Travel & Cruise 1st Quarter Magazine

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The Cayman Islands

Charting New Waters

Looking to Develop Cruise Port in Cayman Brac

Can the Caribbean’s Tourism Boom Continue?

Gus Antorcha

Gus Antorcha

America Line President

Josh Weinstein

Share Their Insights & Visions

Coverage of FCCA PAMAC Cruise & CLIA Cruise Week

Preview of Seatrade Cruise Global Events

Cruise Lines’ Newbuilds & Environmental Progress Destinations’ Tourism Developments & Initiatives

Aquila’s Strategies for Sustainable Practices

Holland Richard Sasso MSC Cruises USA Chairman Josh Weinstein Carnival Corporation President & CEO Richard Sasso MSC Cruises USA Chairman Carnival Corporation President & CEO


Boricua [boh-ree-kwah] is more than a word to identify a person from Puerto Rico. It’s a way of life that finds joy and beauty in the unexpected. So let yourself wander our Island and discover amazing places around every corner. Book your trip today.

One happy island

Embark on a cruise, disembark into a World Heritage site

Port That Has It All

10 Can the Caribbean’s Tourism Boom Continue? Top Cruise Executives Share Their Visions for the Region’s Future Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line; Richard Sasso, Chairman of MSC Cruises USA; and Josh Weinstein, President & CEO and Chief Climate Officer of Carnival Corporation, share the spotlight to discuss why the Caribbean is hot, outside of the yearround sunny climate

Meeting and Events

14 Business and Relationship Development Hits High Gear on the High Seas Dozens of cruise executives joined a group of more than 200 FCCA Platinum Members (plus family and friends) for meetings and networking opportunities aboard the annual FCCA PAMAC Cruise

18 Maximizing Seatrade Cruise Global: Easy as FCCA

20 Puerto Rico Gears Up to Host FCCA Annual Conference in 2025 and 2026

21 CLIA Cruise Week: First European Cruise Expo Exceeds Expectations



9 President’s Letter Stingray City, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands FIRST QUARTER 2024 WWW.TRAVELANDCRUISE.COM Travel & Cruise Magazine © 2024. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, in any form, electronic or otherwise, without written permission of the FCCA is prohibited. To subscribe or change your address, please send requests to Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) 10390 USA Today Way Miramar, FL 33025 Phone: (954) 441-8881 Fax: (954) 441-3171 Published by: 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. ON THE COVER
CONTENTS Features Spotlight
First Quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise 3
41 Jamaica’s ‘Man of the Year’ & New Destination 41 Antigua’s Homeporting Moving Full Steam Ahead 41 Colombia’s Cabo de La Vela Welcomes First Cruise 42 New Travel Requirements for Mexican Visitors & Crew Entering Canada 42 Wilmington Waterfront Promenade Officially Opens 43 Amber Cove & Ensenada Celebrate 1 Million Cruise Guests 43 Carnival Corporation’s New Pier Extension for Celebration Key 44 Mickey & Minnie Debut Bahamian-Inspired Outfits 44 MSC Cruises Expands U.S. Footprint 46 Global Cruises Around the World Members & Travel Agents 50 Are Your Destination Experiences Sustainable? Beth Kelly Hatt, President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence (FCCA’s official training partner), shares how to embrace sustainability in cruise destinations 52 FCCA Platinum Member Highlights
32 The Cayman Islands Charting New Waters, Looking to Develop Cruise Port in Cayman Brac The Cayman Islands are charting new waters with their cruise tourism strategy, setting sail towards the lesserexplored gem and second-largest island of the three-island nation 34 Port St. Maarten CEO Takes Holistic Approach to Steering Cruise Tourism Alexander Gumbs, CEO of Port St. Maarten Group of Companies, shares how he and his team see both the opportunities and the challenges facing an established, marquee destination 36 Bright Outlook for the British Virgin Islands Natasha Chalwell, Marketing Director, British Virgin Islands Port Authority, highlights the optimism among businesses and community stakeholders following last season’s performance 38 Commissioner Joseph Boschulte Promotes U.S. Virgin Islands as a Premier Winter and Spring Destination 40 Puerto Rico Continues Ascent, Evolves ‘Live Boricua’ 40 Dominican Republic’s Historic Milestones & Future Growth On Board 25 Report from Cruise Lines International Association Highlights the Range of Careers and Key Skills Cruise Lines Provide Seafarers 27 Tons of Fun Ships 27 Jordin Sparks Inspires Disney Cruise Line Guests 27 Oasis in Sight Following Icon of the Seas’ Arrival 28 Princess Cruises Takes Delivery of Sun Princess 28 The Silver Lining: Silver Nova Named & Silver Ray Nears Completion 28 Queen Anne to Boast Elevated Retail Experience 29 Celebrity Ascent Earns Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Award 29 New Offerings Aboard Norwegian Joy 29 AIDA’s Ships to Be Modernized 30 MSC Cruises’ Fleet Boosted 30 Record Bookings for P&O Cruises & Cunard 31 Carnival Corporation’s Ambitious 2024 Greenhouse Gas Intensity Reduction CONTENTS 50 38 First Quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise 5
On Land


Micky Arison FCCA Chairman Chairman Carnival Corporation

Michael Bayley President & CEO Royal Caribbean International

Thomas Mazloum President Disney Signature Experiences

Richard E. Sasso Chairman MSC Cruises (USA) Inc.

Harry J. Sommer President & CEO Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings


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 Events & Programs

Justin Paige Director, Communications

Bruna Milazzotto Director of Operations & Ports and Destinations Analytics

Jessica Lalama Executive Assistant

Vanessa Gutierrez Membership Administrator

Welcome to this issue of Travel & Cruise –and for many of you, welcome to Seatrade Cruise Global. I believe we all understand the importance of coming together to develop mutual understanding and success. Of course, this is how we were able to navigate past another unprecedented event.

Now the future is bright with 2023 serving as a record year for cruise tourism in the Caribbean and only growing stronger, and so much of this is directly because of the constant communication and collaboration between cruise lines and destination stakeholders, something that has always been the core mission of Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) – and something that is also continually growing.

In this issue, you will read about some of the efforts and initiatives driving this growth, and some of the people leading the way will take the spotlight.

Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line; Richard Sasso, Chairman of MSC Cruises USA; and Josh Weinstein, President & CEO and Chief Climate Officer of Carnival Corporation, share the spotlight to discuss the Caribbean’s cruise tourism boom and give their glimpses of the future.

There is also a recap of the latest FCCA Platinum Member events, which took place aboard Norwegian Gem in January, along with a preview of the upcoming event in Jamaica this June – all of which join key destination stakeholders with cruise executives to route an itinerary for mutual success, as well as building on the momentum of our initiatives to improve mutual benefits.

Highlights from the destinations and cruise lines show further evidence of the progress that has taken place, along with some opportunities for the future, such as the cover story on the Cayman Islands charting new waters while exploring a cruise pier.

Of course, we also detail some of the opportunities and events awaiting our partners at Seatrade Cruise Global, including the reimagining of our marquee event to support the relaunching and revamping of our charitable arm that has benefited hundreds of thousands of lives in its decades of operation.

Hope to see you at our booth (1841) and future events!

Respectfully yours,


First Quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise 7
Paige with Hon. Julianna O’Connor-Connolly, Premier of the Cayman Islands, at the FCCA site visit detailed in the cover story


Jason Liberty

CLIA Global Chair President & CEO Royal Caribbean Group

Micky Arison Chairman Carnival Corporation & plc

Richard D. Fain Chair Royal Caribbean Group

Thomas Mazloum President Disney Signature Experiences

Charles B. Robertson President & CEO American Cruise Lines

Harry J. Sommer President & CEO Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Pierfrancesco Vago Executive Chairman MSC Cruises

Josh Weinstein

President & CEO Carnival Corporation & plc


Kelly Craighead

President & CEO

Donald Brown Senior Vice President, Maritime Policy

Joshua S. Good

Senior Vice President, Global Finance and Operations

Caroline Johnson

Senior Vice President,  Travel Trade Membership

Anne Madison

Senior Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Communications

Jason Park

Managing Director, North America & Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs

Happy Spring!

This season is all about transformation and renewed energy. What better time for colleagues from around the world to gather at Seatrade Cruise Global, the world’s largest cruise industry event. This year’s theme is “The Evolution of Cruise,” shining a spotlight on the latest developments in sustainability, technology, entertainment, retail, and the ocean of opportunities for tomorrow’s talent.

There is much to be excited about this year including the fact that cruise is thriving as a holiday choice around the world. The industry is going strong, with 36.4 million passengers projected for 2024 and 2023 as the new benchmark, surpassing 2019. We are back on an upward trajectory, and the future looks bright. Released at Seatrade, CLIA’s latest 2024 State of the Global Cruise Industry report can be found at

The growth also extends to an expanded workforce. CLIA just released a new report highlighting careers in cruise, the skills and training offered, and the high job satisfaction levels reflected in strong employee retention in the industry. In 2024, cruise lines employed a multinational workforce of nearly 300,000 seafarers as well as tens of thousands of workers on land. Cruise also provides the most advanced opportunities for women in maritime, with 94% of female seafarers across the world working in the cruise industry. The workforce will continue to grow, with 55 new ships debuting between 2024 and 2028. The full report, “An Ocean of Opportunities,” can be viewed at

With new ships and innovative technology, the cruise industry is investing heavily in its commitment to a decarbonized future. But there is still much to be done to meet decarbonization goals and the industry’s commitment to pursuing net zero emissions by 2050. Among the challenges are sustainable marine fuels available at scale.

We are calling on governments to accelerate the transition by setting more ambitious production targets for sustainable fuels such as biofuels and synthetic fuels. In the US, CLIA and 10 other organizations representing the marine sector have called for attention to the need for sustainable fuel development. We need the federal government to incentivize fuel manufacturers to meet the demand for fuels that will ultimately help us eliminate carbon emissions.

As an industry, we are a powerful force. As cruise continues to grow and evolve, the future will require innovation, collaboration, and commitment. I look forward to seeing the industry bloom from the seeds we are cultivating today.

Together in cruise,

First Quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise 9

Can the Caribbean’s Tourism Boom Continue? Top Cruise Executives Share Their Visions for the Region’s Future

It’s no secret that the Caribbean has been hot, and that’s not just the year-round sunny climate. There has been a bona fide tourism boom, with seemingly a new destination setting a record every day.

The U.S. Virgin Islands was the first to report records following the unprecedented pandemic, and destinations like the Dominican Republic, which surpassed its ambitious goal of over 10 million visitors last year, are showing no signs of slowing down.

In fact, per Caribbean Tourism Organization’s (CTO) January 2024 statistics, 24 out of the 25 destinations that reported international arrival data for 2023 experienced growth, and cruise visits to all eight destinations reporting for the January to December period increased, with growth ranging from 25.8% in the Turks & Caicos Islands to 109.4% in the British Virgin Islands.

Diving into the cruise numbers, it should be no surprise that Caribbean destinations are welcoming increases. Cruising has witnessed meteoric growth, outpacing land-based tourism while surpassing its pre-pandemic numbers and numerous cruise lines reporting record bookings to show the demand.

According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) 2023 State of the Cruise Industry Report, passenger volume in 2023 rose to 31.5 million oceangoing guests globally—representing 106% of 2019’s 29.7 million—and intent to cruise was higher than it was in 2019. (About 85%

of those who have taken a seagoing vacation said they plan to cruise again, compared to 80% pre-pandemic.) This fueled CLIA’s predictions that the annual global passenger count will climb to 36 million in 2024, 37.2 million in 2025, 38.5 million in 2026 and 39.5 million in 2027.

In even better news for the Caribbean destinations, that report showed that while industry is again becoming a highly competitive, globalized environment, the Caribbean accounted for 44% of passenger volume from 2018-2020—up from 34.4% in 2018. By the numbers, that 10% difference would represent 3.6 million cruisers this year.

“…we’re the best partners for people because they can trust what we do…”
—Richard Sasso, Chairman, MSC Cruises USA

What do a few top cruise executives— Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line; Richard Sasso, Chairman of MSC Cruises USA; and Josh Weinstein, CEO and Chief Climate Officer of Carnival Corporation—think about the support for this current growth in Caribbean cruising, how do they view the future, and where are some possible improvements for destinations and stakeholders?

Richard Sasso Advocates for Continuous Improvement and Expansion in the Caribbean

During the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show held in Mazatlán, Mexico, Rick Sasso, Chairman of MSC Cruises USA, provided insights into his optimistic view for the future of the cruise industry and his company’s strategic plans to enhance guest experiences and expand its presence in the Caribbean.

Sasso championed an innovative approach with the introduction of a thought-provoking industry mantra: “If it’s not broken, make it better.”

“There are people making their products better around you,” he said. “And even though you think you’ve got the perfect product today, it could be surpassed by your competition.” This perspective is essential for maintaining competitiveness in the dynamic cruise industry.

