanship, storytelling, style and innovation – which became the design DNA for the ship, and accordingly, the engine of inspiration for the designers. Queen Anne will set sail in early 2024, with her maiden season program available to book from May.

AIDAcosma Starts First Voyage On February 26, AIDA Cruises welcomed the first guests to the premiere voyage of AIDAcosma in Hamburg. On board the newbuild, powered by low emission liquefied natural gas (LNG), guests can expect a huge variety of offerings. The beautiful new Ocean Deck extends over four decks and offers a panoramic view of the sea and an infinity pool at the stern. Also on board is the new Fun Park with a large indoor playground.

COSTA TOSCANA’S INAUGURAL CRUISE Costa Toscana, the newest Italianflagged ship in the Costa Cruises fleet, set sail on March 5 from Savona on her maiden cruise. Costa Toscana is a latest-generation ship powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) – one of four Costa Group ships using the technology: AIDAnova, Costa Smeralda, Costa Toscana and AIDACosma. "Costa Toscana is an innovative ship that which fully interprets the new cruise experience, including the exploration of destinations, on which we have been working in recent months,” said Mario Zanetti, President of Costa Cruises. “The departure of Costa Toscana also represents a new step in the journey that will bring our fleet back to full capacity this summer. Our restart will bolster an ecosystem that before the pandemic generated an annual economic impact of 12.6 billion euros in Europe, including 3.5 billion in Italy alone, with over 63,000 jobs. “We are seeing an increasing demand for our cruises. Furthermore, as the general situation improves, we expect a simplification of our enhanced health and safety protocols, based on our ongoing monitoring of the pandemic. The work we are carrying out in this direction with the authorities is already well advanced. I believe that cruises will soon be back to normal, with new protocols that will allow our guests to fully enjoy the experiences on board and ashore, with the return, for example, of free excursions for guests."


Free to explore


On Land

The U.S. Virgin Islands: America’s Jewel in the Caribbean


he U.S. Virgin Islands has been a premier cruising destination in the Caribbean for decades. With year-round perfect temperatures, white sandy beaches, and access to three unique islands, it’s no wonder visitors continue to return year after year. Looking forward, the U.S. Virgin Islands is continuing to build on the years of cruising excellence that has generated positive impacts on the territory and its communities as much as it does on the visitors who arrive at each port. By focusing on a wide range of diverse experiences across each island beyond the port, the destination is poised to surprise and captivate travelers. VITAMIN SEA Surrounded by miles of crystal blue waters, the allure of the Caribbean Sea calls. Upon arrival, expect a series of activities both under and on the water, ranging from more laid-back experiences to exhilarating adventures. Visitors can dive among shipwrecks or snorkel with more than 500 species of fish and 40 types of coral as cruisers take advantage of every minute on each island. Above the water,


boating and board experiences – from tempered paddle boarding or chartered sailing to more thrilling windsurfing – keep visitors engaged while enjoying the island’s natural assets. THREE ISLANDS, ONE VACATION St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas each offers a range of experiences, unique personalities, and major attractions. Dock at the Frederiksted pier in St. Croix, the largest of the three islands and expect a dynamic culinary scene, historical towns and lush rainforests. Travelers can enjoy the wonders of Buck Island Reef, complete with white sandy beaches and the largest underwater National Park studded with vibrant coral reefs for snorkeling. The twin cities of Christiansted and Frederiksted offer guided walking tours, small shops and bar-lined boardwalks. Board the ferry to enjoy the quaint laid-back vibe of Cruz Bay, St. John. Visitors can hike through Virgin Islands National Park, which covers most of St. John, to explore old ruins and meet the fauna that live on the island. Savvy

visitors will choose to spend a few hours soaking in the sun and swimming at Trunk Bay Beach, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. St. Thomas is mountainous and combines natural beauty with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The major cruise port of the three islands and the capital city offers visitors the opportunity to stroll the port town of Charlotte Amalie with its cobbled streets and colonial fortif ications for top dining and duty-free shopping. Paradise Point Tramway lifts visitors 700 feet above sea level on a cable car to one of the most spectacular views of Charlotte Amalie harbor. Magen’s Bay Beach is

a must see and is among the most celebrated of the more than 40 pristine white beaches on the island. LONG HISTORY, RICH CULTURE For the history buff, centuries of culture abound in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Diverse influences of Danish, French, Spanish and African culture are woven throughout the islands and the experiences that await visitors. From the Millennial Monument at the easternmost point of Point Udall in St. Croix to the historical reenactments and cultural demonstrations at the Annaberg Plantations in St. John, there are years and years of history to peel back. In St. Thomas, one of the Western Hemisphere’s oldest synagogues in St. Thomas adds yet another layer of intrigue to enhance the treasure trove of cultural discovery in the U.S. Virgin Islands. In celebration of the islands’ rich cultural identity, each island holds annual colorful festivals that celebrate decades – and even centuries – of traditions, including the arts, music, dance and cuisine. Must see events include St. Croix Christmas Festival, St. John Festival, St. Thomas Carnival, and many more. A FOOD LOVER’S PARADISE The U.S. Virgin Islands is known for its gastronomic excellence from Caribbean fusion, seafood and more. One of the most popular national dishes fish and fungi, a tradition begun under the Dutch. Other

local favorites include the pate, a flakey crust filled with saltfish, chicken or beef, and Caribbean dishes like Callaloo stew and conch fritters. Of course, there are local treats, with Johnny cakes – a fried dough breakfast treat – found across the islands. Look for the iced fruit treat called fracos, especially those sold by Rudy’s Fracos from the owner’s truck on St. Thomas since 1979. As a port of call, the U.S. Virgin Islands also celebrates sustainable cuisine, with the Caribbean’s largest agriculture festival in St. Croix, and farm to fork restaurants highlighting local produce and dishes. A MINDFUL CHOICE With plenty of things to do for cruise guests, the islands also provide a more mindful way of traveling. A green choice in every way, the U.S. Virgin Islands are the cruising destination that leaves visitors feeling good. Two thirds of St. John’s alone is a national park, highlighting a mandate to keep the islands pristine. Beyond that, the islands also require visitors to wear only mineral sunscreen, to help protect the reefs and ecosystems that keep the destination so attractive. The U.S. Virgin Islands provide what cruise travelers want and what they need, all while keeping the local community a part of it. The destination will leave travelers feeling refreshed, renewed, and ready to start planning their next trip back.


