Travel & Cruise 3rd Quarter Magazine

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Dominican Republic Has It All

Harry Sommer:

Importance of Partnerships, What It Takes to Homeport & More

Josh Weinstein: How Destination Stakeholders & Carnival Can Work Together

FCCA PAMAC Cruise Summit & CLIA Events Embark on Mutual Success

Cruise Lines Lead the Way in Health & Safety Protocols

Sourcing More Employment & Purchasing in Destinations

Cruise & Destination Updates

Aquila: Keeping a Team Together in Tough Times


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.
Perfect Cruise Stops Here.


The gate to South America shines bright with cultural harmony. Here you can taste exotic avors surrounded by vibrant colors as the seemingly neverending biodiversity and human warmth embrace you from day one.

Stepping off a cruise in the Greater Colombian Caribbean leads into charming colonial cities or crystal-clear waves, while the Colombian Paci c awaits with lush forests lining idyllic beaches to explore.

Scan the code to embark on this adventure.






15 Next Stop on the FCCA Webinar Itinerary: Josh Weinstein The new President and CEO and Chief Climate Officer of Carnival Corporation and plc discusses how destination stakeholders and Carnival can work together on a path for joint success, including charting the course for a carbon-neutral future

Meeting and Events

7, 9 CEO’s Letter

Phone: (954) 441-8881 Fax: (954) 441-3171


22 Cruise360 Australasia Offered the Chance to Reconnect and Renew

23 CLIA’s Ports & Destinations Dialogue

10 18 Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise 3

Damajagua Waterfalls in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic 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
by: In Partnership with:
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.
21 Sustainable Tourism Was Key Focus of 2022 European Summit
10 FCCA Embarks on New Webinar Series with Harry Sommer The President & CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line helped launch FCCA’s open access webinar series while discussing the importance of partnerships; factors for a homeport, including why they chose Dominican Republic, and being a Norwegian port of call; and more
18 Business and Relationship Development Hits High Gear on the High Seas More than 200 FCCA Platinum Members and cruise executives embarked on a series of meetings and networking events to move mutual success full steam ahead on the FCCA PAMAC Cruise Summit

On Board

Members & Travel Agents

45 FCCA Partner Destination & Port Updates 47 Member Line Hiring & Recruitment Efforts 48 FCCA Fixed on Giving Local Hires a Raise and Boosting Purchases of Destinations’ Products New committees and partnerships are enhancing the revamped programs focused on increasing local hires and products used on board from the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico
52 Keeping a Team Together During Tough Times Beth Kelly Hatt, President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, shares how Aquila managed change through the pandemic, what they learned, and what they did to keep their team together 54 FCCA Platinum Member Highlights 30 Costa Group Hits the Gas on Biofuels 30 Record Bookings & Recovered Capacity On Land 32 Imagine Dominican Republic as Your Next Destination 36 Something Great Is Coming: Welcome to Port Cabo Rojo 38 The U.S. Virgin Islands: America’s Renewed Cruise Destination 40 All Aboard! Connecting with Cayman through Culture, Culinary and Community 42 Setting Sail for Cruisers’ Destination of Choice: Port St. Maarten 44 Puerto Rico Registers Over $1 Billion in Lodging Income & San Juan Cruise Port to Embark on $425 Million in Investments 44 Antigua and Barbuda Breaking Tourism Records 44 Colombia on the Ascent with Increased Airlift and Booming Development
24 Cruise Lines Continue to Lead the Way in Health and Safety Protocols 25 Windstar Cruises Becomes FCCA Member Line 26 Norwegian Prima Makes Her Premiere 26 Celebrity Continues Its Ascent, Going Above and Beyond 27 Carnival’s Parade of New Ships 27 Seabourn Venture Ventures Out 28 Silversea Welcomes Silver Endeavour 28 Seven Seas Grandeur to Make Grand Debut 28 Utopia of the Seas’ First Major Milestone 29 Disney’s Wish Comes True 29 MSC Continues to Chart the Course for a Greener Path 30 Carnival Corporation Upgrading Global Fleet with Fuel- and Energy-Saving Technology 25 32 CONTENTS Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise 5





@PortStMaarten PortOfStMaarten N°1 PORT IN THE CARIBBEAN ST. MAARTEN N°1


Micky Arison

FCCA Chairman Chairman

Carnival Corporation

Michael Bayley

President & CEO

Royal Caribbean International

Thomas Mazloum


Disney Signature Experiences

Richard E. Sasso


MSC Cruises USA

Frank J. Del Rio

President & CEO

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.


Michele M. Paige

Chief Executive Officer

Adam Ceserano President

Terri Cannici

Vice President, Operations

Omari Breakenridge

Director, Digital Strategy & Creative Services

Mario Aguirre Director, Membership Programs

Justin Paige Director, Communications

Bruna Milazzotto

Manager, Research & Data

Jessica Lalama Executive Assistant

Vanessa Gutierrez

The cruise industry continues to move full steam ahead, with most Member Lines’ fleets fully returned and ships operating at full occupancy. For those of you reading this at our FCCA Cruise Conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, you likely already know that communication and collaboration were crucial for the return, along with proving that cruise tourism is one of the safest forms of travel and among the most successful industries in mitigating the spread and severity of COVID-19.

That communication and collaboration was the silver lining of COVID-19 as we further strengthened partnerships with destinations and stakeholders, while also focusing on initiatives that could enhance their benefits from cruise tourism – including revamping our programs centered on the hiring of citizens and cruise ships purchasing local goods.

Some of that is featured in this edition of Travel & Cruise, with articles featuring those programs; the Americas Cruise Tourism Task Force, an undertaking launched by us originally to develop protocols for COVID-19, but unanimously decided to continue to quickly address any topics because of the successes shown by gathering the group of destination representatives, stakeholders and cruise executives for regular online meetings; updates from the destination partners themselves; and the addition of Windstar Cruises as a Member Line.

Of course, as those of you at the Conference know, live events and meetings continue to pave the way for fostering relationships and business, and this edition also features an article on one of our annual event for Platinum Members, the PAMAC Cruise Summit. Additionally, Harry Sommer, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, and Josh Weinstein, President and CEO and Chief Climate Officer of Carnival Corporation, take the spotlight with recaps of their words of wisdom offered through a new series of open access online webinars aimed at bringing the cruise industry and its ongoings closer to interested parties, especially the destinations and stakeholders represented by FCCA.

However, anyone reading this also belongs on centerstage because we have certainly learned that we all play a pivotal part in building back better, and we are excited to continue that at the Conference and the next event for our Platinum Members and cruise executives, taking place in the Cayman Islands next June.

Respectfully yours,

Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise 7
Michele meeting with Harry Sommer, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line during Norwegian Primas’s inaugural voyage.
PARADISE AWAITS. IT’S TIME FOR PUERTO RICO. 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
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico


Pierfrancesco Vago

CLIA Global Chairman Executive Chairman

MSC Cruises

Micky Arison Chairman

Carnival Corporation & plc

Michael Bayley President & CEO

Royal Caribbean International

Frank J. Del Rio

President & CEO

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Arnold Donald Vice Chairman

Carnival Corporation & plc

Jason Liberty President & CEO

Royal Caribbean Group

Thomas Mazloum President

Disney Signature Experiences

Charles B. Robertson President & CEO

American Cruise Lines


Kelly Craighead President & CEO

Mike McGarry

Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs and North American Secretariat

Caroline Johnson

Senior Vice President,  Membership Operations

Brian Salerno

Senior Vice President, Maritime Policy

Joshua S. Good

Senior Vice President, Global Finance and Operations

Anne Madison

Senior Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Communications

Welcome to this issue of the Travel & Cruise, This summer has been both busy and productive. The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) team has been on the move building awareness about the cruise industry’s many positive contributions while fostering and strengthening relationships with important partners and allies. In this issue you will read about CLIA’s European Summit, New Zealand welcoming back cruise, Australasia’s Cruise360, and CLIA’s upcoming Ports & Destinations Dialogue taking place alongside Seatrade Med, in Malaga, Spain, on September 12.

The Ports and Destinations Dialogue, in addition to hosting a series of discussions on shoreside electricity, cruise decarbonization, new border requirements, and sustainability and its impact on cruise destinations, will also include a 1:1 Exchange that will be extremely helpful for cruise lines and port partners alike.

The CLIA team is looking forward to an even fuller and more rewarding fall. We hope you are too.

Yours in cruise,

Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise 9

FCCA Embarks on New Webinar Series with Harry Sommer

On July 20, Harry Sommer, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, joined a webinar hosted by Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the first of a new series that are open to all who register, with the aim of bringing the cruise industry and its ongoings closer to interested parties, especially the destinations and stakeholders represented by FCCA. He answered questions from FCCA President Adam Ceserano on topics including the importance of mutual partnerships with destinations and stakeholders; what it takes to establish a homeport, as well as why the decision was made to launch operations from La Roma, Dominican Republic in which he lauded the destination’s strong brand, infrastructure and all-inclusive hotels with stunning beaches; how Norwegian Cruise Line is able to return quickly to destinations like Mazatlan, Mexico, along with the positive reaction to their products; Norwegian’s approach to destinations, experiences and itineraries; information about the Prima class and its meaning for the company’s future; and the company’s goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the

role that destinations and stakeholders play. A lightly edited transcript is below.

Harry Sommer: Thank you, Adam. It’s great seeing you again today. I loved the last time we met at the [FCCA Cruise] Conference in San Juan. It’s nice to [again] participate via Zoom.

Adam Ceserano: We are also hosting the FCCA Cruise Conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from October 11 to 14, and Norwegian has renewed their plan for homeport operations in the Dominican Republic starting in 2024. Is this a big indicator of demand for both the destination and homeport outside of the U.S.?

HS: First off, I want to thank you for everything you do for the industry. I’m a huge fan of the FCCA. I think you and obviously Michele do fantastic work supporting the industry and the trade community and the whole Caribbean in general. I was thrilled to participate in your last Conference in San Juan, learned a lot and got to meet a lot of great people.

I also want to thank everyone lis-

tening today. FCCA does great work. I’m thrilled to be able to participate in these types of sessions.

To address your question specifically, we’re constantly looking for innovative new places to go. Norwegian Cruise Line has a history of innovation – so many firsts under our belt: first private island, first cruise line to do 7-day cruises to the Caribbean, going back to 1966, and a lot of innovations we’re doing to our new ships that we’ll talk about later on.

So, for us it’s natural to pioneer in new ports as well. When we looked at the Caribbean to see other places that we can homeport besides the obvious places of the continental U.S. and San Juan, Dominican Republic came front and center.

It’s the number one destination in the Caribbean for incoming tourism – not just from the United States, but also from other countries. Dominican Republic has done a great job at building up their brand, which is really important, and also building up their infrastructure – great port facilities. They recently redid the port facility in Puerto Plata. We understand their plans to upgrade facilities in other parts of the country. And it has a great reputation for all-in-

Spotlight 10 Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise

clusive hotels and being an upscale place to visit, along with having beautiful beaches.

I had the opportunity right before startup to visit the Dominican Republic and meet with President Abinader – what a great supporter of the cruise industry and tourism in general he is. I thought we built a good relationship. He’s supportive of the NCL plan.

So, it’s a combination of great destination, great activities, great infrastructure, support from the government – this just became a natural fit for us.

AC: For the other destinations out there listening, what are the top three things that they can learn from you right now if they would like to start thinking about becoming a homeport.

HS: I think I alluded to most of them in the conversation. If I’m going to limit it to the top three, it starts with brand – and brand doesn’t come out of nothing. Brand is based on having great activities on the ground and having a good brand reputation.

When people think about beautiful places to go in the Caribbean, they think about Aruba, St. Thomas, a lot of these countries that spend a lot of money in curating their brand to be very popular with Americans and nationals from other countries as well.

Obviously, we also need airlift because we’re not promoting these cruises to locals; we’re promoting them to people that live in the United States, Europe, South America and other parts of the world, but primarily those three areas, and there needs to be airlift from those various countries to support a 2,000-, 3,000- or 4-000-passenger ship.

Number three would be infrastructure – for the cruise to dock, for fueling, for provisioning, for people to have hotel stays pre and post, and beautiful sites for them to see.

AC: Norwegian has also been a trailblazer in making regular cars in destinations that are out of the way, such as Mazatlan. How is that going, and what leads you to those decisions?

HS: For us, we believe in long-term partnerships with the places we visit. We believe that we will have the best possible outcome for our guests, and after all, that is our number one objective: guests first.

We want the best possible experience for our guests, and we believe that is possible when we have these long-term partnerships with the local community.

We have that in Mazatlan and the other places, and having those partnerships allows us to clearly assess situations. There was a time when people stopped going to Mazatlan because of safety issues, but we work with our partners on the ground and when we thought that risk was behind us, we were able to reestablish our calls.

basically exactly one year today that we restarted our fleet out of Greece, so this is an exciting milestone for the company and now all 17 ships, soon to be 18 with Prima , are in operation.

And we continue to see this halo effect where because we’ve upgraded the service—the menus, service staff, more staff to ships, entertainment on some ships—we are seeing record guest satisfaction scores, and those are intertwined with record guest spend.

Our guests are having a fantastic time going there. It’s clearly one of the more important parts when we do the Western Mexican cruises.

We’re thrilled that we go there, and our guests really enjoy the experience.

AC: What makes it possible to make these decisions to visit these ports?

HS: I think part of it as I mentioned is having good relations with the local port officials, the local tourism officials, the sites that our guests can visit so we can put together a package –but part of it is also as an organization, we are known for being nimble and flexible and being able to take advantage of opportunities on a relatively short term. We don’t have to have a five-year plan; we can make decisions 12, 18, 24 months in advance, and I think that combination of factors lets us deliver exceptional vacation experiences to our guests.

We’ve done study after study that shows the more that a guest spends, the better of an opportunity they have. You can imagine on an anecdotal basis, someone that books an inside cabin and never leaves for specialty restaurants, buy a drink or go on a shore excursion, that isn’t a really great vacation for them, but someone that takes advantage of our wonderful Free at Sea package where they get free drinks, free shore excursions, free specialty dining, free WiFi, 3rd and 4th free and free airfare for their second guest, which is absolutely fantastic value—I think the best in the industry—those guests spend a little more but they have an absolute great time. They come back and rate us and they come back over and over again.

We have guests now—I was just talking to one yesterday—that have cruised 21 times in the one year since we came back to service.

AC: What are the key differences you see between the passengers traveling today from 2019?

HS: I’d say they’re 95 percent the same, but I think we’ve seen a shift that perhaps accelerated over the last two years—but we had seen it a few years beforehand—that people are moving from buying things to getting experiences, and that experiences and time with family and friends is more important than buying the latest iPhone or a car or things along those lines, and that’s what we’re in the business of doing.

AC: Speaking of these amazing vacations and not needing the long-term plan, how are your guests reacting to this – how is the spending and what are you seeing?

HS: We continue to have this halo in a return to service environment. It is

We’re in the business of providing wonderful experiences with people’s friends and family, so I think we’re in this right place to give those kinds of wonderful experiences.

AC: That is a message we drive in many of our workshops: that we are not in the vaca-

“…we’re constantly looking for innovative new places to go.”
Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise 11
“…we believe in longterm partnerships with the places we visit”

tion business, but the experience business. As you mentioned before, you have a new ship coming. Let’s talk about that.

HS: I actually get in an airplane on Saturday to go take delivery of her. We think Norwegian Prima is not revolutionary, but a continued evolution to elevate our brand. This ship has the most space per guest, the highest service ratio (staff per guest), the largest cabins, the largest bathrooms, the most suite types, the most restaurants, basically the most outside experiences of any ships that we’ve had.

Some of the other cruise lines are going big with 5,000 – 6,000 passengers, we actually went a little smaller, with Prima’s double capacity just under 3,100, which is smaller than our previous generation that were around 4,000 and has allowed us to elevate the guest experience.

We have 26 dining venues on board. So, the typical guest is on board for seven nights, which is normally 21 meals, and we give guests 26 different venues where they can eat.

There are also 10 different lounges and bars – and entertainment throughout the day. We have this new theater which can transform from regular theater seating to game show seating and everything in between, like a night club, and this thing is going to be lit basically 20 hours per day with activities for guests to enjoy, which will be a first for the industry.