He explained further, “I think of that in the cruise sector, and I think destina-

Spotlight 10 First quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise

tions need to think of that. They need to add new services. They need to think about what guests want and not just (believe), ‘I have enough ships and people are happy here.’ No, you should want more tourism and you should want to make what they get even better than what they get today. So, they need to make it better. It’s the only way to keep up nowadays.”

At the same time, Sasso understands that cruise lines also need to stay current with changing realities. “What Jamaica may have been like 20 years ago, or what St. Maarten was like 10 years ago, could be entirely different today,” he noted.

“Our industry is so well served because FCCA almost requires us to visit destinations that our cruise passengers get to see. And the destinations are the benefactor(s) as well because they expose their incredible product virtues to the most important seasoned cruise line executives to help make our decisions about itineraries down the road,” said Sasso, describing the symbiotic relationship supported by the FCCA.

He proudly spoke about MSC Cruises’ significant investments in North America, including “the largest cruise terminal in North America in Miami” and the development of Ocean Cay, described as “an iconic new out island destination.”

Sasso attributed the company’s agility and reliability to its status as a “privately-owned family company,” which allows for rapid growth and expansion: “We have the youngest fleet, and again, we’re privately-owned, so we’re nimble, and we’re the best partners for people because they can trust what we do, and what we say will be something that they can live with in their own decisions.”

“…the Caribbean is embedded in the North American consumer and in the European consumer.”
—Josh Weinstein, President & CEO, Carnival Corporation

Expressing confidence in the post-pandemic period, Sasso noted, “We’re doing better today than we were in 2019,” and stated that MSC is the fastest growing line in the history of cruising and aims to consolidate its position as a leader in Europe, South America, and South Africa while focusing more on North America.

Through strategic expansion, a commitment to innovation, and a continuous improvement philosophy, Rick Sasso’s leadership is steering MSC Cruises towards a promising future, with the Caribbean at the forefront of the company’s growth plans.

Josh Weinstein Optimistic on the Future of Caribbean Cruising

As one of the cruise industry’s most fervent advocates, Josh Weinstein, President, CEO and Chief Climate Officer of Carnival Corporation & plc, holds an optimistic outlook on the future of cruising in the Caribbean. He predicts that 2024 will mark a milestone year of growth and success, and his vision of a future for the Caribbean is brimming with endless possibilities.

“I am bullish and a huge cheerleader for this industry,” Weinstein shared. “We have an amazing product. We don’t suffer the same service issues that land alternatives seem to suffer, and yet they’re incredibly higher priced than we are.

“[As] Carnival Corporation, we want to close that gap. We can do that while maintaining better service and still being a value. So for us, playing into consumer’s mindset, that ticks a lot of boxes.”

He continued that the destinations are a large piece of that puzzle, and the “Caribbean’s a huge piece of that equation.”

Another factor and reason to be bullish is the record booked position and demand that showcases. “It’s not pentup demand. Pent up demand is something that people talked about two years ago when you could finally cruise.

“Again, this is two years later. This is people who enjoy cruising, who want to experi-

First Quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise 11

ence cruising for the first time and see the value. And that’s why we’re very confident because we think it’s built to last, and because we have so much forward knowledge of that booking profile, we have a pretty good idea of how 2024 is going to look, and we believe it’s going to be nicely stronger than [2023].”

What about the strategic importance and appeal of the Caribbean? Responding to that question, Weinstein praised the partnership between the Caribbean and Carnival.

“It is five decades long already, and we expect many more decades to come. We own and operate destinations around the Caribbean. We’ve got great partners all over the Caribbean. It’s embedded in our corporation, and the Caribbean is embedded in the North American consumer and in the European consumer.”

Weinstein referenced his tenure with Carnival UK and pointed out that P&O Cruises is the biggest cruise line in the southern Caribbean because of the popularity of its Barbados program.

“So, we have a footprint all over the Caribbean for source markets from all over the world, and it’s a draw because it is beautiful, it is unique…It’s not a place; it’s dozens and dozens and dozens of places that can cater to different brands and different audiences, and it’s going to be here for the long term.”

Holland America Line’s Gus Antorcha on Mastering the Fundamentals of Hospitality

Holland America Line, under the leadership of Gus Antorcha, is spearheading improvements in cruise guest experiences by emphasizing essential hospitality elements.

Antorcha, the President of Holland America, believes in mastering hospitality fundamentals, such as a smooth arrival process and the genuine warmth of reception, to enhance customer satisfaction significantly.

According to Antorcha, paying meticulous attention to every aspect of the guest’s journey—including tours, transportation, and shopping—is fundamental to delivering memorable experiences. He stresses the

“No one brings together the principals of all the key stakeholders for the cruise industry the way FCCA does.”
—Gus Antorcha, President, Holland America Line

importance of a well-organized and welcoming setting, where even the simple act of smiling can profoundly impact guests.

“Our guests love shopping, but having it well organized [and] well structured, focusing on just the basics of hospitality…a smile goes a long way,” he remarked. This approach not only elevates the guest experience but also ensures their safety and well-being, which are of utmost priority.

The Caribbean has seen a notable resurgence as a preferred cruising destination, with Holland America playing a key role in offering exceptional voyages in the region. Antorcha is particularly pleased with the positive passenger feedback,

reflecting the destinations’ appeal and the high-quality experiences provided.

“The Caribbean overall has really come back incredibly strong as a destination. The short product, the long product (Holland America concentrates a bit more on the longer product), it’s been great. Passengers have come off the ships with incredible feedback. They’re happy, we’re back visiting the places they love. And so I couldn’t be happier about the performance,” he observed.

Looking to the future, Antorcha is optimistic, focusing on driving demand, refining pricing strategies, and innovating the guest experience. “We’re also looking at offering new and expanded product. This goes beyond the Caribbean; we’re offering a greater selection of 25-plus day cruises – our legendary voyages, which have been incredibly popular and very well received from our guests,” he shared.

Holland America’s approach includes providing more immersive experiences by staying longer in the regions they visit. This strategy includes offering longer 10-11-day Caribbean itineraries and exploring destinations like the Panama Canal, Aruba, Curaçao, and Cartagena more extensively.

Antorcha also acknowledged the vital role of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) in advancing the cruise industry through collaboration and innovation. He praised FCCA for its unique ability to unite key industry stakeholders, which has been instrumental in fostering collective progress and enhancing the global cruising experience. “No one brings together the principals of all the key stakeholders for the cruise industry the way FCCA does,” he commented.

Gus Antorcha’s strategic focus on the fundamentals of hospitality and his vision for Holland America Line are instrumental in paving the way for enriched, secure, and unforgettable travel experiences. As the cruise industry continues to move towards full recovery and growth, the principles he champions, alongside the collaborative efforts facilitated by FCCA, are crucial in shaping its trajectory.

Spotlight 12 First quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise

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

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Business and Relationship Development Hits High Gear on the High Seas

While cruises usually signify a long-awaited trip with family and loved ones for most, a group of more than 250 gathered at PortMiami on January 11, ready to board Norwegian Gem with another sense of anticipation for the annual FCCA PAMAC Cruise Summit.

The dozens of high-level cruise executives and the largest FCCA Platinum Member delegation in the event’s history— representing 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—knew what was in store for and the opportunities awaiting on the high seas beyond the voyage to Key West, Cozumel, and Great Stirrup Cay in The Bahamas.

As 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

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

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 Norwegian Gem 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 product to a new child or hobby.

Dinner followed, where the group could continue their discussions or start new ones at their leisure through Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle Dining that allowed them to follow their mood, not a schedule, while enjoying the 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.

Most awoke joyously the next morning knowing the fun-filled day in Key West awaiting them, while a small team of cruise executives gathered for the monthly FCCA Operations Committee meeting where they discuss industry matters around the regions.

The following day featured one of the summit’s most important proceedings, the FCCA PAMAC Industry 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

Meeting and Events
14 First quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise

development, itinerary development, and more, with Platinum Members able to present any point to a panel of Member Line executives that was led by FCCA Operations Committee Chair, Daniel S. Farkas, Executive Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) and included Carlos Estrada, Director of Commercial Home Port Operations, Carnival Cruise Line; Jose Fernandez, Vice President, Port Strategy, Development & Operations for Disney Cruise Line; Wendy McDonald, Regional VP of Government Relations, Caribbean, for Royal Caribbean Group; and Paolo Mezzino, Director, Port Operations North America and Caribbean for MSC Cruises.

Farkas first acknowledged and thanked FCCA’s strategic partners – the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Sint Maarten, and the U.S. Virgin Islands –for demonstrating their belief in FCCA to bolster their benefits from cruise tourism, and then continued that the entire audience was aware of the impact of working with FCCA and the importance of being at Platinum Member events.

He emphasized the importance of coming together to discuss the good, bad and everything in between – and mentioned he was honored that Norwegian Cruise Line could provide the opportunity to come together as an industry, something that constantly happens under the FCCA Operations Committee.

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

In all, the Industry Meeting was a treasure trove of invaluable industry intelligence, preparing for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, with the executives sharing insight and wisdom, and underscoring the importance of networking and advocacy.

The group then changed gears with the thrill of one-on-one FCCA PAMAC meetings at an exhilarating 52 knots per hour, skimming through the coastal waters of Cozumel, Mexico—business meeting adventure at its best!

The tours allowed 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.

Additionally, the visit to Cozumel featured a special reception to honor the group and feature Diamonds International for their support of the FCCA Foundation that made its relaunch possible and will soon again benefit so many throughout the communities with its renewed focus on establishing a foundation for children’s present and future with initiatives focused on education, sports, and career opportunities.

The next day was dedicated to a session of one-on-one meetings, where

First Quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise 15

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

An idyllic sunrise over the pristine waters of Great Stirrup Cay rang in the next day, where the group could partake in the activities before the final event that evening, the Farewell Reception that gave the group time and freedom for more product promotion and discussions including not only work, but also the enthusiasm about the activities and even some of the lessons learned and inspiration given, before starting to look forward to the next PAMAC event.

Upcoming FCCA PAMAC Destination Summit in Jamaica

Taking place in Jamaica from June 12-14, the Destination Summit will give a landbased 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 Jamaica 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, CEO, 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

“…lets them better understand not only the latest happenings and offerings, but also each other…”
—Michele Paige, CEO, FCCA

of the best ways to synergistically grow and improve.”

By hosting the event, Jamaica will display local sites, facilities, food, products and more – including its airfare and hotel options – to the influential audience. Additionally, Jamaica can coordinate specialized meetings with the attending executives for government leaders, tour operators, suppliers and more to help Jamaicans prosper from cruise tourism.

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

Meeting and Events
16 First quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise

Maximizing Seatrade Cruise Global: Easy as FCCA

Seatrade Cruise Global is an exciting time for Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), synonymous with renewing and creating business partnerships, discussing ideas and tackling industry issues with the attending cruise line representatives and global stakeholders. Of course, these opportunities are vast during the event’s standard programming, but FCCA maximizes these chances for its Platinum Members and partners throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico.

After all, Seatrade and FCCA have developed a strong, synergistic relationship while working together for more than a quarter century. The collaboration began back in the early 1990s, with FCCA actively participating in the planning and organization of Seatrade and Seatrade supporting FCCA’s Caribbean-based annual conference, fundraising events and charitable activities.

Today, that collaboration benefits FCCA members participating in Seatrade Cruise Global. As with everything in which FCCA participates, one of its main goals is to positively impact the working

relationship between its partners from destinations’ private and public sectors along with executives from FCCA Member Lines that represent more than 90 percent of the ocean cruise capacity.

“FCCA opens the door to the cruise industry and puts you in the middle of the action.”
—Micky Arison, Chairman, Carnival Corporation & plc

One of the ways FCCA does this is by providing multiple events and opportunities to put members on a first-name basis with high-level executives from Member Lines, even presidents and CEOs, to forge relationships that can put a foot in the door and welcome more business. This is a key component of the FCCA Platinum Membership program and a vital resource for any entity doing or desiring business with the cruise industry.

To foster these engagements during Seatrade and help actualize its numerous resources and high-level attendees, FCCA programmed a block of functions coinciding with the event to ensure that Platinum Members have a direct line to FCCA Member Line executives.

The FCCA booth itself serves as the site for many of these. Besides being a one-stop shop for all attendees to learn more about FCCA and what it offers, the booth also hosts networking receptions to promote destinations and companies, while bringing together Platinum Members and cruise executives in a private atmosphere. Plus, many of the same executives and mem-

Meeting and Events 18 First quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise

bers cycle in and out of the booth for meetings arranged by FCCA.

There are also the annual FCCA events that have become tradition for many cruise executives and Platinum Members. An annual pre-event welcoming reception cooks up appetizing opportunities for members and cruise executives to reacquaint and prepare for the days and discussions ahead, with this year’s Sunday event serving up a more comfortable and intimate barbecue style.

FCCA’s main event for Seatrade Cruise Global is making its triumphant return this year, as it also signifies the relaunch of FCCA’s charitable arm, the FCCA Foundation, once synonymous with the ‘Holiday Gift Project’ on top of its annual poster and essay competitions, hurricane relief efforts, including an award-winning marketing campaign following the historic Hurricanes Irma and Katrina, support of orphanages, and so many more initiatives to improve lives throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico.

