Travel & Cruise 3rd Quarter 2021

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The Next Caribbean/Pacific Homeport

Employment Opportunities Getting a Boost FCCA Partner Destination Updates CLIA’s New Partnership & Pathways for Cruising’s Revival Aquila Shares Lessons Learned as Cruises Resume

a vibe like no other The U.S. Virgin Islands is open and ready for your crew and passengers with several ports and berths across the Territory. Throughout today’s pandemic, we have been working tirelessly to COVID-proof our destination and ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to our shores. Across our islands, ships can find some of the Caribbean’s best port infrastructures while visitors immerse themselves in our culture, history, shopping options and delectable cuisine; stroll along our award-winning beaches; or enjoy exciting water sports activities. For more information visit: • • ©2020 U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism













10 Employment Opportunities Getting a Boost in FCCA Partner Destinations

Michael Bayley, President & CEO of Royal Caribbean International, and Amy Alexy, Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer of Royal Caribbean Group, shared how they are looking to give a raise to the employment of seafarers hailing from destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico ON LAND



07, 09 President’s Letter

14 Panama, the Next Caribbean/Pacific Homeport 18 Aruba Tourism Authority’s Destination Update 20 Multiple Homeports Confirmed for San Juan 20 Jamaica Celebrates Return of Cruises 21 Dominican Republic Reactivates Cruise Tourism 21 Dominica Resumes Cruise Activities 21 The Bahamas’ Cruise and Homeporting Experience 22 Actions to Support Guadeloupe Towards Sustainable Development

Features 22 St. Maarten Airport Terminal Project Lifts Off 22 Four Holland America Line Ships Book Panama Canal Itineraries 22 Colombia Welcomes First Cruise Since Pandemic 23 Port Everglades to Host Three Regulars 23 Port of Galveston Breaks Ground on New Royal Caribbean Cruise Terminal 24 Qatar Tourism and CLIA Establish Partnership 27 Cruising Returns to Hong Kong 28 CLIA Outlines Pathway for Cruising’s Revival in Australia

MEMBERS & TRAVEL AGENTS 30 Lessons Learned as Cruise Resumes from North America Beth Kelly Hatt,

President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, shares insights from cruise executives, destinations, tour operators and more as cruise tourism returns

34 FCCA Platinum Member Highlights

Travel & Cruise Magazine © 2021. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, in any form, electronic or otherwise, without written permission of the FCCA is prohibited. 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.


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Land ahoy! Not only have over 200 cruise ships again returned to sailing, bringing economic benefits to destinations and people anxiously awaiting, but also live cruise industry events are back in action. In fact, many of you are likely reading this at Seatrade Cruise Global or our keynote event, the FCCA Cruise Conference, which was able to again commence due to the efforts and commitment of so many throughout Panama, along with the dedication and belief of all our partners throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico. As those at the events and reading this edition of Travel & Cruise surely see, one thing that never stopped throughout the pandemic was an unparalleled amount of collaboration and communication that was able to lead the way to cruise’s return. That has also created a silver Michele meeting with the Hon. Charles Fernandez, Minister of Tourism and Investment, lining that could overshadow the tryAntigua and Barbuda ing times, as opportunities now abound in the ‘new normal.’ We have already seen homeporting, longer stays and multi-port calls in FCCA partner destinations, along with cruise lines using the time to evaluate more ways for partnership with destinations through considering ways to increase onboard employment and purchasing from the regions. Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, and Amy Alexy, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Royal Caribbean Group, discussed their initiatives for boosting those employment opportunities, which are outlined in this edition. Beth Kelly Hatt, President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, also shares some of the ways that communication and collaboration have led to successful cruise calls, as well as some of the lessons learned from those calls. Of course, the communication and collaboration are continuing as you read, especially if reading at Seatrade Cruise Global or the FCCA Cruise Conference in Panama – and we look forward to continuing to work with you and route the path for success.


Michele M. Paige President FCCA






Welcome to this edition of the Travel & Cruise. The impact of the last 19 months continues to test our strength individually and collectively. That is why it is wonderful to see the responsible resumption of operations continue to gain steam with over 30 cruise markets reopened and over 1.6 million passengers having sailed since July of 2020. I have never seen an entire community come together the way the cruise community has in the face of this once in a lifetime pandemic. We would not have been able to overcome the devastating impacts of the past year and a half if it were not for the resilience and support of the wider cruise community. There was truly a feeling of ‘we are in this together,’ and I think that it has made all the difference. Looking ahead, I know that CLIA will look for opportunities to keep the community banded together in this way because it is so incredibly clear that our whole is truly bigger than the sum of our parts. It goes without saying that furthering the responsible resumption of operations will continue to be the foremost priority for us for the foreseeable future. In this issue, you can expect to read about the work being around the world to further resumption of operations and more. With that said, even as CLIA and our members have worked intensely over the last year and a half to address the impact of COVID-19, the cruise industry has remained focused on its commitment to responsible tourism practices and a cleaner, more sustainable future. Reducing our environmental footprint and continuing to work closely with destinations and communities to be good stewards of the places we visit are key focus areas for us, and I predict that we will see many more exciting developments in both of these areas in the years to come. As the world continues to open up, I hope to see many of you in person once again in the coming months. As always, thank you for your continued support. Together in cruise, Kelly Craighead President and CEO



On Board

Employment Opportunities Getting a Boost in FCCA Partner Destinations Amy, what makes your job so unique and fulfilling?

Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International


ruise lines are looking to give a raise to the employment of seafarers hailing from destinations around the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico, with a recent increased push by FCCA Member Lines to work with those destinations to not only source crew members (whose onboard lives bring a host of options for upward mobility), but also foster ways to create bridges leading to high-level positions including captains, engineers and more. Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International (with a multinational workforce of over 58,000), and Amy Alexy, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Royal Caribbean Group (with more than 80,000 employees worldwide), joined a Platinum Member webinar on March 31 to discuss some of those initiatives and opportunities. A lightly edited transcript follows: Michael, you joined Royal Caribbean more than 40 years ago as a purser, can you tell us more about this amazing journey? MB I joined in 1981 as an assistant purser on the front desk of Nordic Prince, which was 10 THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

Amy Alexy, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer of Royal Caribbean Group

one of the only three ships of the fleet of the entire corporation back then. So I’ve seen our company grow over the decades and become a very successful vacation company, and I feel honored to be part of that journey. I’ve always been incredibly encouraged by my relationships with my fellow employees who bring such passion, dedication and honesty to everything we do and allow us to be creative, innovative, honest and transparent – and I think one of the reasons Royal Caribbean is loved by so many of our partners, employees, travel advisors and guests is we’ve always had a fundamental honesty about our vision: delivering great vacations and wonderful memories. What’s positive about my experience is I was a kid who joined a ship sailing in the Caribbean, and as the company grew, I grew and saw so many of my fellow colleagues grow – and our company has always been very focused on helping people evolve and develop within our corporation. Our ships’ captains have all been with us for decades. We have generations of employees. It’s an amazing company and journey, and it gives me great optimism about the future of our company, this industry and our incredible relationship with the Caribbean.

