FCCA & CLIA Events Embark on Mutual Success Opportunities at Seatrade Cruise Global Cruise Lines’ Environmental Efforts, Developments & Records Destinations Celebrate Tourism Records, Developments & Initiatives to Benefit Locals Aquila’s Lessons for Destinations’ Frontlines THE OFFICIAL MAGAZINE OF THE CRUISE INDUSTRY FIRST QUARTER 2023 Priscilla Molina Conveys Commitment of Showcasing All Destinations Visited Bryan Attree Shares Royal Caribbean Group’s “Exciting Times” Ahead Carlos Estrada Tells Why Carnival Is “Heading in the Right Direction” & the Role Stakeholders Play Daniel Farkas Discusses “Strengthening Our Relationships with Destinations, Ports and FCCA Members” Paolo Mezzino Gives a Glimpse of MSC Cruises’ “Big Growth” & Importance of Dialogue with Destinations Micky Arison Details the Industry’s “Metamorphosis” & “Great Opportunity”
St. Maarten Setting Sail for
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REQUIRED NOPA SSPOR T FOR U.S. CITIZENS
10 Micky Arison and Michele Paige Visit the Past and Look to the Future The Carnival Corporation Chairman and FCCA CEO discuss the past, present, and future of FCCA and the cruise industry, putting the spotlight on partnership
ON THE COVER
Meeting and Events
15 FCCA Platinum Cruise Twice as Nice, Doubles Opportunities for Developing Success Hundreds of destination stakeholders and dozens of cruise executives embarked on a series of events featuring private meetings, group sessions and networking events to continue building back better together
18 Maximizing Seatrade Cruise Global: Easy as FCCA
19 Welcome to CLIA’s 2023 Business on the Beach!
22 Daniel Farkas Named FCCA Operations Committee Chair
The new chair shares his plans to strengthen relationships and build mutual success – while further developing and enhancing the guest experience and expanding opportunities for stakeholders and citizens
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24 Cruise Lines International Association Releases the 2023 State of the Cruise Industry Report
The new report shows why the cruise industry continues to be one of the fastest-growing sectors of tourism and is on track to likely exceed 2019 levels
25 The Cruise Industry Garners Positive Media Coverage
26 Royal Caribbean Upbeat About Future of Company and Cruise Industry Bryan Attree, Senior Manager of Worldwide Port Operations for Royal Caribbean Group, details the “exciting times” ahead
27 MSC Cruises Sets Sights on Caribbean Expansion Paolo Mezzino, MSC Cruises’ new Director of Port Operations for North America and the Caribbean, gives a glimpse of the “big growth, big volume coming” and the importance of dialogue with destinations
First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 3
7, 9 President’s Letter QUARTER
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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.
23 Cruise Lines International Association Held Second Annual European Summit in Paris
Aerial view of Port St. Maarten
28 Carnival’s Exciting Year Ahead
Carlos Estrada, Director of Commercial Home Port Operations for Carnival Cruise Line, tells why they are “heading in the right direction” and the role that destination stakeholders play
29 Arvia Naming Ceremony Shares the Spotlight with Barbados and the Caribbean
29 MSC Cruises to Launch
31 Silver Nova Poised to Be a Star
32 Record Bookings for Holland America Line, Cunard, AIDA Cruises and P&O Cruises
33 Costa Group Driving Implementation of Methanol
34 Setting Sail for St. Maarten
The destination and Port St. Maarten Group CEO Alexander Gumbs tell why, “We have so much to celebrate, but at the same time we must keep putting our best efforts forward…” 38
49 The Dominican Republic Continues Record Pace
49 Antigua and Barbuda Moving Full Steam Ahead
50 Jamaica Growing Sustainably
50 Dominica’s Encouraging Results
50 Colombia’s Business Forecast at FITUR Surpasses $15.6M
51 Belize Updates National Cruise Tourism Policy
51 Honduras Launches Cruise Strategy in Coordination with FCCA
51 Salvador to Host International Events
51 Costa Rica Welcomes 6,500 Cruise Guests, 10 Ships in One Day
51 Royal Caribbean Expanding CocoCay, Expecting 13,000 Guests Daily
52 Journey Through CLIA’s Interactive Sustainability Toolkit to Discover Stories to Share
Members & Travel Agents
54 FCCA Signs Three Presidential Partners: The British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, and the U.S. Virgin Islands With 2023 proving to be a year for partnership and growth, FCCA has already filled its exclusive program that “signifies the improvement of so many lives and livelihoods,” according to Micky Arison, Chairman of FCCA and Carnival Corporation
55 FCCA and Maritime Procurement Services Partner to Advance Environmental Efforts
56 Frontlines Are Your Ambassadors! Beth Kelly Hatt, President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, shares lessons on how to improve destinations’ frontlines and details why that helps the guest experience
57 FCCA Platinum Member Highlights
MSC Cruises Showcases Commitment to Sustainability On
Virgin Islands: America’s Paradise
Get to Know Mazatlán, Host of the 2023 FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show
Welcome to Caymankind 48 Cruising Ahead in Puerto Rico
New Environmentally Advanced Flagship
29 Get to Know Carnival Firenze
Sun Princess to
Showstopping New Venues
29 First Cut of Steel for Second Icon Class Ship 30 Celebrity Ascent on the Rise 30
Oceania Cruises Welcomes Allura, Names Vista’s Godmother 48 CONTENTS First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 5
30 Seven Seas Grandeur
FCCA Chairman Chairman
President & CEO
Royal Caribbean International
Disney Signature Experiences
Richard E. Sasso
MSC Cruises (USA) Inc.
Frank J. Del Rio
President & CEO
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings LTD.
Michele M. Paige
Chief Executive Officer
Adam Ceserano President
Vice President, Operations
Omari Breakenridge Director, Digital Strategy & Creative Services
Director, Membership Events & Programs
Manager, Research & Data
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 levels expected to exceed pre-pandemic numbers this year and continued growth for the future. 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.
Micky Arison, Chair of Carnival Corporation and FCCA, speaks to the importance of this communication and collaboration, especially in recovering from COVID-19, along with how it served as the foundation for FCCA and should be a springboard for the future.
You can get to know the new Chair of the FCCA Operations Committee, Daniel S. Farkas, Executive Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), and how he aims to strengthen relationships while representing the industry to achieve mutual success – with additional concentration on further developing and enhancing the guest experience while expanding opportunities for stakeholders and citizens.
Many other cruise executives share their input and glimpses of a brighter future, including Bryan Attree, Senior Manager of Worldwide Port Operations for Royal Caribbean Group; Carlos Estrada, Director of Commercial Home Port Operations for Carnival Cruise Line; and Paolo Mezzino, MSC Cruises’ new Director of Port Operations for North America and the Caribbean.
There is also a recap of the latest FCCA Platinum Member events, which took place aboard both Holland America Line’s Eurodam and Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, along with a preview of the upcoming event in the Cayman Islands 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 hiring and purchasing/sourcing in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico.
Beth Kelly Hatt, President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence (FCCA’s official training partner), shares lessons on how to improve destinations’ frontlines and thus the guest experience, and we detail a new partnership with Maritime Procurement Services (MPS) to advance environmental efforts.
Additionally, highlights from the destinations and cruise lines show the progress that has taken place – and will surely continue if we keep working together to build back better.
Michele M. Paige President FCCA
First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 7
Introductory meeting hosted by FCCA with Mara Lezama (center), Governor of Quintana Roo, Mexico, to formalize FCCA’s ongoing relationship.
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CLIA GLOBAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
CLIA Global Chairman
Micky Arison Chairman
Carnival Corporation & plc
Frank J. Del Rio
President & CEO
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings
Royal Caribbean Group
President & CEO
Royal Caribbean Group
Disney Signature Experiences
Charles B. Robertson
President & CEO
American Cruise Lines
Josh Weinstein President & CEO
Carnival Corporation & plc
President & CEO
Senior Vice President, Membership Operations
Senior Vice President, Maritime Policy
Joshua S. Good
Senior Vice President, Global Finance and Operations
Senior Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Communications
The cruise industry is the fast-growing sector of tourism and should return or even surpass its 2019 level of passengers. We as an industry have worked very hard to get to this point. No doubt, our unity, resilience and strength made that all possible.
In this issue of Travel & Cruise, you can read about our Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) 2023 State of the Cruise Industry report that shows our potential passenger volume rising by 27 million to 33 million oceangoing guests globally. The report also discusses how our industry is leading the way to a zero-carbon future in travel, reducing emissions at berth, at sea and in the operations of ships. As our young fleet sails the global waters, more ships are being built with innovative technologies to reduce our carbon footprint.
You will learn about the 2023 CLIA European Summit and its focus on the pursuit of new sustainable alternative energy sources, building ships compatible with our efforts to reduce emissions and devising sustainable tourism initiatives to preserve our travel destinations, provide socioeconomic benefits for their residents, and safeguard the sustainability of the cruising for future generations. We are working hard to meet our sustainability goals.
In keeping with that effort, CLIA is unveiling a new interactive toolkit that provides a host of facts and information about how the cruise industry is powering forward with its sustainability agenda and engaging with local communities at travel destinations about cruising as an integral part of their societies and economies. The toolkit uses the power of digital communication to reach audiences around the world and highlights the cruise sector’s contributions to the communities where it operates.
It appears the media may be taking note of our initiatives. A recent report from Commetric noted that media coverage of the cruise industry increased 34% at the start of 2023 with favorable content dominating with 79% of the total volume of coverage tracking as positive sentiment.
We look forward to seeing you at our annual Business on the Beach on Monday, March 27, at Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We will celebrate the cruise industry with business meetings as well as festivities and fun.
While our work is not done, we are a resilient and united community that has overcome what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles. We will keep leading the way in environmental sustainability, destination stewardship, health and safety, workforce care and development and economic impact.
On behalf of everyone at CLIA, we thank you for your continued support.
Together in cruise,
Kelly Craighead President and CEO
First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 9
Micky Arison and Michele Paige Visit the Past and Look to the Future
Micky Arison, Chair of Carnival Corporation and FloridaCaribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), took an e-seat with Michele Paige, CEO of FCCA, to discuss the past, present, and future of FCCA and the cruise industry – putting the spotlight on partnership –with moderator Adam Ceserano, President of FCCA during a recent webinar, one of a series of open access sessions coordinated by FCCA to give stakeholders a better insight into the inner workings of the industry. A lightly edited transcript follows.
AC These webinars have been a voice to the industry over the last year and a half since we started doing them. We’ve gotten positive feedback from a lot of the members and industry partners. They love hearing everyone’s perspective, and I think today is going to be special – so we’re going to start right off the bat.
Micky, let’s talk about the beginning of FCCA – why and how was it formed?
MA Very few people on the call probably remember or know exactly how it all started – basically we were a luncheon club. The executives of cruise lines that were based in Miami would have lunch together – I think it was every third Thursday of the month or something like that, once a month – and just got together to exchange ideas and talk shop.
We would all lie to each other about how things were going, but we spent a nice hour to having lunch at the old Everglades Hotel. Skip Weber, who was the chairman in those days, was retired, so he was neutral.
That was it – it was basically a way to get together. You have to remember the industry at that time was not Miami focused; it wasn’t Florida focused; it was a global industry. The U.S pieces of it were based mostly in New York and San Francisco, but most of the cruise lines were based in Europe.
So, we were meeting twice a year in Europe for the associations that we had there, and there was very little focus on
Florida and the Caribbean – and so we got together just as a group because we had common interests in Miami.
We started getting into issues and hiring lobbyists for issues in Florida because the other companies couldn’t care less about what was going on – and that’s where it kind of started.
The lobbyist got more involved, and we actually made him the president of the association – but we really didn’t progress until we fired that lobbyist and hired Michele. Then everything changed.
‘You know, I don’t know if I’m going to stay,’ and he goes, ‘Well, you can’t leave,’ and I said, ‘Yeah I can.’
He goes, ‘Well, what if we name you president?’
I had one caveat: for him to give me his time and be personally involved – and he and Richard Fain did for a long time.
That’s what set FCCA afloat, and that’s what made the difference in our relationships. Micky was personally involved every step of the way, so kudos to Micky for making the FCCA what it is today.
MA Also, Rick Sasso was Chair at that time – wasn’t he?
MP That is that; Rick was the first. He was at Celebrity, and he was the FCCA Chair for 10 years.
AC Michele, when you came in and now you look at what FCCA has become – and this question is also directed to Micky –how has it changed, and what are some initiatives that you can point out?
MP The FCCA hasn’t really changed all that much; it has just constantly improved with all the various programs and functions. We continue to concentrate on the relationship.
Micky has also maintained his commitment. Micky, you are the man; I mean it sincerely.
AC You say everything changed at that point, and Michele when you came in after this person was – let’s say – released, what were the first things that you thought when you were coming in?
MP Things were not in a good state, as Micky remembers. Relationship was at an all-time low; things were in a bad place. So, I didn’t know.
I came from New York, where everything was under the marketing banner, and things were free-flowing and well-established. So, I went to Micky and said,
MA I appreciate that, but you know, the reality is that that it has changed enormously – the communications and the ability for the FCCA team and all the executives that are on the committees for all these years, the rotations of people.
They’ve had the opportunity to communicate with various destinations and ministers in a way that was impossible when we first began. There was so little communication then, and it’s critical.
I think you get into this later, but obviously with COVID and the demands it
…we couldn’t have operated without that effort from FCCA.
10 First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise
—Micky Arison, Chair of Carnival Corporation and Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA)
brought us, it wouldn’t have been possible [without that communication].
The reality is if every destination had their own protocols, we would have never been able to get restarted because there’s no way we could do a cruise to three or four different destinations with three or four different protocols.
The committee that was formed to ensure that we had some coordination, and not every destination fell in line, but most did and made it possible for us to operate.
It was enormous, and we couldn’t have operated without that effort from FCCA.
It’s now – and especially then – but it’s now just a critical part of the industry and really the center and focal point of the industry, whereas in the early days, it was an outlier.
MP I want to have a tribute to Owen Arthur, the Prime Minister of Barbados back when I came into the FCCA.
Everybody needs a champion, and as Micky said, we didn’t have people that wanted to talk to us back then. We really had to gain the inroads to have a relationship, to have the communication.
It was Owen Arthur. Barbados was the site of our first conference. He was the one because of his open-door policy, because of his commitment to the cruise industry, he really changed the tides.
It might be a completely different situation in the Caribbean if he hadn’t done that.
AC Micky, you just brought up COVID, which seems to be getting behind us. In your opinion, has cruising finally returned and what is your outlook on that as an industry?
MA A lot has happened in the last three years. Obviously COVID basically brought the industry to its knees, and now we’re getting back up one foot at a time. As soon as we started to get back up last summer, we got hit by Delta wave and the Omicron wave – and then the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
These constant headwinds and interruptions in our business – obviously, the huge spike in fuel prices, incredible inflation we’re all dealing with – these have created tremendous challenges for the industry, and we’re fighting our way through it.
First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 11
Every company is having to fight their way through it, but it is a challenge – not just for the cruise lines, but also for the destinations.
We talk about employment, we talk about purchasing and those kinds of things – well, obviously when it’s become so expensive to bring people in from faraway places because the cost of air has just gone through roof, it just economically makes more sense for us to do more hiring in the Caribbean. We’re all trying to do that.
It also makes more sense for us to purchase more in the Caribbean because supply chains have been interrupted in so many ways.
So, there is great opportunity, but there are also great challenges – for instance with extremely high fuel costs, nations that are further away from homeports are going to are going to be challenged because cruise companies are trying to lower their carbon footprint and to save money on fuel. They’re not going the distance and speed that they used to, so destinations must be creative.