“I cannot be prouder to again help so many through the FCCA Foundation, especially with its revamped focus and collaborative partners like Diamonds International,” said Michele Paige, CEO, FCCA. “There also seems like no better way than to bring it back with a bang, with surprises galore, and putting us back on path for this annual highlight.”

Taking place on the evening of Tuesday, April 9, the ‘Shining Stars FCCA Foundation Dinner’ will gather attendees and high-level cruise executives for an exclusive, executive-packed event. The invitation-only event was coordinated by FCCA and supported by FCCA Member

“…back on path for this annual highlight.”
—Michele Paige, CEO, FCCA

Cruise Lines, with Presidents, CEOs, and more high-level cruise executives hosting tables to raise money for the reintroduction and revisioning of the Association’s charitable arm, the FCCA Foundation.

“FCCA has a way of making business and networking fun at events like this, and I am confident that this one will not to be missed, especially considering the worthy cause it represents,” said Micky Arison, Chairman of FCCA and Carnival Corporation & plc.

All event proceeds will go directly to the FCCA Foundation’s efforts and its revamped focus on building a foundation for youths throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, with primary identified objectives of education, sports, and career-building opportunities to help them thrive in the present and future.

The event and relaunch of the FCCA Foundation has been supported by a new collaborative partnership with Diamonds International. As part of the partnership, both entities are combining their resources, especially on the focus of direct contact with local communities to determine needs and ways to help that can generate long-term benefits.

Indeed, Seatrade Cruise Global will provide a clear vision of the industry’s past, present and future while benefitting participants with its success-proven formula combined with numerous new features, but FCCA offers backstage passes to visit the rock stars: key decision makers from FCCA Member Lines.

Or, as Micky Arison said, “FCCA opens the door to the cruise industry and puts you in the middle of the action.”

First Quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise 19

Puerto Rico Gears Up to Host FCCA Annual Conference in 2025 and 2026

Puerto Rico is eagerly preparing to host the annual Cruise Conference & Trade Show by the FloridaCaribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) in 2025 and 2026, sparking excitement within the tourism industry.

Crystal J. Bell, Director of Air and Cruise Access at the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, shared her enthusiasm, recognizing the event as a milestone for the island’s cruise sector.

Bell emphasized that this event offers a platform to spotlight improvements and investments in cruise port infrastructure and services. “This is a significant moment for us as it allows us to display the advancements and investments that are being made at the ports,” Bell said, underscoring the event’s role in promoting progress in Ponce, Ceiba, and other emerging ports, including those catering to smaller luxury cruise ships.

Looking forward to the cruise industry’s recovery, Bell anticipates approx-

imately 1.5 million passengers in the current season, reinforcing Puerto Rico’s growing status as a premier Caribbean cruise destination.

Bell also underscores the pivotal role of FCCA’s PAMAC Summit events in

“These events are a catalyst for business.”
—Crystal J. Bell, Director, Air and Cruise Access, Puerto Rico Tourism Company

driving business development for Puerto Rico. She cited the success story of Royal Caribbean’s new Icon of the Seas making a technical stop in Ponce before its official launch this year.

“These events are a catalyst for business,” she said, noting their potential to spark out-of-the-box ideas and discussions that pave the way for new business opportunities.

The return of the FCCA conference to Puerto Rico highlights the island’s resilience and expansion in the cruise sector. It provides an opportunity to showcase its rich culture, warm hospitality, and state-of-theart port facilities to global industry leaders.

As preparations are underway for next year’s conference, Puerto Rico aims to strengthen its standing as a leading cruise destination, cultivate new partnerships, and affirm its commitment to excellence in the cruise industry.

This year’s annual conference will be held in St. Maarten from October 21–25, 2024.

Meeting and Events 20 First quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise

CLIA Cruise Week –Europe: First European Cruise Expo Exceeds Expectations

The cruise industry’s value chain in Europe and the industry’s environmental transition were front and center topics as CLIA Cruise Week – Europe in Genoa drew nearly 2,000 participants from all over the globe. Among attendees were the CEOs of all the major cruise companies, 220 cruise line representatives, government officials – including Italian Government Ministers and Ministers from around Europe – and representatives of companies, authorities and institutions.

For the first time, the event combined the annual CLIA European Summit and, new this year, the launch of the CLIA Innovation Expo, which featured 120 booths, and served to introduce 180 representatives from participating companies to more the 90 buyers from cruise lines.

The week was organized by CLIA in collaboration with the Liguria Region, the Municipality of Genoa, the Sea Port Authority of Western Liguria, and the Genoa Chamber of Commerce, and took place 11-15 March at the waterfront Jean Nouvel Pavilion.

More than 150 speakers discussed such topics as the decarbonization of the cruise industry, innovation, public policy, destination management priorities, marine life conservation, careers in cruise and more. The sessions were designed to educate the cruise community and key stakeholders.

“The future of the industry is directly linked to the health of our planet,” said CLIA Global Chair Jason Liberty, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “As we work on developing solutions to reduce consumption and emissions, we look forward to strengthening our partnerships with ports, governments, and communities in tandem to ensure that the necessary infrastructure for the energy transition is in place, including shore power and readily available sustainable fuels at scale.”

Representatives of major cruise lines and Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, appearing on an Innovation in Cruise panel moderated by CLIA CEO Kelly Craighead, highlighted that the cruise industry is already, in cooperation with fuel producers and engine manufacturers, making significant investments in preparing for the possible use of a variety of sustainable energy sources – such as biofuels, e-fuels, electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. However, sustainable fuel available in quantity remains a missing link towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Officials called on European governments to accelerate the transition by setting more ambitious fuel production targets. CLIA estimates that 44,000 tonnes of sustainable marine fuels will be needed in Europe by 2025 to be in line with 2030 European Union decarbonization goals.

“The future of the industry is directly linked to the health of our planet.”
—Jason Liberty, CLIA Global Chair & Royal Caribbean Group President & CEO

In a major step towards a sustainable future for cruise, CLIA announced that RINA, a leader in marine engineering and consultancy, had been contracted to do a comprehensive Global Investment Plan Study combining fuel infrastructure, technology and sailing routes to identify local investment needed for the industry to decarbonize by 2050.

Also highlighted at the conference was the extensive value chain affiliated with cruise in Italy and Europe.

Italy is likely to exceed 14 million cruise passengers in 2024, confirming the country as the most visited European destination. Italy is also the main European beneficiary of cruising from an economic perspective. In 2022, of the total 56.4 billion euros cruise generated in Europe, 15.6 billion euros were generated in Italy.

Shipbuilding is a key economic driver in Italy and Europe. According to CLIA, there are 55 new cruise ships on order globally in the next five years, representing an investment of 33.9 billion euros. Of those ships, 52 will be built in Europe. Through 2028, nearly 50% of the new ships globally will be built in Italian shipyards.

New research from Risposte Turismo unveiled at Cruise Week – Europe looked at the Hotel, Food and Beverage (HF&B) chain in cruise in the Western Med and found that local procurement is 25% to 30% (compared to 15% to 20% for hotels). The largest category of procurement from local suppliers (32%) is food, representing a spend of 65.7 million euros. Among the sourcing: 7 million euros worth of eggs.

Lead sponsors for Cruise Week –Europe 2024 were RINA and Fincantieri (Founding Leaders), Lloyd’s Register, Welbilt and Luxury & Yacht Projects (Premier Contributors). The European Summit was supported by Risposte Turismo.

The next CLIA Cruise Week –Europe will be held in Rotterdam, 11-14 March 2025.

First Quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise 21
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Report from Cruise Lines International Association Highlights the Range of Careers and Key Skills Cruise Lines Provide Seafarers

In 2024, cruise lines will employ a multinational workforce of nearly 300,000 seafarers, in addition to tens of thousands of employees on land, according to a new Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) workplace development report.

The workforce is also primed for growth in upcoming years, with 55 new cruise ships debuting from 2024 to 2028.

In the “An Ocean of Opportunities” report, CLIA highlights the vast array of opportunities offered by the cruise sector. A single ship may have as many as 450 roles onboard from maritime operations to guest services – and including such unexpected roles as gardener, acrobat and surf instructor.

The report showcases the career journeys of seafarers from around the world and their passion for working on cruise ships. Impressively, the cruise industry has a high employee retention rate of 80% (compared to the hospitality industry where turnover rates are upwards of 70%). Many seafarers celebrate long-service awards of 20+ years.

The cruise sector also provides the most advanced opportunities for women in maritime, with 94% of women seafarers across the world working in the cruise industry.

With more than 300 ships in destinations around the world in 2024, CLIA member cruise lines recruit and rely on a truly global workforce representing more than 150 countries. Depending on the size of a ship, the number of crew on board may vary from 300 to more than 2,300, with the workforce representing as many as 75 nationalities at any given time.

To fill job openings at sea and on shore, cruise lines are focused on the future and always looking for new talent.

The new report provides an overview of life onboard cruise ships and the regulatory framework supporting the well-being

of the global seafarer community; discusses career opportunities and training; and features firsthand accounts from crew working on cruise ships. There is also a section on how to find a job in cruise.

While highlighting current job opportunities in the cruise industry, the report also looks to future needs as the industry pursues net zero emissions by 2050. A new and critical area will be equipping seafarers with the skillsets to operate new technologies and alternative fuels. As the industry transitions, thousands of seafarers will need to be trained in alternative fuels technologies, the number progressively increasing each decade, especially into the 2040s.

Equally important is the need to adapt training to changing procedures and processes related to digitalization, with new skills required as digitalization accelerates.

In addition to direct employment with cruise lines, the report notes that a wealth of jobs is supported by the cruise industry around the world, including in areas such as shipbuilding, port operations, provisioning and tourism. It’s estimated that more than 1.2 million people around the world rely on the cruise industry and cruise ecosystem for their livelihoods.

The full report, An Ocean of Opportunities, can be viewed on CLIA’s website at

On large ships you may find as many as 450 different types of jobs D EC K M ED I CAL TEAM EN G I N EER I N G HOTEL AND GUEST SERVICES CAPTAIN
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Revolutionizing Waste Management in Ports: Innovative Circular Solutions to Combat Climate Change and Marine Pollution.

PS Maritime Sustainability Solutions is committed to making a significant impact on the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in the area of climate action. Our innovative circular economy solutions for waste management, combined with our waste carbon impact traceability model, enable us to track the carbon impact of each waste stream's management, promoting responsible consumption and production while reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste disposal.

Our approach to ship generated waste management not only helps prevent marine pollution but also supports the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, helping to combat climate change. By promoting the circular economy, we aim to reduce waste generation, increase recycling rates, and prevent marine pollution, supporting the United Nations' Life Below Water goal.

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Join MPS Maritime Sustainability Solutions in the fight against climate change and marine pollution by partnering with us today. Together, we can create a more sustainable and resilient waste management system that supports economic growth while reducing environmental impacts.

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Tons of Fun Ships: Gwen Stefani Names Carnival Jubilee, Carnival Firenze

Joins Fleet & 4 th Excel-Class Ship Ordered

The stars were out in Texas as Carnival Cruise Line celebrated the naming of its new flagship Carnival Jubilee, global music superstar Gwen Stefani was honored as the ship’s godmother, and Feb. 24 was declared “Carnival Jubilee Day” by Galveston Mayor Craig Brown – all on the same day that marked the 100th birthday of the late Ted Arison, Carnival Cruise Line’s founder.

“We hold a very warm place in our hearts for Carnival Cruise Line because they initiated the entire cruise industry for the City of Galveston. They were the first and will always be first in our hearts,” said Brown.

Stefani spent the day on the ship, visiting the bridge to meet the captain and blowing the ship’s horn and then cutting the ribbon at several venues before the naming ceremony. Noting that Carnival Jubilee is the first brand new ship to be homeported in Galveston, and the first cruise ship to be christened in Galveston, Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy welcomed the guests and thanked the Galveston community for their decades of support. And with reference to the embossed Texas star on the bow of the ship, she assured them that Galveston is Carnival Jubilee’s forever home.

The historic day followed on the heels of Carnival Firenze joining the Carnival Cruise Line fleet from sister line Costa

Cruises on Feb. 2. Team members from both cruise lines met on the ship’s bridge to complete the handover – and marking the start of a two-month refurbishment project to bring many of the favorite features Carnival guests know and love on board – with a touch of Italy.

“The beauty of Florence, Italy is about to meet the FUN of Carnival Cruise Line! We are elated to welcome Carnival Firenze to the Carnival fleet, joining her sister Carnival Venezia to showcase ‘Carnival Fun Italian Style,’” said Duffy.

Additionally, a sister for Carnival Jubilee is on the way, as Carnival Corporation signed an agreement with Meyer Werft to build a fourth Excel-class cruise ship for Carnival Cruise Line. The ship, the 10th Excel-class ship in the corporation’s fleet across four of its world-class brands, is expected to enter service in Spring 2027.