On Land

Colorful, Cultural St. Maarten Why the resilient and beloved Dutch-Caribbean island should be on your travel bucket list this year


he charismatic, ever-cultural Caribbean island of St. Maarten welcomes curious visitors inspired to renew their passion for life via nature-immersive, wellness, and experiential travel opportunities. Occupying the southern part of the island it shares with French overseas territory Saint Martin, the Dutch-owned Caribbean destination offers inspirited travelers one of the region's most diverse menus of multicultural experiences — a coveted hub where quintessential island vibes meet incomparable Caribbean cosmopolitan flair — inclusive of the color-laden capital of Philipsburg, serene lagoons, 37 sundry beaches, fascinating salt pans, and beyond. From the snorkeler to the shopper, from the surfer to the foodie, from the thrill seeker to the history enthusiast, in Sint Maarten, all lifestyles find their place under the sun. After devastating impacts from


Hurricane Irma in 2017, the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Maarten had finally gotten its bearings a couple years later and was forecasted to have skyrocketing tourism numbers – until the pandemic hit shortly thereafter. Instead of dwelling on the negative events, the island used lockdown as a time for self-reflection. Whereas locals had grown used to using their creativity to prepare experiences for beloved tourists, they suddenly had the time to deeply tap into their culture and find ways to better their homeland only for themselves, and in turn, St. Maarten saw an influx of new initiatives and offerings. THE FRIENDLY ISLAND This energetic nation is appropriately nicknamed “The Friendly Island” — because befriending just one local gives you a passport to a wide variety of people and experiences. While the island is

home to well-known attractions, there are many under-the-radar experiences where its dynamic culture shows its true colors, such the island’s music scene which boasts a wide variety of sounds ranging from African koras to electronic, and local bands frequently tour the island and play free concerts to make a name for themselves. No matter which St. Maarten activity you participate in, the locals will ensure their zestful culture is always at the forefront of all of these beautiful and enriching experiences.

NEW ART SCENE The island’s capital of Philipsburg emerged as a cultural epicenter in the last year when Be The Change Foundation launched the ColorMeSXM Project, in which it partnered with 12 local artists to paint murals around town. Now referred to as the Philipsburg Art Walk, it features large scale paintings between the bustling shops, restaurants, and historical sites. After seeing the positive reaction to the new art, more building owners around town are offering their own walls to be used for more colorful murals – proving the art movement is ever-evolving and just getting started.

a local beer pioneer and entrepreneur. In a nutshell, Sunil took on the challenge of producing St. Maarten’s first ever local craft beer in 2020, then left the 2021 London Beer Competition with a silver award for his creation. However, his most impressive venture is that he began the conversation for recycling on St. Maarten. After learning that 28 million glass bottles ended up on beaches every year, he vowed his brewery would not partake in increasing that number. He partners with a recycling company to ensure all glass beer bottles from his factory are recycled and/ or reused, and he also donates all leftover malt to local gardeners to be used as compost for their plants. SUSTAINABILITY Spearheading the movement toward a more sustainable St. Maarten is Denicio Wyatt, whose inspiring story begins when he was diagnosed with epilepsy as a teenager. He turned to gardening to find a natural remedy for his condition — and that’s exactly what he achieved, as he’s now been seizure-free for 10 years. Today, he runs Spaceless Gardens in an effort to teach SXM how to live sustainably by growing their own herbs and benefiting from their healing properties. Another face behind the initiative is Sunil Vaswani,

VEGANISM In a search for wholesome nourishment amid the pandemic, locals began growing their own herbs and vegetables at home, and it’s now common for neighbors to come together to trade ingredients, seeds and recipes. The island’s culinary scene, which is as dynamic as the melting pot of cultures that live there, is also expanding their offerings to keep up with the vegan movement. Whether visiting a roadside “lolo” (think: a Caribbean food truck) or a traditional restaurant, vegans will find an increasing variety of alternative dish options to satisfy every taste bud.

NEW & NOTEWORTHY Divi Little Bay Beach Resort will debut an expansion in February 2022, with the introduction of Oceans at Divi Little Bay – a new-build, 98-room wing featuring ocean-facing rooms and suites. Enhanced services and amenities at Oceans at Divi Little Bay will include VIP check-in, a personal concierge, and room-only or all-inclusive booking options. Additionally, Navy Beach St. Maarten (most known for its original location in Montauk, NY) just opened its doors in January 2022 and is a premiere yachting destination facility with a gourmet restaurant, expansive pool deck, Sky Lounge rooftop bar, super yacht marina, gaming area, tennis courts, a full gym, and many other yacht-friendly amenities. TWO LEGENDARY EVENTS MAKING A POST-PANDEMIC RETURN IN 2022: Heineken Regatta is made its comeback March 3-6 after a two-year hiatus, inviting all captains and mates to stretch their sea legs and once again partake in the Caribbean’s largest race. Locals are also ecstatic to welcome back Carnival after three years from April 16 May 3. St. Maarten’s Carnival is the longest in the Caribbean – spanning 18 days. Many cruise lines make a stop in St. Maarten, however direct airlift into SXM is currently available via American Airlines (out of Miami, Charlotte, Philadelphia and Dallas), Delta (out of Atlanta and JFK), JetBlue (out of Boston, Fort Lauderdale, JFK, and Newark), Spirit (out of Fort Lauderdale), Frontier (out of Miami and Orlando) and United (from Newark, Washington/Dulles, and Chicago). FIRST QUARTER 2022 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 23

On Land

Why Martinique Is the Ultimate Destination for Nature Lovers

View from Mount Pelee


estled in the heart of the Lesser Antilles, this island boasts some of the Caribbean’s most awe-inspiring natural scenery – not to mention a distinctive mix of French and Creole cultures that makes for a travel experience like none other. Here are four reasons a vacation in Martinique is a nature lover’s dream. 1. SPECTACULAR LANDSCAPES Tropical forests, pristine coastline, wild mangroves, rugged mountains – Martinique’s sheer variety of natural landscapes has to be seen to be believed. Two-thirds of the island is protected parkland, so the wilderness is gloriously unspoiled. Don’t miss Mount Pelée, a towering volcano near the northern tip of the island that is currently a candidate for UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. The surrounding area is very lush, with dense forests, black-sand beaches, rivers, and waterfalls. Drive two hours to the island’s southernmost point, and you’ll enter what seems like another world entirely, where desert-like terrain lies side-by-side with rocky headlands and long stretches of white-sand beach. 2. INCREDIBLE BIODIVERSITY In 2021, UNESCO added the entire island of Martinique to its World Network 24 FIRST QUARTER 2022 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