A good example of that is the president of P&O has been basing their ships in the Caribbean, and I think destinations further away from Florida, like Barbados, need to focus on companies like P&O, Cunard, AIDA and MSC – companies that are willing to base ships down there [to improve] their carbon footprint and fuel consumption.
The whole industry is going through a bit of a metamorphosis, and there are challenges and opportunities. Hopefully we can meet the challenges and take advantage of some of the opportunities.
AC Michele, where do you think the cruise industry stands after hearing Micky talk about it – and what role does FCCA play in that?
MP As you know, we work for the FCCA Member Lines. We always stand at their disposal, and we get our lead from the cruise executives themselves.
They are totally committed and opportunistic moving forward – and they’re very enthusiastic about where they’re going
What we’ve always said with the destinations echoes what Micky said: this is the time to rethink, to understand yourselves and what you offer to the cruise industry.
It’s a blank sheet of paper, so let’s look at this together and look at how we can plan it better for where you are.
AC Micky, on your one of your last points, you brought up some markers of a recession – how do you think the cruise industry would handle that hurdle?
MA I can only look at history; we have tended to handle it pretty well because the value of cruises.
Those of you that have recently been on a cruise, you know the quality of food, the variety of the entertainment, all the aspects of a cruise vacation are such a great value when you compare, especially now in an inflationary environment.
The cost of hotels, restaurants, in all those areas, prices have gone up dramatically, and we’ve had to deal with costs – our raw food costs in some cases are up 30-40 percent, but we’re not passing that on to the consumer.
The overall cruise prices may be up a few percentage points here and there, but it’s not up double/triple digits like some elements of a vacation today. So, the value proposition today is greater than I can ever recall.
With that great value proposition, people in a recessionary environment tend to be more focused on value, more focused on being able to get the biggest bang for their buck, and we should be just fine if we position ourselves in such a way that people understand the value – and each company needs to do that.
You don’t have that problem on a cruise ship; you’re getting world-class service.
MA I’ve recently stayed at a number of five-star hotels, and they have tremendous labor issues, so it’s about an hour and a half wait for room service.
In no fault of their own – these are great companies that normally have very good service – but for whatever reason, at least in the U.S but I saw this also in Europe when recently in Italy, they’re just having a tremendous time getting people back to work.
Everybody wants to work from home, and you can’t work from home if you’re in a restaurant. So, it’s a difficult environment for a lot of aspects, and we’re fortunate the ships are now fully staffed and the products are as good or better than they ever were before – while in the startup phase we had significant issues of getting labor back onto the ships and in the offices.
That puts us in a very competitive position versus other vacation options.
AC If you weren’t chairman of Carnival Corporation and FCCA, and instead you were a president or a prime minister of a country, what would you be doing now to strategically align yourself with cruise lines?
MA Step one is communication, to talk to the companies and find out what their needs are and see if they can be met either through education or training.
You start off with you start off in the Caribbean with the natural beauty of the beaches and the sunshine and some destinations with fantastic, beautiful mountainscapes and so on. You have this natural advantage, but it always comes down to people.
Whether it’s a cruise product or the landside product, it’s always about the people, the friendliness and service levels. Sometimes you just don’t have people properly trained to do what they need to do, and you can communicate with the cruise lines either through FCCA directly or with partners that are already calling to find out what they need and what their guests want.
MP To add on to what Micky is saying, Adam, you stayed at some extremely expensive hotels – you know suddenly on the second day you realize you’re not getting your bed made up unless you ask.
If you do have that, find out what can you give them more of and how to invest in your people to make sure that they deliver the kind of product that will make people want to come back.
…this is the time to rethink, to understand yourselves and what you offer to the cruise industry.
Spotlight 12 First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise
—Michele Paige, CEO of FCCA
It’s all about people having a great time. They’re on vacation; they don’t want problems or obstacles; they want to have a good time. If you can deliver them a good time, they’re going to remember that and come back.
AC Michele, going off what Micky’s saying about communication – coming out of COVID, FCCA pivoted and went to a Task Force, which has evolved from COVID to now focus on initiatives like employment and purchasing. We also revamped the Shore Excursion Committee and have multiple other committees – what does say about the communication level?
MP As Micky said, everything centers on offering passengers a phenomenal experience, and communication with the destination is crucial for that.
In the distant past, when we had problem, I remember Micky’s first comment to me is that they must not understand the economic benefits that the cruise industry delivers – and that statement propelled everything that FCCA has ever done: to communicate and translate the opportunities of the cruise industry to our destination partners.
We talk about the Caribbean, but FCCA is now also responsible Central America, all of Mexico and South America, excluding Brazil – so it’s working with all our destination partners.
Communication is critical in every facet, from talking to the shore excursion providers about the authentic experiences the industry wants and telling the story of what makes the destination unique, to the employment and purchasing opportunities that were being discussed and explaining the opportunities, needs and parameters. Communication and education are the cornerstones.
AC Micky, you’re an avid traveler and have been around the world, but if you had to pick a cruise itinerary and ship as your favorite, what would you choose?
MA We just had the naming ceremony for Carnival Celebration, and the ship is so amazing – wherever she goes, I want to get on her. I was really disappointed I couldn’t sail because of commitments with the family for Thanksgiving.
On the same day, we named Seabourn Venture in the ice in Antarctica – so we had a super luxury expedition ship being named with the entire passenger base standing on the ice the same day as here in Miami having Kathy Lee singing in the middle of the atrium.
I’d pick one of those two itineraries – wherever they’re going. A ship like Carnival Celebration is the destination, and the ports are icing on the cake.
The point is that a ship like that comes to a destination with 6,000 passengers, and
if the if that destination delivers a great product, a percentage of those people are going to come back.
If they have a great experience, a beautiful day at the beach or you a beautiful scenic ride over a mountaintop, they’ll want to experience that again.
It’s all about whether you’re on the ship or in the port or on a shore excursion that the experience is special and makes people feel special.
AC From our BREA research, that’s absolutely correct; about 50 percent of people expect to return to the destination after taking a cruise there, so that’s an important number for a destination to take advantage of.
MA I do that. I’ve been to places that I’ve liked on a cruise and gone back to visit. I tend to be somewhere in the Caribbean over the holidays every year, and there are particular islands that I’ve had great experiences at night, and I visit those islands.
I love going to the Exumas to sail and going down to St. Barts for New Year’s. There are so many varied destinations in the Caribbean that are magnificent. I don’t only do them on cruise ships.
AC I want to end on a personal note –what keeps you up at night or what keeps you going the next day? What is your biggest joy right now in life?
MA At my age, it’s waking up in the morning.
MP It’s his grandchildren.
MA That’s true; the grandkids are. I’m fortunate enough to have had my first two grandkids in the last year and a half.
The ‘keep me up at night’ is hard because I’ve been in the industry over 50 years, and I’ve experienced just about everything.
I’ve experienced certain tragedies on ships, and I’ve had very difficult situations.
I never could have imagined shutting down an industry and having to send 90,000 crew members home and the logistics of that.
So, I’ve experienced it all and somehow survived at all, and we keep on trucking.
First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 13
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 industr y, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and ExcursionInsurance.com have joined paths.
As the new administrator of the FCCA Global Tour Operator Insurance Program, ExcursionInsurance.com provides tour operators with the coverage they need to grow their business—and enhance the destination experience.
To lear n more about how this partnership can benefit you, contact our experts today.
Ken Furlow Global Development Ofﬁcer
FCCA Platinum Cruise Twice as Nice, Doubles Opportunities for Developing Success
T“wo heads are better than one” is usually an appropriate proverb for events and meetings coordinated by Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), as they focus on working together for mutual advancement.
This year it became even more fitting, with FCCA offering its Platinum Members not one, but two Platinum Cruises for the group of key stakeholders to meet and network with decision makers from FCCA’s 23 member cruise lines.
Virgin Voyages Experience
The pair of cruises began on Virgin Voyages, the inimitable travel brand founded by Sir Richard Branson that sails the Caribbean and beyond and offers a choice of 20 eateries, a festival-like line-up of entertainment, stylish and comfortable cabins, and much more.
A group of over 100 Platinum Members and cruise executives boarded Scarlet Lady on January 25 and immediately beamed with excitement at that evening’s opening reception coordinated by Virgin Voyages.
Taking place until January 29, the event offered multiple days of exchanging ideas and sharing strategies while strengthening relationships between desti-
nation stakeholders and cruise executives.
Additionally, it gave the influential audience the chance to experience Virgin Voyages’ product, which should lead to fruitful collaborations and onshore products tailored to Virgin Voyages sailors.
In fact, this desire from the Platinum Members led to Virgin Voyages offering the cruise after originally planning to host the 2020 FCCA PAMAC Cruise Summit, which was canceled due to the pandemic, and fulfilling the original commitment served as a gesture greatly appreciated by the group – with the onboard products, hospitality and arrangements further leaving them speechless.
Notable happenings during the event included Port St. Maarten and Team Tourism SXM becoming the first FCCA strategic partner to renew for 2023, with
FCCA President Adam Ceserano connecting with St. Maarten’s new Minister of Tourism Leo Lambriex and Port St. Maarten CEO Alex Gumbs to ink the agreement.
Public and private sector stakeholders from St. Kitts and Grenada also joined representatives from Chukka Caribbean Adventures, the Caribbean’s largest nature-adventure tour operator, to talk cruise tourism.
FCCA Platinum Cruise Summit
The traditional annual event then launched the following month, with a group of more than 200 Platinum Members and cruise executives joining in Port Everglades to board Holland America Line’s Eurodam
As usual, the FCCA 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 comfort-
Meeting and Events
“…it gives them a real vantage point in knowing what the lines are looking for…”
First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 15
—Albino Di Lorenzo, SVP, Port Operations, MSC Cruises
able together to form invaluable, synergistic partnerships.
“FCCA Platinum Membership events like the PAMAC Cruise Summit are essential to both the members and cruise line representatives,” said Micky Arison, chairman of Carnival Corporation & plc and the FCCA. “They join some of the industry’s most influential decision makers with significant stakeholders, which leads to positive developments for all parties.”
Soon after Eurodam launched, members and executives embarked on those chances for positive developments at the first scheduled event, a business card exchange reception, where they swapped not only cards and salutations, but also trends and developments – from a new destination product or target market to a new child or hobby.
During the reception, Holland America Line President Gus Antorcha was excited to share one of their new offerings to the group as he introduced “De Lijn”, the line’s new, exclusive label of gin, which was launched in commemoration of Holland’s 150th Anniversary.
Dinner followed, where the group could continue their discussions or start new ones. Reserved tables ensured Platinum Members would have appetizing choices of dining partners who decide where ships call, what is used and sold onboard, and how to invest in products and infrastructure – or to simply enjoy the company of their family or fellow members.
Alarm clocks announced the next day, with the group rising early for one of the summit’s most important proceedings, the PAMAC Meeting. A fixture of both annual PAMAC events, the meeting brought together the entire group to discuss operations and developments, with a spotlight on product development, itinerary development and FCCA’s Employment and Purchasing programs centered on increasing local hires and products used on board, and Platinum Members able to present any point to a panel of Member Line executives that was led by new FCCA Operations Committee Chair, Daniel S. Farkas, Executive Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH).
Farkas first acknowledged and thanked FCCA’s strategic partners – Cayman Islands, St. Maarten and United States
Virgin Islands [note: the British Virgin Islands became a strategic partner after the event] – 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 thanked Holland America Line for hosting, quipping that he normally would only sail Norwegian, but that this showcases the theme of coming together as an industry, something that constantly happens under the FCCA Operations Committee.
This was how all were able to navigate past COVID-19 and are now headed to a brighter horizon, he continued and looked forward to a successful event – and the upcoming FCCA PAMAC Summit in the Cayman Islands from June 20-23, 2023.
Other cruise executives echoed these sentiments when presenting a timely update on the sector’s rebound and the steps the cruise industry is taking to contribute to its sustainability, along with ways to work together.
“We couldn’t have done it without you,” said Carlos Estrada, Director of Commercial Home Port Operations of Carnival Cruise Line. After praising the audience for the constant communication and collaboration, he previewed Carnival’s exciting year ahead that includes the introduction of Costa by Carnival, along with strong bookings and most ships sailing at 100 to 110 percent capacity.
Bryan Attree, Senior Manager for Worldwide Port Operations of Royal Caribbean Group, shared his thoughts on FCCA’s effective advocacy on behalf of Member Lines, the industry, and Caribbean tourism.
He gave some positive updates –including over 100 percent occupancy on Royal Caribbean International and 64 ships back into the Royal Caribbean Group fleet –and the optimistic outlook driven by Icon of the Seas’ debut in 2024 – “an absolute trailblazer” – according to him and presenting opportunities for the attendees.
Destinations and stakeholders can capitalize on the game-changing Icon along with the entire Royal Caribbean roster, he explained: “From our side and port oper-
Meeting and Events 16 First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise
ations, we’re very excited to start vetting some new ports, have Icon come in and have better experiences for our guests.”
Priscilla Molina, Director of Shore Excursion Operations & Revenue of Carnival Cruise Line, also showcased some of the opportunities with the company committed to expanding its shore excursion offerings and displaying the destinations they visit.
During special one-on-one meetings with tour operators, she reviewed existing offerings and identified opportunities to improve the guest experience. The meetings resulted in new ideas and solutions to address challenges.
The following day was dedicated to a targeted session of one-on-one meetings for the entire group, where members privately met with pre-selected executives. Often these executives filled a required need for discussing and presenting new business, as they have the knowledge to offer their input and cruise lines’ perspectives to make a more viable business model or potentially tailor offerings for brands and guests.
“The one-on-one meetings allow for us to address the specific concerns or learn about new products from Platinum Members,” said 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.”
The group also continued full steam ahead while ashore, with tour operations providing some 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.
Upcoming FCCA PAMAC Summit in the Cayman Islands
Taking place in the Cayman Islands in June 2023, the PAMAC Conference will give a land-based perspective of the
PAMAC events’ trademarked series of meetings, workshops and networking events connecting Platinum Members with senior cruise industry leaders to discuss trends and develop relationships and mutual benefits, while showcasing the Cayman Islands and working towards the destination’s goals as a strategic partner of FCCA.
“We cannot be prouder to offer events like these to foster mutual growth for Platinum Members and Member Line executives,” said Michele Paige, 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 of the best ways to synergistically grow and improve.”
By hosting the event, the Cayman Islands will display local sites, facilities, food, products and more – including its
airfare and hotel options – to the influential audience. Additionally, the Cayman Islands can coordinate specialized meetings with the attending executives for government leaders, tour operators, suppliers and entities that foster hiring to help fulfill the destination’s goals established in its strategic partnership with FCCA, including assisting the private sector, improving employment, fostering cruise lines’ purchase of local goods and more that will help Caymanians prosper from cruise tourism.
“We are honored and excited that the Cayman Islands will host this crucial event for our cruise executives and Platinum Members – and continue the destination’s efforts to build back their cruise tourism better,” continued Paige. “Hosting the event will further advance the Cayman Islands’ initiatives by showcasing the destination to the prestigious audience, along with giving opportunities for strategic meetings.”
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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.
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 onestop 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 members 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 event taking place Sunday, March 26. Additionally, on Tuesday, March 28, business and relationship development will be fired up hotter than the food during an exclusive private partnership dinner event. Indeed, Seatrade Cruise Global 2020 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 by UBM, but FCCA offers backstage passes to visit the rock stars – key decision makers from FCCA Member Lines.
Or, as Micky Arison, Chairman of Carnival Corporation and FCCA, said, “FCCA opens the door to the cruise industry and puts you in the middle of the action.”
Meeting and Events
“FCCA opens the door to the cruise industry and puts you in the middle of the action.”
18 First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise
—Micky Arison, Chairman, Carnival Corporation & plc
Welcome to CLIA’s 2023 Business on the Beach!