We have a three-story racetrack. That’s the longest by far of anything we’ve done. We have invested in a much more elevated visceral experience: we have spent I think $13 million on artwork, which will be seen across the ship; we have more outdoor space than ever, including close to 40,000 square feet on deck 8; multiple infinity pools; glass bridges; a virtual reality pavilion; everything you can possibly imagine.

I don’t think a guest could possibly be bored, and I can’t wait to share. When she goes into full operation in December, we are going to set aside something like 10,000 cabins to showcase mostly to our trade and media partners so they get to personally experience it.

AC: What is the first itinerary of the ship?

HS: In the summer, she’s going to be on an amazing itinerary between Iceland, Norway and ending in Northern Europe,

where you get to see these beautiful ports…it’s really a once-in-a-lifetime experience. She’s going to be doing that all summer and early next year, and then next year we’re going to have the ship based in Port Canaveral in the winter (and Galveston for subsequent winters) so we’re really trying to position in the winter something close here in the United States where people get to visit these beautiful Caribbean Islands.

HS: Two private islands: one we get to visit on our Central and Eastern Caribbean itineraries, Great Stirrup Cay, which is in The Bahamas, and a second one, Harvest Caye, which is just off the coast of Belize.

They’re both beautiful, large islands – a genuine resort type of experience. We didn’t have a theme park theme on these; this is luxury, resort, cabanas (full-sized ones that are air conditioned), beaches galore, some activities including watersports.

Both of them are among the highest rated ports, but for us I think it’s a combination. I wouldn’t want to do a cruise that just visited the private islands. We’ve found that guests really enjoy going to the other Caribbean destinations where there’s more infrastructure and more varied things and then having a relaxing day at our private island as one of the ports on the cruises, and we try to visit one of these private islands for one day on pretty much every Caribbean cruise that we do.

AC: What’s the update on CDC?

HS: I’ll tell you our history with the CDC has certainly evolved over time. I wouldn’t have said that they were our friend a year and a half ago, but as they’ve gotten to know us, they have come to appreciate that cruises represent the safest vacation experience in the world.

Her sister ship, Viva , comes out next year, and she’s going to be homeported in San Juan starting in December 2023, visiting other Caribbean islands. So, we’ll have these Prima class ships visiting Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Central Caribbean – these ships will touch nearly every Caribbean port that we visit, and we couldn’t be more excited.

AC: Since we’re talking about Caribbean ports, let’s talk about private islands. How’s everything going with them? What’s the difference between them and other destinations?

If people only remember one thing from this call, I want that to be: cruises are the safest vacation experience in the world. We are more committed to safety than any hotel, airline or destination that people can visit. All of our guests 12 years or older are fully vaccinated. Our guests are fully tested. We’ve had no serious disease among crew or guests on any of ships with hundreds of thousands moved since the restart.

The CDC are paid to be a cautious organization, so it took them a full year to realize it, but they’ve gotten more and more confidence as the year progressed. We’ve met with them on a nearly weekly basis since last January, so they’ve gotten to know us and understand us and appreciate everything that we do.

While this might have come as a surprise to some people, it was no surprise to us. For us, it was a culmination of 18 months of efforts talking to them, showing them and proving to them that we can

“…we are known for being nimble and flexible and being able to take advantage of opportunities…”
Spotlight 12 Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise
“…record guest satisfaction scores… intertwined with record guest spend…”

deliver a safe and wonderful guest experience – and they basically said that they are so impressed with what [the cruise industry] is doing that they are happy for cruise lines to go on their own.

AC: Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has committed to pursue net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. What does this mean for destinations and what role do they play in accomplishing this goal?

HS: That’s a very important question. There are many things that go in to getting zero greenhouse gas emissions. Lots of people focus on the fuel that the ship uses, which is obviously critical, so there needs to be infrastructure in the ports that we visit to support lower carbon fuel – LNG in the short run, things like methanol and perhaps hydrogen in the longer run.

If the only place to get those things is in Miami, it would be hard to run cruises out of places like San Juan or the Dominican Republic – or to run nineand 10-day cruises where you have to refuel more than once. So, we need some of the Caribbean nations to step up to be

able to supply these types of lower carbon fuels to ships, and I think the nations that step up and do that will have a competitive edge.

On top of that, things like shoreside power are important. We’ve seen commitments in lots of major ports like Miami, Seattle and many ports in Europe to do shoreside power. A little slower on the Caribbean side, which is understandable, but I think over time we would love to see the Caribbean islands invest in shoreside power – and to the extent that the energy is being created by renewable resources, that genuinely is a zero-carbon footprint activity. So, we’re highly supportive and willing to work with ports on investments to do that.

Past that, we want to make our tourism as sustainable as possible – one thing to have low carbon fuel and shoreside power, but then when the guests get off the ship, we don’t want to put them in diesel buses and run them miles away. There are lots of tours that can be done that are sustainable, net-neutral to the environment and have environmental components to that – and we challenge our partners to

think about that and invest in those things in the mid- to long-term.

Of course, we’re willing to partner and make investments and commitments with our partners to enable those investments, but I think a combination of those three factors will allow us to jointly reach our goal.

AC: A question came in from the group about what a recession means for the cruise industry. I believe the cruise industry has a competitive advantage in a recession.

HS: I agree. I think cruising always has represented the best value in vacations. For the most part, you pay once upfront and get meals, entertainment and transportation all included in one package.

Every company and industry is impacted by a recession, but I think cruising has over time shown to be among the most resilient – so I certainly think it’s an industry worth investing and concentrating in.

We’ll be impacted, but we’ve been through many recessions; we’ve been through these last two years; and I’m very confident in our future.

Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise 13

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To lear n more about how this partnership can benefit you, contact our experts today.

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Next Stop on the FCCA Webinar Itinerary: Josh Weinstein

Josh Weinstein, the new President and CEO and Chief Climate Officer of Carnival Corporation and plc, joined Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) on August 23 for the next stop on an itinerary of open access webinars endeavoring to bring the cruise industry and its ongoings closer to interested parties, especially the destinations and stakeholders represented by FCCA.

He and FCCA President Adam Ceserano took part in a timely discussion on how destination stakeholders and Carnival can work together on a path for joint success – and a preface to the work he looks to accomplish by attending the FCCA Cruise Conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from October 11-14. A lightly edited transcript of the webinar is below.

Adam Ceserano: Welcome to your new role. It couldn’t have happened at a better time, announced during Seatrade Cruise Global.

Josh Weinstein: It’s hard to believe that was already almost four months ago. I thought you were going to say it couldn’t

have happened at a better time, given COVID and everything – not sure that’s true, but I’ve been here for 20 years, love the company and am looking forward to this new stage.

AC: What are your objectives for this new role?

JW: I have an immediate horizon and then longer term – for the immediate, we as a corporation need to fully shift our mentality and ways of working from return to service (which we’ve pretty much done) to return to strong profitability. That’s all about getting our ships full and getting them full at good prices; watching our costs; delivering on experiences; working with our destination partners to make sure that our guests are enjoying themselves and wanting to come back. And that’s pretty much priority number one as we get our footing on real solid ground.

As we look forward, I’ve got longterm goals that we’ll be working through as a corporation. Not surprisingly, they focus around making sure every single one of our brands owns its space in the

vacation market; we’re going to rebuild our financial fortress (while being incredibly strong going into the pandemic and will get back over time by generating revenue, watching our costs and repaying debt); we need to make sure that we are travel and leisure’s employer of choice and we attract people and help them grow their careers and they want to stay with us; from a sustainability perspective, we need to obviously reduce our carbon footprint, working with our destination partners around the world making sure that we are doing everything we can in a responsibly and healthy way and creating lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial.

AC: You mentioned about partnerships with destinations. FCCA is all about mutual partnerships with destinations and stakeholders – what’s the importance with FCCA in your operations?

JW: I think FCCA has really shown just how important it is over the last couple of years. Our ability as an industry through FCCA getting through this pandemic in the Caribbean footprint – it would have

Spotlight Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise 15
Josh Weinstein

been much harder, to be honest, because you’ve set up all those relationships on a one-on-one basis.

As we work through protocols, restarts and operational hurtles, it would have been more difficult for us to accomplish this. Notwithstanding the fact that we have great direct relationships with many of the participants listening today, that coordination has really been wonderful. It has helped us cut a lot of noise, frankly, over the past two years.

AC: We try our best at forming collaboration and communication. If there’s one positive thing of COVID, it has been a stronger focus on that with our destinations and partners. What would you say has been the strongest part of your brands coming out of COVID while dealing with FCCA and these considerations?

JW: I think that from a collaboration standpoint, it’s probably not surprising that the first thing that comes to mind is our ability to coalesce around protocols and ways of working that have continued to responsibly be relaxed over time, and I think given the nature of cruising and the nature of itineraries, our ability to do that holistically through FCCA rather than trying to piece together country by country, point by point, has made life better.

A s we get through this and we get back to more of a sense of normalcy, I think some of the things that previously have been a top priority need to get resurfaced – and I think FCCA is a good platform to have those conversations around the sustainability agenda: changing climate issues, other environmental issues, safety and security, the overall health of the region.

I’m really looking forward to working with our destination partners through FCCA, where appropriate, to do that.

AC: S peaking of sustainability, Carnival Corporation is making a huge leap into LNG.

JW: About 20 percent of our capacity will be LNG very shortly.

AC: You also have other initiatives to be net carbon neutral by 2050 – what can destinations do to help you with those goals?

JW: Honestly, we have no idea how to be net carbon neutral by 2050 yet because the technology doesn’t exist. We are in a world where the technologies are advancing at rapid stages, the types of fuels that can be burned are continuing to evolve (aside from LNG, we are trialing through fuel cells, batteries, methanol and everything else because nobody knows what the answer is).

Working with our partners in the Caribbean, I’d say it’s an open invitation. We want to understand what you’re looking for when it comes to your goals on achieving net carbon neutrality, and we’ll figure out how to work together.

I don’t think we’re at a point of time where anyone can give a road map to any destination that says if you do X,Y and Z, that’s how we’re going to do it.

So, we’ll continue to evolve, we’ll continue to try to be transparent and share what we learn and how we’re thinking about our future so that we can better arm destinations with information that they can use in their road maps.

From our perspective, we reduced our carbon footprint every year. Our absolute carbon peaked in 2011 despite the fact that we are significantly larger as a corporation than we were then – and every single year we have reduced our carbon rate intensity, we’ve done more than 20 percent since our baseline year, and we have new targets to get 20 percent lower than we were in 2019 by 2030, and I feel confident that we’ll get even further.

C arbon’s only a piece of it. There’s so much that goes into sustainability and being a good corporate citizen. We published our 2021 sustainability report, and I would encourage you to look at it and please reach out for any follow-ups or suggestions on how to partner more strategically – we are open to anything in that space.

AC: A lot of times we take meetings with destinations, and they talk about developing LNG facilities. Would that give them a competitive advantage?

Spotlight 16 Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise
“I think FCCA is a good platform to have those conversations around the sustainability agenda…”

JW: Maybe for some time – I don’t know what investment is required for some of these destinations to be able to provide it and what the returns are that they need to make that viable and what kind of timeframe. I wouldn’t take it off the table, but there’s only a certain amount of LNG ships in the world today.

AC: A lot of cruise companies have increased homeporting in the Caribbean and Latin America – is this something Carnival Corporation is considering?

JW: Between AIDA, Costa and P&O Cruises, we’ve been doing this for years, and we love it. We love the partnership. We love the experience that these destinations are able to give our guests and crew. We’ll always look at opportunities as they arise.

AC: Part of the “new normal” is also more capacity and longer stays, and one of the biggest subjects that comes up in the Caribbean and Latin America is summer cruising. How do we get more capacity in the summer to our regions?

JW: Frankly in the short amount of time I have been in this role, I have heard that. Number one: where do the guests want to go, or where do we think they want to go? That is our guiding principle as a starting point, so we will look at opportunities as they arise and certainly need destinations to work with us.

If we’re not there right now over the summer, it’s because our guests would rather be doing something else at that point in time. So, we need to figure out the why: why is it more attractive for our ships to be taking our guests to different locations in the summer?

When you think about what I was saying with P&O Cruises, AIDA and Costa, those are Brits, Germans and folks from Italy – and I’m saying this in a generic way and don’t mean any disrespect, but my guess is the destinations on the call here, their demand from those countries ebbs and flows, forget about cruising. There’s more demand in the winter than there is in the summer.

Having lived in the UK for three years, I know that’s the case because Brits are just going gangbusters for the Caribbean, particularly in the Southern

Caribbean, in the winter, but it’s not as of interest at other points in the year.

So, we must figure out what we can do to make cruising and cruising in those destinations more attractive over the summer – and we can’t do that on our own. We need destination partners to help us figure that out – maybe more niche products: cultural, heritage, gastronomy, adventure. Whatever that might be that will fit, we’re open to it. We just have to figure out what works for our guests.

Corporation that we like to make incremental changes because ultimately you want some consistency across your brands’ fleets. We keep so much of what works for a brand – if you go on any Carnival Cruise Line ship, you’re going to find Guy Fieri burgers and Blue Iguana Mexican Cantina, and yet, every single time we’ll incorporate that next change to make it even more special, like Bolt, the first rollercoaster at sea. P&O Cruises’ Arvia , which will be well known in the Southern Caribbean soon, is a sister ship to Iona , but different. She has features on board such as a 4D escape room adventure experience that didn’t take place on Iona even though she was delivered just two years earlier.

We’re constantly reinventing while trying to maintain the ethos of the brand and a consistency across each of our fleets.

AC: If you were the government leader in a country, what would you be doing right now?

JW: Probably talking to me and saying here’s why we think a summer program could work – if you’re talking about a specific follow up to this question.

Educate me, maybe I have it wrong, for example with Brits – and if so, what’s drawing them to a particular destination?

AC: It’s great that you’re willing to take those meetings. At the FCCA Cruise Conference, there will be plenty of people who will want to talk to you now.

AC: How have your guests reacted to that?

JW: T he new ships do phenomenally, which is not a terrible surprise, and they are bigger. So, when we do bring in these new ships, the opportunity for economic impact in a particular destination grows pretty dramatically based on the sheer footprint of what we’re bringing.

AC: Related to that, a question came in from the audience: if you were a small tour operator, what would you be doing to partner with Carnival?

JW: I’d be making sure I have a differentiated product that wows and excites our guests. The next thing is to figure out the best person to contact – and if you don’t know, reach out to FCCA, and they can get you in touch with the right person.

AC: T hank you for spending your time with us today. For everyone watching, stay tuned for the next webinar coming shortly.

JW: I’m good with that.

AC: Do you want to talk about any of your new ships coming out and innovative products?

JW : We are constantly trying to cater to our particular brands and guest demographics. We have a philosophy at Carnival

JW: Thanks to everybody. On behalf of Carnival Corporation, I really want to thank everybody for their partnership and efforts, and I’m looking forward to working with you. On behalf of FCCA, I’d like to say to Grand Cayman and USVI, in particular, thank you for stepping up and working much more closely with FCCA – and we look forward to doing the same via FCCA with everyone.

“… the opportunity for economic impact…grows pretty dramatically…”
Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise 17
“I’m really looking forward to working with our destination partners through FCCA…”

Business and Relationship Development Hits High Gear on the High Seas

Agroup of more than 200—including FCCA Platinum Members that represent some of the top stakeholders for cruise tourism in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico, along with their guests of business partners and even family members—gathered at Port Canaveral on September 11. They were joined by nearly 20 high-level executives from FCCA Member Lines—some also with family in tow—all ready to sail into the sunset on MSC Divina for a fournight itinerary to develop business and relationships while experiencing some of the latest on board and on land.

A s usual, the FCCA’s annual PAMAC Cruise Summit put business and relationship development in high gear on the high seas through an agenda ranging from meetings to unique networking opportunities through receptions and tours together, offering a healthy balance of work and fun. After all, linking some of the premier players of destinations’ private and public sectors with the high-level

cruise executives not only offers vital collaboration and promotion, but also makes them comfortable together to form invaluable, synergistic partnerships.

“FCCA Platinum Membership events like the PAMAC Cruise Summit are essential to both the members and cruise

line representatives,” said Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival Corporation & plc and the FCCA. “They join some of the industry’s most influential decision makers with significant stakeholders, which leads to positive developments for all parties.”