Joining current Carnival Cruise Line Excel-class ships Mardi Gras, Carnival Celebration and Carnival Jubilee, the new 180,000-ton ship will carry over 6,400 guests and be powered on an LNG technology platform. This is the first newbuild order placed by Carnival Corporation in five years.

Jordin Sparks Inspires Disney Cruise Line Guests

Award-winning singer-songwriter Jordin Sparks lends her powerful vocals to a magnetic new anthem dedicated to Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Disney Treasure. Released on streaming platforms, “Live the Adventure” sets the tone for a bold new era of Disney Cruise Line vacations as the ship enters the final stages of construction and prepares to set sail in December.

This is the first time Disney Cruise Line has released a signature song for one of its ships, a fitting innovation for an imaginative vessel. Embracing the dynamic tales of Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and Disney Parks, the Disney Treasure will

offer captivating and immersive vacations on the high seas.

Highly anticipated debut experiences include Plaza de Coco, a brand-new theatrical dining experience themed to the Pixar film; Haunted Mansion Parlor, the first-ever bar inspired by the iconic Disney Parks attraction; and “Disney The Tale of Moana,” the world’s first stage adaptation of the beloved animated movie. “Live the Adventure,” with its bold and upbeat arrangement, embodies the unique theme of adventure that connects these heartwarming stories and experiences aboard the Disney Treasure, a motif inspired by Walt Disney’s legendary passion for travel and exploration.

The Disney Treasure, sister ship to the Disney Wish that launched in 2022, will embark on its maiden voyage, a seven-night Eastern Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida, on Dec. 21, followed by an inaugural season of seven-night itineraries to the Eastern and Western Caribbean from Port Canaveral.

Oasis in Sight Following Icon of the Seas’ Arrival

The new year kicked off with an iconic celebration. On Wednesday, Jan. 10, Royal Caribbean International’s highly anticipated Icon of the Seas took center stage as it arrived in Miami for the first time. The first-of-itskind combination of the best of every vacation was welcomed with fanfare by air, land and sea, ahead of its official debut on Jan. 27.

Counting down to the start of a new era of vacations, local residents and Royal Caribbean fans, executives and employees were on hand as the first to see Miami’s newest resident. Icon arrived to PortMiami in style, with celebratory fireboat salutes, banner planes in flight and a community celebration at Pérez Art Museum to mark the new vacation’s first appearance of many to come in the Magic City.

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In store on Icon is an all-encompassing lineup of experiences that combines the best of every vacation – from the beach retreat to the resort escape and the theme park adventure – making the first-of-its-kind adventure the way to get away for every type of family and vacationer. Across eight neighborhoods that are destinations in and of themselves are firsts and next-level favorites for everyone day and night, including adrenaline-pumping thrills like six record-breaking waterslides at Category 6 and the Crown’s Edge experience at 154 feet above the ocean, and unrivaled ways to chill with seven pools – one for every day of the week – like the first suspended infinity pool at sea. The game-changing experiences also include a stay-all-day neighborhood designed for families with young kids, more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges; deck-defying entertainment across air, ice, water and theater; and more.

And more is in store, as Royal Caribbean Group has entered into an agreement with French shipbuilder Chantiers de l’Atlantique to order a seventh Oasis Class ship for delivery to its Royal Caribbean International fleet in 2028.

“While we eagerly anticipate the debut of Royal Caribbean’s Utopia of the Seas this summer, we’re already dreaming up her sister ship and the next installation in the brand’s extremely popular Oasis Class,” said Jason Liberty, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. “Across our three brands, we are focused on continuously challenging ourselves to deliver the ultimate vacation experience.”

Princess Cruises Takes Delivery of Sun Princess

Princess Cruises has taken delivery of Sun Princess, an entirely new ship platform designed by Fincantieri exclusively for the Princess brand. The 175,500-ton, 4,300guest Sun Princess is the most impressive luxurious and stunning Love Boat ever created, offering an array of exciting new entertainment and activities, as well as

sensational staterooms and suites across a broad spectrum of categories.

With the most balconies on any Princess ship, guests can take in the sunshine and crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean and Caribbean from the comfort of their stateroom. The Dome, a transformational entertainment venue inspired by the terraces of Santorini, is the perfect place to relax and the Arena! is an evolution and the most technologically advanced Princess Theater design.

The Silver Lining: Silver Nova Named & Silver Ray Nears Completion

Heralding a new world of luxury at sea, Silversea officially named Silver Nova during an intimate ceremony in Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 4, honoring maritime traditions to welcome the ‘Ship of Light’ to its fleet. The most environmentally conscious ultra-luxury ship ever built, the 728-guest Silver Nova strengthens Royal Caribbean Group’s commitment to delivering the world’s best vacations, responsibly.

“It is fitting that we officially named Silver Nova – a truly pioneering ship – in the same year Silversea celebrates its 30th anniversary: the ship connects our history with our tomorrow, striking a perfect balance between our Brand’s refined heritage and the future of ultra-luxury cruise travel,” said Barbara Muckermann, President of Silversea.

“Launching this pioneering ship would not have been possible without the invaluable support of Jason Liberty, and all involved at Royal Caribbean Group, Silversea, and Meyer Werft. A strong expression of our brand positioning , Silver Nova will immerse guests into the world’s most enriching destinations, championing human connection and cultural discovery. For this reason, Chef Nina Compton is the perfect fit for the ship’s Godmother – her values perfectly align with those at the heart of our S.A.L.T. culinary program, and I have no doubt she will inspire our guests to engage meaningfully with the planet and its people.”

Additionally, Silversea celebrated the float out of its second Nova-class ship, Silver Ray, at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, on Feb. 25. The float out marks a significant milestone in a ship’s construction, representing the project’s advancement into its final stages. Now nearing completion, Silver Ray is scheduled to debut in the Mediterranean in June as the sixth addition to Silversea’s fleet in just three years.

“With the float out of Silver Ray, excitement is building for the launch of the second ship in our pioneering Nova-class,” said Muckermann. “We received such incredibly strong feedback on Silver Nova from guests, travel advisors, and members of the press following her launch in August 2023. Sustaining the wave of innovation that is driving our success, the launch of Silver Ray will strengthen Royal Caribbean Group’s unwavering commitment to delivering a lifetime of vacations for guests, with its industry-leading global brands.”

Queen Anne to Boast Elevated Retail Experience

Cunard has revealed a glimpse of the elevated retail experiences awaiting guests on Queen Anne. The world’s most iconic luxury cruise line has announced a unique collection of 115 household brands that will have a presence on board, from luxury

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watchmakers Bremont to the beauty division of French fashion house, Chanel.

And 27 of these exciting brands also represent first-time partnerships for Cunard – including Hugo Boss, Raishma, Chapel Down, Whittard, and 886 Royal Mint. Garrard, the first official crown jeweler in the UK, will also have its first boutique on board a Cunard ship.

In addition to an expertly curated selection of fellow Walpole brands on board, Queen Anne will also herald a new era of retail therapy at sea. Walpole is the official sector body for British luxury, and Cunard became a Walpole member in 2019.

The ship’s redefined retail spaces, expertly designed by Sybille de Margerie, will feature meandering pathways to inspire exploration and intrigue, enabling guests to intuitively weave through areas, with seamless connections leading shoppers from one category to another.

“Luxury ocean travel is all about escapism and being immersed in a world full of unique and enriching experiences. It’s a philosophy we are passionate about bringing to life with our new ship Queen Anne, which is why we are all so excited about her elevated retail offering,” said Katie McAlister, President of Cunard.

“Nowhere else will travelers be able to find such a beautifully curated collection of luxury brands at sea or learn about heritage brands in such an engaging way as with Queen Anne’s Cabinet of Curiosities.”

Celebrity Ascent Earns

Forbes Travel Guide FourStar Award

Celebrity Cruises continues to collect accolades with six of its ships receiving an official rating in 2024. Illustrating the importance of innovation and guest centric service is the addition of Celebrity

Ascent, the newest Edge Series ship, to the Four-Star list. Celebrity’s six premium ships earning Star Ratings are Celebrity Ascent, Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Millennium, and Celebrity Summit.

Forbes Travel Guide is the global authority on luxury hospitality and the only global rating system for luxury hotels, restaurants, spas, and ocean cruises. FTG’s professional inspectors travel the world to anonymously evaluate hospitality providers based on hundreds of standards that determine their annual Star Ratings.

“We strive to exceed all expectations for our guests seeking the best in premium vacations, from our level of elevated service, thoughtful amenities, and the highest quality of experiences both on and off our ships. We are honored to be recognized again by the only global rating system for the ocean cruise category,” says Laura Hodges Bethge, Celebrity Cruises President. “We applaud our incredibly talented and dedicated Celebrity crew for another year of international recognition.”

New Offerings Aboard Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Cruise Line recently revealed the new and expanded offerings aboard Norwegian Joy, including a new Thermal Suite in the Mandara Spa and Salon, redesigned Three-Bedroom The Haven Premier Owner’s Suites, an expanded Vibe Beach Club and 24 new balcony staterooms, following a three-week dry dock.

“Our guests have asked for these enhancements to Norwegian Joy, and we delivered,” said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We strive to

evolve the onboard experience based on our guests’ wants and needs, and this is another example of how we put them first in our decision-making. From an expanded spa to additional spacious accommodations, with these new updates, we have given our guests more space to relax, unplug and enjoy their time on board with their loved ones.”

Among the notable updates to Norwegian Joy and the onboard guest experience is the addition of the brandnew spacious Thermal Suite at the Mandara Spa and Salon, which is now the largest within the Breakaway-Plus class ships. Complete with reinvigorating offerings such as the brand-new four senses loungers, a sauna, an ice room, and a steam room, Norwegian Joy guests will enjoy more amenities as a part of NCL’s renowned Mandara Spa experience, which was named “Best Spa” by the editors at Cruise Critic in their 2023 Editor’s Picks Awards. Additionally, Norwegian Joy’s The Haven by Norwegian® Premier Owner’s Suites with a Large Balcony have been expanded to three-bedrooms. The two new suites include three bedrooms; three and a half bathrooms; a fully renovated living room, master bedroom and outdoor balcony furniture; as well as a new separate dining room overlooking the forward-facing The Haven Horizon Lounge.

AIDA’s Ships to Be Modernized With AIDA

Evolution, AIDA Cruises has launched the largest modernization program in its fleet. It is the most extensive in the company’s history. The first phase of the program will be a major overhaul of the Sphinx ships AIDAdiva, AIDAbella and AIDAluna in 2025 and 2026. The focus will be on a new interior design of the ships. In addition, technical equipment and systems will be updated.

All staterooms will be completely redecorated, and the number of suites will be increased. For the first time in this class of ships, exclusive areas and services will be created. Suite guests, for example, will benefit from them. In terms of culinary

First Quarter 2024 | Travel & Cruise 29

delights, guests can look forward to an even greater variety of restaurants, selected signature bars and enhanced services. The heart of the Sphinx ships beats in the very center, in the light flooded Theatrium. This stylish area will be enhanced with inviting seating and a harmonious color concept. Especially for families with children, new activity areas will be introduced.

“The ships of the Sphinx series have written cruise history with their innovative space concept and colorful design. The AIDA Evolution program will further develop these fantastic ships,” said Felix Eichhorn, President of AIDA Cruises.

Carnival Vista Enhanced

Carnival Vista returned to her homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla. following a 30-day dry dock where she received several enhancements including Carnival’s signature red, white and blue hull livery, a new Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge, retail stores, a teen club, arcade and expanded casino.

On the exterior, Carnival Vista now sports Carnival’s signature red, white and blue livery on her hull. Among several interior public areas refreshed, one of the most significant new features is the addition of a Heroes Tribute Bar & Lounge, which is an expanding venue across the Carnival fleet and honors military veterans and active-duty service members. The casino was expanded with a new layout and a separate non-smoking annex has also been added.

For shoppers, there’s an all-new Effy Jewelry store and a new Cherry on Top. A new Club O2 for teens was created in a new location and the ship’s arcade was relocated and redone as well. The Lido Marketplace was also refreshed with a new look.

MSC Cruises’ Fleet Boosted with Starlink Connectivity

MSC Cruises’ ships are now equipped with SpaceX’s Starlink onboard connectivity, with the fleet roll out program completing in May. The low earth orbit solution is currently providing faster internet speeds, improved wi-fi in cabins and public spaces, reduced latency levels and lower operational costs for the line’s fleet of 22 ships following bandwidth and data traffic trials in 2022.

MSC Cruises has seen on board bandwidth consumption continue to rise, driven by both the increase in the number of connected devices and the number of apps that guests like to use. Starlink will provide MSC Cruises with enough capacity to keep up with the future requirements of its guests, crew and also the technical requirements of its fleet of vessels.

MSC Cruises offers a ‘Browse Internet Cruise Package’ and a ‘Browse & Stream Cruise Package’ onboard its fleet that are tailored for its guests to cover the connection and number of devices needed during a sailing.