of Biosphere Reserves, which promotes biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. In addition to its remarkable geology, the island has an abundance of colorful wildlife and plants. In fact, the forests of Mount Pelée and the nearby Pitons du Carbet peaks are home to the highest number of endemic species in the West Indies. Visit the two sprawling nature parks – the Jardin de Balata and the Domaine d’Émeraude – to see for yourself why Martinique is nicknamed the Isle of Flowers. 3. SUSTAINABLE TOURISM AND WELLNESS GETAWAYS Martinique has long recognized the importance of preserving its extraordinary natural beauty and diverse ecosystems. You’ll find a wealth of activities that allow you to experience the great outdoors while minimizing your environmental footprint, including canyoning in the rainforest, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, kayaking along islets and bays, and cycling or horseback riding along the coast. For a truly relaxing experience, stay in one of the island’s eco-friendly accommodations. Unwind with a spa treatment amid stunning natural surroundings at Eden Paradise Spa Ecolodge in SainteLuce. Or head to Le Domaine des Bulles in Le Vauclin, where you’ll sleep in a

transparent “bubble” room surrounded by greenery and enjoy relaxing treatments at the wellness center. 4. EXHILARATING ESCAPES With more than 150 miles of trails linking coastline, forests, and mountains, hiking is one of the best ways to experience Martinique’s natural beauty in all its forms. If you’re keen to get out on the water, consider renting a catamaran or sailboat, or embark on a crewed boating excursion for the day. Under the sea, there are hundreds of top-notch dive sites for all experience levels, from the shipwrecks of Saint-Pierre in the north to the monolithic Diamond Rock, a massive basalt island in the south. AND THAT’S NOT ALL… Beyond the scenic vistas and outdoor adventures, Martinique offers an enticing blend of French and Creole cultures. This rich diversity shines through the mouthwatering cuisine, world-renowned rum, and fascinating monuments and museums all over the island. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety of visitors and residents has been Martinique’s top priority. Nonstop flights from Miami to Martinique’s capital city, Fort-de-France, are available yearround with American Airlines.

The French Caribbean Port of Call

With its two terminals and four anchorages, this French Caribbean island is an ideal destination both as a port of call and homeport. A warm Creole experience awaits you in Martinique!

Bay of Saint-Pierre and Mount Pelée, a candidate for UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites

Les Salines beach

Pointe Simon Terminal, Fort-de-France

Visit us today:

The village of Les Anses-d'Arlet, a traveler favorite

On Land

Resorts World Bimini: The Caribbean’s Newest and Hottest Cruising Destination With a new cruise port, beach day club and incredible amenities, guests and cruise ship visitors alike will never have to leave this resort


esorts World Bimini, an expansive beachfront complex with a 305room Hilton hotel, casino, private marina, incredible spa, and new private beach, debuted the Resorts World Bimini Cruise Port in late summer 2021.. The construction of the single-pier port, which can accommodate up to Oasis-class vessels, marked the ability for cruise ships to dock on the Bahamian Out Island for the first time. Developed exclusively by Resorts World Bimini, which is operated by Genting Americas Inc., the new port joined Freeport and Nassau as one of three ports in The Bahamas located on a non-private island. Cruise passengers can take advantage of an array of resort amenities when docked here, including the casino and spa, a handful of international dining options, and access to the recently-opened


Resorts World Bimini Beach. Rivaling backdrops found in places from the Greek islands to Tulum, the expansive, 4.5-acre day club blends laidback luxury with a see-and-be-seen atmosphere, introducing just one more reason to frequent this Bahamian hotspot. Just 50 miles off the coast of Miami and the closest private beach to the coastal United States, Resorts World Bimini Beach features two lagoon pools, lounge chairs and day beds, hammocks, oceanfront and poolside private cabanas, two bars, bohemian-inspired furnishings and décor, and Caribbean-inspired beachfront dining with unobstructed ocean views. Cabana rentals are available along with VIP perks like bottle service and exclusive food & beverage menus. A place to play by day that transforms into a lounge-like setting by sunset, Resorts World Bimini

Beach is home to the Caribbean’s most sought-after happenings, such live performances by world-class DJs and musicians – previously including Flo Rida, Shaggy, Latin pop star Guaynaa, and slated to host Iggy Azalea in April 2022.

For those who are not cruising to Bimini, other transportation options allow for the fun to begin before even setting foot on the property. Embark on the Balearia Caribbean Ferry from Fort Lauderdale, FL, to arrive at Resorts World Bimini in just two hours, or cross the Gulfstream in a private boat or yacht. The resort’s private marina can accom-

modate boats up to 100-feet in length, and the Hilton Dock which allows guests to tie up directly behind the hotel just steps from their suite. Want to arrive in style? Opt for a seaplane flight with Tropic Ocean Airways. With exceptional service from check-in to touch down, Tropic’s easy 25-minute flight allows for coasting into paradise with endless views of blue below and lands directly inside the resort. RW Bimini offers killer packages year-round, such as the Fly & Stay or Sail & Stay, which bundle round-trip ferry or seaplane transportation with two- or three-night stays at the Hilton at Resorts World Bimini. Once in paradise, visitors can truly immerse in Bimini Bliss. The Hilton is home to two pools, both of which set the perfect scene to have a Bahama Mama

in one hand and the island’s signature conch fritters in the other while basking in the hot Caribbean sun. On the ground level, the Lagoon Pool stretches 600 feet — the length of the entire hotel — and gives guests the perfect view of all vessels coming in and out of the Mega Yacht Marina. For a chic twist and panoramic ocean views of Bimini Bay, the adults-only Rooftop Infinity Pool has dozens of daybeds. Both also have poolside bars (Oasis on the ground level and Monkey Business on the rooftop) to provide guests easy access to their favorite bites and sips. Must-try dishes include loaded jerk chicken fries, coffee & chili marinated skirt steak kabob, and a Shark Tooth signature cocktail. Monkey Business features a vibe that turns into a lounge-like atmosphere at night, so there’s no better place to capture the ultimate Instagram-worthy food pictures with stunning backdrops of Bimini blues. Other on-site dining options include The Sushi Bar, offering a variety specialty sushi rolls, nigiri, sashimi, and other delicious, classic Asian dishes such as lo mein and fried rice -- all curated by Top Chef’s season three winner, Hung Huynh. The Tides serves breakfast and dinner daily with a menu boasting fresh pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and other local Bahamian staples. For ultimate