Soon after Divina launched, members and executives embarked on those chances for positive developments at the first scheduled event, a business card exchange reception, where they swapped not only cards and salutations, but also trends and developments—from a new destination product or target market, to a new child or hobby.

Dinner followed, where the group could continue their discussions or start new ones. Reserved tables ensured Platinum Members would have appetizing choices of dining partners who decide where ships call, what is used and sold onboard, and how to invest in products and infrastructure – or to simply enjoy the company of their family or fellow members.

A larm clocks announced the next day, with the group rising early for one

“FCCA Platinum Membership events like the PAMAC Cruise Summit are essential to both the members and cruise line representatives.”
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—Micky Arison, chairman, Carnival Corporation & FCCA

of the summit’s most important proceedings, the PAMAC Meeting. A fixture of both annual PAMAC events, the meeting brought together the entire group to discuss operations and developments, with a spotlight on product development, itinerary development and FCCA’s Employment and Purchasing programs centered on increasing local hires and products used on board, and Platinum Members able to present any point to a panel of Member Line executives.

A two-hour session of one-on-one meetings followed, where members privately met with pre-selected executives. Often these executives filled a required need for discussing and presenting new business, as they have the knowledge to offer their input and cruise lines’ perspectives to make a more viable business model or potentially tailor offerings for particular brands and guests.

“The one-on-one meetings allow for us to address the specific concerns or learn about new products from Platinum Members,” Albino Di Lorenzo, Vice President of Operations for MSC Cruises USA. “This is an important tool for both the members and the cruise industry. For us, we frequently learn about new developments and products, and we can help fine-

the members, it gives them a real vantage point in knowing what the lines are looking for and how to appeal to them.”

T he group then continued full steam ahead in Nassau, with tour operations provided to allow for some invaluable R&R time mixed with B2B opportunities and the chance to experience the destination – while also putting the shoe on the other foot, allowing the group to see what they want to experience and how they want to be treated, along with getting a different perspective of crowd control, passenger flow, transportation to and from cruise ship and tour guide interaction.

Dinner with a side of networking followed, with the reserved tables setting the stage for members and executives to sit together and talk about everything from the destination and tours to inspirations and possible new products.

A n idyllic sunrise over the pristine waters of Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve rang in the next day, where the group could partake in the activities for MSC’s new private island, with a focus on sustainability, reef restoration and good, old-fashioned fun.

A nother networking dinner followed, as did the chance to see what overnight calls are all about with the night and fol-

Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise 19

embarking at Port Canaveral on September 15 full of anticipation about budding business deals and relationships, along with the next PAMAC event.

Taking place in the Cayman Islands in June 2023, the PAMAC Conference will give a land-based perspective of the PAMAC events’ trademarked series of meetings, workshops and networking events connecting Platinum Members with senior cruise industry leaders to discuss trends and develop relationships and mutual benefits, while showcasing the Cayman Islands and working towards the destination’s goals as a strategic partner of FCCA.

“We cannot be prouder to offer events like these to foster mutual growth for Platinum Members and Member Line executives,” said Michele Paige, Chief Executive Officer, FCCA. “Bringing together these two vital entities in a comfortable setting lets them better understand not only the latest happenings and offerings, but also each other, which has proven to be one of the best ways to synergistically grow and improve.”

By hosting the event, the Cayman Islands will display local sites, facilities, food, products and more—including its airfare and hotel options—to the influential audience. Additionally, the Cayman Islands can coordinate specialized meetings with the attending executives for government leaders, tour operators, suppliers and entities that foster hiring to help fulfill the destination’s goals established in its strategic partnership with FCCA, including assisting the private sector, improving employment, fostering cruise lines’ purchase of local

goods and more that will help Caymanians prosper from cruise tourism.

“We are honored and excited that the Cayman Islands will host this crucial event for our cruise executives and Platinum Members – and continue the destination’s efforts to build back their cruise tourism better,” told Paige. “Hosting the event will further advance the Cayman Islands’ initiatives by showcasing the destination to the prestigious audience, along with giving opportunities for strategic meetings.”

T he strategic partnership was formed in April after returning cruise

tourism following a more than two-year hiatus subsequent to a site visit by FCCA and cruise executives that included a series of meetings with government and health officials. Through the partnership, the Cayman Islands aims to maximize the benefits of cruise tourism, which generated $224.54 million in total cruise tourism expenditures, in addition to $92.24 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.”

A s part of the partnership, FCCA is not only guiding the Cayman Islands government on enhancing their product and increasing cruise calls, but also facilitating new experiences to offer cruise companies and collaborating with the local private sector.

T he agreement also utilizes FCCA’s cruise executive committees, including ones focused on employment and purchasing, for a series of meetings and site visits focused on the Cayman Islands’ objectives, as well as giving open access to and assistance from the FCCA Executive Committee, comprised of presidents and above of FCCA Member Lines.

Other features of the strategic partnership include a focus on converting cruise guests to stay-over visitors, promoting summer cruising, engaging travel agents, creating consumer demand and developing a destination service needs assessment that will detail strengths, opportunities and needs.

“…it gives them a real vantage point in knowing what the lines are looking for…”
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—Albino Di Lorenzo, VP, Operations, MSC Cruises USA

Sustainable Tourism was Key Focus of 2022 European Summit

The inaugural European Summit of the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) brought together cruise leaders and policymakers to discuss the industry’s climate goals, latest innovations and investments and the need for government investment.

The summit—held in Genoa, Italy from June 14-16—allowed cruise industry officials, researchers, port and municipal authorities, suppliers and manufacturers to interact with government officials regarding the cruise industry’s sustainability agenda and need for partnership to achieve the ambitious decarbonization targets.

Cruise lines are investing significantly in research and innovative technologies to improve environmental performance. While new vessels are essential, the industry must have access to adequate infrastructure and supplies of sustainable fuels to achieve its objectives.

“The cruise industry shares a vision with European governments of a sustainable blue economy,” MSC Cruises Executive Chairman and CLIA Global Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said. “The industry is stepping up and can deliver on our promises. Clear support from decision makers is needed to ensure that the right infrastructure is developed and is accessible, and that the right incentives can guarantee the development and delivery of sustainable maritime solutions.”

CLIA’s Director General in Europe

Marie-Caroline Laurent noted: “The cruise industry has already taken firm and robust measures towards achieving its decarbonization goals and, collectively, is committed to deliver. The cruise industry is powering European maritime industry innovation and is critical to help the EU to deliver the necessary step change towards decarbonization. It is essential that we now need a clear legislative framework to encourage the investment and innovation that will be required for industry to achieve the 2030 EU Fit for 55 objectives and ultimately our 2050 ambitions.” (Fit for 55 refers to the European

Commission’s plan to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.)

The summit—which will be an annual event rotating to different cities around Europe—was sponsored by the Genoa Chamber of Commerce, the Region Liguria, the City of Genoa and the Port Authority in partnership with Risposte Turismo and Euronews, a media partner.

In other summit news:

Alessandra Priante, director of The World Tourism Organization of the United

Nations, spoke about the importance of sustainable cruise tourism.

Francesco di Cesare of Risposte

Turismo presented new research data contained in a study on the trends and perspectives in EuroMed cruise tourism. See the study at

CLIA signed a partnership agreement with the UNWTO’s Bella Vista Institute in Switzerland to support education and skills for people considering a career in travel and tourism, specifically the cruise industry.

Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise 21

Cruise360 Australasia Offered the Chance to Reconnect and Renew

Cruise360 Australasia was the perfect way for cruise line representatives to reunite after over two years of separation and share their journeys regarding the global recovery of the cruise industry.

The Cruise360 Australasia—the largest conference in the Southern Hemisphere held for the first time since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic—was a resounding success by all measures. The event, held in Sydney on August 25, brought together travel professionals, cruise line representatives, ports & destinations, industry suppliers and CLIA preferred partners to celebrate cruising’s revival Down Under with an impressive agenda.

With cruising returning to the region in May, attendees had a chance to greet each other, enjoy a myriad of networking opportunities and discuss the evolution in the cruise markets.

CLIA Managing Director Australasia

Joel Katz said this year’s Cruise360 Australasia conference came at a pivotal time for the region’s cruise sector

and focused on preparing attendees for renewed success.

“More than ever before, Cruise360 Australasia allowed us to reunite around the future and share real insight into the new opportunities emerging from cruising’s global revival,” Katz said. “Every aspect of our program was designed to give travel agents the edge when it comes to understanding the new landscape we operate in and the evolutions happening in cruise markets.”

CLIA Global Chairman and MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago opened the conference virtually and Uniworld Boutique River Cruises President & CEO Ellen Bettridge delivered the keynote address.

For the first time, Cruise360 included Marguerite Fitzgerald, the new President of Carnival Australia, as part of the “state of the industry” panel. “We are all part of the cruising ecosystem where successes

and challenges are shared,” Fitzgerald said. She said that Cruise 360 Australasia provided every cruise specialist with the big-picture topics that affect the cruise industry. Key industry leaders also offered their insights as the “global recovery of cruising builds momentum, especially in our region,” she added.

Other “state of the industry” panel members included Gavin Smith, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Vice President and Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, and Steve Odell, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises’ Senior Vice President and Managing Director Asia Pacific. The conference also featured Ben Angell, CLIA Australasia Chairman and the Vice President/Managing Director of Norwegian Cruise Line APAC.

Cruise360 Australasia was held at the Hyatt Regency Sydney and included a Cruise360 Trade Show with more than 40 exhibitors as well as CLIA’s Executive Partner Breakfast. A welcome cocktail party kicked off the event the evening of August 24.

Meeting and Events 22 Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise

CLIA’s Ports & Destinations Dialogue

The Cruise Line International Association’s Ports & Destination Dialogue – an opportunity to discuss common challenges facing the cruise industry and future of sustainable growth and development – took place from September 12-13.

Beginning with a welcome reception for CLIA members and partners, the event was conveniently scheduled prior to the Seatrade Cruise Med from September 14-15 at the Trade Fairs and Congress Center of Málaga, Spain.

Postponed in 2020, the Ports & Destinations Dialogue offered an engaging lineup of sessions and interactive content tailored specifically for the wider port and destination community on Tuesday, September 13. At the newly renovated and centrally located Hotel NH Málaga, participants were able to interact with industry peers to discuss the issues impacting the cruise community, exchange ideas, arrange

pre-scheduled appointments and attend a networking lunch.

Participants included cruise lines representing port operations, itinerary planning, port development, ground services, destination management, and air and sea services. Also participating were representatives from port authorities, cruise terminals, port agent services, destination management, tourism authorities, shore excursions, ground services, meet and greet, local attractions and transportation services.

The Dialogue covered ways to promote regional cruise itineraries and discuss local community engagement in sustainable cruise development through building trust with local communities.

Additionally, CLIA Diamond Elite and Diamond partners were invited to the MedCruise VIP, CLIA Diamond Partner and Seatrade Cruise Med Speakers’ Dinner, taking place on the evening of Tuesday, September 13 at Málaga Cruise Port.

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Cruise Lines Continue to Lead the Way in Health and Safety Protocols

As communities around the world have seen, at this stage of the pandemic, most countries, travel sectors, and other businesses have been continually easing protocols that were in place from the early days of the global health crisis. The recently updated guidelines for the General Public regarding COVID-19 published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the latest among many that recognizes the increased protection people have from several illness and death as a result of high levels of population immunity and the many tools available to mitigate risks. The updated guidelines can be found at your-health/isolation.html.

CLIA cruise lines continue to monitor health conditions onboard and employ health and safety protocols commensurate with those conditions. These protocols are evolving to be more in line with other travel sectors and society overall – with cruise lines working in consultation with medical and other health experts to continue to make science-driven and medically informed decisions.

COVID-19 is something that will likely be part of our society for the foreseeable future, impacting every part of our lives from home to school to work to travel.

The important thing to remember is that CLIA cruise lines have demonstrated their leadership, agility, and ability to be responsive in effectively limiting the impact, introduction, and spread of the virus on board cruise ships. In fact, cruising has been proven to be one of the safest forms of travel and among the most successful industries in mitigating the spread and severity of COVID-19, resulting in few passengers or crew becoming seriously ill or requiring hospitalization compared to hospital statistics for landside patients.

CLIA’s cruise line members all have extensive health and safety protocols in place and have also agreed to follow a set of industrywide Member Principles that

reinforce the cruise industry’s commitment and priority, above all else, for the health and safety of passengers, crew, and the port communities that cruise lines visit.

The Member Principles were developed based on CLIA member cruise lines’ significant and successful experience managing COVID-19 across diverse ship designs, operations, medical capacities, demographics, and itineraries, among other factors, and are designed to complement the effective protocols our member lines have established, as well as the extensive guidance provide by CDC and other cognizant health authorities worldwide.

A core element of the Member Principles is that as long as the COVID-19 pandemic/ endemic persists, CLIA cruise line members are required to maintain appropriate elevated Public Health measures to effectively limit the impact of any introduction and/or spread of the virus on board cruise ships.

The CLIA Member Principles, which you can find at about-the-industry/policy-priorities/ cruise-industry-policies/Health along with other health information, include, but are not limited to, maintaining elevated public health measures to mitigate the introduction or spread of COVID-19 on board ships; implementing COVID-19 response and management capabilities that are adjusted to reflect the specific circumstances onboard a particular vessel; preserving access to shoreside medical support, if needed, without unduly burdening local resources; sailing with crew and passenger at high vaccination levels; and close coordination with ports and destinations to satisfy local requirements and for submission of relevant health reports.

They are not intended to be a standalone document, but rather foster the industry’s commitment to preserving healthy conditions on board, while at the same time reinforcing the requirements of the destinations where cruise ships visit and recognizing that there is no “one size fits all” approach due to wide variations in ship designs and capacities, itineraries and voyage lengths, and customer demographics.

On Board 24 Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise
“…cruising has been proven to be one of the safest forms of travel and among the most successful industries in mitigating the spread and severity of COVID-19…

Windstar Cruises Becomes FCCA Member Line

Windstar Cruises joined as an FCCA Member Line in June. With the addition, there are now 23 Member Lines that encompass every size, focus and demographic of cruise ships and companies.

“We are excited to add Windstar Cruises as an FCCA Member Line and offer more large opportunities that small ship cruise lines provide to our destination partners that cannot cater to bigger ships but have bigger-than-life histories, cultures and offerings,” said Michele Paige, Chief Executive Officer, FCCA. “The intimate, immersive and authentic experiences that Windstar features continue to grow in demand, and we look forward to helping connect more communities to the benefits of cruise tourism.”

Windstar’s six 148- to 342-guest small ships all feature a personalized approach to bring guests closer to every destination and port. Guests share intimate moments away from the crowds and immerse themselves in local, exotic cultures, all

on a small cruise ship where surprise and delight are constant companions.

The private yacht style cruises bring guests close enough to truly experience destinations to get authentic, immersive experiences, such as having a dinner with a Croatian family in their village home to see life from a local perspective, snorkeling with whale sharks off the coast of La Paz, getting closer with a kayak launched directly from the ship in Alaska, and visiting local markets with the chef.

Windstar’s carefully curated onboard lecturers deepen and enhance guests’ experiences with an insider’s look at intriguing local topics, letting them get closer to each destination through the best small ports and hidden harbors for access to different cultures and far-off lands.

FCCA will work with destinations and stakeholders to create these kinds of intimate, immersive, and authentic experiences throughout the regions FCCA represents, along with endeavoring to advance longer stays, multi-port calls and more.

Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise 25

Norwegian Prima Makes Her Premiere

Norwegian Cruise Line christened its newest ship, Norwegian Prima , on August 27, which made history as the first major cruise ship christened in Reykjavík, Iceland. The first of six ships in the groundbreaking Prima Class, Norwegian Prima , debuted to more than 2,500 guests who enjoyed an immersive experience in the beautiful Icelandic capital and a christening celebration like no other.

“With her stunning design and unique offerings, Norwegian Prima is in a league of her own,” said Frank Del Rio, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “As the industry’s most spacious new cruise ship featuring ‘only-available-on-Prima-experiences,’ she is continuing NCL’s legacy of industry firsts.”