AA I started in 2018, and I will tell you that you can immediately feel the passion and energy that our employees and crew members have for the work that we do and the guest experience that we all desire. Passion’s the word that continues to come to mind when you think of that experience, and at the end of the day our guests are left with memories – and our job is to leave them with the best memories possible. The energy is really contagious. Even though this past year has been a challenge, I’m confident we’re going to emerge from this as a stronger organization and industry. Just the collaboration through the different cruise lines and the connections we’ve built despite the virtual environment and hardships have been outstanding. The employment landscape for us is extremely positive. We have five ships on order for the Royal Caribbean International brand alone, and we’re growing. There are a lot of dynamic employment opportunities for people to join our organization, and one of the main goals we have as a company is to bring in great talent to help us grow and talent that can flourish with us as an organization for many years to come. How has the pandemic changed your view on how you will crew ships, and what will life be like onboard? MB I think this has been an extraordinarily difficult time for our crew members. When we first voluntarily stopped sailing as an industry, all of us had tens of thousands crew members who needed to get home. Every country had introduced new rules and regulations, and it was phenomenally difficult to get our crew members home to their families, and the whole industry worked together.

Many crew members decided to stay on our ships because they didn’t want to go home and were fearful for their families. And then our crew got home, and it was just as difficult in dealing with the pandemic in their home countries, concerned about their families and their livelihoods. As a company, we tried to care for them and pay them as much as we could before they went home and created a fund for hardship to help with medical bills, mortgages, etc. to try to help them through this. Nevertheless, this has been a long period of time and extremely difficult for our employees all over the world. The world changed, and many lost family members, but what has been amazing is we have been in constant communication with our employees. Not long ago, we sent a survey and asked our more than 80,000 employees if they are coming back, and 98% said they were excited to come back. During this period, we have operated our ships with minimal crew, around 100 per ship, and now we are starting to open operations – announcing 7-8 ships starting in May-July. We’re starting to now bring crew to the ships, and today we took delivery of Odyssey of the Seas and already have hundreds of crew on that ship. Things are starting to become more optimistic, but crew today have to go through a lot of hurtles related to COVID that are not easy for them. We have entered a new phase, and the vast majority of crew understand that and the fact that we will have protocols, vaccines and guidance. But we will soon get through this, and life will return to a new normal. The thing about our crew is they are always optimistic, they have a can-do attitude, they’re great problem solvers, wonderful communicators and will always find solutions to the issues we have to deal with. As Amy said, we’ve got new ships coming and a lot of employment opportunities – and the thing about growing is it gives you promotion opportunities. Our entire system is built on promotions. We love to promote our people because they have the passion for our company, they learned a lot about our business, they understand our customers and are experts at making them happy. In my whole career, especially as I

was shipboard, I watched so many of my colleagues be promoted up to senior management positions – so many of those people were from the Caribbean. This is the way Royal Caribbean has always worked, and I think that is how we will continue to work. What is a change you have seen in crew over the decades? MB We have always recruited around the world – and one of the aspects our guests love is the ability to interact with crew from around the world. However, in the 70s, the majority of our crew came almost exclusively from the Caribbean, and recently that has shifted to large sourcing from the Asia/Pacific – and it would be great if we could find more balance, certainly for the Royal Caribbean brand, we would love to have more Caribbean crew working on Royal Caribbean ships. Why do you think this shift has happened? MB I think one of the reasons is related to the disproportionate number of claims we have received from our employees from Caribbean countries, possibly related to the active lawyers in Miami creating a network in Caribbean countries to solicit and talk to former crew members. Because of all the time we may spend in the various litigations that come from that, it changes the whole dynamic – and we just do not see that from other parts of the world.

How can the destinations work with FCCA to increase employment opportunities? MB If you’re competing, albeit for a job or in business, you need to understand the competitive landscape. We’ve had conversations in many Caribbean countries about what is happening in different parts of the world and what’s favoring more hiring in different regions, and a contributing factor to that is legislation put into place by various countries focused on both seafarer rights and ensuring a process and dispute resolution where things are fairly handled. For example, the Philippines – which has seafarers as one of their largest exports – has tried to figure out seafarers’ rights and put in a mechanism that protects the employee and the employer while making things fair in terms of resolution. That’s a model that Caribbean countries should look at and understand. With FCCA’s help, we should have discussions on seafarers’ rights and ensuring things are set up the right way so that it works for the employee and employer. We’ve had more detailed conversations with some countries, and they seem more open to this idea. Royal Caribbean Group has been named one of the world’s most ethical companies – and has been for a number of years. We pride ourselves on how we connect with, manage, support and provide for our employees wherever they come from, and we have a very focused culture in terms of making sure everybody can do well and thrive.


On Board From our ongoing surveys of our employees, we consistently score in terms of employee engagement on the very high end compared with other companies or industries. The other thing is that there is an actual maritime labor convention that provides a good framework for the rights of crew and obligations of employers, but interestingly a lot of countries have not ratified that agreement. There’s work that needs to be done in this space by Caribbean nations, and I think FCCA could help facilitate that. Maybe when we have our next Conference, we could place this on the agenda for a discussion with the industry and communities to at least start exploring this. We would also encourage our destination partners to individually explore this idea of enacting seafarer legislation which would contain things like arbitration in their country that can resolve any disputes that may come up and think about things such as compensation and damages – all of these issues that can be better resolved than this system that is an international legislation landscape, with legal represen-


tatives that make more out of the disputes than the employee does. Please understand that I joined as a crew member and worked as a crew member for 11 years. I am 100 percent familiar with how it works on a ship, and I can assure you that it is an incredibly positive environment, a very caring environment, and everyone only wants a winwin outcome for our employees and their families. We care about our employees, and we need to figure out how to get a mechanism in place that cares for people and protects people. If the legislation is in place, what type of trainings or programs can you implement to support the crew? AA We know that there are a few enablers that would allow us to unlock the potential of the hiring goal we have. We have said internally 10 in 10, with an aim to hire 10,000 crew members and promote 10,000 crew members every year. Every year we go back to the sheer opportunity that exists within our organization, and the enablers in addition to

having some type of a harmonized seafarer legislation would also include building up the hiring partner network. We know this is an unlock because we do it in other countries, partnering with very reputable hiring partners to facilitate this process. We know it would be little to know money to join and that this would allow crew members to get access to quality healthcare. Another enabler is partnering with training schools. We have a number of partnerships around the world with local governments and different schools that provide extensive training. A lot of times you’ll find us on campus several times a year. We’ve actually provided curricula to schools to help crew members prepare for life onboard. We’ve gone in and trained ourselves with shoreside staff members. We also have done workshops at local schools with resume writing and interview skills. The goal is not just getting crew members on board our ships and to our private destinations, but also providing life skills that they can take with them far beyond their time with Royal Caribbean. A success story we do have is our partnership with Saint Lucia, which first