comfort food, Hemingway’s is recommended for burgers, wings, and other grilled dishes surrounded by the liveliness of the casino. To unwind after action-packed days, The Serenity Spa sits on the top f loor of the Hilton with f loor-toceiling windows that boast panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea, making relaxation easy from the moment you enter. The treatment menu includes a variety of massage and facial treatments with high-quality ingredients sourced from all corners of the world, such as the Wanderlust Majestic Mediation Ritual, which uses a detoxifying body wrap of rhassoul clay harvested from the Atlas Mountains to draw impurities from the body. Rest up in one of 305 guest rooms, each featuring island-inspired yet modern furnishings with one king or two queen beds, spacious bathrooms with marble countertops, walk-in showers, and al fresco balconies. On the ground floor are 18 exclusive one-bedroom suites with large living areas, plush king begs, floods of natural daylight and private patios. Nine of these suites feature pool-facing patios with chaise lounges and direct access just one step away to the expansive Lagoon Pool. No matter how one gets to Resorts World Bimini or what they do once they’re there, being constantly surrounded with turquoise waters on a seven-mile Bahamian island makes it almost impossible to NOT be relaxed. Book a trip at FIRST QUARTER 2022 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 27

On Land

2021 WAS A BANNER YEAR FOR THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism reported impressive tourism success in 2021, a banner year for Caribbean tourism, beating the Territory’s previous performances in 2020 and 2019. Per the U.S. Virgin Islands Bureau of Economic Research, the destination welcomed 738,040 air arrivals for the period January to November 2021, a 102.5 percent increase over the similar period in 2020 and close to 30 percent from 2019. December was also particularly impressive month for the Territory, based on data gleaned from its Travel Screening Portal. The class-leading portal registered more than one million submissions last year, and over 116,000 in December, USVI Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte, crediting the pre-arrivals screening tool as critical in protecting not only the lives of visitors and residents, but also the livelihoods of all Virgin Islanders.


The Commissioner thanked Governor Albert Bryan Jr. for his smart and sensible stewardship of the Territory throughout the pandemic, along with his cabinet colleagues, including Commissioner of Health Justa Encarnacion, for her dedication and commitment to keeping people safe while the economic engine of the Territory revved speedily throughout the year. “We must also give thanks to the dedicated team at the Department of Tourism who played a key role in our chalking up numerous accolades throughout the year,” said Commissioner Boschulte. The Territory made Bloomberg Businessweek’s prestigious list of the top places in the world to go in 2022, while Caribbean Journal, an online tourism media outlet, named the USVI as the Most Innovative Destination of the Year and Yachting Destination of the Year, no doubt due to the inventiveness of the Territory’s approach to tourism development as

well as the successful transformation of the marine sector, which flourished over the past two years. ForwardKeys, a respected data authority, adjudged the USVI as the Most Resilient Caribbean Destination for 2022 Travel, while STR data has consistently ranked the USVI among the leaders across the region in hotel occupancy percentages and average daily revenue. Commissioner Boschulte thanked the private sector for its commitment to promoting the destination and delivering excellent service as well as its commitment to public health safety. He reported that the Department of Tourism generated close to $1.5 billion dollars in earned media coverage in 2021, highlights of which included the December cover story in United Hemispheres magazine as well as impressive coverage in outlets such as ABC Dallas, Bloomberg, Caribbean Journal, CBS Miami, CNN, Miami Herald, MSN, NBC Dallas, New York Daily News, The New York Times, Skift, Thrillist, Travel + Leisure, Travel Pulse, Travel Weekly and USA TODAY. Investment interest in the Territory is strong, with the opening of Lovango Resort & Beach Club on Lovango Cay (off St. John and St. Thomas) and Concordia Eco-Resort on St. John attracting much attention.

PUERTO RICO’S RECORD YEAR FOR TOURISM Last year finished with the Puerto Rico's tourism industry setting new records in lodging income, room tax collections, and passenger arrivals, while the average stay of tourists increased by 5%. By December 2021, about 80,000 people were employed in the economy's leisure and hospitality sectors. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics data, this figure is among the highest for a month in the last decade, and it’s only 500 jobs off preCOVID-19 levels – and 29,600 more than those working in these sectors in April 2020, when the pandemic brought much of the economy to a halt. For more information about the destination, visit www.

which is at the core of the tourism sector,” said Hon. Dr. Ernest Hilaire- Minister for Tourism, Investment, Creative Industries, Culture, and Information. “The growth experienced in 2021 is attributed to data driven, well-performing flights and the reintroduction of services from key markets. The destination was also bestowed four major accolades and ancillary service providers were also awarded. This adds to Saint Lucia’s prominence in the global marketplace and solidifies our mandate of marketing and driving demand for our island.”

MARTINIQUE’S TOURISM “RESURGENCE” Martinique is aiming for a “resurgence” in tourism, according to Benedicte de Geronmimo, the new leader of the Martinique Tourism Commission.

SAINT LUCIA SURPASSES PROJECTIONS Last year welcomed continued efforts by the Government of Saint Lucia towards the sustainable stimulation of the tourism economy. The destination welcomed 199,347 stay-over arrivals, surpassing Saint Lucia Tourism Authority’s projections by 12%. During 2021, the destination noted several record-breaking months and an increase in air service from key source markets. This culminated with December ending on a high note, as the destination welcomed about 30,000 visitors – representing more than double the recorded arrivals in December 2020. “We celebrate Saint Lucia’s resilience

“Tourism is a solid lever of our economic development because it is transversal,” she said. “We have to be attentive and inventive to bounce back. Martinique has tremendous assets that I intend to energetically promote with all professionals in the tourism sector. Martinique is a strong destination, a visitor’s destination of excellence. I intend to meld more thoroughly our identity, our culture, our heritage, our landscapes, our gastronomy, our AOC rums or our artists. I aspire to go towards a ‘Martiniquality,’ a Martinique synonymous with quality.” This push will include a multi-faceted approach, such as a focus on events and sustainable tourism, which Martinique has in spades – from its UNESCO biosphere reserve to its traditional sailing culture.

Martinique is also looking to promote the candidacy of both Mont Pelee and the Pitons du Carbet as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Di Geronimo said – and she told the ultimate goal is to “relaunch” the destination, particularly in the U.S. market. “Together we will step up to the challenge of a strong resurgence,” she said. “It is through the efforts of each and every one of us that we will be able to reassure our visitors and to seek a better tomorrow. Martinique is resilient, and we can count on the exceptional support of our long-time U.S. industry partners, which are allowing us to reconnect with our American friends.”

THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC REMAINS FIRM IN THE REACTIVATION OF CRUISE SHIP TOURISM, CLOSES 2021 WITH A NEW RECORD Since the post-pandemic cruise ship operations began, July of last year, the Dominican Republic has maintained sustained growth with all the biosafety protocols implemented in the hotel sector and in the country's tourist centers, to guarantee the safety of clients, the crew and communities – a fact that has earned us the recognition of various organizations, including the World Tourism Organization. The Dominican Republic offers all the facilities for arrival at the different ports of the country: Taíno Bay, Amber Cove, Santo Domingo, La Romana and Samaná, gateways to discover the natural beauties, extensive gastronomy and historical richness of incomparable attributes. The Cabinet of Tourism – headed by the President of the Republic, Luis Abinader FIRST QUARTER 2022 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 29

On Land Corona, and under the executive direction of the Minister of Tourism, David Collado – promotes the sustainability of the sector. This is part of the reason why winter wonderland has a new definition in the Dominican Republic, which recorded its best-ever December – with a total of 728,335 visitors, surpassing the previous record from 2018 of about 650,000 visitors. The Dominican Republic also reported 165,609 cruise passengers in December, a 268% increase compared to November 2021.

JAMAICA CALLING & PORT ROYAL BECOMING A CROWN JEWEL FOR CRUISES Jamaica recently celebrated an array of awards, including: • Caribbean’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction 2021 - Dunn’s River Falls, Jamaica • Best Restaurant in the Caribbean by USA Today's 10Best for 2021 - Miss T’s Kitchen, Jamaica • Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Port 2021 - Port of Falmouth, Jamaica It’s clear that Jamaica remains the perfect cruise destination with experiences to create memories for a lifetime. Awardwinning attractions live here, and cruise guests get access to the best things to see, eat, buy, and do. Five ports, five unforgettable stops offering the best, for the best. Additionally, Jamaica’s historic town of Port Royal is looking to its future for cruise tourism. With 10 cruise ship calls during the quarter, according to the Port Authority of Jamaica, there are no signs of slowing down – with a plan to reposition Port Royal as a destination for larger ships.


As the Port Authority’s Kimberly Stiff told, larger ships bring in more guests “to patronize locals and support trade and commerce and other activities – entertainment, cultural and heritage initiatives.” Port Royal is currently undertaking a multi-phase project to redevelop the port, with the second phase including a new museum and restaurant area, and construction scheduled for completion by the end of the second quarter.

EL SALVADOR READY TO REACTIVATE CRUISE TOURISM El Salvador is ready to reactivate cruise tourism after a two-year break caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Norwegian Jewel visited El Salvador in April, the first of at least 13 berths programmed for 2022, which will bring more than 11,000 cruise passengers. The articulated work between the government and private sector is key in the reactivation of the industry. Cruise passengers visiting El Salvador can enjoy archeological sites, volcanos, lovely towns, and much more!

ARUBA HOSTS THREE CRUISE SHIPS IN ONE DAY Aruba welcomed another sign of its cruise tourism recovery on January 17 as it hosted three cruise ships simultaneously. Carnival Freedom, Odyssey of the Seas, Marella Discovery, along with the thousands of guests on board, called at the at the Port of Oranjestad and experienced the destination continuing its impressive return.

DOMINICA’S NEW IDENTITY & GREENER FUTURE Dominica’s new brand identity positions the Nature Island as a competitive tourism destination. The new logo is as unique as the island itself. The various shades of green depict the island’s lush, verdant landscape. The rich purple accent color represents Dominica’s beloved Sisserou parrot and the vibrant red connotes the island’s Creole culture and Kalinago heritage. All these experiences await you when you visit Dominica, the Nature Island. Additionally, Dominica is making the right strides in its quest to becoming a climate resilient nation. This will be achieved by the construction of a geothermal plant, amongst other initiatives, that will enable the country to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. As hurricanes become more frequent and more intense, Dominica and other small islands are seeking new opportunities which lie in decarbonization and renewable energy technologies to aid more sustainable forms of tourism and digitization of the economy.

ST. KITTS CONTINUES CRUISE TOURISM REBOUND The cruise sector continues to rebound in St. Kitts since resuming on July 22, 2021. While in port, passengers will enjoy a quintessential Caribbean escape. Choose one of the distinctive “TravelApproved” excursions, including the historic Brimstone Hill Fortress, Caribelle Batik, and the St. Kitts Scenic Railway. Passengers can also experience the beautiful beaches, tour a fully restored French Plantation house or wander freely in Port Zante, which offers local art, shopping, and authentic, Caribbean cuisine.

BTB SIGNS MOU FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF PROTECTED AREAS The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) and the Association of Protected Areas Management Organizations (APAMO) signed an MOU that will strengthen cooperation in the sustainable development of protected areas in Belize. As a part of the MOU, the BTB will develop a pilot project alongside APAMO to further develop areas of Sustainable Certification/ Accreditation and growth. Recently, the BTB established a $75,000 fund for conservation, sustainable development and regeneration. This year’s fund was awarded to APAMO for its conservation efforts and stride towards embracing sustainable tourism. The fund will assist APAMO in its infrastructure upgrade, administrative and marketing efforts as they enhance their co-managed sites as tourism destinations in Belize. For more information on the BTB and its services, visit

PANAMA TO HOST ROYAL CARIBBEAN’S RETURN TO LATIN AMERICA After serving as the host destination of the 2021 FCCA Cruise Conference and a recent homeporting incentive from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Panama is celebrating more good news. Royal Caribbean is returning to Latin America with cruises from Panama in the 20232024 season – with three announced new itineraries that will depart from Colon, Panama City, and Cartagena, Columbia, marking Royal Caribbean's return to the region for the first time in nine years. The first season of Rhapsody of the Seas will begin in December 2023 from

MSC CRUISES BREAKS GROUND IN MIAMI FOR NORTH AMERICA’S LARGEST CRUISE TERMINAL The Cruise Division of MSC Group broke ground for its new $350 million mega cruise terminal in Miami, which when it opens will be North America’s largest, on March 10. The four-story building with four embarkation decks will be able to accommodate up to 36,000 passenger movements a day – and feature enough berthing space to serve three latest generation ships simultaneously, including its current flagship, MSC Seashore, and the line’s future liquified natural gas-powered World Class ships.

these three cities and offer seven-night itineraries through the Caribbean and Latin America, including the famous Panama Canal. The entire season will be divided into two phases; a first that will be roundtrip from Colón, Panama with select departures from Cartagena, Colombia, which visit the islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. A second phase will begin in February 2024, with an itinerary between Colón and the new base port in Fuerte Amador, Panama City, which will sail through the Panama Canal in eight sailings, calling at Cartagena, Colombia, Puntarenas, Costa Rica and the new port for the Quepos company, in Costa Rica.