P&O Cruises Reports Record Bookings

P&O Cruises has reported its strongest January ever, with record-breaking sales volume during the month. The most popular destinations booked were the Caribbean, the Norwegian fjords

and the Atlantic Islands, while P&O Cruises Iona has seen the most interest. In addition, P&O Cruises has seen a longer average booking lead time during this period.

“The beginning of this year’s Wave has once again surpassed all expectations with record-breaking sales indicating a renewed confidence in the holiday market and the excellent value for money that you get with a P&O Cruises holiday,” said Paul Ludlow, P&O Cruises President. “We entered 2024 better booked so we have less reliance on the lates market which is better for us and better for agents in terms of earnings potential.”

Cunard’s New Booking Records

Cunard has reported that during January 2024, it has booked more guests than any equivalent period in the last decade. Across the period, the luxury cruise brand booked a record number of guests, up by 25% versus the previous high of the last 10 years, with demand up for both sailings in year and future years.

“As we prepare to navigate what is set to be a truly ground-breaking year for Cunard, it has been fantastic to have such a strong start to the year,” said Katie McAlister, Cunard President. “The appeal of Cunard is strong for guests across the world and is particularly strong for sailings across Europe on our new ship, Queen Anne.”

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Carnival Corporation’s Ambitious 2024 Greenhouse Gas Intensity Reduction

Carnival Corporation announced it is on pace to achieve an overall 18% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensity on a lower berth capacity basis in 2024 (compared to 2019) – just a few points shy of its 20% reduction goal originally targeted for 2030. By year end, the company expects to have reduced its GHG emission intensity by an impressive 42% on a lower berth capacity basis since its first benchmark in 2008. The company also expects this performance to put it ahead of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) 2030 carbon intensity reduction timeline.

This announcement follows the company’s decision last year to accelerate its stated 2030 GHG intensity reduction goal by four years, committing to at least a 20% cut on a lower berth capacity basis by 2026 (versus 2019 levels). Thanks to the company’s aggressive, longstanding, and ongoing actions to be more energy efficient, reduce overall fuel use, and operate using emission-reducing technologies and lower-emission fuels, Carnival Corporation is producing 10+% less total GHG emissions today than its peak historical year (2011), despite increasing capacity by roughly 30% since that time.

How It’s Being Done

Carnival Corporation is executing on two parallel paths to achieve these significant reductions. First, the company recognizes that using less fuel is the fastest way to reduce GHG emissions and make a tangible impact. Since cruise ships generate their electricity from fuel, Carnival Corporation set out to uncover every area where energy can be saved and cut the amount of fuel used. As a result, the company has implemented several fuel- and energy-saving innovations and continues to invest in improvements to drive further reductions. This includes:

• Upgrading the fleet with innovative technology packages, including modern and efficient HVAC systems, state-of-the-art LED and smart lighting technologies, remote monitoring improvements and more to reduce fuel usage by 5-10% per ship.

• Optimizing hull design and special coatings to minimize drag for greater fuel efficiency.

• Developing more energy-efficient itineraries, fine-tuning hydrodynamics, and using ocean currents and techniques such as weather routing and speed reduction where possible.

• Using shoreside electric power capabilities when available in port – over 60% of the company’s ships are equipped to switch off their engines and “plug in” to local power grids while docked to reduce emissions and noise in port.

• Installing Air Lubrication Systems (ALS) to help ships glide on a cushion of air bubbles with less friction, reducing fuel use for propulsion by up to 5%.

At the same time, lacking zero-emission fuels broadly available to the maritime industry and with fossil fuels as the only viable option at scale today, Carnival Corporation has continued to look for ways to lower GHG and other emissions from the fuel already used while also pioneering lower-emission alternatives and actively exploring new technologies to power its ships. This includes:

• Leading the industry with nine Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)-capable ships in service and two more on order. This is delivering immediate GHG reductions, reducing direct carbon emissions by up to 20%, almost eliminating sulfur dioxides and significantly reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

• Improving air emissions with Advanced Air Quality Systems to “scrub” particulate matter and other compounds from ships’ exhaust.

• Trialing advanced fuel technologies, including a first-of-its-kind lithium-ion battery storage system, testing fuel cells powered by hydrogen derived from methanol and leading the industry in piloting biofuels as a fossil fuel replacement.

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The Cayman Islands Charting New Waters, Looking to Develop Cruise Port in Cayman Brac

The Cayman Islands are charting new waters with their cruise tourism strategy, setting sail towards the lesser-explored gem and second-largest island of the three-island nation – Cayman Brac. This potential expansion of cruise tourism to Cayman Brac marks an important evolution as the destination seeks to diversify its cruise industry and entice cruise visitors to experience more of the Cayman Islands as a whole.

FCCA leadership and senior Cayman Islands government officials including the Premier, Honorable Juliana O’ConnorConnolly, Minister of Tourism and Ports, Honorable Kenneth Bryan and Director of Tourism, Mrs. Rosa Harris, visited the charming shores of Cayman Brac to assess business development opportunities in the pursuit of expanding cruise tourism to the Sister Islands and unlocking new horizons for cruise tourists to explore beyond Grand Cayman.

The group embarked on a full tour of Cayman Brac, exploring a diverse range of built and natural tourism attractions. From fascinating caves and lookout points to cultural attractions and boutique hotels, the itinerary showcased the various experiences in Cayman Brac for cruise tourists.

FCCA executives visited existing port sites on Cayman Brac and engaged in

From fascinating caves and lookout points to cultural attractions and boutique hotels, the itinerary showcased the various experiences in Cayman Brac…

intensive discussions on the cruise tourism opportunities for the island, including a new port of call. The visit highlighted the importance of promoting Cayman Brac’s potential for a leisure cruise industry, emphasized the island’s tourism product, and allowed meaningful interactions with locals and tour guides.

The visit received robust support from various ministries within the Cayman Islands government and showed a collab-

On Land
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Photos by Bryan Cubas Photography

future success. This pioneering venture was made possible through the destination’s partnership with the FCCA, solidifying the Cayman Islands government’s commitment to fostering a thriving cruise industry.

The collaborative effort with the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) team on the ground in Cayman Brac also demonstrated the harmony and shared vision in propelling the Cayman Islands’ tourism industry to new heights.

Why Cayman Brac? The answer lies in the lesser-explored allures of the Sister Islands. Home to a breathtaking bluff, captivating caves, world-class diving sites, hiking trails brimming with unique flora and fauna, and quaint neighborhoods full of Caymanian history, Cayman Brac is the perfect destination for thrill-seekers, nature lovers and cultural travel enthusiasts alike.

Rock climbers of all experience levels are welcome to scale the magnificent bluff. Birdwatchers can enjoy an encounter with the rare Cayman Brac parrot and other winged wonders. Travelers seeking cultural immersion can engage with historic sites of all kinds. This focus on Cayman Brac seeks to position it as more than just a premier

dive destination – it’s a natural and cultural hub waiting to be explored.

This mission is integral to the Cayman Islands’ government’s strategic cruise industry goals as set out in the National Tourism Plan. The Cayman Islands government has a strong commitment to sustainably growing and diversifying the destination’s tourism industry across all three islands.

The decision to extend cruise tourism to Cayman Brac aims to spread economic benefits beyond Grand Cayman, create job opportunities in Cayman Brac, increase Caymanian participation in tourism, and ease pressure on highly touristic areas, contributing to a more sustainable tourism model for the destination.

The visit received robust support…and laid a foundation for future success.

The Minister of Tourism and Ports, Honorable Kenneth Bryan, expressed his excitement about the FCCA partnership and emphasized the benefits of cruise tourism expanding to Cayman Brac: “On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, I am thrilled to grow this strategic partnership with the FCCA as we embark on new cruise tourism endeavors.

“Recognizing cruise tourism as a vital part of our industry and economy, we aim to develop a strategically managed cruise port in Cayman Brac that not only enhances visitor experiences, but also stimulates the growth of Caymanian small and medium-sized businesses, unlocking new opportunities for community development and economic success.”

Minister Bryan’s sentiments resonate with the island nation’s mission to strategically position the Cayman Islands as a central destination for cruise tourism in the Caribbean.

Ultimately, the Cayman Islands’ strategic move to extend cruise tourism to

Cayman Brac opens a new chapter for the tourism industry in the destination. With a dedicated vision for cruise tourism, including a potential new port of call in Cayman Brac, the Cayman Islands looks ahead with its continued partnership with the FCCA that will advance the cruising experience in the Caribbean.

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Port St. Maarten CEO Takes Holistic Approach to Steering Cruise Tourism

As CEO of Port St. Maarten Group of Companies, Alexander Gumbs understands the importance of managing the destination’s primary revenue generator, tourism, from a holistic perspective.

With more than 75% of passengers responding in a recent survey that they have visited “The Friendly Island” previously and research indicating that, on average, each visitor has been to the destination three times, Gumbs works hard to ensure that he and his team see both the opportunities and the challenges facing an established, marquee destination.

“For us, it’s not about sitting down and laying back and counting the laurels of the past, but it’s about truly looking at how best we can adapt, facilitate, and develop our product in comparison to what we’re seeing in some of the private destinations as well,” shared Gumbs.

Part of the successful strategy he has employed since assuming the chief executive post two-and-a-half years ago involves working closely with stakeholders throughout the tourism ecosystem to identify opportunities to leverage Sint Maarten’s remarkably strong cruise sector performance to increase arrivals in the off season; continuing to enhance the guest experience; developing, renewing and rebranding the destination to maintain passengers’ desire to disembark; and sharpening the experiential offerings on land.

Gumbs, who began his career at Port St. Maarten as an intern in 2010, is as pas-

“…how best we can adapt, facilitate, and develop our product…”
–Alexander Gumbs, CEO, Port St. Maarten

sionate as he is knowledgeable about the marine industry and its benefits. He also recognizes the need to attract new talented resources into the field.

“We could also start looking at actually exporting experience in terms of human resources that we can also engage with key associations and local nonprofit organizations locally and have them embedded into the cruise experience, [and] have the opportunities eventually to also be able to have our local products sold on board of cruise ships. And for us, that is how we look at the product from a holistic standpoint,” explained Gumbs.

Outlining a strategic vision for continuing to grow and strengthen St. Maarten’s cruise tourism product and experience has been a top priority for Gumbs since being appointed CEO in 2021. “From the port perspective, there’s great things ahead in terms of our strategic planning. We’ve been working very closely with many of the brands in terms of the plans that we have ahead and also the infrastructural and experience upgrades that we will be basically spearheading in the coming years,” Gumbs said.

The CEO appreciates how important cruise tourism is to Sint Maarten’s overall economic performance. “What we do here in the port doesn’t only affect the port, but it has a trickle over effect to more than 4,000 jobs in the country… So, the manner in which we perform and step to the plate every day also [affects] our neighboring sister islands. And I think that is, for me, one of the key things coming into the office every day — that we have a huge role in the economic development and prosperity of not only Sint Maarten, but our neighboring islands as well.” stated Gumbs.

The capital city of Philipsburg will welcome the FCCA’s 30th Cruise Conference and Trade Show from October 22-25, 2024, with the hallmark event returning to Sint Maarten after last hosting in 2014. Additionally, in 2019, Sint Maarten hosted FCCA’s PAMAC Destination Summit.

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Bright Outlook for the British Virgin Islands

Tourism in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is experiencing remarkable growth. In 2023, the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) reported an impressive total of 720,392 arrivals, which represents an increase of 110% compared to the 343,571 arrivals in 2022. This achievement not only surpasses the previous record of 699,105 set in 2016 but also signals growth in the tourism sector.

Natasha Chalwell, Marketing Director of BVIPA, expressed confidence in the Territory’s future, highlighting the optimism among businesses and community stakeholders following last season’s performance. “I am excited because we have gone through so many things – from the hurricanes to COVID (and) to see our community thriving for me is what drives me.”

Events organized by Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and the cruise industry have played a crucial role in fostering key business relationships for FCCA’s presidential partner. One success story is the collaboration between Jehree D. Clarke of JD’s Candies, a local Virgin Islands confectioner, and Windstar Cruises.

Clarke’s signature coconut fudge is now featured in Windstar Cruises’ Turndown service during the Wind Surf’s

“…to see our community thriving… is what drives me.”
–Natasha Chalwell, Marketing Director, British Virgin Islands Port Authority

visits to the BVI. This partnership underscores the entrepreneurial spirit within the region and the value of leveraging opportunities at industry events.

“When we have opportunities to bring our local products to events like FCCA, and in this case, it happened to be Seatrade, we utilize that opportunity as well to make those connections, which is what we did,” explained Chalwell.

“She’s a young entrepreneur as well, so I think it’s encouraging to be able to share that with the community and to see the other opportunities that cruise brings to the region and the Territory,” Chalwell continued, adding that oftentimes people think only taxi drivers or retail outlets benefit. “But there are so many opportunities, and it was exciting for the BVI Ports Authority to be able to make that connection and be part of that.”

Chalwell also highlighted the immense value that FCCA offers through its blend of formal and informal interactions. She emphasized the association’s unique ability to foster meaningful connections beyond conventional business meetings. According to her, it’s not only the structured one-onone sessions that stand out, but also the rich social events and gatherings that provide a platform for engaging with industry colleagues on different levels, often leading to significant business interactions within more casual settings.