had roadblocks including students’ limited access to the internet; inability to pay for medical testing or travel to ships; and not having an approved medical facility to conduct our testing – so we worked closely with the local government and Monroe College to overcome the barriers, and as a result over two quarters increased the number of Saint Lucians on board our ships by 50 percent. We know there can be ways we can work together to achieve this common goal. Can you explain the potential career path for crew and how to get in more senior roles? AA As Michael mentioned, we have three generations of family members that have been with us, and we have people who retire from Royal Caribbean and start their own successful business in their home country with the skills that they gained with us. When we’re looking for people to join us, what we see a lot is entry level positions such as cleaners, galley, assistant waiters – roles where people can join us and have the ability to learn the skills

onboard our ships and advance with us. A number of years ago, we developed a comprehensive training program to teach our crew members about jobs they might be interested in before actually getting in the position. There are also opportunities for skilled professionals, specifically in managerial roles like hotel operations and marine, and interestingly enough nine percent of our shipboard managerial roles are held by crew members from the Caribbean – so we know when we hire Caribbean crew members, they stay with us longer and advance to these managerial positions, which is what we’re looking to do more of in the future. We also have international partnerships with maritime universities, including scholarships that hire them into the cadet program when they graduate, and there are always opportunities for training and advancement. Why are you looking to increase Caribbean hiring? MB When our guests book a cruise for the

Caribbean, they want to experience the culture and connect with people who are from the Caribbean, which enhances their enjoyment and creates memories. After all, we are Royal Caribbean, and our whole vibe is Caribbean. We have a calypso band on every one of our ships, even in China. It’s kind of our DNA, and being Royal Caribbean, having more Caribbean crew would be fantastic. What’s the game plan moving forward? MB I think we should talk more together. Countries, destinations that are interested in developing a stronger connection for employment should think about it individually as groups. I’d suggest two things: 1. Reach out to Russel Benford, Vice President Government Relations, Americas of Royal Caribbean Group, and start talking how to move forward, and 2. If people are interested, let FCCA know so we can come together to talk it through and see what we can develop for the future as a community.


On Land

Panama, the Next Caribbean/Pacific Homeport By Erica Silverstein


ajor port developments in Panama City and Colon will soon make the country more attractive to both cruisers and cruise lines. With construction projects on both coasts, the Central American country wants cruise lines to consider it as a homeport for Panama Canal transits, as well as Caribbean and Pacific itineraries. Plentiful duty-free shopping, cultural and natural highlights, and an existing tourism infrastructure set Panama apart from its neighbors and give cruise travelers a reason to extend their stays. COLON, A TAX-FREE SHOPPING HAVEN When the Panama cruise season restarts 14 THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

in fall 2021, cruise travelers visiting Colon will have more incentive to spend time off the ship. The Colón 2000 Duty Free shopping and leisure experience complex, opening at the end of 2021, will offer a state-of-the-art facility for shopping, dining, entertainment, and enjoying the waterfront. Colón 2000 Duty Free center is being built between the city’s two cruise terminals. The high-end architecture firm Mallol has designed the complex with an open-air style, befitting its Caribbean location. It’s a project overseen by experts; Grupo Colón 2000 has spent more than 20 years studying the cruise tourist market in Panama and is building the shopping complex to meet the needs of international visitors.

Located in Colon’s tax-free shopping district, the mall will offer attractive discount prices on both local department store goods and international brands, such as Nike, Victoria’s Secret, and Calvin Klein. Tax-free shopping means low prices from the start, so visitors don’t have the hassle of f illing out paperwork to get tax money back. The faci lit y w i l l a lso of fer a number of bars and restaurants, includ ing ones ser v ing loca l cuisine, a mov ie theater, Wi-Fi, AT M, and chi ldren’s play areas. Outdoor seating and wa l kways inv ite v isitors to linger by the water front, savor ing a cof fee or chatt ing w ith fr iends from their ship.

The vision of the project is to enhance a cruise visitor’s experience during a daylong call or overnight pre- or post-cruise stay in Colon. Most cruisers are eager to visit the Panama Canal locks or explore the island’s natural places and cultural heritage, but the conveniently located Colón 2000 complex invites them to do a bit of shopping or grab a snack on the way from their tour bus back to the ship. For repeat visitors and cruise guests who prioritize the onboard experience over busy bus tours, the facility offers an easy and safe spot to stretch their legs and enjoy some time off the ship without having to leave the port. THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 15

On Land

A NEW PORT IN PANAMA CITY On Panama’s Pacif ic coast, an even more ambitious construction project is underway – a new port. Currently, ships calling on Panama City must anchor and tender passengers to the Fuerte Amador marina. The situation is not ideal because the marina, which was never intended to be a proper cruise port, cannot accommodate larger ships. The new port, located one island over along the Amador Causeway that leads to Panama City, will solve for these problems and create the opportunity for an embarkation and debarkation port on the Pacific side of Panama. Each of two 380-meter-long piers, once completed, will accommodate one neo-Panamax-sized ship. The proposed terminal building will be able to handle homeport requirements (such as check-in and luggage han16 THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

dling), as well as transportation facilities to accommodate tours. The huge space will also house retail stores and restaurants – as with Colon – to offer everything cruise visitors will need. Just 20 minutes to Casco Viejo, Panama City’s historic center, and a half hour to the Miraf lores Locks Visitor’s Center, the new port is well situated to bring cruise visitors to Panama’s top attractions. The first pier is expected to be completed before the start of the October cruise season, with the second pier and terminal facility slated to be finished over the following year. WHY HOMEPORT IN PANAMA? Currently, only a few cruise lines, such as Windstar and Norwegian Cruise Line, run cruises out of Panama. The combination of the new port facilities, government-based financial incen-

tives, and Panama’s rich cultural and ecological heritage should make cruise lines take another look at the itinerary possibilities of sailing out of Colon or Panama City. With the new port in place, the potential exists for a sailing that starts in Panama City, calls on ports on the Pacific Coast of Central America, then transits the Canal, visiting a few Caribbean islands before terminating in Colon. This type of unique itinerary allows cruise passengers to visit ports across two oceans and makes travel logistics easy with roundtrip flights into and out of the same airport. Tocumen International Airport has excellent airlift from the U.S., Europe, and Central and South America and is roughly an hour from either port. For cruise lines, the incentive is even greater. The Panamanian government has agreed to reimburse a

percentage of the substantial Panama Canal transit fees to any cruise line that homeports in Panama and sails with at least 80 percent international tourists. The reimbursement is greatest (100%) in 2020, decreasing 10 percent each year through 2024, when the government will give back 60 percent of the tariff to homeporting cruise lines that meet the requirements. Cruise lines can also consider homeporting in Panama City for voyages to the Galapagos islands, South and Central America. Colon lends itself to Caribbean itineraries, with or without a Canal transit at the beginning or end of the sailing. THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 17