MSC Cruises added that the new terminal demonstrates its commitment to enhance its attractive Caribbean sailings for its guests, all who will enjoy the experience before they have even stepped on board one of its ships. It is also part of its larger ambition to deploy some of its most modern and environmentally advanced ships in Miami, all of whose itineraries will call its stunning Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve private island. The new terminal is currently projected to be completed by the end of 2023.

PRINCESS CRUISES EXPANDS CONTACTLESS MEDALLIONPAY PAYMENT INTO DESTINATIONS Guests sailing on Princess MedallionClass ships now have a contactless purchasing option that eliminates the need for them to carry cash or credit cards FIRST QUARTER 2022 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 31

On Land

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE CELEBRATES 50 YEARS OF VISITING THE BAHAMAS As Carnival continues its year-long 50th birthday festivities, the company marked 50 years of visiting one of its most popular destinations, The Bahamas, with a celebration in Nassau on March 10. Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy was joined by Bahamas Prime Minister The most Honourable Philip Brave Davis; Bahamas Deputy Prime Minister The Honourable Chester Cooper; Miss Universe Bahamas Chantel O’Brian; Bahamas Tourism industry and other community leaders; along with Carnival leadership. The Royal Bahamas Defense Force Marching Band kicked off the festivities held in Pompey Square, followed by performances from Bahamian singer Simmone Bowe and spoken word artist Joinel Juene. The event culminated with the cutting of a 50th birthday cake for Carnival and the upbeat sounds of a traditional Bahamian Junkanoo Band. “We are so proud of achieving five decades of partnership with The Bahamas to bring fun and joyful vacations to guests from across the globe, and we thank the Bahamian people and their government and industry leaders for their support of and collaboration with Carnival,” said Duffy. “Since the company’s founding in 1972, Carnival Cruise Line and The Bahamas have enjoyed a valuable and long-standing partnership that today sees two million guests annually arrive at five ports of call in The Bahamas, including Nassau, Freeport, Half Moon Cay, Princess Cays and Bimini.” “Carnival, the oceans have beckoned you these 50 years and you have answered the call by providing superior service; a few firsts, including the first three- and four-day Bahamas cruises; and fun and entertainment for the entire family on your signature


ships emblazoned with your unmistakable red, white and blue. Thank you for your continued partnership,” said The Honourable Philip Davis. Carnival is working in partnership with government to finalize needed permits and approvals to develop two major projects in cooperation with the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the government of The Bahamas. The first, a new cruise port destination primarily for Carnival Cruise Line on Grand Bahama, will represent an investment of over $200 million. The second project, on the Bahamian island of Little San Salvador, home to Holland America Line’s award-winning Half Moon Cay port, will constitute an estimated $100 investment over time. Both undertakings will not only bring more visitors, increased job opportunities and positive economic impact to the islands, but also an enhanced and uniquely Bahamian experience for Carnival guests. These developments will also allow Grand Bahama and Little San Salvador to welcome guests from the cruise industry’s larger ships, such as Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras and Carnival Celebration. Over the years, Carnival has maintained a strong commitment to supporting the Bahamian community through hurricane relief efforts and initiatives such as Scholarships for Cadets. Through an ongoing partnership with the LJM Maritime Academy, Carnival provides scholarships for Bahamian cadets to obtain the education, skills and experience to work onboard. To mark the significant milestone, Carnival presented a contribution of $50,000 to the LJM Maritime Academy for specialized equipment to support cadet education.

into destinations on their cruise vacation – through the expansion of MedallionPay, the frictionless payment experience that lets guests use their Princess Medallion wearable device to shop, play, eat and drink, with a number of merchants in ports of call in the Caribbean, Mexican Riviera and all Alaska ports of call, and also to now include 7% back on shoreside purchases as an onboard ship credit for the inaugural year. "MedallionPay offers the ultimate in payment convenience and security for guests both on board and now in ports we visit seamlessly blending the onboard and destination experience," said John Padgett, president of Princess Cruises. "What makes MedallionPay extra special is the instant onboard value it delivers to guests in addition to base benefits with their associated credit card." "Being able to shop using my Medallion made purchasing easier and having a discount associated with it is fantastic," said Lori Woodbury, a guest on Crown Princess who trialed MedallionPay during its St. Thomas trial in early 2020. "You don't have to remember your room key, and you never have to have cash or a credit card with you."

HOTELS BY CELEBRITY TO HOST GUESTS WANTING TO EXTEND CRUISE VACATIONS Celebrity Cruises has a new program designed to offer confidence and ease when guests sailing want to add a pre- and post-cruise land experience. The newly launched Hotels by Celebrity offers guests sailing with Celebrity a curated list of 4- and 5-star hotels at exclusive rates, creating a streamlined and stress-free experience when planning cruise vacations – and will go beyond simply helping guests book a place to stay before or after their sailings,

with a seamless experience providing access to some of the world’s best hotels at attractive rates in the world’s most beautiful cities and ports Celebrity visits.

VIRGIN VOYAGES CELEBRATES GRAND OPENING AT PORTMIAMI Virgin Voyages celebrated the long-awaited grand opening of Terminal V at PortMiami on February 13, ringing in the occasion with a mermaid-studded soirée. Sir Richard Branson, joined by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Virgin Voyages’ CEO Tom McAlpin, made a splash with a memorable ribbon cutting ceremony marked by mermaid aerialists and a grand entrance via Virgin branded electric Moke vehicles. The opening of Virgin Voyages’ three-story, 132,000 square foot cruise terminal represents a major milestone in the brand’s history and the first time Scarlet Lady sailed from her new home. “We’ve always strived to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, and Terminal V gives us greater opportunity to elevate the Sailor experience from the moment you see the AHOY sign to the time you disembark. Scarlet Lady deserves a home as beautiful as she is, and we cannot wait for our Sailors to begin their voyage at Terminal V,” said Virgin Voyages’ CEO, Tom McAlpin. The geometric design, a palm grove where land meets sea, was inspired by Miami’s iconic palm trees and the area’s historical origins (formerly used for harvesting coconuts). The concept was developed by the award-winning, global architecture and landscape firm Arquitectonica and built from the ground up by Suffolk Construction. Terminal V’s rooftop resembles the edges of a palm canopy with angular cutouts that allow natural light to stream through. Enveloped by more than 1,000 palm trees,

Terminal V features soaring floor-to-ceiling windows, natural skylights, and lush indoor landscaping that offers Sailors both a grand and warm welcome on their voyage.

first major cruise ship to sail from the Jacksonville Port Authority ( JAXPORT) in two years. In April, Carnival Elation assumes Carnival Spirit’s itinerary from Jacksonville to The Bahamas. JAXPORT also now serves as a homeport for American Queen Voyages’ Ocean Voyager, which calls Southeast U.S. ports and The Bahamas.