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) looks forward to welcoming the cruise community to our annual Business on the Beach on Monday, March 27, at Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
The Who’s Who of the cruise industry including CLIA cruise line CEOs and executives, Seatrade Cruise Global speakers and special guests, media, and CLIA executive partners will be attending the evening of festivities, fun and networking. Attendees will enjoy music, dancing, entertainment as well as
fabulous food and drink as we celebrate the cruise industry and kick off a busy week of business meetings at Seatrade Cruise Global.
The event is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. and end on the beach at 8:30 p.m. Those interested in staying later will move into the hotel out of respect
for the beach sea turtles that come out of their nests to enter the ocean. They use moonlight to guide them into the ocean, so artificial light is not allowed after dark.
Please join us as we kick off our shoes, put our toes in the sand, and celebrate what is sure to be an event to remember!
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@ j a m a i c a v a c a t i o n s l t d
Daniel Farkas Named FCCA Operations Committee Chair
Daniel S. Farkas, Executive Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH), has been appointed as the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Operations Committee Chair, effective January 1, 2023.
“I am honored by the appointment as FCCA Operations Committee Chair and excited to continue building upon the successes the group has achieved,” said Farkas. “We will focus on strengthening our relationships with destinations, ports and FCCA members, along with representing the industry to achieve mutual success. During my tenure additional concentration will be placed on further developing and enhancing the guest experience at the destinations while expanding opportunities for stakeholders and citizens.”
Farkas was unanimously approved by the Operations Committee as NCLH’s nomination for the position that rotates every two years to ensure all FCCA Member Lines have representation. He replaced Russell Benford, Vice President, Government Relations, Americas, Royal Caribbean Group, who continues to serve on the Committee.
“Serving as FCCA Operations Committee Chair over the last two years has further proven the significance of partnership and collaboration, with that foundation through the platform of FCCA and the Operations Committee being crucial to rebounding from an unprecedented event like COVID-19,” said Benford. “I look forward to continuing these efforts while still being part of the Committee, and I am confident that Mr. Farkas will navigate us in the right direction.”
As Operations Committee Chair, Farkas is leading efforts including monthly meetings open to the entire group and FCCA partners; often scheduled online and in-person meetings with destinations and stakeholders; site visits, including Town Hall Meetings, evaluations of products and education of private and public sectors; and meetings and workshops at
FCCA events such as the PAMAC Summit, taking pace in the Cayman Islands from June 20-23, 2023; the FCCA Platinum Cruise Summit, which last happened aboard Holland America Line’s Eurodom from February 15-18, 2023; and the 29th annual FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show, taking place in Mazatlán, Mexico from November 6-10, 2023.
In all, he will advance the Committee’s core principles: discussing
cruise industry topics, such as tourism development, ports, safety and security; fostering an understanding of the industry and its practices; building bilateral relationships with FCCA’s partner destinations’ private and public sectors; fostering increased revenue opportunities for ports and destinations; and enhancing the destination experience and amount of cruise passengers returning as stay-over visitors.
“I am humbled by the continued commitment of FCCA Member Line executives,” said Michele Paige, CEO of FCCA. “Our overall goal has always been to strengthen mutual understanding and success, and the involvement of so many cruise executives like Russell Benford and Daniel Farkas is not only pivotal for that, but also demonstrates the importance of our initiatives to the industry.”
In his position at NCLH, Farkas oversees all aspects of the Legal, Risk Management, Corporate Governance and Compliance, Passenger and Crew Claims Government Affairs, Construction, Port Operations and Port Development areas. Farkas is also the Company’s Corporate Ethics Officer and currently serves on the board of directors of the Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation and the Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association Limited as well as various other committees within the Norwegian Group.
Prior to joining Norwegian, Farkas served as an Assistant State Attorney for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County under both Janet Reno and Katherine Fernandez Rundle and was a Partner as a boutique law firm specializing in maritime litigation. Farkas joined Norwegian in January 2004 and previously held the positions of Senior Vice President, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel.
Farkas holds a Bachelor of Art degree Cum Laude, with honors in English and American Literature from Brandeis University and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Miami.
Daniel S. Farkas
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“…strengthening our relationships with destinations, ports and FCCA members…”
Cruise Lines International Association Held Second Annual European Summit in Paris
The 2023 CLIA European Summit clearly demonstrated that the cruise industry is at the heart of shipbuilding in Europe and is powering industrial innovations that are transforming the maritime sector.
The second annual summit, held in Paris, France from March 8-10, provided the perfect platform for regulators, decision makers and the cruise community to address the pace of change and the future of the industry in Europe. Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) sponsored the three-day event at la Maison de I’Ocean, in the 5th arrondissement in Paris.
Paris was the perfect location for the summit as France is a leading maritime nation and recently announced their Charter for Sustainable Cruising in the French Mediterranean, highlighting the nation’s willingness to partner with the cruise industry.
The event kicked off with a spectacular cruise on the Seine River. CLIA’s cruise line members and Diamond executive partners boarded the Le Mirage, by Yachts de Paris, for a cocktail reception and three-course dinner while enjoying the Seine River’s stunning views of Paris by night.
The Summit showcased, together with CLIA members and partners, how the cruise industry is contributing to both European sustainable development within
the maritime sector and the sustainable tourism agenda. Notable speakers from the cruise lines included Herve Gastinel, President & CEO, Ponant; Barbara Muckermann, President & CEO, Silversea; Gianni Onorato, CEO, MSC Cruises; and Mario Zanetti, President, Costa Cruises. The summit also provided off-site sessions for member and partner communities and networking opportunities that facilitated detailed discussions on a host of topics including supply chain issues, boarder facilitation at ports and EU fuels and maritime implementation.
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Cruise Lines International Association Releases the 2023 State of the Cruise Industry Report
The cruise industry continues to be one of the fastest-growing sectors of tourism and is on track to return to, and likely surpass, 2019 levels, according to a recent report from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
CLIA recently released its 2023 State of the Cruise Industry Report, a compilation of its latest research, including economic data, which shows potential passenger volume rising by 27 million to 33 million oceangoing guests globally.
Cruise lines continue to lead the way to a zero-carbon future in travel and a circular blue economy that reduces emissions at berth, at sea and in the operations of ships. The path to the decarbonization of maritime has clear milestones with advancements driven by cruise. Cruise lines are pursuing a variety of new and more sustainable alternative energy sources including electric batteries, biofuels and hydrogen fuel cells. The path to a sustainable future includes transitional fuels like LNG and ultimately the move from a single-fuel industry to multiple fuel capabilities.
The global cruise ship orderbook is robust with environmental technologies including LNG, alternative fuels and other sustainability features front and center.
• A total of $40.8 billion was invested in 62 ships, encompassing 141K lower berths for delivery between now and 2028.
• In addition, 55% of the overall lower berths on orderbook aligned with vessels to be powered by LNG.
• Almost all volume is coming from Europe.
The trend continues in 2023 with the CLIA-member fleet being the youngest and most innovative and energy/environmentally focused.
• With the launch of 15 ships from CLIA-member cruise lines during 2023, the CLIA fleet by end of the year will include 293 ships and 614K lower berths.
• While cruise lines are investing in both ends of the size spectrum for ships, 34% of the CLIA fleet is ships smaller than 1000 lower berths; only 12% of ship count aligned with larger ships (those with more than 4000 lower berths).
Intent to cruise is the highest it has been in recent history and notably higher than it was in 2019.
As a result, the capacity gap has narrowed considerably – from 8.3 million passengers (based on the capacity and passenger volume forecast as of June 2022) to 4 million
additional passengers needed by 2025 based on the current forecast. What this means is the cruise industry only needs to convert 1% of international travelers to first-time cruisers to close the gap. Other positive and noteworthy statics from the report include:
• About 85% of cruisers will cruise again.
• A total of 67% of those who have never cruised are open to it.
• Of the above two groups, 68% are very likely or likely to book cruise in the next two years.
• Of those who cruised in past 12 months, 61% used a travel adviser to book.
• Of those who cruised in past 12 months:
• 65% stayed at least one night precruise, 69% of which did so in a hotel.
• 60% stayed one-night post-cruise, 69% of which did so in a hotel.
• Of those who cruised in last 3 years, 63% of those returned to a destination first visited via cruise.
• A total of 87% of cruisers will book a similar (44%) or longer (43%) cruise next time.
• About 82% of cruisers said they book their cruises 1 to 12 months pre-boarding.
• The net promoter score (NPS) is highest among Gen-X (36) and Millennials (37) with an overall average NPS of 23.
• Cruise travel is fulfilling a need for a wide range of travelers, including multi-generation travel and accessible traveler. In fact, cruise is one of the most accessible forms of travel – 83% of respondents with mobility issues reported that cruise was the only vacation option for them.
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…potential passenger volume rising by 27 million to 33 million oceangoing guests globally.
The Cruise Industry Garners Positive Media Coverage
The growth in media exposure translates into good news for the entire cruise industry.
Media coverage of the cruise industry increased 34 percent at the start of 2023, leading to an overall jump in media reach in January 2023, according to a report from Commetric, which provides media analytics solutions to companies.
Favorable content continues to dominate with 79 percent of the total volume of coverage tracking as positive sentiment. Travel trade mentions was the most prominent topic covered by the media with 200 stories in January 2023, followed by destination stewardship with 68 media mentions and 64 on the topic of environmental sustainability.
The earned media reach for the month of January alone was 163.8 million media impressions with the majority of coverage featured online. The report also indicates that when Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) speaks on behalf of the industry, the sentiment is overwhelmingly positive.
First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 25
Royal Caribbean Upbeat About Future of Company and Cruise Industry
The Royal Caribbean Group is buoyed by the rebound in the cruise tourism sector, reporting a phenomenal start to the new year.
Speaking to Travel & Cruise aboard Holland America’s Eurodam during the FCCA’s recent PAMAC Cruise Summit in February, cruise industry executive Bryan Attree shared that Royal Caribbean was running a 96 percent load occupancy across all vessels.
“Royal Caribbean International is actually exceeding 100 percent occupancy, and our Christmas and New Year’s seasons were over 105 percent occupancy,” said Attree, Senior Manager of Worldwide Port Operations for Royal Caribbean Group.
He said the company, whose vessels are now fully back into service, has enjoyed a great reception to the new Wonder of Seas at Port Canaveral, the latest in Royal Caribbean’s revolutionary Oasis-class series, featuring a lineup of new adventures and fan-favorite experiences that everyone in the family can enjoy.
In addition to more than 40 restaurants, bars and lounges and returning favorites, travelers on Wonder also have in store The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide
at sea; the FlowRider surf simulator; rock climbing walls; The Perfect Storm racing waterslides; newly designed areas just for kids and teens; and original entertainment across four “stages”: air, ice, theater and water.
Towards the end of the year, the new Celebrity Ascent makes its debut at Port Everglades, an opportunity to showcase
the latest addition to the Edge class.
“Forbes has just issued a [travel guide] star award to Celebrity Cruises, the first time in the industry that a cruise ship or cruise company was awarded a star, so it’s good times for Celebrity, amazing times for Royal Caribbean!” Attree exclaimed.
The recognition is made more noteworthy as Celebrity’s ships join an elite and exclusive group of fewer than 20 land-based properties with more than 1,000 rooms in the world to ever receive the coveted recognition.
Attree told the Summit attendees that the company was looking forward to the debut if its largest ship, Icon of the Seas, in 2024.
“Icon is going to be an absolute trailblazer. Amazing operations and new enhancements to the vessel,” he reported.
The new ship features an all-encompassing lineup of firsts and next-level favorites across eight neighborhoods, making it the perfect getaway for adults and parents, kids and grandparents alike. Between the adrenaline-pumping thrills at the new Thrill Island and unrivaled ways to relax at neighborhoods like the new Chill Island and the luxurious four-level Suite Neighborhood, vacationers bonding with their families or getting away with friends will have endless options to stay and play their way.
Attree also explained that the famous Oasis-class gangways will be eclipsed on Icon of the Seas by a new hydraulic gangway that will fold out into the port while complying with ADA standards. “We will not be connecting the Oasis-class gangways anymore, which is great for the tour operators. No gangway delays now. So, this new platform will be able to come in, tie up, deploy, and have your guests come ashore, right to your tours, right to your destination,” he revealed.
“It’s very exciting times for the company. Sixty-four ships back into the fleet. And from our side and port operations, we’re very excited to start vetting some new ports, have Icon come in and have better experiences for our guests,” Attree added.
“…it’s good times for Celebrity, amazing times for Royal Caribbean!”
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MSC Cruises Sets Sights on Caribbean Expansion
Having returned to 100 percent capacity, MSC Cruises is optimistic about the future of the Caribbean and North America markets and plans to continue launching new ships in the coming months and years.
During the PAMAC Cruise Summit aboard Holland America’s Eurodam in February, Paolo Mezzino, MSC Cruises’ new Director of Port Operations for North America and the Caribbean, emphasized the importance of the region for the company’s growth. Mezzino said that the Caribbean and North America are essential to its development, attracting “the most interest from our ownership.”
Mezzino shared the cruise line’s plans for expansion following the launch of two of its latest ships last year, MSC World Europa and MSC Seascape. The latter was christened in New York in December and is now operating from Miami, while the former was launched in Qatar in November, making it the first liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered vessel in the fleet and the most environmentally advanced to date. MSC Euribia , the line’s second LNG-powered vessel, is set to come into service in June 2023, followed by Explorer 1, the first ship in the company’s new luxury brand.
“We have made a commitment to add at least one ship per year until 2028. So, it’s pretty easy to do the math. There is big growth, big volume coming…”and this concerns the U.S. and the Caribbean area,” said Mezzino.
Mezzino reflected on the growth of MSC since he joined the company in 2017. At that time, only one ship operated year-round from Miami. However, beginning next winter, there will be five ships deployed from U.S. ports, presenting significant opportunities for growth.
He explained that engaging in dialogue with the destinations is critical to shore up infrastructure and ensure the product is viable and available for the increased number of passengers heading to the region.
Mezzino also highlighted the importance of MSC’s private island, Ocean Cay Marine Reserve, in the Bahamas: “Starting from winter 23-24, we will have 100 percent occupancy of the island. So, we will have a different ship every day, and 95 percent of our itineraries will have Ocean Cay included in the routes.”
Since its launch in 2019, Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve has become a highlight of MSC Cruises’ Caribbean itineraries. The private island destination was founded on a strong commitment to the conservation of marine life and exists in harmony with the local ecosystem.
MSC Cruises is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and is the world’s third-largest cruise brand, as well as the leader in Europe, South America, the Gulf region, and Southern Africa. It has a strong presence in the Caribbean, North America, and the Far East markets, and is the fastest-growing global cruise brand with a significant market share and deployed capacity.
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… engaging in dialogue with the destinations is critical…
Carnival’s Exciting Year Ahead
Carnival Cruise Line is looking forward to an exciting year ahead with the introduction of Costa by Carnival, offering some Italian fun to the fleet, according to Carlos Estrada, Director of Commercial Home Port Operations.
(LNG) vessel in the fleet, is expected to set sail this year and operate year-round from Galveston, Texas, cruising the Eastern and Western Caribbean and visiting a variety of destinations and ports.
Carnival’s bookings are strong, with most ships sailing at 100 to 110 percent capacity. The company also recently launched its 2024 WAVE season, with bookings open through April 2025.
“We’ve seen a significant amount of bookings, and we’re heading in the right direction. We couldn’t have done it without you,” Estrada told cruise stakeholders during the recent PAMAC Cruise Summit aboard Holland America’s Eurodam .
The company is committed to expanding its shore excursion offerings to provide exceptional experiences for its guests.