“As we press forward into 2024, FCCA is excited that our cherished friends in the British Virgin Islands are continuing to reap the benefits of our partnership, including strengthened relationships with member cruise lines as well as continued economic growth,” stated Adam Ceserano, President of FCCA.

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Commissioner Joseph Boschulte Promotes U.S. Virgin Islands as a Premier Winter and Spring Destination

On January 18th, Commissioner Joseph Boschulte participated in a highly successful satellite media tour as part of the Department of Tourism’s ongoing effort to increase and sustain visitation into the territory. The tour, which reached target markets including Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and others, garnered significant attention, resulting in 428 airings and reaching an impressive 45.8 million viewers.

Boschulte expressed his excitement, saying, “We’re delighted to have shared our message with millions of viewers, inviting them to discover our islands. The U.S. Virgin Islands blend the beauty of the Caribbean with the convenience of domestic travel, providing a tropical paradise where visitors can immerse themselves in our breathtaking natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.”

A key highlight of the media tour was the introduction of new properties, such as the Morningstar Buoy Haus Beach Resort at Frenchman’s Reef, Autograph Collection, and the Westin Beach Resort

“…the beauty of the Caribbean with the convenience of domestic travel…”
–Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner

& Spa at Frenchman’s Reef in St. Thomas. Another notable addition to the island’s repertoire is Jetcar rentals by VI Exotic Watersports, a unique experience that seamlessly combines the exhilaration of a jet ski with the familiarity of a sports car.

The satellite media tour spotlighted the convenience of U.S. citizens not needing passports when traveling from the U.S. mainland or Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands. It also emphasized the ease of reaching the islands, with direct flights available from major airports, including Boston, Newark, New York, Washington D.C., Charlotte, Atlanta, Miami, and Chicago. This accessibility ensures travelers can quickly embark on their island adventure.

Commissioner Boschulte also highlighted a myriad of activities across each island, from hiking in St. John and visiting the globally acclaimed Honeymoon Beach to experiencing world-class golfing and thrilling diving opportunities in St. Croix. Not to be overlooked is the sensational shopping and dining scene awaiting visitors in St. Thomas. He further accentuated upcoming events like St. Croix’s Annual Agriculture & Food Festival in February, St. Thomas Carnival in April, and St. John Celebration in July.

For more information about the U.S. Virgin Islands and its offerings, please visit

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Stop at any of our ports to experience unique culture, turquoise waters, and picturesque towns with endless shopping and attractions. Come experience the best the Caribbean has to offer.



Puerto Rico Continues Ascent, Evolves ‘Live Boricua’

Puerto Rico has continued its ascent in passenger traffic. San Juan’s largest airport, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), welcomed an 18.3% increase in 2023 compared to 2022 through a total of 12.2 million passengers – and international arrivals lifted off, with 1.27 million for the year, nearly 41% more than 2022 – a product of years of work by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company and due to new and expanded routes on carriers like Avianca, Iberia and Tradewind Aviation.

As another testament in its air traffic rise, SJU is welcoming a crew base by Frontier Airlines, further establishing its presence at the airport. The airline, which operates 14 nonstop routes from SJU, expects to base as many as 90 pilots and 200 flight attendants at the airport within a year of its opening. Frontier notes it has more than doubled capacity to and from the island since 2019.

Additionally, Discover Puerto Rico has evolved its successful ‘Live Boricua’ campaign. The new creative running on TV, digital and social, will delve deeper

into what it means to ‘Live Boricua,’ leveraging emotional storytelling to highlight unique aspects of the Puerto Rican way of life and culture.

In partnership with Puerto Rican Director Luis Gerard and Photographer Stephanie Segarra, as well as an all-Puerto Rican talent and crew, the campaign aims to ignite a new movement within the national and international travel community, encouraging visitors to explore more of the Island and embrace the spirit of adventure. Familiar locations across Puerto Rico are featured in the content, including adventuring in El Yunque, dining with Puerto Rican chef Mario Pagan in Condado, enjoying Luquillo Beach and dancing at La Factoria in Old San Juan.

Since its launch in 2022, the ‘Live Boricua’ campaign has captured the attention and imagination of travelers, showcasing the natural beauty, worldclass beaches and rich cultural heritage of Puerto Rico, which has contributed to record tourism on the Island reaching $9.8 billion in 2023.

Dominican Republic’s Historic Milestones & Future Growth

The Dominican Republic had something to celebrate over the holidays: its 10 millionth visitor of the year. The unprecedented milestone was reached on December 26, with Ariana Guilak receiving a special welcome by Minister of Tourism David Collado at the Punta Cana International Airport.

According to Minister Collado, the country welcomed 7,863,542 tourists by air and 2,168,209 cruise guests – and “each of these visitors are friends of the country who contribute to development, employment to the countryside, to construction and the entire productive apparatus of the country continuing to grow.”

The Dominican Republic then quickly fulfilled its New Year’s resolution for more tourism, with 1,063,983 total visitors in January. The 742,229 tourists by air marked a 10 percent increase compared to January 2023 – and the first time ever passing 700,000 in January. The 321,754 cruise guests reflected a 17 percent growth compared to January 2023.

Of course, more – and sustainable – growth should be expected, especially considering that the Dominican Republic and the United States are on the verge of finalizing the long-awaited open skies agreement, according to Héctor Porcella, the executive director of the Dominican Institute of Civil Aviation (IDAC). He said that the last remaining differences have been resolved. The process has been deemed crucial for the interests of President Luis Abinader and the Dominican people, as it is expected not only to enhance air connectivity between the Dominican Republic and the United States, but also to strengthen commercial and tourism relations.

Vice President Raquel Peña also stressed the need to continue developing sustainable tourism, as it contributes to the

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Pictured are snapshots of Boricuas exploring all the Island has to offer, including dancing at La Factoria and delicious food from Puerto Rican chef Mario Pagan in Condado

economy while simultaneously promoting local culture and production. “Promoting sustainable tourism and fostering environmental and ocean conservation are objectives we support because they can coordinate concrete actions for the benefit of the country’s communities,” she said during the launch of the Genera ITM Foundation.

Additionally, the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic unveiled the national sports tourism strategy and introduced the establishment of the PublicPrivate Sports Tourism Commission at FITUR. Simultaneously, the creation of the Dominican House for the Paris 2024 Games was announced in collaboration with the organization Creating Olympic Dreams (Creso).

Jamaica’s ‘Man of the Year’ & New Destination

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Hon Edmund Bartlett – who was named the “Man of the Year 2023” in the National Caribbean Weekly Magazine and praised for his excellent strategic leadership, while being recognized for his dedication and stellar contribution to regional tourism, taking Jamaica’s tourism industry to new heights, including in earnings, with the nation securing over US $4.265 billion, nearly 18 percent more than 2022 – is driving future tourism investment for St. Thomas.

The aim is for that to become Jamaica’s newest tourist destination. In a meeting with TUI Group, it was confirmed that the company is considering expanding in Jamaica and interested in St. Thomas. The group is looking to add hotels, and St. Thomas has been positioned as the ideal location to support it while ensuring sustainable tourism practices. The Government of Jamaica’s Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP) has provided increased

publicity and opportunities to St. Thomas’ potential as a new investment frontier.

“St. Thomas has become extremely attractive and is ripe for investment as this highway development comes on stream. It only makes sense that as we diversify our tourism products that we zero in on the possibilities that exist in the parish,” said Minister Bartlett.

“I am happy that our long-standing partner, TUI Group, continues to show confidence in the destination by including Jamaica in its expansion plans. This future mega investment will translate to more jobs and opportunities for communities and will be a game changer for the parish.”

Antigua’s Homeporting Moving Full Steam Ahead

On Saturday, January 27, Antigua celebrated another homeporting weekend, with P&O Cruises’ Arvia returned to Antigua and Barbuda for her sixth homeporting call of the 2023/2024 cruise season. The vessel and thousands of guests were welcomed with warmth and glee for the opportunities provided.

The return – and the three more planned visits before season’s end – are a testament to the work Antigua and its people have done to cement itself as a homeport destination.

Other examples followed that same weekend, with Antigua Cruise Port welcoming Emerald Sakara to its port for her seventh of thirteen turnaround calls scheduled for the season, and SeaDream II of the Sea Dream Yacht Club docked for her homeporting call on Sunday. The vessel also made its first turnaround at the port two days later, with the arrival of 79 individuals and 84 passengers ending their itinerary in Antigua.

Antigua Cruise Port also got an impressive start to the New Year with the arrival of 61,995 passengers from January 1-13.

Colombia’s Cabo de La Vela Welcomes First Cruise

Cabo de La Vela received its first cruise ship on January 11, with Emerald Azzurra and her 40 international guests calling. The operation marked a significant milestone for the region and opened doors to the possibility of welcoming more ships in the future, according to ProColombia – and Minister Germán Umaña Mendoza called it a “historic event” for local tourism, pointing out that government has been working for the development of a responsible, regenerative, and sustainable tourism.

Carmen Caballero, president of ProColombia, expressed pride in achieving the historic moment and called the area “a paradisiacal destination with rich cultural heritage and a lush natural environment.”

The onshore experience at Cabo de la Vela was directed by Colombia 57 and created in collaboration with local authorities and ProColombia to establish a tour that included a cultural immersion in a ranchería (small rural settlement with the traditional constructions of the Wayuu indigenous community) and an interactive activity with local students teaching Wayuunaiki words.

According to ProColombia, the cruise industry in Colombia is undergoing “exponential growth.” The country registered a 151 percent increase in arrivals and 346 percent rise in passenger arrivals between the 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons.

Projections for the 2023-24 season indicate a further surge in cruise activity, with an estimated 214 visits from at least 30 cruise lines and approximately 329,226 passengers.

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New Travel Requirements for Mexican Visitors and Crew Entering Canada

As of February 29, the Government of Canada changed its travel requirements for Mexican citizens traveling to or through the country as leisure or business visitors. Before traveling to Canada, Mexican citizens must have a visa and biometric information under the new rules. A visitor visa is required for travel to Canada by car, bus, train, or water, including a cruise ship (even if staying on board the ship while in Canada). Family members traveling together may have different requirements. These changes apply even to those who have already booked their travel.

Mexican citizens who hold a valid US non-immigrant visa or have held a Canadian visa in the past 10 years and are traveling on a Mexican passport will be able to apply for an electronic travel authorization (eTA). With the high number of Mexican citizens currently holding US visas, the majority will continue to enjoy visa-free travel to Canada, but still must apply electronically for the eTA. Those who do not meet these conditions will need to apply for a Canadian visitor visa. To better serve travelers under the new requirements, Canada is expanding its network of visa application centers in Mexico.

A Mexican crew member arriving by air to join a vessel needs a visitor visa. Additional information is being sought from Canadian authorities as to implications for crew members already on board without the required visa.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is working with its member cruise lines and Immigration Canada to limit disruption to crew and guests booked on Canada/New England cruises and Alaska cruises. These new requirements also apply to cruises originating in other countries that have a Canadian port of call on the itinerary. More information about these changes can be found on the Government of Canada’s website.

Wilmington Waterfront Promenade Officially Opens

Led by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, hundreds of community members and leaders joined Port of Los Angeles officials on February 3 to celebrate the grand opening of the $77.3 million Wilmington Waterfront Promenade, a nine-acre project creating a “window on the waterfront” for the community. Later in the day, the new venue was used as the site for the Port’s 10th Annual Lunar New Year Festival.

“As a result of years of community involvement, Wilmington now has green space for the community to enjoy,” said Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass. “These are the types of investments that are needed to revitalize all of our communities and Los Angeles as a whole. They bring economic growth but also open up opportunities to continue to set Los Angeles on the world stage. Thank you to the leaders who helped make the promenade possible.”

Located along the water’s edge of Berths 183-186 at the Port of Los Angeles and adjacent to Banning’s Landing Community Center, the new open space development features three distinct visitor experience areas: the promenade, the bluff and the upland expanse. Each visitor-friendly area includes unique seating and views of the water, convenient pet stations, drinking fountains and trash/recycling receptacles.

Completion of the project sets the stage for the next-phase public access improvement project planned for Wilmington by the Port. The Avalon Pedestrian Bridge and Promenade Gateway is slated to start construction in early 2025 and create another 12 acres of new open space for the Wilmington community, while also connecting Harry Bridges Boulevard and Avalon Boulevard to the LA Waterfront.

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Amber Cove & Ensenada Celebrate 1 Million Cruise Guests

With its Fun Ships filled with guests from the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and California, Carnival Cruise Line has played a pivotal role in helping Amber Cove, Dominican Republic and Ensenada, Mexico each cross the one millionth cruise guest threshold as they closed out 2023. Each destination celebrated in late December by recognizing the one millionth visitor as guests and their families arrived at each port.

“This year, we’re celebrating that no one does fun like Carnival, and it’s also true that no cruise line drives demand and the tourism economy like Carnival! We’re delighted that our guests set these important distinctions for both Amber Cove and Ensenada,” said Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy.