At 965 feet (294 meters long) and more than 143,535 tons with capacity for 3,100 guests at double occupancy, Norwegian Prima offers the highest staffing levels and space ratio of any contemporary or premium cruise ship. She also boasts the largest variety of suite categories available at sea as well as a redefined The Haven by Norwegian, NCL’s ultra-premium keycard only access ship-within-aship concept. Her variety of recreational activities including the fastest slides at sea—The Rush and The Drop—and the Prima Speedway, the first three-level racetrack at sea, provide guests with adrenaline-pumping moments. Spaces like Ocean Boulevard, the 44,000 square foot outdoor walkway which wraps around the entire ship; The Concourse, which boasts a multi-million dollar outdoor sculpture garden; and expansive pool decks and infinity style pools at Infinity Beach, offer guests a chance to slow down and relax.

Norwegian Prima made her inaugural voyages to Northern Europe from the Netherlands, Denmark and England before

venturing to the U.S. She is now sailing voyages to the Caribbean from New York City, Galveston, Texas, and Miami in October and November before settling into her homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla., and Galveston, Texas for the 2023 and 2024 cruise season.

can also select their thrill level, making ROBOTRON both a family-friendly and high-thrill experience

In addition to ROBOTRON, other high-tech entertainment features on board MSC Seascape include a VR 360° Flight Simulator, the ultimate virtual roller coaster experience; VR motorbikes; MSC Formula Racer; and immersive XD cinema.

MSC Seascape—the fourth ship in the Seaside class and second Seaside EVO ship built by Fincantieri in Italy, and the second new MSC Cruises ship to debut this year—will be launched in New York on December 7 and will then move to PortMiami offering incredible cruises in the Caribbean year-round.

MSC Seascape’s Onboard Entertainment Innovations

MSC Cruises continues a path of innovation, with technologically advanced onboard entertainment options to debut on the line’s upcoming ship, MSC Seascape When she sails this December, MSC Seascape will feature new and innovative experiences for thrill-seeking guests of all ages. The highlight will be ROBOTRON, a thrilling amusement ride that offers the breath-taking thrill of a rollercoaster at sea combined with a personalized DJ music experience. The ship will also feature two brand-new VR experiences and a whole host of other exhilarating high-tech entertainment designed to be enjoyed by thrill-seekers of all ages.

ROBOTRON is a state-of-the-art robotic arm with an attached gondola that seats three guests - flying them 53 meters above the sea. Riders will have an unobstructed 360° view of the horizon as they hang over the edge of the deck, twist and turn upside down in different directions, and flip upside down.

ROBOTRON will also offer a personalized DJ experience where guests are invited to curate their musical journey with colors, music preferences and more. Original theming sets the stage for a pulse-pounding DJ experience. Seated on the mixer, guests will find themselves behind the DJ booth, with the rhythm and bass visualized as colorful patterns, pulses of light and people dancing on a giant video screen all while the robotic arm is bouncing and twisting in tempo. Riders

Celebrity Continues Its Ascent, Going Above and Beyond

Celebrity Cruises continues to live on the Edge, with milestones on two new ships from its groundbreaking Edge Class.

Construction Begins on Celebrity Ascent

Sparks flew as workers at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard welded a ceremonial coin to a massive steel docking block forming the ship’s keel, officially marking the beginning of construction on the fourth ship in Celebrity Cruises transformational Edge Series—Celebrity Ascent—on August 24.

“Today, we celebrate the incredible Celebrity Ascent, a ship name that fittingly represents the climb, the rise and, ultimately, the upward trajectory of both Celebrity Cruises and the Royal Caribbean Group,” said Jason Liberty, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “It’s exciting to have our entire fleet back in the water, again, and moments like this reaffirm our bright future. We are grateful to all who have and will continue to lend their creativity and craftsmanship to this ship, as we work together to reach new heights in our industry.”

Celebrity Ascent is the fourth ship in the line’s ground-breaking Edge Series, a class of ships hailed as engineering and design marvels. Like her

On Board 26 Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise

sister ships, Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Apex, and Celebrity Beyond, Ascent will connect guests to the breathtaking world around them like never before. Standing at 17 decks tall and 20 meters longer than the original Celebrity Edge , Ascent will also feature more space and more luxury onboard.

Celebrity Ascent will debut in Port Everglades on December 3 for her inaugural Caribbean season of alternating 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

Celebrity Beyond, Debuts in November Just in Time for a Winter of Bucket-List Caribbean Sailings from Florida

Additionally, the highly anticipated Celebrity Beyond will make its North American debut this November with a full season of Caribbean sailings from Port Everglades. From November through May 2023, travelers can book unique and robust Caribbean vacations, such as a 10- or 11-night Ultimate Southern Caribbean journey with stops in St. Maarten, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica and Saint Kitts; a 7-night cruise through Bahamas, Mexico and Grand Cayman; or a 7-night luxurious journey with stops in St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Puerto Plata.

Celebrity Beyond showcases the design talents of multi-award-winning British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE; celebrated American designer Nate Berkus; and lauded Paris-based design firm Jouin Manku; the innovation of British architect Tom Wright; the culinary talents of world-renowned chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud; and experiences and products from goop CEO and founder Gwyneth Paltrow, the brand’s new WellBeing Advisor. Celebrity Beyond builds on the features and design of its award-winning predecessors Celebrity Edge (2018) and Celebrity Apex (2020) with such spaces as The Retreat, the exclusive resortwithin-a-resort area for suite guests, highlighted by a new two-story sundeck; an expanded Rooftop Garden and stunning Resort Deck featuring unique cantilevered pools; a multi-level, multi-terraced Sunset Bar redefining the ship’s aft; and the return of the Magic Carpet, an engineering feat soaring cantilevered above the sea.

Carnival’s Parade of New Ships

Carnival celebrated milestones and continues to eagerly await its new ships, Carnival Luminosa and Carnival Jubilee

Papenburg, Germany on July 21. Wearing cowboy-shaped hard hats, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy was joined by Meyer Werft Managing Director Bernard Meyer and Carnival’s Senior Vice President of Newbuilds Ben Clement, among others, to celebrate the construction milestone.

Carnival Jubilee will begin sailing from Galveston in November of 2023 and will offer seven-day Western Caribbean cruise vacations with stops in Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, as well as Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Honduras.

Carnival Luminosa’s

Highly Anticipated Down Under Debut

When Carnival Luminosa arrives to Australia in November, it will be the latest Carnival ship to be adorned with the stunning new livery that was introduced on Mardi Gras in 2021 and has been added to half the Carnival fleet, with the red, white and blue hues long associated with Carnival Cruise Line.

“We couldn’t be prouder to welcome Carnival Luminosa to our fleet and to start our highly anticipated sailings from Brisbane followed by unique bucket-list itineraries in Alaska,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

Carnival Luminosa will be home to many of the activities and experiences from other Carnival ships that guests have come to know and love as well as some new spaces.

Featuring guest favorites from entertainment, youth, and spa, to casino, bars and dining, offerings will include Playlist Productions, The Punchliner Comedy Club, Limelight Lounge, Piano Bar 88, Alchemy Bar, RedFrog Rum Bar, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Chef’s Table, Bonsai Sushi Express, Seaday Brunch, Serenity Adult-Only Retreat, and Cloud 9 Spa, among others.

Yeehaw for Carnival Jubilee

Carnival Jubilee is also fixing to start sailing from Galveston, Texas, next year, and Carnival Cruise Line’s third cruise ship to be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG) got its first taste of Texas with the keel laying ceremony at Meyer Werft in

Seabourn Venture Ventures Out Seabourn is embarking on a new era of adventure on the high seas with the launch of Seabourn Venture. The first of the line’s two new ultra-luxury expedition ships, Seabourn Venture entered service and welcomed its first guests on July 27 for a 12-day Northern Isles expedition, departing Tromsø, Norway, and bound for the Arctic and the Svalbard Archipelago, one of the world’s northernmost inhabited areas and home to wildlife from puffins to polar bears.

“Exploration has always been part of our brand legacy, but the launch of Seabourn Venture turns the page on a new chapter for us, offering our guests opportunities to explore remote destinations in every corner of the globe and truly be a part of the natural wonders, wildlife, history, and culture they’ll find there,” said Josh Leibowitz, President of Seabourn. “Seabourn guests are as passionate about discovery as they are about traveling in ultra-luxury, and Seabourn Venture offers a new type of expedition experience allowing our guests to discover the magnificence from the Arctic to the Antarctic.”

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The ship then made its way south in October to stop at various locales in the Caribbean, Central America, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile on a series of 10- to 14-day voyages. There will be opportunities to explore in Zodiacs under cliffs teeming with birds, kayak among tropical coral islands, visit ancient Incan sites, and snorkel unspoiled Caribbean coral gardens, as well as a transit of the magnificent Panama Canal.

ting-edge navigation and exploration technology, including a remote gimbal camera system, which can capture high-quality images from 5km, among other amenities. She will maintain Silversea’s trademark level of luxury, with a crew-to-guest ratio of approximately 1:1.

Silversea Welcomes Silver Endeavour

Silversea Cruises welcomed Silver Endeavour—one of the world’s most luxurious expedition ships—to its fleet on July 18. The fifth expedition ship in its fleet of 11, Silver Endeavour strengthens Silversea’s position as the leader in ultra-luxury expedition cruising, broadening the industry’s most diverse polar offering for guests’ enjoyment. Designed specifically to take travelers to the world’s most remote destinations, including both Polar Regions, Silver Endeavour will enter service in November.

“One of the most luxurious expedition ships afloat, Silver Endeavour will accelerate our strategy of growth, enriching our offering to unprecedented levels and reaffirming our position as the leading ultra-luxury expedition cruise line,” said Roberto Martinoli, President and CEO, Silversea Cruises. “The expedition cruising industry is poised to resume accelerated growth, driven by demand among high-end, affluent customers for travel to remote and hard-to-access destinations”

Built to PC6 polar class specifications, Silver Endeavour is designed for polar exploration. She carries state-of-theart amenities, with an industry-leading Zodiac-to-guest ratio; kayaks; and cut-

Seven Seas Grandeur to Make Grand Debut

Regent Seven Seas Cruises celebrated a significant milestone in the construction of the highly anticipated Seven Seas Grandeur on July 12. During a special keel laying ceremony at the Fincantieri shipyard in Ancona, Italy, the Regent Seven Seas Cruises leadership team were joined by members of Fincantieri to formally place one of the vessel’s building blocks.

“Since their respective debuts in 2016 and 2020, Seven Seas Explorer and Seven Seas Splendor have delighted discerning luxury travelers from across the world, earning a reputation as the most luxurious ships ever built,” said Jason Montague, President and CEO, Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “Now their sister, Seven Seas Grandeur, builds upon Regent’s rich three decade-long history. Inspired by our heritage, this will be a ship that harmonizes elegance, comfort, freedom and choice, providing An Unrivaled Experience, and will continue to delight our guests for years to come.”

Seven Seas Grandeur will host only 732 guests and have a gross tonnage of 55,500, providing among the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios in the industry, along with the highest standards of Regent service.

She will commence her inaugural season in November 2023, cruising 17 voyages in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, plus two transatlantic crossings, all ranging from 7 to 16 nights in length.

Utopia of the Seas Reaches First Major Milestone

It is full steam ahead on Royal Caribbean International’s upcoming ship, Utopia of the Seas , as construction reached the first major milestone. A keel-laying ceremony for the first LNGpowered ship of the industry-defining Oasis Class took place at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in SaintNazaire, France on July 1. The event celebrated the official start of Utopia’s physical construction ahead of the ship’s bold introduction in spring 2024.

“The keel laying for Utopia of the Seas represents the first milestone of an incredible ship and the next step toward a bolder, thrilling future for Royal Caribbean and vacations,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Utopia’s debut in 2024, on the heels of Icon of the Seas setting sail in fall 2023, will build on a new, exciting chapter that is set to redefine family vacations and getaways for all ages in ways we’ll soon reveal.”

As the second Royal Caribbean ship that will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), Utopia will also advance Royal Caribbean’s decades-long commitment to the environment. The ship’s LNG technology will join a lineup of the cruise line’s already-established environmentally friendly initiatives on its ships. From shore power connection to waste heat recovery systems, the applications have been developed and continually enhanced as part of Royal Caribbean’s dedication to innovation and making strides toward a clean-energy future.

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Disney’s Wish Comes True

Disney Wish , the fifth ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, was christened on June 29 during an unforgettable celebration filled with spectacular musical performances, special guests and characters from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar stories.

“The Disney Wish embodies the incredible magic that only Disney can deliver,” said Bob Chapek, CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “It celebrates nearly 100 years of Disney storytelling excellence, bringing fantastic worlds and beloved characters to life like never before through innovative technology and new approaches. Every element of the Disney Wish reflects our relentless focus on our guests, and everything they love about Disney.”

The newest Disney Cruise Line ship is infused with more storytelling than ever before and filled with one-of-a-kind entertainment and innovative “firsts” from bow to stern.

These include the first Disney attraction at sea, family dining adventures themed to “Frozen” and Marvel, an immersive tour of the Star Wars galaxy, interactive virtual quests that unlock hidden magic around every corner, original Broadway-style stage productions, signature fireworks at sea, imaginative clubs for kids of all ages, and an expanded collection of experiences exclusively for adults.

Disney Wish sailed its maiden voyage on July 14, followed by three- and fournight cruises to Nassau, Bahamas, and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, from Port Canaveral, Florida.

MSC Continues to Chart the Course for a Greener Path

MSC Cruises has environmental protection in its DNA, with even its private island— Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve—focused on efforts like reef protection. It also recently celebrated a couple more milestones, with double LNG newbuild updates and the entire fleet achieving ISO 21070:2017 Certification for Marine Environmental Protection.

Double LNG Newbuild Milestones

MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l’Atlantique celebrated two important milestones for MSC Cruises’ first two liquefied natural gas (LNG) vessels both under construction in Saint-Nazaire, France. MSC World Europa, the first LNG vessel to join the cruise line’s fleet and set to become the biggest LNGpowered cruise ship in the world, completed her first set of sea trials in the Atlantic Ocean that included testing the performance of the ship’s engines, maneuverability, fuel consumption, safety systems, speed and stopping distances. Meanwhile, MSC Euribia was floated out and was moved to a wet dock for work to continue before she also joins MSC Cruises’ fleet in June 2023. MSC has invested €3 billion in three LNGpowered cruise ships and the construction at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique yard in Saint-Nazaire of the third ship – ‘World Class II ’ – is due to start early next year.

“We made an important pledge last year to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, leading the cruise industry on the path to decarbonization,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, Cruise Division of MSC Group. “MSC World Europa and MSC Euribia will play a fundamental role in this journey.

“LNG is the cleanest marine fuel currently available at scale that reduces emissions significantly and also offers compatibility with future alternative fuel solutions for which we are actively invest-

ing in research and development, including a pilot LNG-powered solid oxide fuel cell onboard MSC World Europa. If bio or synthetic LNG was available at scale today, both our newbuilds could operate with net zero emissions from the very first day.”

MSC World Europa is the first in the trailblazing MSC World Class—a brand new class of ships that will introduce a completely new cruising platform—and will be able to accommodate up to 6,762 passengers. Boasting future-proof marine and onboard hospitality technologies, MSC World Europa will redefine the cruise experience with a variety of never-before-seen concepts and creative areas.

MSC Euribia will become one of the most environmentally advanced ship in MSC Cruises’ fleet to date and is named after the ancient goddess Eurybia who harnessed the winds, weather and constellations to master the seas. MSC Euribia will strike a markedly different look than other ships in MSC Cruises’ fleet thanks to an exclusive artwork design that transforms the into a giant, floating canvas to communicate the importance of sustainability and the Company’s commitment to the sea.

Fleet Achieves ISO 21070:2017 Certification for Marine Environmental Protection

Additionally, MSC Cruises’ entire fleet has achieved ISO 21070:2017 certification for marine environmental protection. This specifies procedures for the shipboard management of waste, including handling, collection, separation, marking, treatment, and storage. It also describes the ship-to-shore interface and the delivery of waste from the ship to port reception facilities. All future ships built for MSC Cruises will receive this certification as they enter service.