The first ship of the new line, Carnival Venezia , will begin voyages from New York in June, sailing to Bermuda, Canada, and ports in the Eastern Caribbean such as San Juan, St. Maarten and St. Thomas.
Carnival Firenze, another Costa ship, will also join the fleet in 2024, sailing from Long Beach to Mexican ports on the west coast.
The brand spanking new Carnival Jubilee, the third liquified natural gas
Priscilla Molina, Director of Shore Excursion Operations & Revenue, expressed the company’s commitment to showcasing all the destinations they visit and adding new programs to its slate of offerings.
During special one-on-one meetings with tour operators, she reviewed existing offerings and identified opportunities to improve the guest experience. The meetings resulted in new ideas and solutions to address challenges.
Carnival Cruise Line is the largest cruise company in the world, based on passengers carried, and the flagship brand of Carnival Corporation & plc, which is traded on both the New York and London stock exchanges.
Carnival is known as “America’s Cruise Line” for carrying more Americans and serving more U.S. homeports than any other line.
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…commitment to showcasing all the destinations… and adding new programs…
Get to Know Carnival Firenze
Arvia Naming Ceremony
and the Caribbean Chart-topper Olly Murs led the lineup of performers at the beachside naming ceremony of P&O Cruises newest ship, Arvia , in Barbados on March 16 – the first-ever naming ceremony in the Caribbean for a new ship.
Hosting the ceremony, which was conducted both on board Arvia and from the beach, were two of the UK’s most famous broadcasters and DJs, Sara Cox and Trevor Nelson.
“For our guests watching Arvia’s naming ceremony from home and from Barbados, this is a real treat,” said P&O Cruises President Paul Ludlow. “Olly, Sara and Trevor really do make a star-studded line up which showcases the contemporary entertainment for which P&O Cruises is known.
“It is not often that in the depths of UK winter you can be transported to a spectacular white sand, palm-fringed beach in the Caribbean and watch a live performance from one of Britain’s bestloved stars.”
Multi award-winning performer Nicole Scherzinger – the lead singer of one of the world’s biggest girl bands, The Pussycat Dolls – also served as Arvia’s godmother as part of a wider collaboration to create spectacular music and dance extravaganzas for P&O Cruises in an exclusive entertainment partnership.
“It is an extraordinary privilege for us to work with someone of Nicole’s talent and caliber,” said Ludlow. “As a global superstar Nicole is well placed to create contemporary and breathtaking latenight shows which will be performed in SkyDome on our two newest ships, Iona and Arvia.”
MSC Cruises to Launch New Environmentally Advanced Flagship
The Naming Ceremony for MSC Cruises’ newest flagship, MSC Euribia , will take place in Copenhagen on June 8. The new flagship will become MSC Cruises’ second ship to be powered by LNG and will also feature further state-of-the-art environmental technologies including ‘Baltic Standard’ advanced onboard wastewater treatment system, waste management handling, energy efficiency measures as well shore power connectivity.
MSC Euribia symbolizes the line’s commitment to protecting the oceans. This highly anticipated new ship will feature a striking fresco painted on her exterior that represents MSC Cruises’ commitment to protect and preserve the marine environment, and she is named after the ancient goddess Eurybia who harnessed the winds, weather and constellations to master the seas, furthering the vision of the ship to master the deployment of state-of-the-art sustainable technologies to protect and preserve the precious marine ecosystem.
As bio and synthetic fuels become available, MSC Euribia’s emissions will be further reduced. LNG is key to the development of low carbon solutions for shipping as emerging technologies such as fuel cells can be operated with LNG until zero emissions bio-LNG or green hydrogen become available at scale. MSC Cruises is actively involved in several projects to develop and make these technologies viable in partnership with regulators, academia, shipyards and industry.
Carnival Firenze joins the fleet in spring 2024 and will sail from Long Beach, Calif. The ship will offer a variety of cruises yearround, with sailings set for popular destinations in Baja, California and the Mexican Riviera. Detailed itineraries and onboard offerings will be announced shortly.
“We embark more guests from California than any other cruise line, and soon Carnival Firenze will provide a great new option for them,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. “When the ship joins our fleet, she’s going to bring our valued guests a new experience that complements our signature fun with the ship’s spectacular Italian atmosphere.”
The ship will feature the cruise line’s new Carnival Fun Italian Style experience, which debuts with the June 2023 arrival of Carnival Venezia in New York. Carnival Fun Italian Style incorporates Carnival’s signature high-energy environment, friendly team members and many familiar venues, plus several new, creative concepts – from Italian-themed restaurants, bars and entertainment.
First Cut of Steel for Second Icon Class Ship
Royal Caribbean International marked the initial milestone – the first cut of steel – for the second ship in the revolutionary Icon Class. In celebration of the next in the lineup of the world’s best family vacations, a steel-cutting ceremony was held at Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland on February 15. The ship will set sail in 2025, following the debut of Icon of the Seas in January 2024.
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Royal Caribbean’s next ship, along with a third in the Icon Class, will join Icon in introducing a new era of vacations for years to come. Each ship will be a combination of the best of every vacation, from the resort getaway to the beach escape and theme park adventure, where every family member and type of vacationer can make memories together and on their own terms without compromise. The first look at Icon and Icon Class made headlines when revealed in October 2022, and the resounding feedback resulted in Royal Caribbean International’s single largest booking day in its 53-year history.
Sun Princess to Feature Showstopping New Venues
Princess Cruises has given a glimpse of the most contemporary and state-of-the-art designs imaged yet onboard Sun Princess –“The Love Boat” line’s newest, largest and most innovative ship ever built and scheduled to debut in early 2024.
With bright designs inspired by rays of sunlight and next-level expanded spaces, guests are in for an extraordinary cruise experience including a showstopping Arena theater and stunning three-story dining venue – a first for Princess.
Celebrity Ascent on the Rise
Celebrity Ascent, the fourth ship in Celebrity Cruises’ Edge Series, officially touched water for the first time on January 21, as she was floated out from the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire.
Debuting in December 2023, Celebrity Ascent will be the “twin sister” ship in every way to Celebrity Beyond, which debuted last spring to rave reviews and designed by a team of modern lifestyle icons including multi-award-winning British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE; celebrated American designer Nate Berkus; lauded Paris-based design firm Jouin Manku; innovative British architect Tom Wright; and Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud.
“So much more than a ship, Celebrity Ascent will be the embodiment of a relaxed luxury resort at sea,” said Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.
“With the construction of any new ship, we have the incredible opportunity to design standout spaces with our guests’ preferences in mind,” said John Padgett, President, Princess Cruises. “With the new platform and size of Sun Princess, we’re uniquely able to refresh venues we know our guests love and expand upon, redesign and elevate them to the next level. We know our sun-inspired designs will exceed expectations and elevate the entire Princess experience.”
Sun Princess will also feature the exclusive Princess Medallion experience that will extend Princess’ leadership position in delivering exceptional and custom experiences at unmatched scale, offering guests personalized service only previously found on the industry’s smallest ships.
Part of Carnival Corporation’s green cruising focus, Sun Princess will be the first Princess ship and one of 11 new vessels in the corporate fleet powered by Liquified Natural Gas (LNG), the world’s cleanest fossil fuel.
Disney Cruise Line to Return Pixar Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea
In 2024, Disney Cruise Line guests will embark on extraordinary adventures with the return of Pixar Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea. Setting sail January through early March from Florida home ports, these exclusive events combine the fun and relaxation of a Disney cruise vacation with one unforgettable day inspired by beloved stories, legendary films and fan-favorite characters.
Seven Seas Grandeur Floats Out
The culmination of a 30-year Heritage of Perfection, Seven Seas Grandeur floated from the building dry dock on January 26. Regent’s sixth ship, Seven Seas Grandeur will set sail in November 2023, cruising 18 incredible voyages in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, as well as two fascinating transatlantic crossings.
“While our new ships are always highly anticipated, Seven Seas Grandeur has proven to be so popular, we had to create an additional sailing for her inaugural season,” said Andrea DeMarco, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “The incredible reception for Seven Seas Grandeur is a testament not only to the strong demand for luxury cruising, but also for Regent’s position as the leader in this space with every luxury included, unmatched hospitality, and unrivaled space at sea. We are excited and immensely proud to welcome guests on board Seven Seas Grandeur later this year.”
Inspired by the past and stunningly reimagined for the future, Seven Seas
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Grandeur will exemplify Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Heritage of Perfection with unrivalled space, unparalleled service, exceptional cuisine, and transformative experiences for guests as soon as they step on board. With a gross tonnage of 55,500 and only 746 guests, Seven Seas Grandeur will provide among the highest space and staff to guest ratios in the industry.
The arrival of any new ship is the ideal time to look closely at what we offer travelers. As we prepare to welcome Allura to the family, we have already started planning exciting new elements to be added across the fleet.”
Allura highlights include an array of inventive new dining experiences including Ember, an upscale signature restaurant serving reimagined American classics, and Aquamar Kitchen, both debuting on Vista in May, as well as the largest standard staterooms and a new Chef’s Studio.
The all-veranda vessel will sail her maiden voyage in spring 2025.
Additionally, Oceania Cruises named celebrated Italian-American chef, author, restaurateur and Emmy Award-winning food personality Giada De Laurentiis as godmother of Vista. Multiple Grammy and Emmy Award-winning singer, pianist and actor Harry Connick Jr. will appear alongside De Laurentiis at the star-studded christening and naming ceremony, taking place on May 8 in Valletta, Malta.
Providing a stylish new way of seeing the world and featuring all-veranda accommodations, Vista’s stunning interiors and elegant lines will reflect a fresh new perspective through organic elements inspired by the land and sea.
Oceania Cruises Welcomes Allura, Names Vista’s Godmother
Oceania Cruises named the second 1,200guest Allura Class ship on January 31. Debuting in 2025, Allura is the eighth vessel for the line and will be the sister ship to Vista , which sets sail in May. Named to reflect the excitement of starting an immersive new journey, Allura will entice guests to discover some of the world’s most captivating locations, enjoying the freedom of exploration while sailing the open seas.
“At Oceania Cruises, we are always looking for ways to evolve, elevate and modernize our offerings to continuously surprise and delight our discerning guests as they enjoy immersive new experiences,” said Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. “We are thrilled with the incredible demand we have witnessed for Allura’s sister ship, Vista , with her 2023 maiden season already sold out, and we know Allura will be equally as popular with our guests.
As Oceania Cruises’ first new ship in more than ten years, the debut of the 1,200-guest Vista is highly anticipated by loyal and new guests alike.
conscious ships ever built, Silver Nova will offer guests the next iteration of Silversea’s unique take on luxury as one of the world’s most spacious ships. The 728guest Silver Nova will host 10 bars and lounges, eight distinct restaurants, and an array of additional public venues when she launches in August.
“In addition to her pioneering sustainability credentials, Silver Nova will unlock a new luxury experience for our guests, offering an industry-leading variety of bars, lounges, and restaurants with an entirely new design approach for Silversea,” said Barbara Muckermann, President and CEO, Silversea Cruises.
“Silver Nova represents a milestone in our strategy to build the perfect ship for every itinerary, with her array of venues enhancing the guest experience to a new level. Pushing boundaries in ultra-luxury travel, she will enrich the social aspect of cruising to unprecedented levels, fostering the strong sense of community that is core to life on board each Silversea ship. Her openness to the destinations she visits will offer guests a new way of connecting with the world.”
Silver Nova Poised to Be a Star Silversea Cruises has revealed full details on the public venues aboard its new ship Silver Nova , including the largest array of bars, lounges, and restaurants of any ultra-luxury cruise ship. As well as being one of the most environmentally
Virgin Voyages Takes Future Sailors on Musically Guided Cinematic Journey at Sea
Virgin Voyage celebrated the start of an epic 2023 with the launch of a video inspired by a music video. “The Voyage’’ was crafted by visionary director Jonas Åkerlund to celebrate the exclusively adult experience and takes viewers on a cinematic journey through 24 hours at sea.
Starring real Virgin Voyages Crew members and Sailors, the video was inspired by their first-hand experiences
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on-board. “The Voyage” was filmed on the brand’s first ship in the fleet, Scarlet Lady, and captures the essence of what it’s like to travel with Virgin Voyages, incorporating moments of relaxation such as sunset yoga and the serenity of vacationing at sea.
Celebrity Cruises Earns Coveted Forbes Travel Guide Award
Celebrity Cruises has become the first ocean cruise line to ever earn prestigious Forbes Travel Guide Star Awards. The recognition is made more wonderful as Celebrity’s ships join an elite and exclusive group of fewer than 20 land-based properties with over 1,000 rooms in the world to ever receive the coveted recognition.
The five inaugural resorts at sea StarRated ships are Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Flora, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Summit. The remainder of the line’s 15-ship fleet will be evaluated in the year ahead, except for the line’s smaller Galapagos ships.
“We always reach for the stars at Celebrity Cruises, whether it’s in our exceptional level of service, our innovative ship design, or the highest quality of relaxed luxury experiences we provide onboard. To now be Star-rated multiple times over is such an incredible honor from the Forbes Travel Guide team. It’s confirmation that with our resorts at sea, our guests truly sail on the world’s best places to the world’s best places,” said Celebrity Cruises President and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.
Holland America Line Sees Biggest January Booking Week on Record
In an early sign of a successful Wave season, Holland America Line bookings in the third week of January were the highest on record for any January week for the premium cruise line. The week ending January 20 also exceeded bookings during the same week in 2019 by more than 20 percent.
On January 17 alone, Holland America Line reached its highest single-day bookings for any January day on record. Guests are also booking cruises further into the future. More than 25 percent of the bookings for the high-volume day on January 17 were for voyages embarking in 2024.
“Seeing this level of booking is a great sign for Holland America Line and for the industry,” said Gus Antorcha, President, Holland America Line. “Travelers are clearly excited to get back to cruising and they appreciate the service and experiences unique to Holland America Line including our Alaska Up Close onboard programming. It’s especially encouraging that so many guests are already looking ahead to 2024 and planning their next vacation.”
with summer itineraries and Queen Anne’s maiden season proving to be particularly popular with guests.
“Following two of our strongest booking periods in 2022, we have seen unparalleled bookings during the start of Wave,” said Carnival UK President Sture Myrmell.
“It’s clear that guests are looking forward to stepping back on board both in the UK and across all our global markets.”
Cunard’s Strongest Start to Wave in the Last Decade
Cunard reported that in the first week of January, it booked more guests than any equivalent period in the last decade.
The luxury brand saw strong booking momentum across 2023 and 2024 sailings,
AIDA Cruises’ Record Booking Weeks
AIDA Cruises has recorded the most successful start-of-year booking weeks in its history and sees strong demand for cruises in 2023.
“We are seeing very strong interest for AIDA cruises across all channels. The record level of bookings covers the entire cruise program for 2023 and beyond,” said Felix Eichhorn, President of AIDA Cruises.
“We are delighted that the AIDA fleet is on top of so many people’s minds when planning their vacations and that –whether for the first time or for a repeat – they are embracing our multi-faceted travel offering to the world’s most beautiful destinations.”
P&O Cruises’ Biggest Booking Days Ever
P&O Cruises reported its strongest booking day during the Wave period in P&O
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Cruises history, with four of its five biggest booking days ever falling in Wave 2023.
“These record-breaking days are testament to the fact that a P&O Cruises holiday provides extraordinary value for money, which is critical at the moment, and also demonstrates how much everyone values a holiday,” said P&O Cruises President Paul Ludlow.
“There are so many priorities for our hard-earned or hard-saved money in the current climate and a cruise offers an almost all-inclusive, individual holiday.”
The most popular itineraries booked were the Caribbean, the Western Mediterranean and the Norwegian fjords.