“Amber Cove is one of the best destinations in the Caribbean. Our guests love the relaxation and adventure they find here and that’s why many of our ships visit Amber Cove. Likewise, Ensenada is a quaint coastal town that has grown into a strong part of our West Coast offerings. Our guests love its rich history and vibrant culture, with the addition of Carnival Firenze joining our

fleet this spring, plus some exciting plans under development, we see even better things ahead for the destination.”

One of those innovations is a new solar park at Amber Cove, which was unveiled in March and underscored Carnival Corporation’s commitment to sustainability. The park’s 1,800-plus solar panels will supply 80 percent of the port’s energy demand.

Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Line and Amber Cove Cruise Center celebrated with a ribbon cutting that was attended by government, industry and community leaders, including Joel Santos, minister of the presidency of the Dominican Republic, and Christine Duffy.

“As we bring guests to enjoy the beauty and rich culture of the Dominican Republic, we also take our environmental stewardship here and everywhere we visit very seriously,” said Duffy. “With this new solar park in Amber Cove, we are furthering our commitment to sustainability at our destinations by focusing on renewable energy sources to power the vast majority of the port’s needs.”

“On behalf of the Government, we celebrate this achievement, which makes Amber Cove the first cruise terminal in the country with a project of this scale,” said Santos. “This project will undoubtedly contribute to the production of clean energy and environmental sustainability in Puerto Plata, the first tourist destination in the Dominican Republic.”

Carnival Corporation’s New Pier Extension for Celebration Key

Carnival Corporation announced plans for a $100 million pier extension that will double the arrival capacity of Celebration Key™, Carnival Cruise Line’s new exclusive destination scheduled to open on Grand Bahama Island in the summer of 2025.

In addition to the two berths slated to be complete by 2025, the expansion will add two more berths, with all four capable of handling up to Carnival’s largest Excel class ships when complete in 2026. Overall, the expanded cruise pier will accommodate up to four Excel-class ships simultaneously and is projected to welcome nearly 4 million guests annually to Celebration Key by 2028.

The pier extension plans were announced Thursday, February 22 at the 25th Annual Grand Bahama Business Outlook by The Honorable I. Chester

Cooper, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments & Aviation in The Bahamas.

“As is fitting for our plans for Grand Bahama Island, our vision for Celebration Key is quite grand, and we’re already thinking about the next phase of expansion and development,”

said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “Building the second pier now allows us to implement growth plans and build itineraries with certainty, and signals to the local community just how important this development is to Carnival Cruise Line and the future of the island.”

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Mickey & Minnie Debut Bahamian-Inspired Outfits

Disney Cruise Line unveiled new looks for Mickey and Minnie Mouse for their visits to Disney Cruise Line’s newest island destination, Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point on the island of Eleuthera. Specially designed by acclaimed Bahamian fashion designer, Theodore Elyett, the garments will have a distinct Bahamian flair inspired by the bright, colorful spirit of Junkanoo, the country’s signature festival filled with joyous music and vibrant parades.

Theodore grew up in Nassau, The Bahamas, surrounded by art and fashion. His mother owned her own sewing factory, and he started making dresses at an early age. Theodore’s designs first hit the runway when he was 13 years old, in 1998—the very year Disney Cruise Line set sail.

When Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point opens in June of 2024, Theodore’s work will hit a new runway—a celebration of Bahamian culture straight from the eyes of the country’s artists. At

Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point, Mickey and Minnie’s looks will be part of a collection of colorful works of art by local creators, which guests will see and experience throughout the new island destination.

MSC Cruises Expands U.S. Footprint

MSC Cruises announced another milestone in its ongoing U.S. expansion with the opening of a brand-new home port for the line. Galveston, Texas, will become the home for MSC Seascape from November 2025, becoming MSC Cruises’ fourth U.S home port. Guests will be treated to a unique itinerary sailing to stunning destinations in the Caribbean with the first departure set for Nov. 9, 2025.

Marking a significant milestone in its ongoing U.S. expansion, MSC Cruises’ CEO Gianni Onorato commented, “This announcement is the latest step in our strategy to continue to grow our U.S footprint. Earlier this year we began operations from our third U.S home port, New York City, where we now sail year-round, and

we are proud to add Galveston to that growing line-up alongside PortMiami and Port Canaveral.

“We are committed to bringing our newest, largest, most innovative ships to the U.S. and are pleased that MSC Seascape will be more easily accessible to guests in central and western parts of the U.S through Galveston, as well as to our guests internationally via the well-connected international airport hub of Houston.”

As a further testament to this commitment, the Miami-Dade Beacon Council joined MSC Group in announcing the development of its new home in Downtown Miami. The MSC Group’s $100 million investment in Miami-Dade will bring approximately 250 South Floridabased team members from MSC Cargo, MSC Cruises and Explora Journeys under

one roof in a new state-of-the-art facility within Block 55 at Sawyer’s Walk. MSC Cargo has been based in Miami-Dade for more than 25 years and now MSC Cruises is moving to establish the Cruise Division’s North American headquarters as part of the Group’s commitment to Miami.

“We are thrilled to invest in the future of MSC and Miami-Dade County by making this important move,” said Fabio Santucci, President and CEO of MSC USA. “Miami has been a pivotal part of our growth story in the U.S., and we are proud of our strong history of driving the local economy. The Beacon Council was a significant driver in helping us make our decision. They played an instrumental part in making us feel welcome to make this commitment to expanding in South Florida.”

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Global Cruises Around the World

In our daily operations at Global Cruises, drawing upon our experiences across more than 130 ports in seven continents worldwide, we’ve noticed a significant change in the industry. Indeed, we’ve observed how the recent CLIA studies come alive in different ports, as demographics paint an intriguing picture that we are observing unfold in real time: Gen X and millennials are leading the charge, with an impressive 82% and 85% respectively eager to embark on a voyage again soon.

Additionally, as the recent research shows, a notable 62% of Gen X and 71% of millennials who have yet to experience

cruising are contemplating it soon. These figures underscore a transformation in the cruising landscape, mirroring the evolving preferences of a new generation of travelers.

As the demographic profile leans towards younger age groups, multigenerational cruises are gaining considerable traction. Cruise holidays are increasingly favored by those seeking multi-generational travel options, with a substantial 73% of cruise travelers now sailing with family members spanning at least two generations.

At Global Cruises, where we constantly study our passengers and their wants and needs, we’ve noticed that these younger

generations are characterized by their preference for environmentally sustainable practices, tech-savvy nature, and a desire for profound connections with the essence of each destination. They actively seek out authentic experiences that immerse them in the local culture and heritage, fostering a deeper appreciation for the places they visit.

Innovation Takes Center Stage

Cruise lines are adapting to cater to the preferences of millennials through specialized cruises and dedicated spaces tailored to their tastes. Leveraging

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social media platforms, cruise lines effectively target individuals aged 20 to 59, a demographic that now constitutes over 50% of cruise ship passengers, as reported by CLIA.

A significant driving force behind this trend is the wave of innovation sweeping across the cruising sector. Cruise lines are seamlessly integrating digital innovations, including mobile apps, virtual reality, and AI assistants.

Global Cruises: Sailing into the Future

In response to these shifts, we have embarked on an exciting journey of transformation. Leveraging cutting-edge technology and forward-thinking strategies, Global Cruises aims to redefine the cruise experience for the modern traveler.

To remain at the forefront of evolving trends and genuine innovation, Global Cruises has established a permanent Innovation Lab, a multidisciplinary space where we bring together minds from every corner of our company to brainstorm, create and develop new ideas; from reimagining shore excursions to crafting personalized adventures at every port.

In today’s travel landscape, passengers increasingly yearn to connect with the essence of each destination they visit. Accordingly, strategies have been meticulously crafted to foster innovation tailored to the unique characteristics of every destination, accentuating the essence of each cruise experience and passenger.

Central to this approach is the belief that every destination, passenger, and experience is inherently unique. Even seemingly similar experiences, such as Whale and Dolphin watching, evoke a fresh sentiment depending on the port of call. Witnessing these majestic creatures in the Pacific Ocean carries a different feeling than encountering them in the Atlantic. It is the soul of each destination that imbues it with its own special magic, a quality that we strive to capture and celebrate in every excursion.

These are some of the trends we have mapped out in the past year:

Cultural Connections: Cruise lines now offer more immersive travel experiences, with extended stays in select ports allowing passengers to deeply engage with local culture. In Global Cruises’ Innovation Labs, categories like “Backstage,” which offers behind-the-scenes experiences of each destination, and “Historical Sites and Cultural Connections” aim to create authentic encounters.

For instance, our “Discovering Finnish Sauna Traditions in Helsinki” excursion goes beyond the surface attractions of Helsinki, offering a unique twist by immersing passengers in the rich tradition of Finnish saunas. Meanwhile, in the Caribbean, we have other authentic experiences such as “Unveiling the Salsa Rythms of Old San Juan,” a cultural tour that immerses passengers in the evolution of salsa, from its origins to its modern sounds, providing a fun and danceable way to discover the heart of this city. The key is to be authentic and truly capture what makes each destination special, as well as provide experiences that can’t be replicated in any other port.

Cold Weather Cruising: According to Bloomberg, Travel + Leisure, and Cruisebooking, cold weather cruising is seeing a trend rise in the industry, with cruise lines putting a stronger emphasis on exploring more far-flung destinations and passengers seeking for it.

Following this trend, at Global Cruises we have developed our Canada and New England Portfolio, seeking new locations with unique stories. From Bar Harbor to Sydney, Canada, we at Global Cruises have meticulously crafted a set of experiences. These include immersive cultural explorations, tantalizing food hopping adventures, cinematic explorations, and scenic routes by both sea and land.

Sustainable Initiatives: According to the 2023 State of the Industry CLIA report, the cruise industry is increasingly focusing on sustainability, with many cruise lines offering a variety of shore excursion programs dedicated to environmental conservation efforts. These cruise lines are actively pursuing sustainable tour excursion certification with respected conservation organizations, adhering to the criteria set forth by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s Industry Standard. Many of these excursions offer carbon-free experiences, such as walking, cycling, paddling, or sailing, instead of traditional coach tours.

Global Cruises has taken proactive steps in this direction by curating a sustainable portfolio of shore excursions, aligning with our commitment to environmental stewardship and responsible tourism. Some highlights include “Coral Restoration’’ initiatives in Philipsburg, Roatán, among other locations in the Caribbean, which indeed are gaining traction between cruise passengers.

Exploring Beyond the Norms

As the cruise industry continues to evolve, we continue with our mission to innovate and provide travelers with unforgettable journeys that not only satisfy their wanderlust but also deepen their appreciation for the diverse cultures and landscapes of the world. With a portfolio of innovative experiences and a commitment to sustainability, we want to invite passengers to embark on a voyage of discovery, exploration, and connection around the globe.

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Are Your Destination Experiences Sustainable?

The tides Are Changing: Embracing Sustainability in Cruise Destinations

As the enchantment of the open seas continues to draw travelers from around the globe, the cruise industry continues to set sail into new horizons, steering towards a new course – one that prioritizes sustainable tourism. In recent years, sustainability has become a focal point for cruise lines, with a growing recognition of the need to balance the thrill of exploration with environmental and social stewardship, embracing practices that prioritize the health of our oceans and the communities they visit.

Cruise tourism heavily relies on the beauty of the world’s oceans, making the protection of marine ecosystems a top priority. Cruise lines are also increasingly focusing on responsible tourism practices to minimize any negative impact on a social level, and maximize opportunities

for residents, fostering an appreciation for local cultures and traditions and ensuring that cruise activities contribute positively to the people and places they visit. Engaging with local businesses, respecting cultural heritage, and supporting community-based projects are becoming integral parts of the cruise experience.

And while cruise lines continue to make progress towards improving their sustainability game, it’s important that at the destination level, local stakeholders work on improving their skills to provide destination experiences that align with these trends, including more sustainable tours that will leave a positive dent in their communities and create great unforgettable memories for guests.

Recognizing the pivotal role the experience in the destination plays, Aquila

is offering a new training program to fill that gap: “Excellence in Sustainable Destination Experience.” Imagine a cruise journey where every shore visit leaves a positive impact on the destination and its inhabitants. This training aims to turn this vision into reality by empowering local stakeholders with the mindsets, strategies, and skills necessary to offer more authentic, impactful, and sustainable excursions for cruise guests while in port. One of the highlights of the content is the exploration of the role played by locals in ensuring sustainable destination experiences and guidelines for the creation of shore experiences that not only captivate but also preserve communities’ unique charms.

As participants navigate through the course, they are introduced to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), its criteria and programs, opening the doors to a broader community committed to sustainable tourism practices, creating a network where ideas are shared and best practices are cultivated.

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Topics for this full day workshop include:

• What is sustainability and its relevance

• Sustainability trends in the industry

• Your role as a local stakeholder to ensure sustainable destination experiences

• Guidelines and tools to create sustainable guest experiences

By increasing understanding of sustainability among your stakeholders, along with sharing the practical knowledge and tools to deliver sustainable guest experiences, your destination will create positive impacts for everyone in the destination, while also ensuring that you can continue to share what’s special about your destination with guests today, tomorrow, and long into the future.