On Land

Aruba Tourism Authority’s Destination Update


ince the emergence of the global COVID-19 pandemic, Aruba has implemented a host of tactics to ensure a safe environment for residents and visitors alike. Prior to reopening borders last summer, Aruba announced the 'Aruba Health & Happiness Code,' a stringent cleaning and hygiene certification program, mandatory for all tourism related businesses, including restaurants, shops, tours and taxis. The health and sanitation certification program ensures that businesses maintain a safe environment for both employees and patrons and are consistent island wide. Additional safety protocols in place include social distancing and the use of face masks indoors. Aruba’s local vaccination rollout for residents began in February 2021 of the two dose Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. To date, approximately 75 percent of the island’s total population have been fully vaccinated. Additionally, cases among tourists remain extremely low. Looking


at the number of visitors from July 2020 through July 2021 in relation to the number of tourist positive cases, they amount to less than 1 percent. Aruba was one of the first destinations to reopen to the U.S. market last year, and since then, the island has been safely welcoming travelers with a steady growth. In the year since reopening, Aruba has now surpassed the number of arrivals pre-pandemic, welcoming more than 100,000 visitors to the island in July alone and hitting a new monthly arrival record for 2021. In particular, year to date, U.S. total arrivals, which remains Aruba’s key market, have surpassed pre-pandemic numbers. Additionally, our guest experience index (GEI) has remained at or above pre-pandemic levels with visitors particularly complimentary of the cleanliness and safety of their experience, a testament to the island’s ongoing safety measures and COVID-19 infection cases remaining low among tourists. The resumption of cruising in Aruba

began in June 2021 when the destination was a part of the first cruise itinerary in the Caribbean since March 2020. Not only was this a significant milestone for Aruba’s larger tourism recovery efforts, but as a destination, we are encouraged by the growing number of voyages and cruise passengers we continue to welcome to our shores. Notably, cruise guests are considered same day travelers and, therefore, are exempt from testing on-island. This is a result of Aruba working closely with cruise partners to implement thorough testing protocols, as well as high vaccination rates among cruise line passengers and crew. Looking ahead, Aruba’s nimble health and safety response strategy has enabled the destination to continually adapt local measures and traveler entry protocols as needed based on local and market-dictated conditions. For the most up-to-date entry requirements and on-island protocols, visit www.aruba. com/us/traveler-health-requirements.

On Land Multiple Homeports Confirmed for San Juan After nearly a year and a half with empty cruise ports, Puerto Rico has reactivated its cruise industry, with multiple arrivals and homeports in the pipeline for the remainder of the year – and tourism officials optimistic about the long-term outlook for the industry’s recovery. Puerto Rico received its first homeport since the pandemic on Sept. 5, with Legion of the Seas by Royal Caribbean. Other booked homeports include new options, such as Valiant Lady from Virgin Voyages and the new Ritz Carlton cruise line, which beyond visiting in San Juan, will also make stop at the port of Ponce. Carlos Mercado, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Co. (PRTC), also expects to see increases in overall cruise activity in October and November when cruise lines add more options, with the gradual reactivation of the sector expected to

reach levels comparable to those before the pandemic by January 2022. On the homeporting front, Mercado told they are “now in negotiations to recover some of the homeports that we had before the pandemic, and we understand that this will begin to gradually increase when we begin to restore operations. We even project that for the months of February and March, we will have more activity regarding homeports here in Puerto Rico.” Clearly, Puerto Rico is open and ready to welcome cruise guests. The island was one of the first to create health and safety guidelines designed specifically for the tourism industry and has been successfully implementing them in all tourism-related activities and facilities for almost a year. The festive and colorful arrival of the first ship after more than 17 months to the San Juan Port on Aug. 3 marked a new beginning for the island’s cruise industry.

ANTIGUA WELCOMES CELEBRITY EQUINOX AFTER ENHANCING PROTOCOLS Premium cruising continued its return to Antigua & Barbuda as the magnificent Celebrity Equinox sailed into Antigua Cruise Port on Aug. 19, marking the first large vessel to dock at St. John’s since the restart of the Antigua & Barbuda cruise season in July. Over 2,000 passengers were warmly welcomed by tourism, port and government representatives. The Government of Antigua & Barbuda recently revised its COVID-19 protocols, requiring that all cruise passengers over 12 years old are vaccinated. Passengers who are over 2 years old but are not fully vaccinated prior to embarkation were required to present a negative RT PCR COVID-19 test before boarding the ship in Fort Lauderdale.

JAMAICA CELEBRATES RETURN OF CRUISES WITH CARNIVAL SUNRISE As part of Carnival Cruise Line’s highly anticipated return to guest operations, Carnival Sunrise arrived in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, on Aug. 17, marking the line’s first time back to Jamaica in 17 months. The arrival also represents the reopening of cruising in Jamaica as it is the first cruise ship to call on a Jamaican port since the cruise industry paused operations in March 2020. 20 THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

On Land THE BAHAMAS’ CRUISE AND HOMEPORTING EXPERIENCE Cruising in The Bahamas is about to become even more attractive, as the nation’s largest multi-million-dollar state-ofthe-art Nassau Cruise Port is slated to open in summer 2022. With over 700 islands and cays and 16 unique island destinations, The Bahamas offers world-class fishing, diving, boating/yachting and thousands of miles of the world’s most spectacular waters and beaches, and a vibrant culture…all creating an unforgettable cruise and homeporting experience for passengers aboard popular cruise lines. Explore the island offerings at

“We are delighted to be the first cruise ship to return to Jamaica and to offer guests an opportunity to experience all of the country’s beauty,” said Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line. “On behalf of Carnival, I would like to personally thank the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and our partners for working with us to bring safe cruising back to Jamaica.”

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC REACTIVATES CRUISE TOURISM With a face of satisfaction, the Minister of Tourism, David Collado, affirmed that with the arrival of Carnival Horizon on July 6 of this year on the North Coast, the Dominican Republic is filled with hope, changing the faces of thousands of families and reactivating hundreds of small businesses that provide various jobs.

DOMINICA RESUMES CRUISE ACTIVITIES Dominica has successfully resumed cruise activities welcoming passengers back to its shores. Visitors are basking in the island’s unique rainforests and enjoying the island’s scenic tours. Dominica assures excursions within a safety bubble which includes transportation in clean, sanitized vehicles driven by trained and certified drivers and tour guides who maintain a friendly attitude while observing the health and safety protocols. Cruise into Dominica and be safe in nature!