“This peak booking day demonstrates that a cruise holiday shines, not only for value, but for versatility,” continued Ludlow. “It is a city break with friends, a family summer holiday, island-hopping fun, an adrenalin-fueled adventure or a longer ‘grown-up gap year.’”
lower-carbon, biogenic or hydrogen-based pathways. When used in fuel cells, methanol has the potential to allow for lifecycle zero emissions in the near future.
Methanol is emerging as a leading alternative fuel to meet GHG reduction goals due to its easy-to-handle properties, making it attractive for both new builds and for refitting existing ships. As one of the most widely traded chemical commodities, the infrastructure for ship supply could be adapted from existing infrastructure. All forms of methanol, whether natural-gas based, low-carbon or renewable, can be blended regardless of production pathways. It therefore enables a reliable transition pathway from today to fully GHG neutral cruise ships in near future.
“The technology to retrofit a vessel to accept methanol as a fuel is available today,” said Tim Cornelius, Proman’s Managing Director of Corporate Development. “Our methanol products can facilitate the transition to low carbon intensity fuels. Methanol-powered vessels have a proven track record of reducing and eliminating major greenhouse gas emissions, delivering immediate air quality improvements around major ports and shipping lanes. We are excited to bring our expertise along the full methanol value chain to help deliver on Costa Group’s bold ambitions.”
this new campaign, MSC Cruises will show how sustainability is at the beating heart of its daily activities and long-term growth strategy.
The bold and distinctive creative concept is about MSC Cruises’ commitment to be the future of cruising, showcasing the fleet’s environmental performance with glimpses of life on board, in a warm, charming and engaging way. From the sustainable technologies integrated on the brand’s ships, to the unique shows and entertainment, to innovative restaurant concepts, MSC Cruises is pushing the boundaries of the holiday experience at sea.
The TV spot was filmed on board MSC Cruises’ first LNG-powered and most environmentally advanced ship to date, MSC World Europa , which came into service late last year. While focusing on some of the unique environmental technologies and solutions of this new ship, the campaign also demonstrates the wider and long-standing sustainability commitment and progress across the brand’s fleet of 21 vessels and the broader Cruise Division of MSC Group. It is also the first campaign in the industry that squarely focuses on a brand’s sustainability commitment and makes it central to its engagement with consumers, travel partners and other stakeholders from the broader society.
Costa Group Driving Implementation of Methanol
Costa Group and the leading methanol producer, Proman, have signed an MOU to drive further the implementation of methanol as a marine fuel for the cruise industry. The partnership aims to accelerate the energy transition and decarbonization of the existing fleet by enhancing the supply of sustainable methanol, paving the way for the retrofitting of existing vessels to operate on clean fuel, as well as investment in further methanol-fueled new builds.
The MOU reaffirms methanol’s potential to play a key role in the ongoing reduction of GHG emissions of the cruise sector and other shipping segments. It is a cleaner-burning fuel which virtually eliminates airborne pollutants such as particulate matter and sulphur oxides and is widely available and increasingly produced via
MSC Cruises Showcases Commitment to Sustainability
MSC Cruises has launched a new global brand campaign entitled “Discover the future of cruising,” which is rolling out in more than 30 countries through a multi-channel global marketing campaign including TV, out of home, print media, digital and social media. With
“Already cruising is one of the best holiday options on offer for consumers today, but many of our guests don’t realize that is has important sustainability aspects as well,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division of MSC Group.
“We have long had a steadfast focus on sustainable and environmentally responsible business practices and on protecting guests, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Today more than ever, brands like MSC Cruises recognize the vital importance of the environment, and a healthy and viable planet, and this is why we think it is important for us to take a leadership role and make our sustainability commitments a key element of our discourse with consumers and overall society. Sustainability at MSC Cruises is central to the brand’s DNA and the way we operate as a business.”
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Setting Sail for St. Maarten
St. Maarten continues to offer a magical experience. It is indeed a port to remember with award-winning cruise facilities. St. Maarten is a remarkable and fun cruise destination offering a unique and enriching cruise guest experience, and it looks forward to welcoming additional guests to its shores, offering them the traditional ‘friendly island’ courtesies and service.
For nearly 60 years, Port St. Maarten – and by extension St. Maarten – has maintained its competitive edge through continual research and development, strategic planning, key partnerships with the cruise industry built up over the years, strong relations with stakeholders, and leading players.
With its long history, the destination as a cruise product has brought numerous benefits to the island, which has seen progressive growth due to investments made in port infrastructure and enhancing visitor experiences, thereby building upon a solid foundation leading to St. Maarten as a destination of choice and a leading port in the Caribbean.
Busy Cruise Days This Cruise Season
Tuesday, January 17, 2023, marked the largest cruise single day for the 2023 cruise season, a record for St. Maarten, when Port
St. Maarten welcomed 30,349 passengers and crew from six cruise ships.
The ships in port on that day – Anthem of the Seas, Arvia, Celebrity Constellation, Grandeur of the Seas, MSC Seaside and Symphony of the Seas – brought in 21,723 passengers and 8,626 crew.
Port St. Maarten Group (PSG) Chief Executive Officer Alexander Gumbs said: “This is a significant development for the
destination when we look back at what we, the region, and the world had to endure with the pandemic and the shutdown of the cruise industry for 15 months.
“We are on a healthy track for the 2023 season where we see vibrancy in various sectors. We have much to celebrate, but at the same time we must keep putting our best efforts forward in making sure we give our guests the best island experiences each and every day as they visit our shores.”
Forecast of 1.3 Million Passengers in 2023
PSG expects to close 2023 with approximately 1.3 million cruise passengers, a strong and optimistic indication that cruise is sailing to a better future for the destination.
For the first two months of 2023, the destination received 369,351 cruise passengers via 157 vessel calls. Broken down, for January there were 216,528 cruise pas-
sengers/91 vessel calls, and for there were February 152,823 passengers/66 calls.
Compared to 2022 for the same period, January had 92,491 cruise passengers, representing a 134 percent increase in relation to January 2023, and February 2022 was 82,233 cruise passengers, representing an 85 percent increase compared to February 2023.
“We have much to celebrate, but at the same time we must keep putting our best efforts forward…”
–Alexander Gumbs, Port St. Maarten Group CEO
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In 2022 the destination received nearly 900,000 cruise passengers (862,828) via 383 vessel calls.
Based on preliminary passenger projections from January to December 2023, the country should close 2023 with 1,270,271 cruise passengers, barring any unforeseen circumstances that would develop between now and then.
FCCA Strategic Partnership Agreement
Recently, the Chief Executive Officer of PSG signed off with Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) for the 2023 Presidential Level Strategic Development Destination Partnership.
The agreement is a renewal from the previous year and was signed with FCCA President Adam Ceserano. The agreement on behalf of destination St. Maarten was signed by Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications Honorable Arthur L. Lambriex.
The signing took place onboard Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady during an event that brought together FCCA Platinum Members and Member Line Executives to exchange ideas and share strategies for the future development of the cruise industry and destinations.
“The Presidential level package/ Caribbean for everyone package was subscribed to in 2020. Thus, as we move towards the future, we are excited to partner with FCCA and further develop the
business and destination through various initiatives,” said Gumbs.
“The package includes features such as employment opportunities for locals where FCCA will provide access to expertise in preparing and implementing a destination employment strategy, destination site inspections for port operations and shore excursion executives, priority in training opportunities, data and insight on areas such economic impact, daily spending, calls and passenger volume to just cite a few of the benefits of this great partnership.
“To further expand on data insights, PSG has also subscribed to participating with the BREA report slated for 2023/2024. This will provide invaluable information and statistics into the current state of the cruise sector especially for destination St. Maarten post-pandemic.”
Business Research and Economic Advisors (BREA) issued their last report in October 2018, which was prepared for the FCCA, and participating destinations headlined, “Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies.”
Security Drill/ Environmental, Social, and Governance: The Future
PSG is committed to the future fostering quality standards, resilience, stakeholder collaboration and operational excellence are concerned. Investments in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) will allow PSG to be prepared for the risks and seize the opportunities in a sustainable manner.
Personnel from PSG and the national emergency services successfully completed a live maritime security drill on Thursday, February 23 at the cargo section of the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility.
More than 70 emergency response personnel and actors took part in the large-scale exercise, which allowed the port and emergency services to test their readiness in the event of an accident at the country’s main port of entry for cruise ships and cargo vessels.
During a debriefing right after the exercise, all roles and processes were assessed, and recommendations made where necessary to further strengthen the response of all stakeholders as part of the port’s operational excellence philosophy. This was the first large-scale drill exercise that was conducted by PSG in the last few years.
A large-scale maritime security exercise is required every 18 months according to the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code requirements. The ISPS Code came into force on July 1, 2004 and is applicable to all vessels over 500 gross tons oper-
First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 35
ating on international trades, as well as the ports that provide a service to them.
“The drills’ primary objective was to practice the skills, test the equipment involved and validate the procedures relating to the scenario that was carried out. We plan to conduct additional drills as we move forward,” said Gumbs.
“The exercise ensured that PSG staff and members of the emergency services are able to work in sync in dealing with an emergency. It is of paramount importance that all stakeholders maintain a high level of readiness and operational excellence.”
The ISPS Code provides a framework through which ships and port facilities can cooperate to detect and deter acts which pose a threat to maritime security.
Your Oyster in the Sun
Port St. Maarten has a vision to lead the Caribbean through operational excellence by offering quality service within a safe and secure environment. The Port St. Maarten cruise facilities comprise of the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise Pier South (545 meters in length) that can accommodate four cruise ships simultaneously, and has been in operation since 2007, one of the few ports at that time that could receive the world’s largest cruise ships.
The second cruise pier, Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise Pier North (445 meters in length) opened in 2009 and continues to allow the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise & Cargo Facility to cater to six cruise ships at the same time while guests enjoy making memorable experiences.
Fly & Cruise Facilities
Port St. Maarten has been catering to the ‘Fly & Cruise’ guest for more than a decade, making it a leading port in the northeastern Caribbean offering homeporting services. It is testament to the appeal of cruising from St. Maarten as cruises out of the destination offer the perfect way to experience the warm hospitality of the region.
Within an almost half-acre structure, Port St. Maarten has multiple check-in counters, VIP section, and seating for hundreds of passengers.
Harbor Point Village & Walter Plantz Square
The upland retail (duty-free outlets, souvenir shops, market stalls), food and bever-
age commercial center at the port – Harbor Point Village – is built in the traditional architectural style of old Philipsburg.
Walter Plantz Square at Down Street has generated a new spirit of life into the area for locals and visitors alike. Comprised of six small buildings constructed according to the traditional St. Maarten architectural ginger-bread design, reflecting the national heritage of the destination, it is a must visit. Sample what they have to offer, and you won’t be disappointed.
The square is strategically located next to the Walter Plantz Tender Jetty which connects to the boardwalk/beach promenade, Down Street and Front Street, the shopping mecca of the Caribbean.
Once you step ashore, your holiday experiences come alive with endless activities. With so many options, you can do as much or as little as you like. St. Maarten is a remarkable fun and vibrant island where you can relax or find a wonderful array of things to do. You won’t be disappointed or get bored.
St. Maarten offers secret escapes to 37 white sand beaches and crystal-clear blue waters. Jump in to truly experience what the destination has to offer or just lay back.
St. Maarten has an abundance of things to do, from thrilling adventures to a limitless range from holiday activities
like taking a coastal cruise, to enjoying plane-spotting at Maho Beach, endless water sports like canoeing, scuba diving, snorkeling, jet skiing, flyboarding, parasailing, powerboat tours, and kitesurfing.
Besides the above waterborne activities, there are myriad more ways for an unforgettable vacation on the ‘Friendly Island,’ from ziplining, hiking, biking, horseback riding, ATV tours to explore the island – you name it, you can have it. They are all available and waiting for you as you step ashore.
World-Class Duty-Free Shopping
World-class duty-free shopping can also be found in Philipsburg, where you can find a gift for everyone on Front Street. You can shop till you drop.
You will find everything you’re looking for, from luxury brands to electronics, souvenirs, tobacco, specialty rum, flavored sauces, spices and much more. On Back Street, connected via an alley from Front Street, you will find colorful fashion clothing, handbags, and shoes.
‘Culinary Capital of the Caribbean’
After having a full day of activities, you have worked up an appetite and are ready to try great flavors, because if you didn’t know already, you are already in the ‘Culinary Capital of the Caribbean,’ where you will find an abundance of restaurants offering a variety of cuisines to suit your taste buds, including local classic dishes like crab back, oyster soup, johnny cakes and much more.
Make St. Maarten your temporary home for several hours by exploring all it has to offer above, below sea and on land, a true wealth of amenities and activities that will whet your appetite and keep you wanting more.
“It is of paramount importance that all stakeholders maintain a high level of readiness…”
36 First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise
–Alexander Gumbs, Port St. Maarten Group CEO
WELCOME TO PORT ST. MAARTEN
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The U.S. Virgin Islands: America’s Paradise
After being a success story for Caribbean tourism in the wake of COVID-19 – experiencing a banner year for stay-over tourism in 2021 and then breaking numerous records and receiving multiple accolades in 2022, including the Bronze HSMAI Adrian Awards and Caribbean Journal naming Commissioner Joseph Boschulte ‘Caribbean Tourism Executive of the Year’ as well as listing USVI in ‘The Best Caribbean Islands to Visit in 2023’ and the readers voting the USVI as winner of the ‘Caribbean Travelers’ Choice Awards 2022 – USVI quickly wrote a sequel by moving cruise tourism full steam ahead.
Now USVI projects not only a full cruise recovery this year, but also continued growth for both cruise and stayover tourism, which go hand in hand according to Commissioner Boschulte – and it is no secret why “America’s Paradise” is continuing to elevate through constant improvement and inimitable features.
Cruise Comeback “Like No Other”
Caribbean cruise destinations are well on their way to recovering the ground lost due to the pandemic, and FCCA’s Presidential Strategic Destination Partner, the U.S.
Virgin Islands (USVI), is no exception. Witnessing a strong rebound of cruise tourism, the Territory is projected to return to 2019 passenger volume levels in 2023. In particular, the island of St. Croix is benefiting from a commitment by FCCA Member Cruise Line Royal Caribbean International to increase the number of cruise passengers visiting St. Croix. This year, Royal Caribbean International will bring an additional 440,000 visitors to “America’s Paradise.” Of those, 140,000 will head to St. Croix (nearly triple the current annual total) and 300,000 guests will experience a port of call in St. Thomas (an increase of 70
percent). The U.S. Virgin Islands also continues to welcome new ships, including Celebrity Beyond making her maiden voyage to St. Thomas in November 2022.
With three unique islands to explore (four, including lesser-known Water Island), the U.S. Virgin Islands has been a perennial favorite destination in the cruise industry for many years. Upon arrival in the Territory, visitors have endless options and choices upon disembarking their vessel.
Historic attractions, landmarks and architecture; incredible world-class beaches and picture-perfect natural beauty; not-to-be-missed national parks, monuments and sites; authentic, creative culinary options; and extraordinary shopping opportunities are just some of the reasons the islands routinely rank high among cruise guest favorite spots.
USVI Commissioner of Tourism
Joseph Boschulte is pleased by the solid performance of the destination’s cruise sector, and attributes much of it to the Territory’s strong brand recognition and value proposition.
“The fact that cruise ship passenger occupancy levels are back to full capacity and the industry is projected to continue growing in the coming years is great news for the
“…cruise ship passenger occupancy levels are back to full capacity and the industry is projected to continue growing…”
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—Joseph Boschulte Commissioner of Tourism
U.S. Virgin Islands,” stated Commissioner Boschulte, noting that 25 to 30 percent of the destination’s stayover guests initially visited as cruise ship passengers.
“From that standpoint, cruise passenger visits provide a critical opportunity for travelers to experience our islands and return later on for a longer, stayover vacation,” he added.