ISO 21070:2017 certification is complementary to EU Implementing Regulation 2022/91 of 21 January 2022, which defines criteria for determining that a ship produces reduced quantities of waste and manages waste in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner. ISO’s criteria provide additional information on waste management practices for port authorities to consider when calculating fees reduction for use of port reception facilities in accordance with EU Directive 2019/883.

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Carnival Corporation Upgrading Global Fleet with Fuel- and Energy-Saving Technology

Carnival Corporation is rolling out comprehensive technology upgrades called Service Power Packages across its global fleet to further improve energy savings and reduce fuel consumption. The upgrades include ongoing installations through 2023 on ships from the company’s nine cruise line brands.

Carnival Corporation’s Service Power upgrade program delivers an average of 5-10% fuel savings per ship and is expected to reduce fleetwide greenhouse gas emissions by more than 500,000 metric tons each year.

Developed over the past six years, the company’s Service Power program delivers significant efficiency upgrades across the fleet, including air conditioning upgrades to cabin and public areas, and major enhancements to cooling, lighting and automation systems. Adjusting for variations in ship design, size and equipment, the company customizes the Service Power Package for each ship, which combines the synergies from multiple upgrades with new operational efficiencies, all effectively supporting Carnival Corporation’s energy savings and decarbonization strategies.

The fleetwide enhancements are part of Carnival Corporation’s ongoing energy efficiency investment program and efforts to reduce fuel consumption, including over $350 million invested in energy efficiency improvements since 2016, along with the company’s fleet optimization strategy and design of more efficient itineraries. Together, these ongoing efforts are expected to drive a 10% reduction in fuel consumption per available lower berth day (ALBD) in the company’s first full year of guest cruise operations compared to 2019, along with a 9% reduction in carbon emissions per lower berth distance traveled.

As part of its longer-term sustainability plan and vision, Carnival Corporation has committed to significant investments to achieve its 2030 sustainability goals and 2050 aspirations, which incorporate six critical sustainability focus areas overall. These areas include climate action; circular economy; sustainable tourism; good health and well-being; diversity, equity and inclusion; and biodiversity and conservation.

Among these priorities, the company has committed to reducing carbon emission intensity by 20% from its 2019 baseline by 2030, supporting its efforts and aspirations to achieve net carbon-neutral ship operations by 2050.

More information on the company’s sustainability efforts is available at

ship (AIDAnova) and the commissioning of what is currently the cruise industry’s largest battery storage system with a capacity of 10 megawatt hours on board AIDAprima. Costa Group is also focusing on the expansion and increased use of shore power in ports where the shore-side infrastructure is available.

Costa Group had previously tested the use of regenerated biofuels in marine diesel engines together with research partners at the University of Rostock. Now that the first rollout has taken place in regular ship operations, the cooperation with GoodFuels will be developed on a longterm basis.

Costa Group Hits the Gas on Biofuels

A few weeks after announcing a new decarbonization function, Costa Group announced it will start testing biofuel aboard one of its AIDA Cruises ships, another major step forward in its ongoing sustainability effort. As part of its carbon dioxide emissions reduction efforts, and with Dutch biofuel pioneer GoodFuels as its partner on the project, AIDAprima became the first larger-scale cruise ship to be bunkered with a blend of marine biofuel, which is made from 100% sustainable raw materials, such as waste cooking oil, and marine gas oil, during its layover in Rotterdam.

The current project represents an important milestone in Costa Group’s decarbonization strategy, which includes testing technologies and processes to improve the efficiency of the existing fleet.

With the successful start of biofuel usage, the initiative aims to demonstrate that gradual decarbonization is possible, even on ships already in service. At the same time, a key prerequisite for using biofuels is that it can become widely available on an industrial scale and at marketable prices.

In addition to the use of biofuels, Costa Group’s efforts include the installation of the first fuel cell on board a cruise

Carnival Cruise Line Booking Activity Nearly Doubles 2019 Comparison

After announcing that it was revising pre-cruise vaccination and testing requirements that will allow more guests to sail, Carnival Cruise Line said that its booking activity for August 15 was nearly double the level for the equivalent day in 2019.

“We have previously disclosed strong occupancy projections for the summer, and our bookings through the end of 2022 have also been very solid,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “With the further alignment of protocols to other vacation choices, our guests are booking the remaining 2022 inventory, and getting a head start planning for 2023. MidAugust is typically not a busy month for cruise bookings, but it’s clear that pent-

Installation of an Advanced Air Quality System, which result in significantly cleaner air emissions
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up demand for Carnival has not been satisfied and guests are responding very favorably to our updated protocols.”

Duffy reiterated that Carnival remains committed to the health and safety of guests, crew, and the communities it visits, and will continue to work with medical experts and public health officials to refine its protocols responsibly.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Celebrates Largest Booking Day in Company’s History

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has once again topped its own single day booking record with the launch of its 2024-2025 Voyage Collection as sales commenced on August 24. Demonstrating the continued and growing appetite of luxury travelers for the Unrivaled Experience that Regent offers, the cruise line beat its previous largest booking day of August 18, 2021, when it launched its 2023-2024 Voyage Collection.

Travel trends identified that guests are, like the previous year’s launch day, most keen to book exotic destinations with the desire to travel longer with sailings including destinations in Africa, Asia, and South America making up approximately 70 percent of the top 10 itineraries reserved.

There was also a strong demand for the line’s distinctive suites, as well as the palatial, 4,443 square feet Regent Suite. These trends illustrate that travelers are putting more value on their time and experiences and are willing to spend more to explore the world in luxury, enjoying the highest possible standards of service in lavishly designed restaurants, lounges, and suites.

Royal Caribbean Loading Up

Royal Caribbean data shows that cruise lines are recovering capacities. Royal Caribbean Group reported an average load factor of 82 percent throughout its fleet in the second quarter – and an increase of up to 90 percent across the fleet in June, with Caribbean itineraries averaging more than 100 percent. That is up from an average load factor of just 59 percent in the first quarter, which matched the company’s fourth quarter load factor in 2021.

Miami. The “Jungles & Jewels of the Central American Coast” itinerary includes stops in Key West, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The new “Central America & the Panama Canal Revealed” cruise sails from Miami to Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama. Plus, starting winter 2023, Windstar will operate a new, seven-day roundtrip Costa Rica cruise itinerary from Puerto Caldera called “Naturally Costa Rica,” including inaugural calls in San Juan del Sur and Corinto in Nicaragua.

Windstar to Launch New Caribbean & Latin American Voyages

On the heels of becoming an FCCA Member Line, Windstar Cruises announced a new itinerary that includes seven days in the Caribbean. Beginning in winter 2023, ‘Beach Fun & Sun: A Remote Caribbean Getaway’ will visit St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Barts, Anguilla, Jost Van Dyke (overnight), Virgin Gorda, and Tortola. The November 4 sailing will take place onboard Windstar’s all-suite Star Pride, while another eight departures will be aboard the 342-guest flagship Wind Surf. Additionally, Windstar will be sailing from Miami for the first time this December after relocating its offices from Seattle to

Celebrity Millennium Sailing from San Juan, Puerto Rico & Celebrity Returns to Mexican Riviera

The fully revolutionized Celebrity Millennium will soon begin to service a new itinerary out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Starting October 15, vacationers can enjoy a 7-night sojourn throughout the Southern Caribbean with 6 stops throughout some of the area’s most renowned and pristine destinations. During these sailings, travelers will have the opportunity to see and experience St. Thomas, Saint Kitts, Antigua, Saint Lucia, Barbados and, of course, the city of San Juan. The first cruise will be on October 15 and run through April 2023.

Additionally, after a 15-year hiatus, Celebrity Cruises proudly relaunched its coveted Mexican Riviera cruises out of Los Angeles, California. The first cruise offering of this itinerary was a 7-night sailing that launched on September 24 with stops in some of Mexico’s most popular and favorited destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. Home to colorful architecture, rich culture, traditional cuisine and tequila, Mexico’s Pacific Coast is beaming with quintessential Mexican heritage and experiences. Continuing through late April 2023, vacationers can also opt for shorter 5-night cruises.

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Imagine Dominican Republic as Your Next Destination

The Dominican Republic has it all

The Dominican Republic is surely blessed with astonishing nature. Dominican hospitality comes naturally, and their smiles are contagious. Come and experience their passion for their music and dance, diverse gastronomy, and hospitality. You’ll find your home away from home.

The Dominican Republic is a very complete travel destination. It is mostly known for its astonishing beaches, but it comprises so much more. Being the second-largest island in the Caribbean, it is the perfect size to have a variety of landscapes and microclimates, where you can have different and unique experiences.

Conveniently accessible through its eight international airports, paradise has never been easier to explore. Come discover this impressive country and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, is also the most modern and dynamic metropolis in the Caribbean. The Capital, as it is affectionately called, transmits the pulse of Dominican culture, where old and new combine perfectly, from centuries-old architecture and history to large shopping centers, art galleries, a lively and interesting nightlife, and an irresistible gastronomic scene. Exploring Ciudad Colonial, the first European settlement in the Americas and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990, is an experience recommended for all travelers. This historic district consists of a maze of narrow streets filled with architectural wonders ranging from the 16th century to the start of the 20th century. Its streets will lead you to colonial buildings converted into museums, shops, hotels, restaurants and pavement cafés. Take a 45-minute tour of the area in the Chu Chu Colonial train, hire a guide to take you down America’s first paved street while sharing stories, or rent a bike and head off on a ride of your own. For a break surrounded by nature, enjoy a picnic on the lawn of the National Botanical Garden, the largest in the Caribbean, or stroll along the Malecón at sunset to appreciate the views of the Caribbean Sea, food stalls and people watching. Its great air connectivity makes it easy to get to.

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Punta Cana

Here, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean Sea, from the northern tip in Uvero Alto to the south in Cap Cana, all-inclusive resorts and boutique hotels offer all the pampering and comfort of modern beachfront living. Families will enjoy miniature entertainment centers as well as water parks for children, while couples will find dream wedding venues, with secluded beach deals for an even more romantic stay. But not only will you find fun in the sun, with fine white sand and a crystal clear, iridescent sea in which to swim, fish, or dive among the sea life and sunken boats. Punta Cana is also a golfer’s paradise, with 10 golf courses located along the coast, a beach escape with luxurious marinas and gourmet dinners, and a wellness area with the best spas in the country, including the only Six Senses in the Caribbean. Whether you like, golfing, snorkeling, zip lining, sailing or off-road tours to the countryside, you’ll find the right activity for you. Its great air connectivity makes it easy to get to, as it has the busiest airport of the country.


Entering the sea from the north-eastern coast of the Dominican Republic, the Samaná Peninsula, a natural paradise, is as coveted today as it was in the 16th century. Pirates used its palm forests, isolated beaches and hidden caves as hiding places, while European and Haitian troops fought over the deep waters of its bay.

Samaná is well connected by both land and air, and it remains a paradise and remote escape with unspoiled beaches, coconut plantations and the country’s tropical rainforests. It’s as if the humpback whales that visit Samaná Bay each year appreciate this natural splendor as much as visitors do. These giant mammals return to this special corner of the Dominican Republic each year to mate, give birth and enjoy this glorious tropical landscape. In addition to the seasonal whale watching boat trips in the picturesque Samaná Bay, there are more ecotourism adventures: bodyboarding and kitesurfing in Las Terrenas; hiking, bird watching and caving in the Los Haitises National Park; canyoning or horseback riding to get to the El Limón waterfall; and boat trips to the magnificent white sandy beaches, at the foot of cliffs, or to the coast of the island of Cayo Levantado. Visit its astonishing waterfall, national park with a rainforest, go whale watching, sailing, zip lining, kite surfing or beach hopping.

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La Romana

Brimming with natural riches, from a dream coast to excellent golf courses, La Romana is one of the Dominican Republic’s favorite destinations. Sugar cane fields lead to beautiful white sandy beaches from Dominicus to Bayahíbe. The cave-filled forests of Cotubanamá National Park are home to plenty of springs and Taíno rock art. At sea, the Saona, Catalina and Catalinita islands contain turtle nesting areas facing impressive coral reefs, while shipwrecks teeming with marine life lie at the bottom of its waters.

The largest sugar cane factory in the Americas was located in La Romana, until its owners diversified and founded the luxurious Casa de Campo resort in 1974, a celebrity favorite and popular destination with golf courses designed by Pete Dye. Soon after, it was followed by the beautiful replica of a 16th century Mediterranean village that is Altos de Chavón, built with a breathtaking view of the Chavón river, and full of entertainment, including a Greek amphitheater where renowned award-winning artists are presented with Grammys each year. Sailing, deep-sea fishing, caving, shopping, fine dining or attending concerts are just some of the activities that it has to offer.

Puerto Plata

Puerto Plata, the birthplace of tourism in the Dominican Republic, remains one of the favorite destinations for visitors. Its spectacular and extensive landscape combines sea, mountains, green valleys, rivers and a number of beaches. Its fertile soil gives rise to cocoa and coffee plantations, while beneath the earth lies the world’s clearest amber.

Puerto Plata’s natural bounty continues to astound those who lay eyes on La Novia del Atlántico, or as locals call it, the Atlantic’s Darling. A bird’s eye view from the cable car–the only one in the Caribbean, taking passengers to Mount Isabel de Torres and its lush botanical gardens–reveals part of an Atlantic coastline with more than 100 kilometers (62 miles) of beaches gracing multiple coastal villages, inland farming communities replete with rivers and falls, and hotels of all sizes to suit all tastes. To boot, Puerto Plata is home to colonial vestiges, including the largest collection of preserved 19th century Victorian-style houses in the Caribbean, the oldest amber fossils in the world on display at the Amber Museum, and one of the first colonial period fortresses in the region at Fortaleza San Felipe, dating back to 1577.

Activities include surfing, kite surfing, windsurfing, sailing, snorkeling, canyoning, off-road tours to the countryside, caving, and live concerts in an oceanfront amphitheater.

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Located at an altitude of 1,735 feet (529 meters), this picturesque mountain resort town is a favorite escape for the inhabitants of the cities of Santiago and Santo Domingo. They come here in search of cool temperatures, rivers and green landscapes flanked by dense pine forests and coffee-producing mountains. Jarabacoa, which means “”place of waters”” in Taíno, is an ecotourism center that is easily accessible via modern motorways. It has a range of charming accommodations, from riverside ranches and eco-lodges to luxurious holiday villas in the heart of the mountains.

The majority of the adventurous travelers who arrive in this unique part of the country seek to conquer the highest peak in the Caribbean: Pico Duarte. At an altitude of 10,164 feet 3,098 meters), it is located within the Armando Bermúdez and José del Carmen Ramírez national parks, overlooking the Cordillera Central. The Yaque del Norte, the longest river in the Dominican Republic, originated from this impressive peak and flows into the heart of the Cibao region as its lifeline. Along with the six other rivers that originate here, including their tributaries, this is a region of waterfalls and outdoor adventures: rafting, canyoning and rappelling in Salto Baiguate, climbing up to Salto Jimenoa, or swimming in La Confluencia, full of natural pools.


With an average elevation of 3,937 feet (1,200 meters), Constanza is one of the highest towns in the Caribbean region. With this impressive height come cold temperatures, undulating valleys covered with thick pine trees, cabins with chimneys for single-digit night-time temperatures, and an agricultural landscape that is surprisingly different to that of the beach. Constanza’s vast vegetable fields (where potatoes, cabbage, corn and carrots are grown, among others), flowers and even strawberries can be seen as you drive through the province. Its mountainous villages have magical views over these fields, which has resulted in Constanza being given nicknames including “”the Switzerland of the Caribbean”” and “”Enchanted Valley””.

There is no other place like Constanza. This charming town will dwell in your heart and get you in a state of instant relaxation. You’ll be mesmerized by the tall pine trees, and the variety of colors. As you hike up its staggering mountains, everything keeps getting more beautiful and you can’t help but stop and enjoy the astonishing view around you.

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Something great is coming: Welcome to Port Cabo Rojo!

A project filled with wonder and growth!

What seemed like a dream is now a new reality, and we can’t wait to share it with you! Port Cabo Rojo is ITM Group’s new project in the South of the Dominican Republic. With its location in the municipality of Pedernales, Port Cabo Rojo promises to become a unique experience for its collaborators and visitors.

Cruise travelers from around the world will have the opportunity to enjoy the best port with a great location, extraordinary experiences, and the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.