ALEXANDER GUMBS NEW CEO OF PORT ST. MAARTEN GROUP Cruise and shipping industry veteran Alexander Gumbs is now the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Port St. Maarten Group. Gumbs underwent an exhaustive complete screening process and background check and scored the highest in the recruitment process as an extremely qualified candidate for the CEO position and becoming the President of the management team of the group. Gumbs’ track record made him the ideal choice for the role in these challenging times to lead one of the country’s generators of the national economy responsible for up to one third of GDP. The 33-year-old homegrown executive professional’s last position before taking up the position of CEO was Director of Port Operations & Development at one of the largest global cruise corporations. Some of the key points that Gumbs will be addressing are the continued sustainable growth of cruise and cargo pillars; facilitating the yachting sector; data research and innovative development; corporate compliance principles; and executing the strategic objectives as outlined in the recently completed E & Y High Level Plan. One of the first orders of business will be a quick business scan and thereafter the implementation of a tactical action plan to solve any current outstanding matters. For more information about the destination, visit www.vacationstmaarten. com, or

AN UPSCALE, ECO-FRIENDLY ANCHORAGE IN MARTINIQUE One of Martinique’s four anchorages, Le Marin, attracts luxury and boutique cruise ships and offers guests a more intimate experience away from the mega-ships – docking in this upscale Caribbean yachting destination feels a bit like arriving on the French Riviera. Once ashore, you’ll be warmly welcomed by the local tourist staff, who will point you toward the many activities and heritage sites the town has to offer. The marina is within walking distance and has 850 berths, 200 buoy moorings, and a large shopping area, and has earned the “Pavillon bleu” label in recognition of its eco-friendly initiatives. Learn more about Le Marin at THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 21

On Land

INTRODUCING HARMONY BEACH PARK: MONTEGO BAY’S NEWEST FAMILY ATTRACTION Located in Montego Bay Jamaica, just 95km from The World-Famous Dunn’s River Falls & Park, this 16-acre beach park offers a unique blend of shopping, entertainment, food and recreation for the entire family. Harmony boasts a jogging trail, kiddies play areas, multi-purpose court, beach, gazebos and picnic areas. Harmony Beach Park, the ideal locale for Sea, Sun and Fun!

ACTIONS TO SUPPORT GUADELOUPE TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT In a desire to safeguard and enhance the heritage of our territory, the National Park of Guadeloupe has launched its 5th call for projects entitled “Laliwondaj.” Supported this year by the France economic recovery plan, this call for projects aims to encourage local initiatives and to bring sustainable projects concerning natural, landscape, heritage, educational or cultural heritage such as hiking trail maintenance or clean-up of Alliance tracks. 22 THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

ST. MAARTEN AIRPORT TERMINAL PROJECT LIFTS OFF On Aug. 24, an official signing with the General Contractor of the Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project, the Ballast Nedam International Projects B.V. (BNIP), was held at the former Check-In Hall at the St. Maarten Princess Juliana International Airport, signifying the start of the reconstruction project. The reconstruction project is to start by the end of September and completed by the second quarter of 2023; however, sections of the terminal building will begin to come online from as early as December 2022.

ESCAPE TO ST. KITTS Explore the island in your own unique bubble experience and awake your sense of wander. Travel 300-year-old tracks on the Caribbean’s only Scenic Train and discover aha moments as you follow in the footsteps of British Soldiers at the Brimstone Hill Fortress. St. Kitts, escape, recover, rejuvenate, have your moment.


humankind’s greatest engineering achievements, and for the 2022-23 cruise season, four Holland America Line ships will feature itineraries that include a full transit between Atlantic and Pacific oceans. On board, guests get a front-row seat on the eight-hour daylight journey through the Panama Canal, often cited as a rite-of-passage experience by avid cruisers. Ranging in length from 14 to 23 days aboard Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Volendam and Zuiderdam, Holland America’s Panama Canal voyages depart from several ports, including San Diego, California; Seattle, Washington; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Many of the itineraries have two or three embarkation or debarkation options, enabling guests to stay on for an extended trip or utilize the port that is most convenient.

COLOMBIA WELCOMES FIRST CRUISE SINCE PANDEMIC The first cruise for Colombia, after a pause of more than a year and a half, docked at the Port of Cartagena on Aug. 24. Star Breeze arrived with 312 passengers and 190 crew members – with tours for guests including a visit to San Felipe Fortress, the Old City, as well as a Colombian coffee tasting. “We continue working for the safe economic reactivation of the country and its tourism sector,” said María Ximena Lombana Villalba, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism. “In addition to what has been achieved for the return of shipping companies to the country, we have made great efforts to comply with the biosecurity measures implemented in the city and activate all the actors in the chain.” For the 2020-2021 season, Colombia expects to welcome 57 percent of the pre-pandemic calls, with 124 cruise ships arriving. That should reinject much of the $59.9 million total cruise expenditures, along with 1,186 jobs paying $8.6 million in wages, seen in the 2018 BREA study, “Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies.”

On Land

Port of Galveston Breaks Ground on New Royal Caribbean Cruise Terminal BELIZE ADDS MEDICAL TRANSFER PROTOCOLS FOR CRUISE SHIPS The Ministry of Tourism and Diaspora Relations (MTDR) and the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), with the guidance of the Cruise Tourism Task Force, have established Health and Safety Protocols for the Safe Restart of Cruise Operations in Belize. The document outlines the process for preventing and managing COVID-19 positive cases upon restart of cruise ship activities in Belize and includes protocols for the transfer of any passenger from a ship in the case of a medical emergency.

PORTMIAMI CELEBRATES RETURN OF NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE Norwegian Cruise Line officially returned to PortMiami on Aug. 15, with Norwegian Gem docking at Cruise Terminal B, the Pearl of Miami, for sailings to Harvest Caye, Roatán and Cozumel. “The Cruise Capital of the World is back! We thank Norwegian for its incredible partnership,” said Port CEO Juan Kuryla. PORT EVERGLADES TO HOST THREE REGULARS Port Everglades is welcoming cruising back to the United States this summer with three ships sailing regularly: Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Equinox and Royal Caribbean’s new Odyssey of the Seas. “It’s starting to look a lot like a cruise port here again,” said Chief Executive and Port Director Jonathan Daniels. “After no passengers or revenue for at least 15 months, and significant job loss, it is a greatly welcome kick-off.”

The Port of Galveston, the fourth most popular cruise port in the US, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Aug. 14 to mark the start of construction of Royal Caribbean International’s $125 million cruise terminal. This much-anticipated project will

PORT NOLA WELCOMES RETURN OF CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE Port NOLA welcomed the return of Carnival Cruise Line sailings from New Orleans when Carnival Glory departed to the Eastern Caribbean, with visits to the ports of Key West, Freeport and Nassau, during its seven-day sailing. Glory resumed with enhanced safety protocols and a 95 percent vaccination rate. Carnival Valor is also scheduled to resume in November, as well as Norwegian Breakaway.

bring 800 new jobs, $1.4 billion in local business services revenue, $5.6 million in state and local taxes, and incredible business development opportunities. The terminal will homeport Allure of the Seas and is expected to be completed in fall 2022.