Boschulte credits much of the success of the USVI’s successful cruise tourism rebound to the efforts of multiple stakeholders – including Governor Albert Bryan’s administration, the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) and The West Indian Company, Limited (WICO), cruise lines, the Department of Tourism’s dedicated marketing and support teams, and private and public sector entities – working together to ensure the sector’s growth and strength.
“We are especially excited to promote St. Croix with its own marketing campaign, ‘St. Croix - A Vibe Like No Other,’” said Commissioner Boschulte, explaining that tourism officials anticipate 2023’s significant increase in cruise arrivals to lead to a rise in overnight guests over the next 48 months or sooner.
The Big Island, as St. Croix is known to locals, has a personality and charm that is unique and distinct. Buck Island Reef National Monument, historic forts and ruins in the “twin cities” of Frederiksted and Christiansted, the Millennial Monument at the easternmost point of Point Udall, a diverse culinary scene and festivals galore continue to attract visitors to the island.
The U.S. Virgin Islands is consistently recognized with awards and accolades as
an outstanding travel destination. Readers of Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine voted USVI as the Best Caribbean Cruise Destination for 2023. Condé Nast Traveler listed the USVI at the top of its Best Places to Go in 2023. Travel + Leisure ranked USVI as one of its 50 best 2023 destinations in its “For Beach Vibes” section. Frommer’s also gave the island territory top billing in its annual Best Places to Go in 2023 list.
America’s Renewed Cruise Destination
According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) 2022 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook Report, 2022 was a pivotal transition year for the industry, with ships reestablishing their regular schedules around the world. To gear up for the returning traffic, and for the full recovery projected by 2023, the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism pursued multipronged strategies to attract both cruise lines and cruise passengers.
The efforts started during the pandemic, when the Department of Tourism worked closely with Florida-Caribbean
Cruise Association (FCCA), along with the CDC and cruise executives, to ensure the safe return of cruising. That return was marked by the arrival of Celebrity Edge to St. Thomas in July 2021, the first cruise to come to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 15 months.
In the first four months of 2022, the USVI received 317,361 passengers. For Fiscal Year 2022 (October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022), the territory received about 250 ships and nearly a half million
passengers. The following year’s projections then called for a sharp increase in those numbers: more than 450 ship arrivals carrying almost 1.4 million passengers.
Due to the integral contribution of cruises to the U.S. Virgin Islands economy (with cruise tourism generating $184.7 million in total expenditures, in addition to $77.9 million in total employee wage income, during the 2017/2018 cruise year, according to the Business Research & Economic Advisors report “Economic Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Destination Economies”) the Department of Tourism then developed a strategic partnership with FCCA focused on increasing the destination’s overall economic impact from cruise tourism.
Objectives include increased cruise calls, new experiences and products, collaboration with the local private sector, more employment and purchasing opportunities, conversion of cruise guests to overnight visitors, promotion of summer cruising, creation of consumer demand, travel agent outreach, and more.
According to Commissioner Boschulte, “We want our port of calls to be
First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 39
more than stops for cruise guests, but rather places to engage with local culture and spend on local experiences. It is key for us to maintain a flow of economic output into the community and increasing the number of cruise calls is part of that plan.”
The destination also worked closely with individual cruise lines to maintain the positioning of the U.S. Virgin Islands as a marquee stop for Caribbean cruising – fielding numerous meetings with cruise lines’ executive teams to discuss increasing calls and offerings on St. Croix, St. Thomas, and St. John for cruise visitors. One outcome was the memorandum of understanding between VIPA and Royal Caribbean including goals of adding 70 percent more passengers to Crown Bay on St. Thomas and tripling the numbers for St. Croix in 2023.
To achieve these objectives and support current and future growth, a third pier is in the works for Crown Bay.
“We support the addition of berths in St. Thomas,” said Governor Albert Bryan Jr. in a candidate questionnaire. “We are in constant competition for passengers, and the experts believe that cruise travel is going to become even more popular.
“High aviation rates driven by high fuel costs and a lack of pilots are not going away any time soon. People will be looking for inclusive vacation packages like cruises, and we must be proactive in ways to accommodate these larger ships.”
Reimagining Local Tourism Opportunities and Product
The USVI Department of Tourism has worked closely with VIPA and the West Indian Company Limited, a St. Thomas port facility with a cruise ship pier, shopping mall, and commercial rental complex,
to improve the visitor experience. Store owners were encouraged to align their hours with cruise arrivals and departures. Retail space was upgraded and more excursion offerings on land and sea were developed. As a result, today’s cruise passengers will discover a myriad of new experiences to choose from that take advantage of the territory’s abundant natural assets.
Enhancing the Cruise Guest Experience
As cruise travel returned, the U.S. Virgin Islands prepared the destination to provide a broader range of experiences showcasing its history and culture, range of activities, and sustainability efforts.
The U.S. Virgin Islands has many options for travelers seeking adventure. From underwater exploration to heart-pounding hikes, each island provides ample opportunity for a splash of excitement. Discover paradise by hiking along a National Park trail like Fort Christiansvaern and Reef Bay Trail, ziplining through the canopy at Tree Limin’ Extreme, and riding a horse along Rainbow beach. Explore what lies beneath the surface by snorkeling with turtles or go on a deep dive and see seahorses, octopuses, and a display of colorful fish. The
islands are also known as a favorite dutyfree shopping place in the region.
Beyond hikes, wellness opportunities are abundant in the region, providing the ultimate disconnect that cruise passengers seek. From stand-up paddleboarding to spas featuring rain therapy and aromatherapy sessions to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul.
History and culture abound in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It can be experienced through Island festivals as well as with various attractions, including one of the Western Hemisphere’s oldest synagogues, the French Heritage Museum, and the Annaberg Sugar Plantation. Guests today can visit the Annaberg Plantation Ruins, which includes the quarters of the enslaved workers, the sugar factory, and the windmill, to learn about the Caribbean influence on the global sugar market.
Sustainability for Longevity
As an island destination, the U.S. Virgin Islands is committed to sustainability efforts. Tourists can participate in various sustainability initiatives that preserve the islands’ natural resources, culture, and beauty. Restaurants like Ciboné in St. Croix and Caribbean Fish Market in St. Thomas focus on farm-to-table produce and off-the-boat seafood for a fresh and unforgettable dining experience. To help preserve the glorious beaches and stunning underwater world, guests are encouraged to wear rash guards and hats and are required to use only non-nano mineral sunscreen containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
For more information visit, www.visitusvi.com.
“We want our port of calls to be…places to engage with local culture…”
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—Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner of Tourism
THE PERFECT CRUISE DOCKS HERE. AND HERE. AND HERE.
Stop at any of our ports for unique culture, white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and picturesque towns with shopping and attractions that offer all the Caribbean experiences you’re could ever ask for. visitUSVI.com.
ST. ST. T H O M A S J O H N ST. C R O I X
Get to Know Mazatlán, Host of the 2023 FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show
Mazatlán – a resort town along the Pacific shoreline in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico – is known for sandy beaches along its 21km-long malecón (boardwalk); big-game fishing; landmarks ranging from 19th-century buildings in Centro Histórico to the modern district of Zona Dorada and its vibrant nightlife and hotels; renowned gastronomy; welcoming people; and so much more.
Key cruise executives and destination stakeholders will soon experience this firsthand when Mazatlán hosts the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show from November 6-10, where it aims to build on its cruise tourism momentum – with 2023 already off to a fast start.
The Port of Mazatlán had all hands on January 10 when it again received three cruise calls with more than 10,000 guests on board, hosting Carnival Panorama , Holland America Line’s Koningsdam and Oceania Cruises’ Insignia. That was followed the next day with another three ships when it welcomed Norwegian Jewel, Discovery Princess and Royal Princess –and came on the heels of also hosting three
ships on January 3, 17, 24 and 31, with a total 21 arrivals for January.
These arrivals bring momentous commercial and tourist activity in the different sectors of the local area and its surroundings, such as Copala, Concordia, La Noria, El Quelite, where in addition to enjoying the tourist attractions, guests will savor exquisite gastronomy and hospitality.
You can also get to know the areas, culture and more through some of the highlights below.
Sinaloan gastronomy is one of the greatest jewels of Mexico. Behind the mixture of flavors, there are centuries of tradition waiting to be discovered through the palate of each visitor. Let yourself be enveloped by the best gastronomic experience of your life, from the freshest seafood to the highest quality meat.
The restaurants in the region offer dishes of enormous diversity, and Sinaloan locals take pride in their cuisine and appreciate the recognition they receive for their dishes. This is an essential part of
tourism in the region, with the gastronomy recommended by culinary experts – classifying it as gourmet – and recognized by international chefs for flavors that satisfy any appetite.
The Ángela Peralta Theater, a Symbol of Sinaloa’s Culture & History
Located in the heart of the historic center and built in the Porfirian era in the port of Mazatlán, Sinaloa, it is one of the most beautiful and authentic of its kind in the country. Declared a National Historical Heritage in 1990, the theater continues to function as the house of culture. Home of distinguished staging, symphony concerts, musicals and plays, its incomparable beauty exalts the greatness of the state and is a must stop for all visitors to the city. Do not miss the opportunity to fall in love with its authentic architecture and history.
A Place that Preserves History in Mazatlán
Settled on the top of Cerro del Vigía and 75 meters above sea level, the building
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known as “the Observatory” was initially built by the inhabitants of Mazatlán as a military observation post. Due to its strategic location and complete command of the landscape, it served the city to protect it from the constant incursions of enemy ships and piracy. Today, the Observatory is the perfect place for all people to enjoy a good time, admiring the endemic birds and animals of the region in its own aviary, learning all about Mazatlán’s history and nature in the anthropology and history museum, or tasting a delicious local craft beer and enjoying the renowned food and cocktails in town. Do not miss the opportunity to see the best view and sunset in Sinaloa firsthand.
The Pearl of the Pacific, a True Cradle of Biodiversity
Deep sea fishing in the port of Mazatlán has become one of the most extraordinary experiences in the country, since on its waters reside seven of the nine species reserved for this sporting activity
Perfect Swells All Year Round!
Mazatlán holds the torch for Sinaloa when it comes to waves. The town is fantastically spread across a strangely shaped bubble in the Mexican Pacific coast, meaning there are beaches facing in three directions –south, west, and north – and swells of all compass orientations work their way in neatly to the sands virtually all year round, though the big Southern Hemisphere pulses of June to August are by far the best. If
this isn’t amazing enough, the beaches of Elota, located just 50 minutes away from Mazatlán, are known for having the perfect conditions for world-class kite surfing.
Mazatlan’s Maximum Celebration
The 125th edition of the Mazatlán carnival, in Sinaloa, was another stunning success, with more than 500,000 visitors and artists. For five days, the port dresses up, decorates its picturesque streets and breathes to the rhythm of music and joy. During this very special annual celebration, the port opens its doors to thousands of tourists who can enjoy this beautiful tradition that distinguishes Mazatlan. Don’t miss the opportunity to admire the impressive parade and all the cultural presentations that are held during these days of festivity for next year’s edition.
throughout the whole year. The destination is considered the best place on the planet to carry out this activity all year round. The world-class bass fishing takes place in El Salto, which is in the foothills of the Sierra Madre, where you can enjoy the catch and release of the biggest bass on earth. It is a privilege to visit this place and its stunning views that will take anyone’s breath away.
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Welcome to Caymankind
While pristine beaches, stunning underwater scenery, an impressive culinary scene and amazing activities attract sun seeking visitors to the Cayman Islands, the warm and friendly nature of Caymanians, known as ‘Caymankind,’ adds to the experience, providing for a distinctive atmosphere unparalleled throughout the Caribbean.
That is part of the reason why Cayman Islands tourism officials are upbeat about the steady post-pandemic tourism gains. With cruise ships returning in March and travel restrictions lifted in the end of August last year, the islands welcomed 1,027,668 visitors in 2022 (743,394 cruise passengers and 284,274 stayover visitors), exceeding goals set by the government for both groups of arrivals.
“Confidence in the destination due to our measured and phased approach to reopening post the COVID-19 lockdown led to pent-up demand which accelerated our visitation volume once all travel restrictions were dropped,” said Rosa Harris, the island’s experienced director of tourism.
She explained that the quality of accommodations and attractions, retail offerings and restaurants as well as vibrant events – including the Capella Music Festival, the Cayman Islands Marathon, and meetings and incentives groups – continue to drive visitors to the destination.
So, it is no surprise that Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism and Transport, is confident in the Cayman Islands’ goal for 2023 in 70 percent of 2019’s numbers.
“We anticipate that 2023 will be a momentous year for tourism with a full calendar year of visitors to allow us to reset our seasonality aligned with new expectations for travel post-pandemic,” said Minister Bryan.
“Our accommodation, restaurant and retail partners are primed to welcome guests, and we will continue strategic discussions with our airline partners to offer increased airlift to the destination to ensure a steady stream of visitors. We also look forward to working with or partners
in cruise to further enhance and deliver an authentic destination experience.”
Minister Bryan further emphasized the importance of the cruise sector for the Cayman Islands’ tourism industry, as it provides jobs to thousands of Caymanians who promote the destination to cruise passen-
“…2023 will be a momentous year for tourism…”
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—Hon, Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism and Transport
gers from all over the world. Service providers are proud of our islands’ attributes and work hard to ensure that the experience in Grand Cayman is the best in the world.
“Cruise tourism is the epicenter of Caymanian entrepreneurship, represent-
ing a higher percentage of local business owners than any other aspect of tourism and is a vital part of our tourism offering,” continued Minister Bryan.
“We’d like to thank our Partners in the Port Authority and our transport and water sports operators for their commitment to making the Cayman Islands a preferred destination for cruise passengers.”
Cruisers visiting the islands in 2023 will encounter enhancements to the town center as part of the George Town Revitalization Initiative, a multi-year government project led by the Ministry of Planning Agriculture and Infrastructure to enhance key areas of the town center.
The newly pedestrianized Cardinall Avenue, one of George Town’s most famous shopping streets, is a new destination in the center of the Cayman Islands’ capital.
Lined with colorful pavers inspired by the colors of the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms and the pattern of the waves that roll onto its shorelines, the beautifully intricate design connects the Seafarers Way pocket park on the harbor front to the General Post Office on Edward Street, one of the George Town’s iconic landmarks and the Cayman Islands’ first post office opened in 1939 under the administration of Sir Allan Cardinall.
In addition to new street lighting, landscaping – including Silver Patch palms, the Cayman Islands’ national tree – and urban furniture, the street underwent extensive enhancements to its underground infrastructure in benefit of the many shops, restaurants, and businesses that line either side of the avenue.
The result is a highly attractive destination for visitors and a richer urban experience for both visitors and residents in the heart of George Town.
The Cayman Islands looks forward to welcoming you for the FCCA PAMAC Conference in June and sharing all that the islands have to offer.
“Cruise tourism is the epicenter of Caymanian entrepreneurship…”
First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 45
—Hon, Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism and Transport
Cruising Ahead in Puerto Rico
With nearly 200,000 cruise passenger arrivals in January alone and strong projections for the months ahead, cruise tourism in Puerto Rico shows no signs of slowing down.
“It has been an exciting start of the year for Puerto Rico with lots of activity in our ports,” stated Crystal Bell, Air and Maritime Access Director for the Puerto Rico Tourism Company (PRTC), during the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) recent PAMAC Cruise Summit aboard Holland America’s Eurodam PRTC has been working hard to reinforce the island’s strong position as a cruise destination, strengthening its industry relationships, and leveraging its strategic partnership with FCCA to ensure that cruise line executives and other stakeholders are knowledgeable about Puerto Rico’s diverse cruise tourism product.