The project: Port Cabo Rojo

If there’s a way to describe Port Cabo Rojo, we can say that it is a love letter to the Dominican Republic and its beauty. Inspired by its origin and the particular color of its ground, the port tells the story of a mining town and all that surrounds it, leading visitors to learn a little more about the place they are arriving at. With its industrial style, it seeks to provide an inter-

active experience through attractions such as water parks, museums, themed worlds, performances, venues, sensorial experiences, and cultural and gastronomic offerings.

Port Cabo Rojo will have space for up to four cruise ships, a passenger reception center, and breakwaters.

Its commercial area will be themed according to the history of the mining town. There, cruise passengers will find a spa, bars, restaurants, and great beach club concepts. We can’t forget to mention that Cabo Rojo will have the capacity to receive 4 ships.

The history of Port Cabo Rojo has already begun. On May 26th of this year, the President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Rodolfo Abinader

Corona, along with our CEO Mauricio Hamui Hilwani and local authorities,

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broke ground on this fantastic project that promises to be a milestone for the community of Pedernales.

On this occasion, we had the opportunity to share important information about the project, such as the source of employment it will generate. We were happy to share that the port will generate 1,000 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase. In the operation phase, it will generate 1,500 jobs and up to 3,000 indirect jobs.

Port Cabo Rojo is a project for those who dream and enjoy new adventures. It is a project that embodies the spirit of the people of Pedernales and the vibrant atmosphere of the Dominican Republic. We can’t wait to share our journey with you.

Highlighting the beauty of Pedernales, Dominican Republic

Founded in 1927, Pedernales is known for its peaceful atmosphere and landscapes of unparalleled beauty with natural beaches. Its warm weather allows you to enjoy a great time with your loved ones by collecting new memories.

Pedernales is in the southwest of the Dominican Republic. It is a hidden paradise that owns more than 49 percent of the protected areas in the country. A diamond of ecotourism, virgin beaches, exotic landscapes, and an ecological destination full of natural luxury in the Caribbean, this destination is ready to take over the cruise industry by surprise.

Pedernales is home to the Majestic beach of Cabo Rojo. Its crystal clear waters and diverse coral reefs provide great space for plenty of activities where

you can be one with the nature that surrounds the destination. In addition to the new port, the government is committed to the growth of the destination, investing in new infrastructure and an international airport

About ITM Group

For more than 30 years, ITM Group has created dream destinations in the Caribbean and the Mexican Pacific, bringing unique experiences to visitors from all over the world, while maintaining the DNA of each place where it operates. Every project ITM Group has built tells a story as our team is dedicated to bringing our vision to life. These can be seen in the various real estate developments and cruise ports they have developed. We are committed to creating spaces taking care of the environment surrounding the destinations, using the highest quality technology in our hotels, real estate, and ports. We are proud to always put our heart and soul into every element of our projects.

Our commitment and goal are to satisfy our customers. Every year, our vision is to bring new attractions to our visitors, so that each space gives them an opportunity to share new and fascinating stories.

With Port Cabo Rojo, our mission is to achieve the consolidation of a tourist destination of international quality through the construction, reconstruction, development, and operation of a cruise terminal in which all international shipping lines will be able to take part. As well as to provide the national population with a world-class tourist alternative in the province of Pedernales.

See you soon, see you in Port Cabo Rojo!

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The U.S. Virgin Islands: America’s Renewed Cruise Destination

The USVI Works with FCCA to Grow Traffic to the Islands

According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) 2022 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook Report, 2022 is a pivotal transition year for the industry, with ships reestablishing their regular schedules around the world. To gear up for the returning traffic, and for the full recovery projected by 2023, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism has been pursuing multi-pronged strategies to attract both cruise lines and cruise passengers.

The efforts started during the pandemic, when the Department of Tourism worked closely with Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), along with the CDC and cruise executives, to ensure the safe return of cruising. That return was marked by the arrival of Celebrity Edge to St. Thomas in July 2021, the first cruise to come to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 15 months. Since that time, the cruise business has been trending upward. In the first four months of 2022, the USVI received 317,361 passengers. For Fiscal Year 2022 (October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022), the territory expects to receive about 250 ships and nearly a half million passengers. The following year’s projections call for a sharp increase in those numbers, with the expectation of more

than 450 ship arrivals carrying almost 1.4 million passengers.

Due to the integral contribution of cruises to the U.S. Virgin Islands economy, the Department of Tourism recently announced a strategic partnership with FCCA focused on increasing the destination’s overall economic impact from cruise tourism. Objectives include increased cruise calls, new experiences and products, collaboration with the local private sector, more employment and purchasing opportunities, conversion of cruise guests to overnight visitors, promotion of summer cruising, creation of consumer demand, travel agent outreach, and more.

According to Department of Tourism Commissioner Joseph Boschulte, “We want our port of calls to be more than stops for cruise guests, but rather places to engage with local culture and spend on local experiences. It is key for us to maintain a flow of economic output into the community and increasing the number of cruise calls is part of that plan.”

Boschulte notes the destination is also working closely with individual cruise lines to maintain the positioning of the U.S. Virgin Islands as a marquee stop for Caribbean cruising. During the

past year, the U.S. Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) has met with partner lines executive teams to discuss increasing calls and offerings on St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John for cruise visitors. One outcome is a memorandum of understanding between VIPA and Royal Caribbean that includes goals of adding 70 percent more passengers to Crown Bay on St. Thomas and tripling the numbers for St. Croix in 2023.

To achieve these objectives, Boschulte says that a third pier in St. Thomas is being built to accommodate Oasis Class vessels. In other industry news, a threeyear partnership with UberSoca Cruise was recently announced, which will make the U.S. Virgin Islands the first stop destination during the upcoming 2023 relaunch. The inaugural cruise will depart from Puerto Rico with a stop in the U.S. Virgin Islands from April 9-14, 2023 with two more 2023 cruises scheduled for stops in the territory.

Reimagining Local Tourism Opportunities and Product

The USVI Department of Tourism has been working closely with VIPA and the West Indian Company Limited, a St. Thomas port facility with a cruise ship

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pier, shopping mall, and commercial rental complex, to improve the visitor experience. Store owners are being encouraged to align their hours with cruise arrivals and departures. Retail space is being upgraded and more excursion offerings on land and sea are being developed. As a result, today’s cruise passengers will discover a myriad of new experiences to choose from that take advantage of the territory’s abundant natural assets.

Enhancing the Cruise Guest Experience

As cruise travel returns, the U.S. Virgin Islands is preparing the destination to provide a broader range of experiences showcasing its history and culture, range of activities, and sustainability efforts.

The U.S. Virgin Islands has many options for travelers seeking adventure. From underwater exploration to heart-pounding hikes, each island provides ample opportunity for a splash of excitement. Discover paradise by hiking along a National Park trail like Fort Christiansvaern and Reef Bay Trail, ziplining through the canopy at Tree Limin’ Extreme, and riding a horse along Rainbow beach. Explore what lies beneath the surface by snorkeling with turtles or go on a deep dive and see seahorses, octopuses, and a display of colorful fish. The islands are also known as a favorite duty-free shopping place in the region.

Beyond hikes, wellness opportunities are abundant in the region, providing the ultimate disconnect that cruise passengers seek. From stand-up paddleboarding to spas featuring rain therapy and aromatherapy sessions to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul.

History and culture abound in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It can be experienced through Island festivals as well as with various attractions, including one of the Western Hemisphere’s oldest synagogues, the French Heritage Museum, and the Annaberg Sugar Plantation. Guests today can visit the Annaberg Plantation Ruins, which includes the quarters of the enslaved workers, the sugar factory, and the windmill, to learn about the Caribbean influence on the global sugar market.

Sustainability for Longevity

As an island destination, the USVI is committed to sustainability efforts. Tourists can participate in various sustainability initiatives that preserve the islands’ natural resources, culture, and beauty. Restaurants like Ciboné in St. Croix and Caribbean Fish Market in St. Thomas focus on farm-

to-table produce and off-the-boat seafood for a fresh and unforgettable dining experience. To help preserve the glorious beaches and stunning underwater world, guests are encouraged to wear rash guards and hats and are required to use only non-nano mineral sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is preparing for a cruising comeback. For more information visit,

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All Aboard! Connecting with Cayman through Culture, Culinary and Community

World-renowned for its sweeping beaches, crystal-clear water, dynamic culinary offerings and warm hospitality, the Cayman Islands promises a memorable island escape for all who venture ashore. As an attractive port of call for passionate cruise passengers, the opportunities to immerse in authentic Cayman culture are endless. It is a top priority for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) to showcase the destination’s celebrated attractions and latest developments after nearly two years of travel disruption and border closures due to COVID-19. In August 2022, the Cayman Islands officially lifted travel restrictions to the destination, allowing all passengers to safely visit once again. With great pride and open arms, the Caymanian people continue to embrace global travelers to their shores.

As explorers pack their bags and return to international waters, all eyes are fixed on the Caribbean – and in Cayman, vibrant cultural festivals, delicious global cuisine, awe-inspiring attractions, luxury developments, and the picture-perfect backdrop for unforgettable memories will undoubtedly inspire visitors of any age and interest.

“Seas” the Day in Cayman

Of course, no visit to the Cayman Islands is complete without at least one waterbased adventure! Travelers are invited to swim at the famous Stingray City in Grand Cayman’s North Sound, where dozens of friendly stingrays glide in and around visitors. Not only is the Cayman Islands home to 365 unique scuba diving and snorkeling sites, but an incredibly welcoming and highly trained diving community, as well. Whether a novice diver is taking their first trip below the surface, or an expert is looking to cross another adventure off their bucket list, there are hundreds of spots to

choose from – and plenty of passionate divers happy to take the plunge alongside them.

Natural Wonders

Grand Cayman’s award-winning Seven Mile Beach offers an array of watersports, including paddle boards, kayaking, kite boarding, parasailing and wind surfing. In addition to adrenaline-pumping water activities, Seven Mile Beach seamlessly transitions to a relaxing sun-soaked oasis for those looking to relish in a day of absolute relaxation. Here, guests can lay in the sand, dip their toes in crystal clear water, soak up the sun and sip on a perfectly chilled cocktail – all while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of the public beach and popular local bar scene.

Nature abounds in the Cayman Islands. Whether enjoying a stroll through Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park or a memorable interaction with sea turtles at Cayman Turtle Centre, there are many opportunities to reconnect with the slower side of island living. Hiking through Crystal Caves or paddling through a mangrove forest are a few additional ways to spend a picture-perfect day in Cayman, surrounded by the natural wonders of the destination.

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“Caymankind is in the heartbeat and hospitality of the Caymanian people that turns first-time guests into lifetime visitors.”

A Food Lover’s Paradise

A delectable gastronomic destination heralded as the “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean,” the Cayman Islands offers both sophisticated dining choices and authentic island cuisine – from chic island bistros and fine dining establishments to local Caymanian restaurants serving a fresh catch of the day, the greatest dish of any traveler’s life is just around the corner. Boasting more than 200 restaurants and culinary influences from all over the globe, travelers will be dreaming about their next meal in Cayman before the table is clear.

Celebrating Cayman Art and Culture

A popular cruise destination year-round, the Cayman Islands is particularly appealing in the fall and winter for cruisers looking to pack in one last warm-weather voyage before end of the year. Not to mention, the Cayman Islands is host to several beloved annual traditions and festivals each season – including Pirates Fest, a theatrical celebration of Cayman’s rich heritage celebrated September through November, Cayman Restaurant Month and Cocktail Week, where adventurers gather to imbibe Cayman’s finest spirits and cuisine. In January, the Cayman Islands becomes a playground for world-renowned chefs during Cayman Cookout, the annual beachfront culinary bash hosted by acclaimed Chef Eric Ripert. In the springtime, Cayman culture comes to life during Carnival! A celebration of island life encapsulates the destination during Batabano and CayMAS – two of Cayman’s premier cultural events.

The vibrant capital of George Town, with its bustling array of shops, galleries and attractions, offers visitors the opportunity to learn about Cayman’s natural and cultural history. The Cayman Islands National Museum, located on the harbor front and an easy walk from the cruise port, is brimming with history and culture. More than 8,000 artifacts are housed in its historic building, providing insight into island life through the centuries.

For the fine art-oriented traveler, several galleries offering local arts and crafts are sure to delight, including Guy Harvey’s Grand Cayman gallery, where visitors can view a wide selection of paintings from this world-renowned artist and conservationist. Additionally, just a short drive from downtown, the National Gallery of

the Cayman Islands features a rotating collection of national and international exhibitions, focused on promoting the appreciation and practice of the visual arts of and in the destination.

The Future of Cruise Travel in Cayman

With recent cruise and air arrivals on the rise, the future of tourism in Cayman is bright. The cruise industry provides jobs and opportunities to thousands of Caymanian ambassadors who promote the islands to passengers originating from all over the world. Cruising is an economic driver for Caymanian-owned business in watersports, retail, transport, attractions and more and our service providers take great pride in ensuring the Cayman cruise experience is the best in the world.

Once cruise passengers arrive at the

port of call, they will be swept away by the warm Caymankindness that doesn’t just come from the sun. Caymankind is in the heartbeat and hospitality of the Caymanian people that turns first-time guests into lifetime visitors. It’s found in the local fisherman who recommends a stretch of beach nobody knows about, or the bellhop who leads you to his favorite jerk chicken stand just down the road.

To learn more about planning an inspiring adventure to the Cayman Islands, please visit

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Setting Sail for Cruisers’ Destination of Choice: Port St. Maarten

Destination St. Maarten continues to offer a magical experience. It is indeed a port to remember with award-winning cruise facilities. St. Maarten is a remarkable and fun cruise destination offering a unique and enriching cruise guest experience, and it looks forward to welcoming additional guests to its shores as the 2022-2023 season approaches, offering them the traditional ‘friendly island’ courtesies and service.

For the past 58 years, Port St. Maarten—and by extension destination St. Maarten—has maintained its competitive edge through continual research and development, strategic planning, key partnerships with the cruise industry built up over the years, strong relations with stakeholders, and leading players.

With almost six decades of cruising, the destination as a cruise product has brought numerous benefits to the island, which has seen progressive growth due to investments made in port infrastructure and enhancing visitor experiences, thereby building upon a solid foundation leading to St. Maarten as a destination of choice and a leading port in the Caribbean.

Your Oyster in the Sun

Port St. Maarten has a vision to lead the Caribbean through operational excellence by offering quality service within a safe and secure environment. Destination St. Maarten is your oyster in the sun to enjoy and have a magical experience.

The Port St. Maarten cruise facilities comprise of the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise Pier South (545 meters in length) that can accommodate four cruise ships simultaneously, and has been in operation since 2007, one of the few ports at that time that could receive the world’s largest cruise ships.

The second cruise pier, Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise Pier North (445 meters in length) opened in 2009 and continues to allow the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility to cater to six cruise ships at the same time while guests enjoy making memorable experiences.

Fly & Cruise Facilities

Port St. Maarten has been catering to the ‘Fly & Cruise’ guest for more than a decade, making it a leading port in the northeastern Caribbean offering homeporting services. It is testament to the appeal of cruising from St. Maarten as cruises out of the destination offer the perfect way to experience the warm hospitality of the region.

Within an almost half-acre structure, Port St. Maarten has multiple check-in counters, VIP section, and seating for hundreds of passengers.

Harbor Point Village & Walter Plantz Square

The upland retail (duty-free outlets, souvenir shops, market stalls), food and beverage commercial center at the port—Harbor Point Village—is built in the traditional architectural style of old Philipsburg and looks forward to the 2022-2023 high season and welcoming guests to the destination.

Walter Plantz Square at Down Street has generated a new spirit of life into the area for locals and visitors alike. Comprised of six small buildings constructed according to the traditional St. Maarten architectural ginger-bread design, reflecting the national heritage of the destination, it is a must visit. Sample what they have to offer, and you won’t be disappointed.

The square is strategically located next to the Walter Plantz Tender Jetty which connects to the boardwalk/beach prom-

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enade, Down Street and Front Street, the shopping mecca of the Caribbean.