PORT CANAVERAL’S COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE Port Canaveral is a best-in-class cruise port, hosting nearly 5 million passengers annually through our state-of-the-art terminals. We are proud to be homeport for some of the world’s best known, most popular and technically sophisticated cruise ships. Cruise guests love our easy access, ample parking facilities, and efficient arrivals and departures. Our long-standing commitment to continuous improvement and customer service excellence delivers consistently high-quality guest experiences. THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 23

On Land

Qatar Tourism and CLIA Establish Partnership


atar Tourism and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) UK & Ireland have announced a partnership that will enhance Qatar’s brand awareness across the region and with CLIA’s wider community of cruise lines, travel agents and stakeholders. As part of the partnership, Qatar Tourism will be one of the main headline sponsors of the CLIA Selling Cruise Day on November 4 in Southampton and will also sponsor the annual CLIA Cruise Forum in December. An extensive tourism development is under way in Qatar as the country works to diversify and build upon its offerings and broaden its appeal for visitors ahead of and beyond the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and achieve its long-term goal of becoming a world-class destination and welcome more than 6 million visitors a year by 2030. A host of new hotels and hotel apartments, activities, theme parks, shopping malls and major projects have 24 THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

recently opened or are currently under construction, ensuring travelers will enjoy the very best of Qatar. As of July 12, Qatar reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international travelers by vaccines approved for use by the Ministry of Public Health. Qatar’s reopening is a major milestone for the country, gearing up to host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 next year. “We’re very excited to welcome Qatar Tourism to the CLIA family,” said Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland Managing Director. “Their support for the trade is a clear indication they are looking to build positive cruise momentum. The region was proving increasingly popular with cruisers, and we’re all looking forward to seeing ships start visiting the exceptional facilities of the Doha port and its surroundings again.” “As Qatar has re-opened its borders, we are looking forward to welcoming back cruise travellers from around the globe,”

said Berthold Trenkel, Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism. “Qatar is a fantastic destination for every type of traveler. It is the safest and one of the most cosmopolitan destinations in the Middle East, rich in art, culture and tradition. With a range of assets including world class hotels, restaurants, stunning beaches and a bustling atmosphere, we offer the best of the Middle East all in one place. “Adventure-seekers can enjoy the thrill of dune bashing across the desert, cultural enthusiasts can explore our world-famous museums and galleries, and there is a variety of fine dining options serving local and international cuisine to suit all tastes. Qatar defies expectations.” In 2019/2020, Qatar welcomed 207,000 cruise visitors to Doha. With the Doha port undergoing a multi-millionpound refurbishment recently, the destination has set its sights on meeting and exceeding this number moving forward in the 2021/2022 season, starting November.

A new partner on board brings more choices on shore. Two paths coming together with a steady goal can broaden horizons for all. Through a shared vision and passion for the cruise industry, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and have joined paths. As the new administrator of the FCCA Global Tour Operator Insurance Program, provides tour operators with the coverage they need to grow their business—and enhance the destination experience.

To learn more about how this partnership can benefit you, contact our experts today. Ken Furlow Global Development Officer M: 786.351.3408

Cruising Returns to Hong Kong


ong Kong became one of the latest destinations to join the global cruise revival in July, with strict new Covid-19 protocols allowing a resumption of short itineraries for local residents. After approvals from the Hong Kong Government, the first in a series of local cruise-to-nowhere itineraries departed from the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal on July 30, sailing with reduced capacity and pre-boarding testing for all passengers and crew. Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Managing Director Australasia and Asia Joel Katz said the resumption was an important milestone for cruising in Asia. “Hong Kong is one of Asia’s most important cruise hubs, and it will play an important role in our industry’s global recovery,” he said. “The beginning of domestic operations is the first step towards what we hope will be a more extensive revival of cruising from Hong Kong, which will allow the destination to reclaim its

place as one of Asia’s busiest cruise ports.” Hong Kong’s resumption is similar to operations in other Asian locations, including Singapore and Taiwan, where domestic-only sailings within local ‘bubbles’ have allowed a careful and tightly managed return to operations. “Asian locations have been among the pioneers in cruising’s global recovery,” Katz continued. “Jurisdictions like Singapore and Taiwan in particular have been among the first to work closely with cruise lines to implement extensive new health protocols in response to Covid-19. “These measures have been in place and working successfully in Asia since the latter part of 2020 and have provided an enormous amount of insight that has helped other destinations work towards a responsible resumption of cruising.” Katz told the experience gained in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong would help provide confidence among

governments and health authorities in other Asian locations where cruising had yet to resume. “The cruise industry’s new health measures in response to Covid-19 are among the most stringent to be found anywhere in tourism and include testing for passengers and crew, as well as extensive protocols covering crew quarantine, distancing, sanitation, health monitoring and response procedures,” he said. “In Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong we have the opportunity to see how these measures are performing in a working cruise environment, which together with successful operations in other parts of the world is helping to build a strong case for cruising in countries like Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the region.” Prior to the pandemic Asia represented the world’s third-largest cruise market, with 3.74 million people from Asia taking an ocean cruise in 2019. THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 27

On Land

CLIA Outlines Pathway for Cruising’s Revival in Australia


ruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has outlined a four-phase pathway for a careful resumption of cruising in Australia, designed to align with government plans to revive tourism and reopen borders as the country transitions its Covid-19 response. The cruise pathway has been developed in response to the fourphase National Plan agreed to by Australia’s state and federal governments, which sets out key stages of reopening and the national vaccination targets that trigger them. CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz said that aligning the industry’s pathway with the government’s national plan would help provide certainty for the more than 18,000 Australians whose jobs rely on cruising. It would also allow the implementation of the extensive health protocols developed by cruise lines globally in response to Covid-19, which are already operating in other countries where cruising has restarted. “This is about having plans agreed in advance so that we’re ready as conditions improve with the rising vaccination rate,” said Katz. “Australia’s governments have created a four-phase plan to reopen the country, and we’re now calling for our own four-phase pathway to be included in this process.”


Key goals in the cruise industry pathway are set against each of the four phases in Australia’s National Plan and can be adjusted to respond to evolving circumstances. They include: • Current Phase (vaccinate, prepare and pilot) – Achieving an agreement between governments and the cruise industry on a framework for cruising’s resumption and the implementation of the industry’s layered health protocols including testing and vaccination, with potential to pilot small domestic expedition cruises as health conditions allow • Vaccination Transition Phase (~70% of adult population vaccinated) – Resume limited domestic-only cruises within Australia, in line with the industry’s extensive health protocols. • Consolidation Phase (≥80% of adult population vaccinated) – Achieve more extensive domestic sailings and begin carefully controlled itineraries between Australia and New Zealand and other regional destinations when conditions allow, with ongoing health protocols in place. • Post Vaccination Phase – Resume carefully controlled international itineraries from Australian ports with ongoing health protocols in place.

Katz said Australia was now the only major cruise market in the world where governments had yet to achieve progress on a framework for cruising’s resumption. “Almost 1 million people have successfully sailed in countries where cruising has already resumed, including in the US, Europe and parts of Asia,” he told. “Cruising involves long lead-times ahead of operations, so we need a plan in place now so we can work towards reviving an industry worth more than A$5 billion a year to communities around Australia.” CLIA has written to the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison seeking a breakthrough in discussions over the industry’s future. The move comes as the Australian government prepares to consider its current cruise suspension, which is due for review in mid-September. “We can’t simply extend the cruise suspension yet again without having a plan for the future,” said Katz. “We need the Prime Minister to provide a breakthrough and allow detailed discussions to move forward, so we can have certainty for the thousands of Australians whose jobs depend on cruising. “Now that Australia has clear vaccination targets and a plan for reopening to travel, we need to ensure that cruising is included in this plan and that we have an agreed framework for the resumption of cruising.”