Puerto Rico has been a strategic partner of FCCA for more than 20 years. Confirming the importance of the longstanding relationship, Bell noted that
PRTC benefits from opportunities to engage with FCCA member cruise lines and promote the island’s attractions.
“We recognize the immense value of the networking opportunities with industry leaders and decision-makers, as well as the one-on-one meetings available at events such as the Platinum Cruise Summit,” said Bell.
Puerto Rico hosted FCCA’s Caribbean Cruise Summit last summer and has successfully hosted FCCA’s annual keynote event – the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show – in 2016, 2018 and 2019.
As a result, the island has been able to showcase some of the best activities and attractions available to cruise ship guests
– and to share the services and resources it offers to cruise ships for provisioning and homeporting, which have contributed to Puerto Rico’s recognition as a key player in the global cruise industry.
A popular destination for cruise passengers, San Juan offers access to a unique historic district in addition to a range of cultural and culinary experiences, including walking food tours.
For those interested in venturing outside the capital area for outdoor adventures, El Yunque National Rain Forest is a major draw for hiking and exploring.
Towards the central part of the island, ziplining at Orocovis is another popular activity.
For ships that are in port later in the evening, passengers can enjoy Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays, which are among the brightest in the world.
“Puerto Rico is grateful for the support we receive from FCCA, and we are very happy with our strategic partnership,” said Bell.
“It has been an exciting start of the year for Puerto Rico…”
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– Crystal Bell, Air and Maritime Access Director, Puerto Rico Tourism Company
The Dominican Republic Continues Record Pace
The Dominican Republic is continuing its momentum after closing 2022 with a record-setting arrival of tourists. After welcoming 8.47 million visitors (7,165,387 stayover visitors and 1,311,129 cruise guests – both of which are records) last year, the destination registered just under 657,000 arrivals in January, the most ever for January in the destination’s history and beating 2022 by 27% (and 19% higher than January 2019, which had held the previous record).
Hotel occupancy was also at 78% (compared to 71% in January 2022), and cruise tourism is moving full steam ahead. In January, 273,845 cruise guests arrived in the Dominican Republic, a record for cruise tourism in any month. The 112 cruise calls also represented a new record.
Continued growth is on the horizon with a host of new developments. Falcon’s Resort by Meliá | All Suites Punta Cana has officially opened. It is the first resort to open under the new leisure and entertainment-based brand, Falcon’s Resorts by Meliá that offers a unique “resortainment” hospitality experience. The new brand seamlessly blends premium resort amenities with extraordinary entertainment experiences, including access to a new world-class theme park, Katmandu Park | Punta Cana, just steps away from the property.
Punta Cana International Airport –which handles over 65% of passengers visiting the Dominican Republic – embarked on a major $80 million expansion project to Terminal B, which will be able to handle 3 million passengers each year.
Excitement also is building for new cruise ports and experiences in the Dominican Republic. Nestled in the southwestern coastline of the Dominican Republic lies a relatively unknown destination that is quickly gaining travelers’ attention. Pedernales, a province rich in nature and ecotourism potential, is poised to soon become one of the country’s leading resort destinations as the government launches massive plans to erect new hotels and a massive cruise ship port.
Additionally, President Luis Abinader led the inauguration of the second phase of the Taino Bay terminal. During the ceremony, President Abinader highlighted that the Dominican Republic is on its way to becoming the Caribbean country with the most cruise tourism, with a projection of almost two million by 2023.
Driving that growth are cruise port projects developed in Samaná and Cabo Rojo to support the sector – along with a tourist pier in Barahona, which will complement Cabo Rojo in Pedernales.
11 – and will return for more homeporting operations in November.
Part of that cruise tourism expansion plan – which is aiming for welcoming 1 million cruisers per year – includes a new terminal and upgrades. Antigua Cruise Port will be building a cruise terminal at its new Oasis-class berth this year and beginning upgrades to the 30-year-old Heritage Quay complex.
The new 11,000-square-foot facility slated for completion by this October will have security screening, customs and immigration, check-in stations, seating, luggage laydown, kiosks, retail, restrooms and offices.
Additionally, after the planned $2 million renovation of the Heritage Quay complex, both passengers and locals can enjoy shopping and dining experiences. Offerings will include a second tour dispatch area, new retail and food and beverage offerings, a casino, a crew center and a day club with pools.
Cruise lines are already taking note and planning visits. In fact, starting in January 2024, Virgin Voyages will be calling every other week with 11 visits and longer stays, until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. to let its sailors taste some of the nightlife.
According to Dona Regis-Prosper, General Manager of Antigua Cruise Port, Antigua wrapped calendar year 2022 with 360 cruise calls, a solid rebound from 2021’s 81 when operations were resuming from the pandemic shutdown.
Antigua and Barbuda Moving Full Steam Ahead
Antigua and Barbuda welcomed P&O Cruises’ Arvia , the largest cruise vessel to ever visit the destination – with capacity for 5,200 passengers and 1,800 crew members. The vessel made its inaugural call on January 28, when it also conducted homeporting operations.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Tourism, The Honourable Charles Fernandez said the visit signifies a major development for our cruise sector: “We look forward to continuing homeporting operations with great anticipation as it forms part of the plan to expand Antigua and Barbuda’s cruise tourism platform.”
Arvia homeported in Antigua and Barbuda every other Saturday until March
The 2023 target is close to 700,000 passengers, and Regis-Prosper said January was a “very good” month with close to preCOVID numbers. Antigua’s peak season was in 2017/18 — almost 900,000 passengers — when it picked up ships from destinations impacted by Hurricane Irma.
“With the fifth berth, we have the potential to reach 1 million passengers within two years,” Regis-Prosper said, once the dredging is done and an Oasis vessel begins calling.
The twin-island destination is also experiencing a robust tourism recovery. The tourism sector recovered 88 percent of its 2019 business last year, and both the United States and the United Kingdom registered record levels of stayover arrivals in 2022 – with the U.S. and U.K. markets up 5 percent and 4 percent, respectively, compared to the previous records in 2019
First Quarter 2023 | Travel & Cruise 49
and hotels are showing record occupancy levels and ADRs (Average Daily Rates).
Plus, Antigua and Barbuda is looking to build on its bustling tourism with a renewed push into wellness, from plantbased eateries to wellness weeks and new spa concepts. The wellness focus began with ‘Wellness Month’ in January – featuring a full slate of wellness-targeted activities, healthy dining menus and even digital mocktail sessions – followed by a year-long slate of events and vacations.
ing to the Jamaica Tourist Board. Gross foreign exchange earnings are forecasted to reach $4.12 billion, an estimated 13.3 percent increase compared to 2022. Helping drive the boost is the Canadian market and its expected growth of nearly 40 percent.
“Jamaica’s tourism is back, and our recovery continues to outpace our earlier projections,” said Minister Bartlett. “We are now in growth mode, and to achieve this in double digits for this year is huge. It will mean more jobs and more earnings for workers and the island’s economy.”
The Sangster International Airport (SIA) in Montego Bay, St. James, is also undergoing significant modernization designed to transform it into a worldclass facility, which is expected to result in the airport’s repositioning to be on par with corresponding facilities in developed countries.
increase in post-pandemic travel demand, relaxed COVID protocols, new American Airlines service from Miami, and leading industry accolades.
Jamaica Growing Sustainably
Jamaica created history and bolstered resilience in global tourism by proposing the official designation of February 17th as Global Tourism Resilience Day annually yielding great success, as the United Nations (UN) officially ratified the move to facilitate its observance globally on February 6.
Kenneth Bryan, Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), saluted the efforts of Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, to help start the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) and turn the world’s attention to recognizing the value of tourism as a global product.
“I’m so proud of Minister Bartlett for his bold, persistent efforts to bring key international leaders on the world stage to realize that a worldwide perspective on tourism resilience is needed,” said Bryan Jamaica is committed to collaborative efforts to build tourism resilience globally to fuel sustainable growth and development – and to sustainably grow its tourism.
In fact, Jamaica’s tourism is on track for 11 percent growth this year, accord-
The $70 million runway expansion, opening of the world’s first Bob Marley (One Love)-branded restaurant, expansion of the immigration hall and departure lounge, and upgrade of outbound security, landside roads, and parking arrangements are developments that can potentially compare with any of those at the top airports globally.
Sangster International Airport connects Jamaica with more than 60 international destinations, and a record 4.7 million passengers used the airport in 2019.
To learn more, read the Jamaica Cruising newsletter or visit jamaicaruising.com.
Colombia’s Business Forecast at FITUR Surpasses $15.6M
During FITUR 2023 Colombia’s business forecast amounted to US $15,647,570 – an 85% increase compared to the previous edition. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism – and supported by ProColombia – Colombia participated with a delegation of 38 companies, operators, regional promotion entities, and an airline. Colombian companies held 578 meetings with business representatives from 48 countries.
Arriving at the international fair with the slogan “Colombia: World Power for Life,” country representatives served an average of 950 cups of coffee per day at the bar hosted by the National Federation of Coffee Growers.
Over the weekend hundreds of visitors came to the Colombia stand to enjoy its cultural displays, which included vallenato performances by Jorge Antonio Oñate, folkloric dances performed by the Macondo Native Cultural Association, dances by Bailable Cali, and the typical culinary tastings hosted by the legendary restaurant Patacón Pisao.
While in Madrid, the Colombian delegation met with several key players, including the Institute of Foreign Trade, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, and the Spanish Confederation of Business Organizations.
Dominica’s Encouraging Results
Tourism is picking back up in Dominica. The destination welcomed 60,704 stopover visitors in 2022 compared to 14,888 in 2021 with the uptick attributed to an
Likewise, meetings were held with various international organizations, including the World Tourism Organization and the Development Bank of Latin America. In fact, strategic meetings were even held with representatives from Costa
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Rica, Mexico, Venezuela, and Guatemala, as well as several media outlets.
During the fair, the Illustrated Manual for Magdalena River Tour Guides was also launched. In addition, a kitesurfing guide was released so that travelers, amateurs, and professionals can learn about various destinations across Colombia where they can practice this sport. Additionally, four new tourism routes specialized in handicrafts, led by Artesanías de Colombia, were presented.
of tour operators, and negotiate with the main lines to provide an induction for cruise passengers on the care of coral reefs and beaches.
to spend from 3 to 5 days at Costa Rica. Between September 2022 and July 2023, more than 300 cruise calls are scheduled, and 40 percent will be expedition and luxury cruises.
Belize Updates National Cruise Tourism Policy
Belize is currently engaged in a process to update its National Cruise Tourism Policy. With the socio-economic shock brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and with consideration of key development factors such as climate change, need for environmental stewardship and new product development, the updated policy seeks to build upon Belize’s inherent qualities and embrace a vision for a world-class and sustainable cruise experience. The policy update is slated to be completed by March 2023.
Salvador to Host International Events
Salvador will host numerous important international events: the 2023 Surf City El Salvador ISA World Surfing Games; The XXIV Central American and the Caribbean Sports Games; the largest aerial show in Latin America; and Miss Universe. With these events and the work done by The Government of El Salvador to improve the safety, infrastructure and promotion of the country, El Salvador is demonstrating to be an important destination to visit, invest and live.
Royal Caribbean Expanding CocoCay, Expecting 13,000 Guests Daily
Royal Caribbean Group is set to launch Hideaway Beach at Perfect Day at CocoCay this year – and increasing capacity for its private island up to 13,000 guests daily, according to President and CEO Jason Liberty during the company’s year-end and fourth quarter earnings call.
The new adults-only area of the island will be open in time for Icon of the Seas, which will call on the island on her weekly Caribbean sailings when she debuts.
During the first quarter of 2023, the company will have 80 percent of its capacity sailing form North America, and mostly to the Caribbean, told Naftali Holtz, Chief Financial Officer.
“This is higher than in the first quarter of 2019, particularly for short Caribbean sailings, and we have added more capacity in the region to capitalize on the incredible Perfect Day at CocoCay,” he said.
Honduras Launches Cruise Strategy in Coordination with FCCA
Honduras has designed a strategy to increase the added value of cruise ship arrivals in the country, with the aim of improving the development of the Roatan community. This seeks to train personnel and introduce Honduran products to shipping companies, create a cooperative
Costa Rica Welcomes 6,500 Cruise Guests, 10 Ships in One Day
More than 6,500 passengers arrived at Costa Rican ports aboard 10 cruise ships on January 13. The ships were Seabourn Sojourn, Silver Moon, Wind Star, World Voyager, National Geographic Quest, Amadea, Caribbean Princess, Zaandam, Star Clipper and Panorama. The seven luxury and expedition ships were scheduled
Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said to expect between 2.5 million and 3 million guests at CocoCay this year.
“And the demand not only is there from a volume perspective, but the rate is there. And that rate has been going up again in a very healthy way,” said Bayley. “It’s the same with the spend for the products and experiences on Perfect Day. We’ve seen a great demand and a lot of resilience as the prices go up. So, it’s a hit and it’s very successful.”
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Journey Through CLIA’s Interactive Sustainability Toolkit to Discover Stories to Share
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) will unveil its new interactive toolkit that provides a host of facts and information about how the cruise industry is powering forward with its sustainability agenda.
CLIA has recognized the importance of talking to local populations at destinations to explain how cruising is an integral part of their societies and economies. The cruise industry supports the livelihoods of thousands of people and their families. The toolkit offers a way to tell the stories of how cruise activities help them to sustain their businesses in coastal and, sometimes, remote communities.
Every destination is unique, and it is vital to understanding the circumstances that apply in each location. CLIA is committed to facilitating the exchange of good practices between destinations and highlighting successes the organization has had in engaging with different communities.
The toolkit uses the power of digital communication to reach audiences around the world, highlighting the contributions that the cruise sector can bring to the communities where it operates.
The first edition of the toolkit launched in March and is available in six languages: English, French, German, Italian, Norwegian and Spanish.
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Revolutionizing Waste Management in Ports: Innovative Circular Solutions to Combat Climate Change and Marine Pollution.
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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.
At the same time, our approach also supports the Decent Work and Economic Growth goal by creating new jobs and supporting economic growth, while also contributing to the Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure goal by promoting innovative waste management practices and developing sustainable infrastructure for managing waste.
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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FCCA Signs Three Presidential Partners: The British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) showed early on that 2023 would be a year for partnership and growth, signing all three partners for its exclusive and capped “Presidential Partner” program by February. The British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten and the U.S. Virgin Islands all inked deals focused on increasing the economic benefits from cruise tourism through FCCA’s hands-on assistance.
“These agreements show the momentum that FCCA and destinations are having in working together to maximize cruise tourism’s benefits,” said Micky Arison, Chair of FCCA and Carnival Corporation & plc. “The destinations have been long-standing partners of FCCA and the cruise industry, and I am thrilled that this signifies the improvement of so many lives and livelihoods.”
The agreements and program come from a directive by the committee led by Arison, the FCCA Executive Committee, which is comprised of presidents and above representing FCCA’s 23 member cruise lines.
They feature access to key decision makers and their joint efforts with FCCA to fulfill the objectives, including increased cruise calls, new experiences and products, collaboration with the local private sector, more employment and purchasing opportunities, conversion of cruise guests to stay-over visitors, promotion of summer cruising, creation of consumer demand, travel agent outreach and more.
Through the agreements, FCCA will not only guide the destinations’ public sectors on enhancing their products and increasing cruise calls, but also will facilitate new experiences to offer cruise companies and collaborate with the local private sectors to maximize any opportunities.
The agreements will also put the destinations in the spotlight at FCCA events and in FCCA’s programs centered on the
hiring of and purchasing/sourcing from local citizens, including a series of planned meetings, site visits, town halls and more in the destinations to help fulfill their targeted objectives.
Some of the other features include promoting summer cruising, engaging travel agents, creating consumer demand and developing a destination service needs assessment that will detail strengths, opportunities and needs.