Endless Activities

Once you step ashore, your holiday experiences come alive with endless activities for one and all. With so many options, you can do as much or as little as you like. Destination St. Maarten is a remarkable fun and vibrant island where you can relax or find a wonderful array of things to do. You won’t be disappoint ed or get bored.

St. Maarten offers secret escapes to one of 37 white sand beaches and crys tal-clear blue waters. Jump in to truly experience what the destination has to offer or just lay back.

St. Maarten has an abundance of things to do, from thrilling adventures to a limitless range from holiday activities like taking a coastal cruise, to enjoying plane-spotting at Maho Beach, endless water sports like canoeing, scuba diving, snorkeling, jet skiing, flyboarding, para sailing, powerboat tours, and kitesurfing.

Besides the above waterborne activi ties, there is a whole lot to do, giving you an unforgettable vacation on the ‘Friendly Island,’ from ziplining, hiking, biking,

horseback riding, ATV tours to explore the island – you name it, you can have it. They are all available and waiting for you as you step ashore.

World Class Duty-Free Shopping

World class duty-free shopping can also be found in Philipsburg, where you can find a gift for everyone on Front Street. You can shop till you drop.

You will find everything you’re looking for, from luxury brands to electronics, souvenirs, tobacco, specialty rum, flavored sauces, spices and much more. On Back Street, connected via an alley from Front Street, you will find colorful fashion clothing, handbags, and shoes.

‘Culinary Capital of the Caribbean’

After having a full day of activities, you have worked up an appetite and are ready to try great flavors, because if you didn’t know already, you are already in the ‘Culinary Capital of the Caribbean,’ where you will find an abundance of restaurants offering a variety of cuisines to suit your taste buds, including local classic dishes like crab back, oyster soup, johnny cakes and much more.

Make St. Maarten your temporary home for several hours, by exploring all it has to offer above, below sea and on land, a true wealth of amenities and activities that will whet your appetite and keep you wanting more.

Setting Sail for Cruisers’ Destination of Choice.

Welcome to St. Maarten.

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Puerto Rico Registers Over $1 Billion in Lodging Income & San Juan Cruise Port to Embark on $425 Million in Investments

Puerto Rico tourism continues to register remarkable results, with the accommodations industry generating $1 billion during the first seven months of 2022. The industry achieved this milestone three months earlier than in 2021, a year that ended with about $1.3 billion in accommodations revenue – and marks only the second time in history for the feat. The record-setting demand reflects total lodging demand 18 percent higher than 2021, with hotels booking 17 percent more business and rentals 20 percent more, despite concerns associated with inflation, air transport, high fuel prices, and the economy.

Accommodations reservations for the remaining two quarters are projected to be above pre-pandemic levels. The outlook for the fourth quarter is promising, with hotel bookings six percent higher than in 2021, and a 12 percent bump reported in shortterm rentals. And since the beginning of the year, Puerto Rico has broken its record of jobs in the leisure and hospitality sectors every month, signaling a robust reboot of the economic engine. Each month has seen a figure that surpasses the previous record to reach 86,700 workers in June. However, officials note that many businesses are still understaffed and are eagerly seeking to hire more people.

Additionally, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority has finished its competitive procurement process for a 30-year concession to operate the San Juan Cruise Port. The new agreement will focus on cruise terminal operations while undertaking a significant upgrade of the facilities.

The agreement includes an upfront fee of $75 million to the Puerto Rico Ports Authority; an initial $100 million in

improvements focused on repairs at piers 1 and 4 and Pan American piers along with upgrades of the terminal buildings and the walkway; an additional $250 million for investments in a second phase that will expand capacity by building a new cruise pier and state-of-the-art homeport terminal that can handle the world’s largest ships; modernizing the cruise port experience for cruise guests, cruise lines and local vendors; and investment in systems, equipment and technology to enhance the port’s operational performance and ensure environmental protection, safety and security.

to return to travel, and their eagerness to participate in Antigua’s summer carnival once again.

“Antigua and Barbuda is presently listed amongst the top ten Caribbean destinations leading the Caribbean tourism recovery efforts,” said ABTA chief executive officer, Colin James. “With good month-on-month growth and our overall tourism arrivals for the year to date only 16 percent less than the 2019 figures, Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism rebound prospects are looking positive, particularly when we consider global tourism forecasts. For the fall, our teams will continue to focus on closing the gap and achieving full recovery.”

Overall, total stay over arrivals for January to July stand at 154,099 – a 91 percent increase over the 2021 comparison of 80,509 and narrowing the gap between the 2019 January to July totals that stood at 184,465.

Antigua and Barbuda Breaking Tourism Records

Antigua and Barbuda tourism is breaking all-time records. It welcomed 24,673 visitors in July – a 7 percent increase over the same month in 2019, which had itself been a record for the month. While 13,305 of the tourists visiting were from the US, a 30 percent jump compared to July 2019, Antigua and Barbuda is also seeing strong growth from the United Kingdom, with a 5 percent for the same period. Canadian arrivals showed a 1 percent increase over 2019.

“For a second year, we are experiencing a healthy summer season as consumer travel confidence grows and travelers make the decision to take that long-awaited vacation or previously delayed trip,” said Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Minister Charles Fernandez.

The Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority (ABTA) is attributing the growth to increased airlift, aggressive destination marketing, easy travel protocols, the enthusiasm amongst consumers

Colombia on the Ascent with Increased Airlift and Booming Development

Passenger traffic to Colombia is lifting off. Figures for June 2022 represent an increase of 66 percent compared to the same month last year and 40 percent more than June 2019, according to the July report by Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste, ASUR, which operates six airports in northern Colombia, including Medellin international airport (Rio Negro), the second busiest in Colombia. The growth was driven by both domestic and international traffic.

Additionally, Colombia’s Caribbean coast is booming with a host of new investment and hotels. While much of that activity has been centered in Cartagena and San Andres, another destination has been growing – Barranquilla, which now includes a new Marriott.

Photo of the Carnival of Barranquilla
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The Barranquilla Marriott Hotel is set in the “Golden Gate of Colombia,” one of the five most important cities in Colombia, the largest city on the Caribbean coast, located next to the delta of the Magdalena River and close to the Caribbean Sea, and a major tourist destination for both locals and travelers, recognized for being the birthplace of renowned musicians, writers, athletes, and fashion designers, as well as being the venue for the main cultural event in Colombia, Carnival of Barranquilla.

The hotel features 191 rooms, nearly 20,000 square feet of meeting space, several dining concepts (including the Rum Room that showcases Colombia’s burgeoning rum scene), pool, fitness center, special accommodations for pets and more.

the Oasis-Class capable Tula Megapier. In extension of the marine infrastructure enhancements completed, the Curacao Port Authority, through continued collaboration with the cruise lines and local stakeholders, now directs its focus to the further development of the upland facilities to enhance the passenger experience ashore.

British Virgin Islands Gives a Sign of Its Unique Culture

In its latest tourism product development, the British Virgin Islands has unveiled destination signs on the four main islands: Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke. These signs are in addition to a BVI sign at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park – and double as murals, with each giving way to picturesque and cultural scenes of the territory unique to each island.

Disney Fantasy Makes

Inaugural Visit to Dominica

Dominica welcomed 3,146 passengers that cruised into the destination aboard Disney Fantasy, which made its inaugural visit on July 25. A plaque exchange ceremony, a kids activity corner, and a mini parade showcasing the island’s carnival characters were among the main welcome activities enjoyed by the passengers. The ship sailed away into the sunset, but not before passengers had indulged in the island’s nature and unique tour offerings.

Significant Increase in Passengers at ECV

As a result of the pandemic, a decrease in passengers had been experienced. However, throughout the second quarter of 2022, there has been a considerable increase in passengers of 66 percent compared to the first trimester, which means the cruise lines that arrive at the port of Ensenada are returning to normal activity. Visit us at

New Milestone for Curacao

Royal Caribbean International’s Allure of the Seas’ maiden call on May 5 marked a milestone for the Port of Willemstad, for which preparations started in 2017 with the construction of

Guadeloupe Ready to Welcome Cruise Guests

Since August 1, the state of health emergency in Guadeloupe has been repealed, putting an end to measures to manage the health crisis such as the Health Pass. As a result, the protocols put in place to regulate cruise ship activity in Guadeloupe has ended. Until further notice, no protocols will be required, and stopovers can resume without constraint. Do not wait any longer, come and enjoy Guadeloupe Islands. For more information about protocols, visit

Port Saint John’s New Development

Port Saint John in Atlantic Canada, on the magnificent Bay of Fundy, is thrilled to announce the opening of their new development to enhance the cruise passenger experience – the AREA 506 Waterfront Container Village! Directly adjacent to the

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Marco Polo Cruise Terminal, the shipping container village boasts local shops, souvenirs, art, entertainment and even a dedicated crew lounge! AREA 506 is the new hot spot in uptown Saint John for cruise passengers and locals to enjoy.

PortMiami Keeps Things Humming

Despite the unprecedented interruption of the cruise industry during the COVID-19 Pandemic, PortMiami never stopped preparing for the day its passengers returned to cruising. PortMiami recently inaugurated Cruise Terminal V, broke ground on new Terminal for MSC and continues work on Cruise Terminal F expansion for Carnival. To date, PortMiami has seen just over 3M passengers and looks forward to another stellar season.

Port of New Orleans’ Demand Is Surging

Demand for cruises from the Port of New Orleans is bigger than ever. Port NOLA is adding to its river cruise itineraries this summer, officially welcoming Viking Cruise Lines to join its seven other homeported river cruise vessels from American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines. Port NOLA is back to pre-pandemic levels with the return of Carnival, Norwegian, and Disney and Royal Caribbean set to return in November 2022.

Bahama Cruise Port development currently under construction and slated for completion in late 2024. Held on July 28 and 29 at the Grand Lucayan Hotel and Resort, the introductory session updated the community about progress on the cruise port project and the jobs and business opportunities it will bring. A series of breakout sessions also took place to provide both individuals and business owners with further details on construction, retail, food and beverage and shore excursion opportunities.

“The Grand Bahama Cruise Port represents a tremendous opportunity as we partner with the local community to create jobs and build a business relationship that will have both immediate and long-term benefits,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “The Bahamas has been a valued partner and vibrant destination for Carnival for 50 years, and we are grateful for the ongoing support from the government of The Bahamas, Ministry for Grand Bahama and Grand Bahama Port Authority. We look forward to seeing the new port come to life, generating an estimated 1,000 local jobs throughout its development, construction and ongoing operation, and ultimately creating a one-of-a-kind experience for Grand Bahama visitors from around the world.”

The Carnival Grand Bahama cruise port destination broke ground in May on the south side of the island, where it will serve as a gateway to Grand Bahama. Representing an investment of $200 million, the port destination will offer guests a uniquely Bahamian experience with exciting features and amenities, including a one-mile stretch of white-sand beach, a nature reserve and an interior pool feature, as well as Bahamian-operated retail, food and beverage options for Carnival guests to enjoy.

Grand Bahama Business Community Join Port Development Sessions

Carnival Cruise Line hosted more than 500 local business representatives and residents during a two-day series of informational sessions regarding its Grand

Upon completion, the cruise pier will be able to accommodate two of Carnival’s Excel-class ships simultaneously, such as the 5,282-passenger Mardi Gras, which debuted in 2021 as the line’s largest and most innovative ship and North America’s first cruise ship powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), and Carnival Celebration, sister ship to Mardi Gras, which will begin sailing from PortMiami later this year.

Belize Hosts Recruiting Event to Get Locals Onboard

The Belize Tourism Board, in collaboration with Carnival Cruise Line, invited citizens to start their seafaring career with one of the most recognizable cruise brands in the tourism industry. It held the ‘Belize Tourism Board + Carnival Cruise Line Recruitment Event’ on September 27 to get more locals on board with the cruise industry’s economic benefits.

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Disney Cruise Line Hires Nassau Native as HR Manager

Disney Cruise Line has hired Leslie Lopez as Manager, Human Resources to support its recruitment and employment efforts in The Bahamas. In this newly created role based in The Bahamas, Lopez will build relationships with key business partners while recruiting Bahamians into various jobs with Disney Cruise Line – both onboard its ships and at its premier destinations in The Bahamas.

“Disney Cruise Line is committed to employing a majority Bahamian workforce at Castaway Cay in Abaco and our forthcoming experience at Lighthouse Point in Eleuthera. Leslie’s global HR experience and his deep understanding of Bahamian culture will be instrumental in achieving our goal,” said Michael Almeida, Director, Human Resources, Disney Cruise Line. “With his ability to build positive workplace cultures and implement employee engagement initiatives, Leslie will play an active role in Disney Cruise Line’s contributions to the Bahamian economy and workforce.”

“I am most excited to showcase the diverse talents and abilities of the Bahamian people and introduce them to a variety of quality jobs with Disney Cruise Line,” Lopez said. “I am confident that Disney’s commitment to building and supporting career paths for people throughout the Bahamas—including but not limited to Abaco and Eleuthera—will have a positive long-term effect throughout the islands.”

Disney Cruise Line has committed to filling all positions on Castaway Cay with Bahamians across a range of disciplines with opportunities for training and advancement. Disney has received all the necessary approvals from the Government of the Bahamas and has begun work at Lighthouse Point, which is expected to create more than 300 construction-related roles – more than doubling the number of jobs Disney Cruise Line committed to in its Heads of Agreement.

Leslie Gibson Becomes the First Bahamian in Royal Caribbean’s Corporate Offices

When Leslie Gibson accepted a position on Royal Caribbean International’s Perfect Day at Coco Cay during the height of the COVID pandemic, he didn’t imagine the opportunity would lead him to his dream job.

“The craziest thing is that what I’m living now, I dreamt about,” said Gibson. “I studied engineering, but I prayed for a job where I would be traveling and working outside of where I’m from. I love The Bahamas and I’m always ready to go back home, but I’ve always wanted to get more exposure, see the world and all it has to offer. And Royal has been able to provide me that.”

Gibson began his journey with Royal Caribbean as a human resources specialist on Coco Cay in June 2020, where he worked for 11 months before he was selected to move to corporate and take on a larger scale of recruiting for private island experiences around the world, a role that has expanded to include shipboard recruiting.

Gibson’s promotion reflects a corporate culture of promoting from within. Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, started as a purser onboard the company’s ships before rising through the ranks to head the cruise line.

In just two years, Gibson has helped to recruit more than 300 people to work in The Bahamas, along with another 100 for Labadee in Haiti and more than 1,000 to work on Royal Caribbean’s ships.

He recently traveled to Dominica and St. Vincent as part of Royal Caribbean’s recruiting efforts, and he was on the ground for the job fair in Nassau recently when Royal Caribbean made offers to dozens of people in the hopes of filling several different positions on Coco Cay.

The exercise was part of a larger regional hiring effort to attract more Bahamian and Caribbean talent for Royal Caribbean’s private destinations and its ships.

Royal Caribbean Recruits More from Trinidad and Tobago

Royal Caribbean Group, through its seafarer recruitment initiative, recently completed a second phase of recruitment in Trinidad and Tobago – following a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed on May 23 that saw thousands of job opportunities being offered through a recruitment fair held in June with thousands turning up to be interviewed to work with the group.

Between August 9-19, an additional 1,300 applicants were interviewed virtually by a 19-member recruitment team. The applicants were contacted by the group and attended interviews at home, Queen’s Hall, Port of Spain or Shaw Park Complex, Scarborough, Tobago.

The MOU lasts for one year and creates an ongoing relationship with the group to provide employment at a time when COVID-19 deteriorated Trinidad and Tobago’s tourism sector and the wider job market.

Approximately 1,000 applicants received letters of offer from the company for a range of positions including chefs, housekeepers, inventory managers, restaurant attendants, bartenders and doctors.

Tourism, Culture and the Arts

Minister Randall Mitchell said, “The ministry remains committed to doing our part to facilitate meaningful employment opportunities for our citizens as well as support initiatives that boost economic recovery.”

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FCCA Fixed on Giving Local Hires a Raise and Boosting Purchases of Destinations’ Products

Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) has exclaimed “land ahoy!”

It has put its target on land with revamped initiatives focused on increasing local hires and products used on board from the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico.

New Employment Committee and Recruitment Partner

FCCA has formed a new FCCA Employment Committee, comprised of Human Resources executives from FCCA Member Lines, that is ready to help guide destinations through the process of necessary elements for cruise companies to hire local citizens.