Meanwhile, CLIA has welcomed plans for a phased reopening of New Zealand’s borders as a positive step forward for the tourism sector, but says provisions for a careful resumption of local cruising should be included to help revive New Zealand jobs and businesses. Responding to the New Zealand Government’s announcement on future Covid-19 measures and a phased opening of borders, Katz told New Zealand would also need an agreed framework to support tightly managed local cruise operations, beginning initially with domestic sailings or itineraries between New Zealand and Australia. “As New Zealand plans for its reopening, we need to discuss how to implement these health protocols locally so that we’re ready for a careful revival of cruising as soon as conditions allow,” he said. Cruising is ordinarily worth around NZ$570 million a year to the New Zealand economy and supports thousands of local jobs, including in many regional locations around the country. “This is a vital part of the New Zealand tourism economy, so we need to partner with government and work towards its revival,” continued Katz. “It’s not a matter of simply opening the doors – we need to agree on detailed plans for a carefully controlled resumption that starts small and moves forward in a way that works for New Zealand.”

CRUISE INDUSTRY UNITES TO DISCUSS VISION FOR RECOVERY More than 800 cruise industry supporters from across Australia, New Zealand and Asia gathered online in August for a key forum on cruising’s path to recovery in the region, hosted by CLIA. The event was held in lieu of CLIA’s annual Cruise360 Australasia conference, which was postponed due to an ongoing Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney, and brought together industry leaders from across the region and overseas. Among international speakers were CLIA’s Global President and CEO Kelly Craighead; MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato; Regent Seven Seas Cruises President & CEO Jason Montague; and Cruise Critic Editor-inChief Colleen McDaniel. In a State-of-the-Industry opening session, CLIA’s Kelly Craighead outlined the industry’s response to the global pandemic and its success in implementing the detailed new health protocols that have allowed cruising’s resumption in many parts of the world. “Really, this has been done in partnership with destinations, with authorities at all levels,” said Craighead. “It’s the public-private partnership, and the cooperation, and the dialogue, that has proven successful around the globe.” Craighead continued that close engagement with governments would also be the key to achieving resumption in other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. “We do have to learn the lesson from the other markets, and probably the number one lesson is you only move forward when government and industry collaborate with one another,” she said. Royal Caribbean Vice President & Managing Director Australia & New Zealand Gavin Smith said more detailed discussions with governments were needed to achieve a resumption of cruising in Australia and New Zealand. “Our main request to government at the moment is everybody’s got a job to do – let’s not get distracted by the potential extension of the border closures, but we need to sit together and agree this framework to restart,” said Smith, who is CLIA’s Chair in Australasia.

“We’ve got to agree quarantine issues, the crew vaccination, testing, ventilation, isolation, evacuation, health reporting – there are a lot of issues that we’ve got to agree,” he continued. “So our advocacy is for those discussions to start now, not wait until December until we’re arguing about the next extension of the border closures. Let’s have that debate now.” Another of the forum’s sessions addressed how the cruise sector is working to rebuild confidence, with Cruise Critic’s Colleen McDaniel sharing data on cruise passengers and their largely positive sentiment towards cruising’s revival. She was joined Regent Seven Seas’ Jason Montague, Royal Caribbean’s Vice President Asia Pacific Angie Stephen, and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Vice President Field Sales - North America Michelle Palma, who explained how cruise lines are rebuilding consumer confidence as they resume sailing. A key session at the forum examined three pioneering regions of the world where cruising has resumed and looked at the partnerships that led to their success. The panel involved MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato, who explained the health measures and processes that had allowed his line’s resumption in Italy and the Mediterranean, as well as CLIA’s Managing Director for UK & Ireland Andy Harmer, who looked at the UK’s shift in focus to a domestic market. Singapore Tourism Board’s Director of Cruise Development Annie Chang explained how a government-industry partnership had driven the country’s early revival of cruising within a local bubble. Other speakers at the forum included the President of Carnival Australia Sture Myrmell; the Chairman Asia Pacif ic of Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions Sarina Bratton; the Vice President & Managing Director of Norwegian Cruise Line Asia-Pacif ic Ben Angell; and the Senior Vice President of Global Operations for Virtuoso Michael Londregan. THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 29

Members & Travel Agents

Lessons Learned as Cruise Resumes from North America By Beth Kelly Hatt, President, Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, the FCCA’s Official Training Partner


n the second quarter magazine, we talked about the measures that are needed to ensure a successful return of cruise, mainly about preparing your stakeholders, communicating with your community, and helping your frontlines be ready. In this article, we talk about the best practices and lessons learned shared with us by those FCCA members with successful f irst calls in the Caribbean and Central America. Aquila surveyed FCCA member destinations, ports, tour operators and cruise teams with two main questions on what ports and operators did well in the destinations they visited. It is incredible how aligned the responses were among all the groups. Here are the initial responses to our informal survey. 1. With the cruise restart in your destination, what is the best thing you did in preparation or on the day? What made you say, “I’m so glad we did that?” 30 THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE

“By far the most important thing we did was to take advantage of the many months that we were shut down and waiting for cruising to The Bahamas to resume. We met constantly as a team to evaluate our operation and implement necessary changes, we provided ongoing education and training for our entire team to ensure that they would be ready to meet the new demands, and we engaged throughout that period with our cruise partners to understand what their requirements were and to provide them with the assurance that Blue Lagoon Island is up for the challenge to provide a safe and fun excursion for their passengers.” –Jessica Robertson, Public Relations Manager, Blue Lagoon Island. “Once Puerto Progreso has been confirmed for the reopening of cruise ship activities, we were very satisfied with the preparation we had; training and certifying service providers, especially regarding sanitary and biosafety protocols. Having created a group of Friends of Health for the care of passengers and collaborators, this group oversaw strolling the areas where passen-

gers move, from the cruise terminal to the beach area, with signs recalling the sanitary measures that must be respected, in addition to providing face masks and sanitizing gel. It has given us very good results and it is a wow factor that they cannot find in any other destination they visit.” –Raúl Paz, Yucatan Tourism Board “The most important thing we did was preparing our team – the training, the communication, understanding why we do certain things and why it’s important. Our team is the biggest difference. And it’s the continuous chain of communication with the Shorex teams onboard the ship.” –Sharlise Croes, Fofoti Tours. (See Aquila’s full interview with Sharlise at AquilaCenterforCruiseExcellence.) “I would say the best thing that was done in port is ensuring that the tour operators were aware of company’s covid protocols which made the guests more confident in our product and that we genuinely care about their safety.” –Anonymous cruise executive