However, one of the main traits of the agreements is the focus on individualization based on the destinations’ wants, needs and objectives.
“We are grateful for the longstanding support of the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten and the U.S. Virgin
Islands, and we cannot be more excited to reciprocate the faith they have shown in us and the industry by maximizing their benefits from cruise tourism,” said Michele Paige, CEO, FCCA. “Through this agreement, these destinations have FCCA’s full commitment to fulfilling their individualized initiatives, including assisting the private sector and helping all locals prosper from the economic impact that the industry brings.”
“…this signifies the improvement of so many lives and livelihoods.”
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—Micky Arison, Chairman, FCCA and Carnival Corporation & plc
FCCA and Maritime Procurement Services Partner to Advance Environmental Efforts
Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) has announced a new strategic partnership with Maritime Procurement Services (MPS) to offer expert guidance and solutions in sustainability for the cruise industry.
As FCCA’s exclusive partner, MPS will provide services in waste management, climate action, cruise waste up-cycling, decarbonization through ship waste streams, and digital solutions for compliance and waste traceability.
“At FCCA, we recognize the importance of reducing the cruise industry’s environmental impact and are committed to further strengthening our existing environmentally responsible practices,” said Adam Ceserano, FCCA’s president. “Partnering with MPS will enable us to offer our members valuable resources and
guidance towards mitigating their environmental footprint.”
“Our goal is to contribute to the decarbonization of the maritime industry through a circular economy model,” said Alejandro Trillo, CEO of MPS,
whose company is dedicated to preserving the planet and its limited resources. MPS offers sustainable waste management solutions to more than 500 ships annually.
MPS’ sustainable management model and circular economy focuses on keeping products and materials in use, retaining their energy to reduce emissions. Recycling glass, plastics and other waste streams can make a big difference for climate action, said Trillo, “because we are avoiding using virgin materials for making more glass bottles, cardboard and metals.”
“We are thrilled to increase our cooperation and partnership with the FCCA to implement our sustainability model in different ports and destinations,” added Trillo.
“…enable us to offer our members valuable resources and guidance towards mitigating their environmental footprint.”
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FCCA President Adam Ceserano (center) signs an MOU with MPS’ CEO Alejandro Trillo (right) and Business Development Director Fernando Melo
Frontlines Are Your Ambassadors!
By Beth Kelly Hatt, President, Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, FCCA’s official training partner
Much has changed since the pandemic, and the frontlines in our cruise destinations is where we see the most need for training. We all understand the importance of our frontlines and how they impact guest satisfaction, but are we leveraging the incredible opportunities these ambassadors provide us?
“From the Yucatan Tourism Board, we consider that the courses represent an opportunity to keep our knowledge updated and learn about the cruise industry. Aquila has helped us a lot to improve the services that our frontlines and tour operators offer in the Port of Progreso, Mexico to cruise passengers.” –Raúl
Paz Noriega, Technical Director, Yucatán Tourism Board México
Aquila’s frontline workshops have adapted over the past few years to specific areas of need including Vendor Excellence and Driver Excellence, all designed with opportunities for participants to engage through activities and group discussions. It is important for our frontlines to understand the importance of their role in the success of the cruise destination with topics ranging from making a positive impression, communicating effectively, understanding cultural differences, dealing with difficult situations, handling complaints, and much more. And frontlines start from gangway to gangway, from immigration to port staff, tourism teams, greeters, taxis, retail… anyone in your destination that could have a connection with a cruise guest.
We have been reminded over the past year how they struggle with dealing with difficult situations, challenging customers, and offer ideas that could help them deliver excellent service. As they search for ways to improve, they gain the understanding that every interaction with a guest is an opportunity to provide a memorable experience.
Tips to Help Frontlines Manage Difficult Situations
Difficult situations are inevitable, and all frontlines have to resolve conflicts at some point during their service! If a guest is not complying with rules and disregarding
advice, what can be done? Here are some steps to follow:
• Take the guest aside if possible and be discreet so you’re not drawing attention to them in front of everyone.
• Identify the non-compliance or undesirable behavior – what it is that they’re doing or not doing. And then state the company policy or how the behavior needs to change. It’s important in this step to talk about the behavior, and not the person. You want to be mindful to avoid statements about the guest’s character that will put the guest on the defensive.
• If the guest still is not complying, then you may need to talk to your employer and determine next steps. The majority of the time, guests will respect and follow the rules, especially with a friendly reminder.
When handling difficult situations and resolving conflicts, there is an acronym that has been used by many to help remember a positive way to handle the situation – that is L.A.S.T. Listen, Acknowledge, Solve, Thank
• First, we Listen. This means actively and fully listening to what the guest has to say. Don’t get defensive, don’t interrupt the guest, and focus on your guest’s comments.
• Secondly, we Acknowledge. When they have shared their concern, acknowledge and confirm what they have said. Let them know you understand and ask questions if you need clarification. Make sure they feel heard. Tell them that you will do your best to help.
• Third, Solve. Solve the problem. Do what you can to address the concern for the guest. There may be a simple solution that you can implement right away, or perhaps you need to involve your manager or supervisor. Let your guest know the steps you are taking to solve the issues.
• Finally, Thank the guest. After the situation is dealt with, thank the guest for bringing the issue to your attention and for giving you the opportunity to make it better for them.
Hopefully these tips can help your teams provide memorable experiences for your guests. If you are interested in training, whether in person, virtually or online, please reach out to us. Destinations and tour operators are all trying to manage new teams and training has been proven to help with retention, so keep Aquila in mind.
Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to years of continued growth and collaboration with all of you.
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 Beth@CruiseExcellence.com
In 2022, Aquila celebrated 40 Years as a tour operator in Port Saint John, Canada and 15 years as a trainer and coach for the cruise industry.
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Elnet Maritime Promotes Bahamian Maritime Industry, Focuses on Education
Elnet Maritime has ramped up their communications through the “Elnet Blue View” initiative which uses a monthly maritime newsletter, social media, drone footage, videos, and vivid imagery to give people in all corners of the world a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the Bahamian maritime industry and promotes the maritime services available on Grand Bahama Island, which is a leading global destination for maritime projects. The company also recently celebrated the first group of graduates of their free maritime training program for high school students, “Maritime 101.” A second course is now in session with the third class to begin in spring.
Slice of Paradise: Atlantis Paradise Island Adds Food Festival and More
Atlantis Paradise Island is the most remarkable resort destination in the world – and for good reason. Join the fun this March at the Nassau Paradise Island Wine & Food Festival, experience the new Paranza, an ocean-inspired Italian eatery by Michelin-starred Chef Michael White, or catch a live performance by Lizzo on Casuarina Beach on March 25th! The new Playtime with Dolphins brings together high-energy fun and hands-on education with a pod of rescued dolphins.
Ocean World in Puerto Plata Celebrates 20th Anniversary
Ocean World in Puerto Plata celebrated its 20th anniversary, delivering once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ranked as the number one attraction in the Dominican Republic, the park continues to amaze with educational animal shows, a super fun water park, and a beautiful beach lagoon. Their
interactive programs with dolphins, sea lions, and sharks and the immersive cultural experience, including cooking classes, make Ocean World the most complete entertainment complex in the area.
on a Lazy River and discover the origin of rum and tobacco in a magical immersive experience. Explore a new culture, create long-lasting memories and have a new whole experience in your vacations. Visit us and be part of this journey!
Blue Lagoon Offers New Historical Tour
Continuing to innovate and offer authentic Bahamian, sustainable tours, Blue Lagoon Island recently launched the Discover Salt Cay Experience tour. Guests meet in downtown Nassau and walk through historical streets as guides lead them through 100 years of history that bind both New Providence and Salt Cay (Blue Lagoon). The tour resumes on a private ferry to Blue Lagoon and culminates with Bahamian lunch, drinks and history that is unique to the beautiful private island.
Stunning Grenada Sign Awaits at Melville Street
Unveiled in January, the striking new sign welcomes visitors to Grenada with a bold and colorful display of the island’s name. A true reflection of the beauty and culture of Grenada, the letters feature intricate depictions that deliver a compelling peek at the experiences that await in Grenada and inspire visitors to explore every facet of Grenada.
Taino Bay Port Embarks on Major Restructuring
Taino Bay Port has embarked on a major restructuring this year, inaugurating a second phase to its terminal. With three berths, the port is expecting to receive up to 630,500 passengers in 2023. This new area will feature a unique Victorian architecture, exclusive retail, delicious restaurants, and incredible entertainment across the port. Take a relaxing float down
Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience
Let’s journey to the Joy Spence Appleton Estate Rum Experience, Jamaica’s premier South Coast Heritage attraction. Enjoy a multisensory journey from cane to cocktail at Jamaica’s oldest and most famous distillery and learn how they handcraft some of the finest rum in the world. Appreciate tastes of sugar cane and sugar, explore the distillery and ageing warehouse, savor the exquisite Appleton Estate Jamaica Rums crafted with excellence.
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New Platinum Member: Hospital Wood from Roatan, Honduras
Offering 24/7 Emergency Coverage, we accept international insurance and much more to service crew members and cruise guests in our hospital in Roatán, Honduras – conveniently located five minutes from Coxen Hole Port and 12 minutes from Mahogany Port. Please visit hosptialwoodmedicalcenter.com for more information.
experience the natural beauty, history, and culture of the Mexican Caribbean! If you’ve visited before, come back, and see what’s new!
Port of Ensenada Welcomes Record Arrivals
Hutchison Ports ECV is celebrating a historical record in arrivals and passengers at the Port of Ensenada, going from 270 arrivals and 674,459 passengers in 2019, to 332 arrivals and a total of 744,221 passengers in 2022, representing an increase of 23% and 10.3%, respectively. This was partly due to the return of Royal Caribbean to Ensenada and the increase in arrivals from lines such as Disney and Norwegian.
Tayrona Park Reopens
“For travelers arriving in Santa Marta, we are happy to share that Tayrona Park, a visit included in cruise shore excursions, reopened after closing for 15 days for environmental and cultural protection purposes”, said Carmen Caballero, President of ProColombia, an agency part of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism of Colombia. “At ProColombia, we promote meaningful travel experiences that support all forms of life, cultural expressions, and the development of local communities.”
consists of two tree-shaped platforms, exclusively designed to interact with our mountainous area with an impressive view of the north coast of the island. It has the capacity of four simultaneous bicycles. Two stations of different lengths with a maximum of 326 meters. It is the longest cable bike circuit in the world, with a certified Guinness World Record.
Global Cruises LLC Launches Cozumel Open Top Touristic Bus
After three years of dedicated work and investments, Global Cruises LLC has successfully launched the Cozumel Open Top Touristic Bus. This innovative open-air bus is an alternative for Caribbean Cruise guests to enjoy the island, switching up the way they experience Cozumel. This groundbreaking product will lead to transformational changes across the tourism and transportation segments on the island.
Explore the Mexican Caribbean
SSA México proudly serves over 1.5 million annual cruise passengers carried by our FCCA member cruise lines between Cozumel, Quintana Roo, and Progreso, Yucatán. We welcome you to visit and
Toro Bikes, World Record Fun for the Whole Family
Pedal on a bike adapted to a zipline cable. The activity provides an alternative for the enjoyment of the whole family. The tour
Powering Forward to a Cleaner Future, Port Everglades Prepares to Install Shoreside Electricity
Port Everglades recently completed a study to add shore power to its eight cruise terminals. Shore power will allow ships in port to turn off engines and connect to the local electric power grid – and thereby reduce emissions. The switch would eliminate 11,366 metric tons of CO2 while reducing other discharges by up to 75%. The port anticipates initial implementation by 2026.
Port Canaveral, the World’s Second Busiest Cruise Port
Port Canaveral is the world’s second busiest cruise port and North America’s first LNG cruise port. A world-class
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gateway, many of the largest and most technologically advanced cruise ships in the world call Port Canaveral home. Hosting nearly 6 million cruise passengers annually through six state-of-theart terminals, the Port’s easy access location on the east coast of Florida makes it the perfect launching point for cruises to the Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean, The Bahamas, and other tropical islands. Port Canaveral is conveniently located near major international airports, a popular drive-to destination, and a stone’s throw from Orlando’s theme parks and attractions.
The Port of Los Angeles Invites Comments for Development to Support Growth
The Port of Los Angeles is inviting comments on a draft Request for Proposals for the future development of a new Outer Harbor Cruise Terminal and redevelopment of the existing World Cruise Center on the LA Waterfront. There were 229 cruise ship calls at the Port of LA in 2022, the most since 2008. Calls are expected to rise to an estimated 250 by 2026 and include larger ships carrying more passengers.
Port of San Diego Completes Shore Power Project
Seatrade Cruise’s 2023 Schedule
Seatrade Cruise have a jam-packed schedule of events in 2023. With the launch of F&B@Sea and return of Seatrade Cruise Global, happening in Fort Lauderdale, 27-30 March. Plus, Seatrade Europe returns to Hamburg from September 6-8. The leading bi-annual event serving the European and river cruise community organized by Hamburg Messe, in partnership with Seatrade Cruise will see cruise lines, suppliers, and ports & destinations unite to network and discuss the latest issues confronting the European cruise market. For more information visit seatradecruiseevents.com.
JAXPORT Available for Opportunities
Jacksonville, Florida is located in close proximity to the Caribbean and is available for homeport and port-of-call opportunities. Jacksonville is perfectly situated for passenger excursions and pre- and post-cruise vacations. Visitors can enjoy a riverfront downtown, vibrant local culture, miles of white sand beaches, access to nature and wildlife, as well as world-class golf, shopping and dining. Dozens of daily flights arrive and depart at Jacksonville International Airport. In 2022, JAXPORT’s homeported cruise ship, Carnival Elation , sailed at more than 100% occupancy throughout the year.
In January 2023, the Port of San Diego completed a project to double its shore power capabilities. The Port can now simultaneously connect two vessels, thereby reducing emissions and demonstrating to the community that the cruise industry not only offers a fantastic vacation experience, but also is an environmental leader.
Mobile Alabama Cruise Ship Terminal Committed to Safety and Comfort
The Mobile Alabama Cruise Ship Terminal is committed to safety and comfort of our guests as they begin their vacations. We have begun the design of our new passenger bridge and expect construction and installation in late 2023. We are committed to outstanding customer service and new cruising opportunities!
Bacardi Global Travel Retail Launches GREY GOOSE® Essences
Bacardi Global Travel Retail is proud to announce the launch of GREY GOOSE® Essences in selected travel retail markets. GREY GOOSE is the category beacon and number one super-premium vodka in travel retail, according to IWSR. The all-natural GREY GOOSE Essences line, 30% ABV, offers three expressions with no artificial ingredients, sugar or carbs. Born out of a heightened desire for simple cocktails that are brimming with natural, vibrant flavor, the range features Strawberry and Lemongrass, White Peach and Rosemary, and Watermelon and Basil.
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CRUISE PORT TAMPA BAY
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 www.porttb.com/cruise-destinations-map and ﬁnd your dream cruise today.
EXPLORE THE CITY STEPS FROM THE TERMINAL: TOUR .PORTTB.COM
SANTA MARTA CRUISING BEYOND THE CARIBBEAN.
White sands that lead into warm azure waves. A city deeply embedded in Colombia's history. A charming culture and delectable gastronomy. Lush greenery inhabited by colorful species and ancient knowledge. All of it backdropped by a snow-capped mountain.
There are many theories as to what earned Colombia's oldest city the lovely nickname of "the Pearl of the Americas", and although a quick visit might not suf ce to unravel all its secrets, it certainly does to make you fall in love with it.
Scan the code to embark on this adventure.
Santa Marta, GREATER COLOMBIAN CARIBBEAN