“With many destinations and people still recovering their economies and livelihoods following the effects of COVID-19, our efforts to increase employment of locals throughout our partner destinations are more important than ever,” said Michele Paige, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), FCCA. “While we have already worked on this for many years with numerous destinations – and seen not only initial employment, but also many rising through the ranks on board and even reaching executive positions – our revamping of this program

should benefit countless more people and families, and there could not be a better time to have this on the agenda at the FCCA Cruise Summit, where key industry players will gather to grow better together.”

The initiative has already taken the spotlight at events including the FCCA Caribbean Cruise Summit, which took place in San Juan, Puerto Rico from June 1-3 – and will be a key feature of the FCCA Cruise Conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from October 11-14.

The initiative has also been the focus of discussions with the Americas Cruise Tourism Task Force, an undertaking launched by FCCA originally to develop protocols for COVID-19, but unanimously decided to continue to quickly address any topics because of the successes shown by gathering the group of destination representatives, stakeholders and cruise executives for regular meetings.

One of the Chairpersons for the Task Force, Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, has vowed to be personally involved with the initiative and Committee, and he has often expressed the immense interest for both Royal Caribbean and the industry in increasing employment of citizens from FCCA’s represented destinations. As a recent example of this, Royal Caribbean Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of St. Maarten on May 11 to signify the beginning of a partnership that will create an expansion of St. Maarten’s job market within the cruise industry.

Additionally, on June 28, V.Ships Leisure Recruitment—the partner of choice for the cruise, ferry and mega yacht industries, supporting over 100 vessels, in managing seafarer talent globally—joined FCCA and its 2022 Strategic Destination Partners to work towards giving a raise to employment of their citizens: one of the key initiatives, along with sourcing more local purchasing and destination development, for the strategic partnerships.

The following day, it became official that V.Ships Leisure Recruitment is on board as the first partner company in the FCCA Employment Program. They will

On Land
“…should benefit countless more people and families…”
48 Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise
—Michele Paige, CEO, FCCA

join the Employment Committee and participate in meetings and events, such as the FCCA Cruise Conference taking place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic from October 11-14, the FCCA PAMAC Cruise on MSC Divina from September 11-15 and the PAMAC Conference in the Cayman Islands in June 2023.

FCCA Sources Partners for Purchasing Program

FCCA has partnered with Cafe Azul Supply Solutions, a key distributor of food and goods based in Mexico, and True Grade, a vertically integrated importer, exporter, and distributor of quality food products to the retail, food service, and hospitality industries, to expand the Association’s program focused on increasing local sourcing of goods from destinations where cruise ships call to be used on board.

“We are honored and excited to form these partnerships to further improve this pivotal program,” said Paige. “Cruise ships purchasing more directly from destinations represent immense benefits for the communities and countries, so this is obviously of great importance to our destination partners, but our Member Lines have also placed a priority on increased local purchasing.”

“Because the potential of local sourcing is so beneficial, so impactful, and so chal-

lenging at the same time, Cafe Azul, True Grade and the FCCA are teaming up with the cruise industry,” said Eduardo Gonzalez Cid, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Cafe Azul Supply Solutions. “This will provide locally sourced products on par with the industry standards, giving potential local suppliers who make the commitments to ethical business conduct, fair labor practices, and environmental protections a platform to become cruise suppliers.”

The partnership will add to the focus of the FCCA Purchasing Program, which includes a committee comprised of high-level purchasing/sourcing executives from FCCA Member Lines and engages in meetings and events to educate FCCA destination partners.

With the addition of companies boasting a proven track record of distribution, including business with cruise lines, FCCA

destination partners will have a direct line to procure all the necessary information to establish or increase purchasing of local goods to be used on cruise ships.

In addition to providing more economic benefits for the destinations and citizens, as local sourcing can help communities thrive and build a better infrastructure for partnerships, the program and partnership aim to increase fair trade, sustainability and opportunities for sampling local products from where guests visit – part of why local food sourcing is a growing trend in the cruise industry.

The program and partnership also endeavor to remove some of the barriers and difficulties of local sourcing, which can be logistically difficult for inventory managers and purchasing departments. Locally sourced foods from various ports of call can help decrease the need for onboard storage while increasing menu and purchasing flexibility.

This will also be a large part of the FCCA Cruise Conference through discussions during the Heads of Government Forum, which will gather destinations’ Ministers of Tourism with Presidents and above from FCCA Member Lines, and purchasing/sourcing cruise executives expected to be available in one-on-one meetings with delegates.

“…will provide locally sourced products on par with the industry standards…”
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—Eduardo Gonzalez Cid, CEO, Cafe Azul Supply Solutions

New Zealand Welcomes Cruise Ships Back for First Time in Two Years

New Zealand welcomed its first cruise ship arrival in August – less than two weeks after the reopening of the country’s maritime border at the end of July and two years after the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the industry.

P&O Cruises Australia reported that its Pacific Explorer sailed a South Pacific itinerary from Sydney, arriving in Auckland on August 12 before continuing to the Fijian ports of Lautoka and Dravuni. It was the first time that P&O Cruises Australia has visited an international port

since cruise operations resumed domestically in Australia.

Following P&O’s return to New Zealand, Princess Cruises plans to follow suit in October, ahead of other arrivals over the upcoming southern summer season.

CLIA and cruise lines collaborated diligently with partners in New Zealand to finalize plans for the resumption of cruise operations. Together with the New Zealand Cruise Association, the industry officials engaged with multiple government agencies to establish protocols under which

cruising returned to the country.

After extensive discussion, the New Zealand government announced in May that it would reopen its maritime border after July 31, ending more than two years of COVID-19restrictions.

In addition, CLIA is offering useful resources to travel agents help them with the return to cruising in New Zealand and Australia, said Joel Katz, CLIA’s Managing Director CLIA Australasia.

CLIA is offering to members a free 30-day trial of the online video production service, Wrappt, which allows travel agents to create their own promotional videos to share online as part of their cruise marketing campaigns. For more information, visit

CLIA members can also check out the Cruise Month Toolkit now available in the CLIA Members Hub with everything they need to get involved in Cruise Month this September, Katz noted.

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Keeping a Team Together During Tough Times

These have been challenging times for anyone in the tourism and cruise industry and many of us had come out of 2019 strong and Aquila was no different. Some of us in the industry have fared better than others and some didn’t make it. Today I’d like to share how Aquila managed change through the pandemic, what we learned, and what we did to keep our team together.

One of the first and best decisions we made early in March 2020 was to invest in the team as we strongly believe that the team is our biggest asset and one we could not bounce back easily without. We had a bit of a war chest, money we had saved over the years, and instead of saying we would lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in 2020, we changed the narrative and decided together that we would invest those dollars in keeping the team together and the doors open – virtually! It would

mean adaptability, flexibility and belief on the part of everyone on the team that we would be ok. But who knew? Who was prepared for a world pandemic?

Like many others in the industry, we adjusted, shifted, and altered our plans constantly. Aquila was affected in both our tour operations in Port Saint John with the ban on cruise in Canada and our on-site training with the travel restrictions. With the ban on cruises entering Canada and with international travel restrictions heightening, both Aquila’s tour operations in Port Saint John and Aquila’s on-site training in international destinations were impacted. Throughout these two years, we’ve continued to be blown away by the resilience of our team. I’ve asked myself this question many times over the past two years… ‘what continues to drive us and how will this pandemic change us?’

Zoom brainstorming became a daily exercise asking how we could bring training to those in need in an efficient and effective way virtually and online. Most of us in the team were used to being on the pier welcoming guests and managing dispatches – could they do a full 360 and start imagining where they could shine? Was it building PowerPoints, developing online programs, producing short videos, writing and editing…or delivering Zoom workshops? Our first virtual workshop was an FCCA Preparing Your Community series which we offered free of charge to cruise partner members, and then we spent two years developing and delivering virtual programs to over 12,000 participants.

Yet the biggest challenge was managing change internally with the team. In a year where mental health was such a very real issue, we learned how important team

Members & Travel Agents 52 Third Quarter 2022 | Travel & Cruise

support is in the health of the company. And how working from home can be a gift for some and a difficulty for others, some reveling in being able to work quietly and alone, while others were troubled about losing the connections and interactions they needed. I would be one of those who works best in the company of others and 2020 proved itself particularly challenging in that regard.

One question of major focus was how we could remain relevant to our clients in today’s situation, what did the tourism and cruise industry need and how could we fill that void quickly and in a virtual way?

Reflecting on how we kept everyone going while dealing with uncertainties, fears, and so much more, here are some of our learnings:

Our first lesson was the importance if keeping the communication lines open and being brutally honest about our own fears as we could not predict the future and we all knew we were in unchartered territory. From March 2020 to today, we have kept regular 9am Zoom calls. Some of those 9am Zooms were made to simply check in with everyone, some to brainstorm new ideas, and others to do fun activities that kept the hype up and helped team motivation and engagement. Another successful virtual team bonding was our weekly Friday Cocktail Power Hour at the end of every week. Sometimes these were themed to add some fun, almost always with a beverage, sometimes snacks were delivered

ahead to add an element of surprise. When you can’t see each other in person, this regular team togetherness became our lifeline.

Another lesson learned was witnessing the resilience of the team and the strength of spirit and how all their energies were channeled towards survival of the company. We reformed what had been doom and gloom with new possibilities, opportunities, and different outcomes. Even more inspiring was the extreme support for each other. These two years made us closer as a team as we rallied to fight for a common goal of helping the company survive.

Finally, 2020 was a lesson in reinvention. Reinventing ourselves, reimagining our training programs, adapting our social media and web presence to a new way of doing business. Yes, we are going through the biggest challenge of Aquila’s 40 years, but we came to it with a good runway, an Aquilamazing team and the knowledge and belief that we would make it. We asked our clients their biggest needs, listened to webinars and talks from industry leaders, studied and researched what trends were emerging, and analyzed what problems needed solutions. Then we hit the ground running to get those programs developed, increased our web presence, and figured out new ways of adapting.

When this pandemic started, we didn’t know it would be 30 months with no cruise and no traveling. In the end,

despite falling short on our revenue goals, we compensated for it on so many other fronts that were important for Aquila’s long-term strategy and sustainability: the skill-building and lessons learned for our whole team, the strengthening and loyalty of our customer base, the expansion of our virtual training programs and the increasing course development, the new website in both English and Spanish with videos and tips for clients. In the end, all of these were remarkable investments in Aquila’s future, two years that could otherwise have been a total loss.

In closing, to all our partners and friends reading this, we thank you for your continued support. We look forward to years of continued growth and collaboration with all of you, and we look forward to celebrating Aquila’s 40th year with lots of community sharing and giving.

Beth Kelly Hatt is the President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, 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 Beth@

In 2022, Aquila is celebrating 40 Years as a tour operator in Port Saint John, Canada and 15 years as a trainer and coach for the cruise industry.

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A Mazatlán Must

Immerse yourself in Mazatlán’s culture, history, nature and adventure as you visit Observatório 1873, a unique world-class experience. Just minutes from the cruise terminal, enjoy everything this amazing tourist park has to offer. The historical building transformed into a museum is surrounded by an agave garden where you can taste tequila and mezcal, an exotic bird aviary and a rooftop bar where you can admire the best view of the Pacific Ocean.

Secret Blue Hole at Yaaman Adventure Park, Jamaica

Discover the most incredible River with a Blue Hole natural attraction that cascades into natural pools where you can plunge into these crystal-clear waters surrounded by limestone and lush vegetation. Venture to jump from the unique zipline in the middle of the natural pool for a fun and refreshing fall.

tles, named Schooner and Thatch, were released from Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach. Since its inception in 1968, the Centre has now released over 34,000 sea turtles into the wild! Learn more at

Cayman Turtle Conservation and Education Centre celebrates World Sea Turtle Day

Cayman Turtle Conservation and Education Centre celebrated World Sea Turtle Day on June 16 with a special sea turtle release. Two juvenile green sea tur-

St. Maarten to Check in Hilton Grand Vacations

Hilton Grand Vacations is expected to brand the following two St. Maarten properties Royal Palm Beach Resort and Flamingo Beach Resort this quarter. Hilton Grand Vacations, which had announced in March 2021 that it will be acquiring Diamond Resorts, is already advertising vacation ownerships at Royal Palm and at Flamingo under the Hilton Grand Vacations brand. According to, both properties will offer everything one will need for a relaxing Caribbean retreat and getaway. For more information about the destination, visit, or

Welcome to the Shores of ‘Sweet Sweet Trinidad’

“Sweet Sweet Trinidad” welcomes you to our shores. Experience the natural beauty, pulsating excitement and adventure that is Trinidad. Discover the vibrantly colorful festivals of Trinidad, be wowed by the sweet melodious sounds of the steelpan, satisfy your taste buds with tantalizing culinary delights, and embrace the joie de vivre of our people. Located at the southernmost end of the Caribbean archipelago, there is always something exciting to do in Trinidad… 365 days of the year.

Honduras welcomes a new FCCA member cruise Line

Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady, one of the ten most luxurious and new cruise ships in the world, with a capacity for 2,770 passengers and 1,170 crew members, will soon be welcomed into the Island of Roatán with open arms. Passengers and crew will enjoy an unforgettable experience that has made Roatan one of the fastest-growing cruise destinations in the western Caribbean. The Scarlet Lady will keep helping increase the cruise revenue, an essential economic drive for Honduras.

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Amerimed’s New Acute Care Clinic in Isla Mujeres

Our new acute care clinic in Isla Mujeres is up and running! Offering 24/7 physician coverage, ultrasound, X-rays, and laboratory services, Amerimed Isla Mujeres now provides services previously unavailable in the island, saving both locals and tourists a trip to the mainland for primary diagnosis and treatment. For complex cases, Amerimed Isla Mujeres is also ready to seamlessly refer patients to our tertiary level hospital in Cancun. Please visit for more information.

Maritime Procurement Services Obtains Maritime Sustainable Passport

Maritime Procurement Services (MPS) has obtained the Maritime Sustainable Passport for NAMEPA’s Corporate Social Responsibility/Environment Social Governance Program for Service Provider. MPS is committed to ensuring a positive impact on society and the marine environment while delivering a vision to be at the forefront of solutions for the decarbonization of the maritime industry. Currently providing services for more than 500 ships per year in Mexico, handling all possible waste streams and all types of vessels, allowing to achieve the most reliable, compliant, and sustainable solutions for their waste streams.

ning customer service from our partners. Just steps from cruise terminals, guests will find new hotel offerings, a variety of dining options, breweries, a dynamic waterfront, a century of Cuban culture in historic Ybor, and family-friendly attractions like Sparkman Wharf.

Port Canaveral’s Experience

Port Canaveral hosts nearly 5 million passengers annually through six state-of-theart terminals. We are homeport for some of the world’s largest, most popular ships sailing from 3- to 8- night itineraries to the Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean and The Bahamas. Cruise guests love our easy access, ample parking facilities, and efficient arrivals and departures, and nearby recreation options—Orlando’s theme parks, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, waterfront restaurants and our own pristine beach—round out the guest experience before or after cruising.


The COSTAMED Healthcare Network is proud to announce the opening of COSTADENTAL as part of our health care unit in Costa Maya. Our bilingual dentist, Luis Munive, will welcome you to our brand-new dental service. It is conveniently located a few steps away from the pier for whitenings, cleanings, fillings, extractions, resins, crowns, and a wide array of procedures. Most renowned international insurance companies acknowledge our services. At COSTAMED, we strive for your positive experience.

Cruising from Port Tampa Bay

Cruising from Port Tampa Bay has attractive choices for everyone! Guests have the convenience of a nationally ranked airport, adjacent secure parking garages, three updated cruise terminals, and award-win-

Global Cruises World Conference Sails Towards Agile Innovation

This year’s Global Cruises World Conference, “Agile Innovation, Reshaping the Market,” took place on October 1 aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Vision of the Seas, visiting the ports of Barcelona, Civitavecchia, Villefranche, Les Marseillais, and Carrara. More than 30 team members participated in a permanent Creativity Lab, following a structured process that, through several carefully designed exercises, assisting them with coming up with new ideas while exploring destinations from the perspective of guests, putting a focus on creativity and Agile Innovation.

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