Aquila is thrilled to announce that our Global Trainer launching this program is also joining Aquila on a full-time basis this month, adding to our Aquilamazing Team. Ambra Attus becomes our Director of Impact, Growth & Development. Born and raised in Italy and now based in the Dominican Republic, Ambra has extensive knowledge and experience in tourism, with more than 20 years in the industry performing a wide range of functions in hospitality, tour operations, excursions,

cruises, and destination management. She has been a member of the GSTC since 2018 and brings a solid background in training and coaching on sustainability, as well as extensive practice and expertise in designing sustainable and purpose driven shore excursions for cruise lines in the Caribbean and raising tourism awareness.

The winds of change are blowing, and the cruise industry is setting sail towards a sustainable future. As travelers seek meaningful journeys, cruise lines, communities, and local stakeholders must unite to create a harmonious balance between profits, exploration, and socio-environmental responsibility. With the introduction of the Sustainable Destination Experience Training, Aquila seeks to empower local stakeholders and equip them with the tools to ensure the travel experience in their destination meets the evolving expectations of travelers and cruise lines, while allowing their regions to thrive, not just economically but sustainably.

Each port destination becomes an opportunity to leave a lasting, positive impact on the communities, economies, and environments cruise tourism touches, and to prove that the joy of cruise travel can coexist harmoniously with environmental and social responsibility.

Beth Kelly Hatt is the President of the Aquila Center for Cruise Excellence, the FCCA’s official training partner, and celebrated 40 years in business in 2022. Contact Beth for more information about this and other trainings, including Strategic Training Plans, at

Stay tuned for another WAVE of change… an Aquila Training Wave Season launch this Spring!

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Port St. Maarten Group to Support SMART Tradeshow

Port St. Maarten Group (PSG) was one of the main supporting entities of this year’s St. Maarten / St. Martin Annual Regional Tradeshow (SMART), which took place April 8-11, 2024. SMART brings together tourism professionals from the region and beyond to discuss business opportunities with northeastern Caribbean tourism companies, highlighting island experiences in the process. SMART was visited by representatives from over 20 destinations in its 2023 edition. The SMART organization was elated by the support of one of the largest cruise ports in the region and by extension, the world. St. Maarten’s cruise port is not just amongst the largest in visitor counts, but also won many consumer and industry awards. All information about the tradeshow can be found at www. For more information about the destination, visit, or

The West Indian Company Ltd. to Celebrate 112 Years of Service

The West Indian Company Ltd. (WICO), one of the Caribbean’s most historic port management companies, will celebrate its 112th anniversary. Founded on St. Thomas in December 1912 as the subsidiary of a multinational corporation, WICO fostered economic development through shipping, energy and transportation initiatives before introducing cruise tourism to the U.S. Virgin Islands in the 1950’s. With services devoted to port and property management, WICO currently owns and manages the Territory’s premier cruise ship facility.

Discover Cigar Rolling in the British Virgin Islands

Discover the art of cigar rolling on our immersive tour! Gain insights into tobacco origins and the craftsmanship behind cigar making. Experience the hands-on thrill of prepping and rolling your own cigar. Plus, savor a cocktail of your choice. Exciting plans ahead include crafting your own cocktail to perfectly complement your self-rolled cigar. Join us for a unique and flavorful adventure! Ready to embark on this unique journey? Secure your spot by booking now at or contact us by calling or WhatsApp (284) 544-4665 / (284) 496-0606

Second Annual Antigua and Barbuda Restaurant Week Returns May 4-19

During the two-week-long celebration, visitors and nationals can enjoy a variety of special and discounted dining and event experiences designed to showcase the twin-island nation’s delicious and diverse food, restaurants, art, and culture. This year also makes the return of British chef, television and radio broadcaster Andi Oliver, who has ancestral roots in Antigua. Andi Oliver will headline events at the “The Pepperpot Rum Shop,” a100-day food and cultural pop-up at Fort James Beach. For Restaurant Week menus and packages, visit

Dominican Republic Welcomes Record-Breaking 10 Million Visitors in 2023

The Dominican Republic celebrates a milestone achievement, welcoming 10 million visitors by 2023. This Caribbean gem captivates travelers worldwide with its pristine beaches, rich history, and vibrant culture. From the colonial allure of Santo Domingo to the sun-drenched shores of Punta Cana, every corner promises unique adventures. Whether arriving by air or cruise, visitors immerse themselves in the island’s warmth and beauty, solidifying its status as a top destination in the Caribbean.

SANSOUCI, Port of Santo Domingo Embarking on Authentic Strategy

Located in the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, SANSOUCI, Port of Santo Domingo is proud to be part of a select group of FCCA Platinum Members as part of the strategy to position the port and city in the eye of travelers looking for authentic destinations. A phenomenal gastronomic, cultural, and historical experience is offered to cruise passengers, and it offers a location only minutes away from international airports serving major airlines with direct flights form USA, Europe and the world, a wide variety of world class hotel brands, plus the exceptional infrastructure for ship services and provisioning, making it an excellent option for homeport operations.

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Colombia Shapes Global Cruise Trends

Last year, the nation welcomed over 5.8 million visitors, solidifying its status as a trending destination. Parallel to this success is the cruise industry, introducing travelers to emerging territories. While ports like Cartagena and Santa Marta lead, newer destinations like Cabo de la Vela, Buenaventura, and San Andrés gain recognition with the arrival of luxury cruises. This underscores Colombia’s dedication to innovating in the sector, ensuring unforgettable experiences for tourists.

Mazatlán One of the Most Welcoming Cities on Earth

The latest city to host the FCCA Conference & Tradeshow ranks 8th on the list of the Most Welcoming Places on Earth in 2024 according to, based on the percentage of accommodation providers receiving a Traveler Review Award this year. From charming coastal towns to alpine retreats and rustic desert gems, Mazatlán is a perfect destination to inspire wanderlust in travelers seeking warm hospitality and unforgettable experiences.

Norwegian Bliss Blesses Acapulco

After the impact of Hurricane Otis, Acapulco welcomed Norwegian Bliss on January 31 and February 5, effectively

kickstarting the cruise season for 2024. Both arrivals saw more than 75% of passengers and crew disembark, and we would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Captain Karl Staffan Bengtsson on behalf of our local Cruise Committee for choosing our beautiful bay as a port of call.

Dominica Unveils Enhanced Tourism Vending Experience

In a significant move to elevate the visitor experience, Dominica proudly announces the successful transition of its Bayfront vending space, designed to captivate and delight disembarking cruise visitors. This transformation, marked by the introduction of uniformed cathedral tents, adds a touch of elegance and charm to the waterfront. The newly adorned Roseau Bayfront is a testament to the Government’s commitment to advancing the tourism sector, ensuring a warm and inviting atmosphere for visitors exploring the vibrant destination.

Club Med Homeporting in French Guiana

The French luxury cruise line has decided to homeport this December in the French Amazonian Region. They will stay four days in the destination for the turnaround and to discover this magical country. They will embark around 200 guests coming from Paris, but also locals. Two cruises executives of the cruise line were in a fam trip and fell in love of the country, saying that their guests will appreciate this unique destination experience.

Experience Trinidad

Experience Trinidad, an ultimate cruise destination! Dive into a multi-ethnic culture, natural wonders, and pulsating rhythms found nowhere else. Indulge in culinary delights, meet warm locals, and partake in festivals of all kinds. This Caribbean gem promises an unforgettable voyage, all year round. Embark on an adventure with us – Visit Trinidad where we’re ‘Always in Season!’

Embrace Bahamian Culture at Resorts World Bimini

Immerse yourself in the culture of Bimini from authentic cuisine, live Junkanoo performances, and water activities in our crystal-clear waters. Resorts World Bimini offers endless opportunities that make your vacation unforgettable. Bimini beach is the ultimate day-club with two sprawling lagoon pools and 360-degree views of the ocean. Enjoy music and dance with live Junkanoo in their elaborate and vibrant costumes; get a real taste of authentic Bimini food; and book excursions like snorkeling through the 100-year-old Sapona Shipwreck. Book now at

Mayan PrincessRoatan, Honduras

Beach Front Villas and Ocean View

Cabanas are the new tours that Mayan Adventures has given a welcome to, as their top exclusive tours, joined in the same loca-

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tion of the already well-known Overwater Bungalows, all located in their venue: Turquoise Bay Beach and Dive Resort. These tours are all-inclusive packages, perfect for a vacation where family and friends can create unforgettable moments. Both tours give the island life for a few hours!

Cozumel Gains Lifeline with New Blood Bank Thanks to Costamed

Last year marked a turning point for healthcare in Cozumel with the opening of Componentes Sanguineos A.C., the island’s first ever blood bank. This crucial initiative, spearheaded by Costamed, the island’s largest private hospital, ensures a readily available blood supply for residents facing critical situations. Prior to this development, blood transfusions often required transport from mainland Mexico, causing delays and potential complications. The new blood bank eliminates this challenge, guaranteeing timely access to life-saving blood components.

Amerimed Hospitals Opening Hospital in Merida

Amerimed Hospitals is committed to offering high-quality healthcare services in the most important destinations Mexico. Delivering on this commitment, we present our new hospital in Merida, only minutes away from the port city of Progreso. Opening in November 2024, this hospital will continue the Amerimed tradition of world-class, high-complexity medical services, and it will effectively position Amerimed as the largest hospital network in the Yucatan Peninsula. Please visit for more information.

PortMiami Announces Busiest Cruise Year in Its History

PortMiami, the Cruise Capital of the World, welcomed 7,299,294 passengers and set a new record-breaking year in cruise activity for Fiscal Year 2023. The Port experienced

a 7% increase in cruise passenger totals compared to its previous record of 6,823,816 passengers in Fiscal Year 2019. The 2024 Fiscal Year season is already an exciting one. Among the new ships which began departing from PortMiami are the Oceania Vista, Carnival Cruise Line Costa Venezia, Scenic Eclipse II, Crystal Cruises Serenity, MSC Cruises Explora I, Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian VIVA; Regent Seven Seas Grandeur; and Royal Caribbean Group’s Icon of the Seas.

JAXPORT Welcoming Norwegian Gem

Beginning in November 2025, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) will provide passenger cruise service from JAXPORT. The 2,394guest Norwegian Gem will homeport in Jacksonville, Florida from November to April every year through 2028, offering seasonal cruises to The Bahamas and Eastern Caribbean. Travelers can book sailings through The city is a growing drive-to cruise market, with more than 98 million consumers living within driving distance of the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal.

Port of Galveston Celebrates Record Year, to Construct Fourth Terminal

Following a record-breaking 1.49 million cruise passengers and 354 sailings in 2023, the Port of Galveston will begin construction of a fourth cruise terminal in 2024. The port’s expansion is made possible through an operating agreement with MSC Cruises, which will homeport its MSC Seascape at the terminal when it opens in 2025.

Port Saint John Selected by CNN Travel

Port Saint John on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick – FCCA’s only Canadian port member – was thrilled to be selected by CNN Travel for their annual ‘Where to go in 2024: The best places to visit’ article released in early January. This accolade is a testament to the world-class welcome, premier attractions and truly breathtaking Bay of Fundy experiences available in this Atlantic Canadian city.

Insurance and Risk Management Service for Excursion/Tour Operators

Some of the worst travel horror stories involve tours gone awry. Tour and excursion operators face increased risks and require various insurance policies. With decades of experience, Excursion provides insurance and risk management services to excursion/tour operators around the world. Our dedicated team delivers personalized insurance solutions and safety trainings that align with operator’s needs and satisfy the requirements of the cruise lines, while offering unparalleled service and attractive rates

Bacardi’s Latest Innovations

Cocktails and cruising go hand in hand, and with Bacardi’s latest premium tequila, rum and bourbon innovations, your drinks menu is covered. Gin lovers will thank you for a Bombay Premier

Cru Sapphire & tonic, while dark spirits aficionados can close a perfect night with Angel’s Envy Bourbon and D’usse Cognac. And don’t miss out on tequila, the hottest trend on the planet with our latest prestige innovations: light and refreshing, the Patrón El Cielo Paloma with grapefruit soda is a winning combination or stay classic with a sublime Patrón El Alto on the rocks.

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America’s favorite vacation is back in full swing at Port Tampa Bay. Choose from some of the world’s most popular cruise lines and a host of itineraries throughout the Caribbean and Mexico. And just steps from your ship, Port Tampa Bay guests have an incredible variety of activities and entertainment to enhance their cruise experience, including Ybor City (Tampa’s Latin Quarter), The Florida Aquarium, Sparkman Wharf and Downtown Tampa’s Riverwalk. In fact, all of the greater Tampa region includes close access to Busch Gardens, the top theme parks in the world and the the world’s top-rated beaches, to name a few. Visit and find your dream cruise today.

Crystal Caves, Grand Cayman. This is a creative representation; stepping in the water is not permitted.
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