PORT EVERGLADES WELCOMES WORLD'S LARGEST CRUISE SHIP Port Everglades once again welcomed “the largest cruise ship in the world” to the United States as Royal Caribbean International's Wonder of the Seas began her inaugural season on March 4. This is the fourth Oasis-Class ship to make its U.S. debut at Port Everglades. Wonder of the Seas surpassed her sister-ship Symphony of the Seas, which will homeport at Port Everglades beginning November 2023, as the world's largest cruise ship by more than 8,700 gross tons.

The Port of New Orleans Welcomes Back Cruise Tourism The Port of New Orleans is thrilled that cruising has returned. We welcomed Disney back in February 2022, Norwegian in November 2021 and Carnival in September 2021. We are celebrating a major milestone with Carnival Cruise Line as we wish them a very happy 50th birthday. Congratulations to Carnival for your partnership in bringing the Carnival cruise experience to Port NOLA for the past 27 of those 50 years.

PORT CANAVERAL WELCOMES RECORD HOMEPORTED SHIPS Carnival Liberty returned to Port Canaveral on January 24 and made history by marking a record number of homeported ships at Port Canaveral – with 11. That also includes a total of four Carnival Cruise Line homeported ships, as Liberty joined her sisters: Mardi Gras, Elation and Magic. JAXPORT CELEBRATES RETURN OF CARNIVAL AND ADDITION OF SECOND CRUISE LINE Carnival resumed operations from Jacksonville, Florida in March with the departure of Carnival Spirit, the

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE LAUNCHES VERIFLY DIGITAL HEALTH WALLET IN ALL OF ITS U.S. HOMEPORTS Carnival Cruise Line is making health screening simpler and quicker for guests. After a successful pilot of VeriFLY by Daon, a secure and free digital health app allowing vaccinated guests to easily submit pre-embarkation information, Carnival has launched the app fleetwide for all ships in all its U.S. homeports, making Carnival the largest cruise line to utilize VeriFLY. Guests who use the VeriFLY app can expect the time it takes to complete the health assessment process during embarkation to be cut in half. PORT SAINT JOHN’S NEW ATTRACTION Port Saint John in Atlantic Canada is ready to welcome back cruise in a big way in 2022! The newest waterfront attraction, AREA 506 Container Village, is currently under construction and will be ready in June for cruise passengers to enjoy shopping, food & beverage, entertainment, and the local culture of the Bay of Fundy. This new development is directly adjacent to the Port Saint John cruise terminals in the heart of the city. FIRST QUARTER 2022 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 33

On Land

Canada Welcomes Back Cruise Passengers


fter more than two years of suspended operations, Canada welcomed back its first cruise passengers since 2019. Cruise lines are prepared for a full schedule of sailings this year from April to November, with itineraries that will include ports and destinations on both Canadian coasts. Many months of work led to the return of cruise in Canada, and the industry is delighted to be coming back. As cruise tourism returns to Canada, CLIA member cruise lines will be sailing with COVID-19 protocols that span the entirety of the cruise experience and provide some of the highest levels of prevention, detection, and mitigation compared to virtually any other tourism setting. The industry acknowledges the support of officials of British Columbia’s Transportation, Tourism and Health Ministries as well as Transport Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, who worked collaboratively with Cruise Lines International


Association and its member lines, ports and community partners in order to support the responsible return of cruise to Canada. The health and safety protocols established for Canadian cruises include full vaccination of passengers and crew members as eligible under Canadian health regulations and proof of a negative COVID-19 test result prior to embarkation (confirmed with either a PCR test three days prior to boarding or an antigen test one day prior to boarding). CLIA will continue to engage with Transport Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada and regional agencies to review protocols as the public health situation evolves. The cruise industry is a vital artery for Canada’s economy, and prior to the pandemic supported approximately 30,000 Canadian jobs and generated an estimated CA $4.3 billion in total economic benefits, including CA $1.9 billion in direct spend, and CA $1.44 billion in wages and salaries each year.

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 have joined paths. As the new administrator of the FCCA Global Tour Operator Insurance Program, 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

Members & Travel Agents

FCCA Partners with the U.S. Virgin Islands on Strategic Development Agreement


lorida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) has partnered with the U.S. Virgin Islands on a strategic development agreement for 2022 that will focus on increasing the destination’s overall economic impact from cruise tourism. The agreement, coming from a directive by the FCCA Executive Committee, will feature access to key decision makers and their joint efforts with FCCA to fulfill the objectives, including increased cruise calls, new experiences and products, collaboration with the local private sector, more employment and purchasing opportunities, conversion of cruise guests to stay-over visitors, promotion of summer cruising, creation of consumer demand, travel agent outreach and more. “This agreement is a further testament to the continued partnership that the U.S. Virgin Islands has had with FCCA and the cruise industry,” said Micky Arison, Chairman of FCCA and Carnival Corporation & plc. “The destination has supported cruising through the best and worst of times, and I am proud that this agreement will make it possible to better the lives and livelihoods of so many people there.” “We are grateful for the U.S. Virgin Islands’ support through the pandemic, with this landmark agreement being more


proof of their dedication to cruise tourism, and we cannot be more excited to reciprocate the faith they have shown in us and the industry by maximizing their benefits from the sector,” said Michele Paige, President, FCCA. “Through this agreement, the U.S. Virgin Islands will have FCCA’s full commitment to fulfilling the destination’s initiatives, including assisting the private sector and helping all locals prosper from the economic impact that the industry brings.” After being a success story for Caribbean tourism in the wake of COVID-19, experiencing a banner year for stay-over tourism in 2021 and breaking numerous records, the U.S. Virgin Islands is looking to turn the page for their cruise tourism, which generated $184.7 million in total cruise tourism expenditures, in addition to $77.9 million in total employee wage income, during the 2017/2018 cruise year, according to the Business Research & Economic Advisors report “Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies.” “The U.S. Virgin Islands celebrates its steadfast partnership with FCCA and its Member Lines,” said USVI Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte. “Strategic marketing and collaborative programs promoting the allure of the cruise industry