“We are glad we worked with our operators to ensure we had enough tour variety to offer guests in port and wherever possible to include a safe shopping experience.” –Anonymous cruise executive “A big plus for us was promoting information (such as the island map) in a digital format. We did this with a QR code along with a display so passengers can pick up a map on their own.” –Anonymous destination representative “Coordination between the port and the tour operators was key to our success. The port of Nassau had a meeting at the port to review protocols and dispatching areas with the tour operators. As the port is under construction during return to service, it was key to a successful operation.” –Anonymous cruise executive 2. What was your biggest lesson learned? “Flexibility. Even with all of the best laid plans, changes are bound to happen, sometimes, within hours of the call. It is important to have the ability to amend programs quickly and adhere to local protocols. We have never used the word ‘fluid’ so much in one year.” –Anonymous cruise executive “We learned that human nature is unpredictable, and we find passengers and collaborators reluctant to respect the mandatory protocols for the protection not only of our community, but of everyone, including the guests. It is important that, despite the resistance, we keep doing our job to make each arrival a safe destination.” – Anonymous destination representative “The biggest lesson this global pandemic has taught us is that as a team and as individuals we have to be prepared to constantly reassess the way we are operating, both in terms of providing a top excursion product and in terms of keeping our team and our guests safe. This virus and the requirements to operate change constantly and anyone not prepared to change with it will be left behind.” – Anonymous tour operator “The biggest lesson learned is that

communication is very vital and never just assume and if not sure always ask for help.” –Anonymous cruise executive “We learned that passengers still require and want face to face information. Don’t assume everyone avoids interaction.” –Anonymous destination representative The expectations continue to be high, but the collaboration between a destination’s cruise community and the cruise line is now higher than ever. Cruises are sailing successfully due to a continued focus on teams, communication, and collaborations. In Canada, where Aquila is based, we can’t wait to see the return to sailing in spring. We continue to learn the best practices and lessons from all our friends in other parts of the world so that we too are

successful when the time comes. These lessons also help Aquila continue to develop new training programs, and we invite you to check our website for all those programs. The cruise industry is returning to sail all over the world, and the demand for cruising continues to rise. We have spent time reflecting, training, communicating, and investing…and now we are ready! Beth Kelly Hatt is the President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, the FCCA’s official training partner. Aquila’s approach to training is one of assessing the needs of a destination or operator and developing a strategic training plan that helps raise the level of excellence throughout the destination. Contact Beth for more information at


Free to explore


Santo Domingo feel the vibe

Members & Travel Agents FCCA Welcomes New Platinum Member, Global Maritime Compliance Solutions

GLOBAL MARITIME Compliance Solutions

Global Maritime Compliance Solutions is a group of experts in the maritime industry whose mission is to help your ability to make money, preserve and increase business by reducing risks through compliance, with a better control of what has to be done, getting the right deliverables from your staff, your processes and suppliers, and to be able to identify in time those internal or

external elements that can derail them in the fulfillment of their objectives. With our platform, ORCA, we are leaders in the design of services and solutions for Risk Control, Regulatory Compliance and Information Security; and through ORCA GRC ERM technology platform, our clients obtain more than a solution for business risk management, they get an ally to drive their growth.

CAYOS COCHINOS, A PIECE OF PARADISE ON EARTH If you want to discover a piece of paradise on earth, Cayos Cochinos is the right place! Located northeast of La Ceiba, Honduras, you just have to take an exciting 30-minute trip, and if you are lucky, dolphins can be your companions. Where the shades of turquoise blue water seem to be painted, where you can practice snorkeling and be amazed of the underwater life, or else dive and relax on one of the most beautiful beaches you can imagine.

Toro Verde Adventure Park Certified by Guinness World Records Guinness World Records (GWR), the world record authority, certified the Toro Verde Adventure Park company, located in the municipality of Orocovis, Puerto Rico, as the official headquarters of the world's longest 322.25-meter zip line by bike. The park's new offering, “ToroBike,” opened on April 28 and was attended by Guinness World Records Official Adjudicator Sarah Casson. The project consists of four tree-shaped


platforms, specifically designed not to detract from the impressive beauty of the mountainous area and the spectacular view of the entire north coast of Puerto Rico that it offers to those who accept the challenge of taking the tour. The circuit has capacity for four simultaneous bicycles which slide through four stations of different lengths with a maximum of 326 meters (1069 feet 7 inches), making the activity ideal to enjoy with family or friends.

OCEAN WORLD’S INTERACTIVE PROGRAMS Ocean World in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, highlights personal experiences between guests and marine animals through interactive programs with dolphins, sea lions and sharks. The park features snorkeling, birds’ habitat, swimming areas and the ‘Dominican Village’ to experience the local culture. Ocean World’s commitment to sustainable practices has been internationally recognized, becoming the first dolphin facility in the Caribbean to be American Humane certified, to achieve the Travelife Partner Award and the Safe Travels Seal.

AMERIMED EXPANDS PLAYA DEL CARMEN HOSPITAL, ADDS FACILITY IN ISLA MUJERES Amerimed Hospitals has always been responsive to the demand for increasingly complex and diverse medical services in the Mexican Caribbean. We are proud to announce the expansion of our Playa del Carmen Hospital, with upcoming new services, as well as a new facility in Isla Mujeres (scheduled for fall 2021). Please visit

It is inspiring to witness how the entire business model embedded new ways to reduce risk and still deliver awe-inspiring memories to the cruise guests. We as tour operators felt a great deal of responsibility as part of this endeavor – and made incredible efforts on our end to endure through the challenge and still be there to receive our dear clients back, maintaining the standard in our products, and now operating under the strictest of situations a tourism operator could ever imagine. Aviomar has gone through a thorough revision of every single process we have and deconstructed every one of them, from the tour dispatch to the purchasing of goods, all under the eye of the new approach to sanitation and preventing measures. This necessity brought a great opportunity to dig in deeply and analyze every detail of our company, bringing not only improvement in safety operational measures, but also a deeper knowledge of a com-

pany founded two generations before our time. At the same time, there is an immense challenge in terms of supply in our destinations, as the economic crisis has taken many key role players out of the market, increasing our need for creativity and resourcefulness. The result is an operation designed to respond to turbulence without changing the core of the product that is being delivered, which has made us incredibly dynamic as a service provider. Overall, if we can make room for optimism and maintaining the utmost respect that an international health crisis deserves, we can proudly say that we have found a new passion for what we do, a renewed sense of pride in delivering at the highest standards and having forged relationships with our clients that will last for our entire lifetimes. The Aviomar Family humbly feels that we have come out of this unique situation stronger than ever! #aviomarcares

COSTAMED MEDICAL GROUP COMING SOON TO COSTA MAYA Dental services from Costamed Medical Group coming soon in Costa Maya medical unit, dental promotions and more. We want to celebrate your return to the sea with medical tourism upgrades and crew member special services. With six medical units among the Riviera Maya and Cozumel, we are excited to be part of your team on land once again. For more send an e-mail to crewmember.specialist@ AVIOMAR CARES What a challenging task it is to summarize the most challenging year and a half in cruising history, and still counting! Not only this has been a challenge for all of us as people, but our industry has taken the biggest hit in its entire history. We have seen the biggest efforts made from cruise lines responding to this “test” in the way only cruise tourism can, powering through and betting on the outstanding product we deliver every single time. THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 35

Survival Beach

PARADISE AWAITS. ALL IN GOOD TIME. Soon enough you’ll feel the embrace of our sun on your face, our historic cobblestone streets under your feet, and our endless white sand between your toes. All in good time. Find out more at

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