and our awe-inspiring islands are expected to provide the Territory with a springboard for a speedy resumption, as we enter the endemic phase of Covid-19.” Through the agreement, FCCA will not only guide the U.S. Virgin Islands government on enhancing their product and increasing cruise calls, but also will facilitate new experiences to offer cruise companies and collaborate with the local private sector to maximize any opportunities. Additionally, the agreement will put the U.S. Virgin Islands in the spotlight for the new and improved programs that FCCA has developed with focuses on employment, purchasing and converting cruise guests to stay-over visitors. As a top-down initiative directed by the FCCA Executive Committee, which includes presidents and above of FCCA Member Lines, the new strategic partnership will grant open access for the U.S. Virgin Islands with these key decision makers and the Committee’s efforts to effectuate the agreement’s objectives and the destination’s goals. Some of the other features of the strategic partnership will include promoting summer cruising, engaging travel agents, creating consumer demand and developing a destination service needs assessment that will detail strengths, opportunities and needs.

Members & Travel Agents

Building a Strategic Training Plan – How Important Is It? By Beth Kelly Hatt, President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, the FCCA’s official training partner


ne of the biggest challenges faced by destinations as cruise and tourism resumes involves the people responsible for the visitor experience. With many returning to work after a long hiatus and many new to cruise and tourism, destinations are challenged to ensure excellent guest experiences are being delivered. What plans can we put in place to help our teams elevate the visitor experience? What skills and knowledge do they need to develop? What gaps or new product opportunities have emerged that should be explored? Every destination’s needs are different, from cruise destination partners and tour operators to frontlines, tour guides and drivers. Service is now more important and more challenging than ever – how can we make certain that our tourism teams meet this challenge successfully? The best answer lies in building a strategic training plan. To do that, there are many questions that need to be asked. For example: • What type of training is offered presently in your destination, for frontlines, for tour guides, for drivers, and for vendors? • What challenges exist with training for each of these groups? • What gaps exist in the training and development presently offered for each of these groups? • What training opportunities are offered to tour operators? • What challenges exist in shore excursion operations in your destination? • What gaps exist in shore excursion operations? • Are there products and experiences offered in your destination that could benefit from being enhanced or reimagined? • What gaps or needs can be determined based on the guest satisfaction ratings and feedback on your destination? • What gaps or needs can be determined based on cruise line feedback on your destination?

For over 12 years, the Aquila Center for Cruise Excellence has been helping destinations raise the level of excellence in their guest experiences. We approach training by working with the port destination to build a training strategy that is sustainable and customized to meet its unique needs, including assisting with prioritizing, timelines, and meeting budgets for one or multi-year strategies. A few recent examples of destinations we have worked with that have taken such a strategic approach are Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe Tourism, PROCOLOMBIA and the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. Each of these destinations has invested in training in different ways and each has committed to prepare their teams for the growth ahead. Cayman started 2021 with training of drivers and tour guides and is currently determining how to build on that plan to include tour operators and product development for 2022. Puerto Rico has a full training plan underway to prepare for the FCCA Caribbean Cruise Summit in San Juan in June, including training for frontlines, attractions, tour operators, tour guides and cruise readiness for their new emerging

ports. Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe and Colombia continue yearly investments in training of their teams. It is the destinations that make those crucial investments in yearly training strategies that will grow their tourism capacity in a sustainable way. As part of the suite of benefits of the FCCA Platinum Membership program, a Service Needs Assessment for Building a Training Strategy with Aquila is offered at no charge for the duration of 2022. At a time when destinations need visitor experiences to be second to none, training can give the people in the destination the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary to deliver excellence. There is always a return when investing in your people and building a training strategy will ensure you maximize your investment. When your teams understand the benefits of cruise tourism, they are better prepared and eager to wow their cruise guests. Beth Kelly Hatt is the President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, the FCCA’s official training partner. Aquila’s approach to training is one of assessing the needs of a destination or operator and developing a strategic training plan that helps raise the level of excellence throughout the destination. Contact Beth for more information at



COSTAMED READY FOR MEDICAL TOURISM Medical tourism is more requested than ever. Nowadays, patients are more familiar with medical services outside of their country, and our medical team is ready to respond to this demand. We have five dental units among the Riviera Maya, and we can deliver imagenology results on the next day (depending on the studies). Be part of this new international patient community. For more, e-mail Experience more at the world famous Dunn’s River Falls & Park with our latest adventure product ‘Tek-A-Hike’. Follow the trek to connect with nature through a 3-kilometre guided hike boasting untouched ecological resources, rich

cultural heritage and hidden gems. Ideal for nature lovers, history enthusiasts and adventure seekers. For more information visit Live Some Life!

A UNIQUE WAY TO EXPLORE COZUMEL The exclusiveness now is part of the adventure, and with a Jimny, the way to explore all the treasures and hotspots of Cozumel will make you fall in love with the island. This is not only a simple tour but a wonderful way to make something unforgettable.

SHARKS, DOLPHINS AND REEFS, OH MY! If you want to dive into an open-air aquarium next to majestic whale sharks, dolphins, surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and accompanied by other marine species, Utila in the Honduran Caribbean is the place to visit.

diving schools to choose from at a very good price, it is considered one of the best places in the world for diving. A real paradise for diving and snorkeling lovers.

With a variety of internationally certified

SOUTHERN BELIZE: THE ULTIMATE ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND Southern Belize is the ultimate adventure playground with lush rainforests, pristine wildlife, and fascinating cultures. Experience thrilling eco-adventures, make chocolate from scratch and taste the region’s unique cuisine infused with history. The sleepy coastal

town and the region’s capital, Punta Gorda, is home to the Garifuna, East Indian, Maya and other groups. It is also a gateway to everything from off-shore fishing, island escapes, river expeditions, caving, birding and Maya archaeological sites.


It’s time to feel the embrace of the sun on your face, our historic trails under your feet, and our endless white sand between your toes. It’s time to book. Find out more at

Puerto Rico

Old San Juan,


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