Travel & Cruise 4th Quarter Magazine

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U.S. Virgin Islands’

Unprecedented Transformation & How Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte is Leading the Charge

Gus Antorcha, Holland America Line President, Takes the Spotlight

Josh Weinstein, Carnival Alexander Gumbs, Port Corporation President St. Maarten CEO, Lays & CEO & Chief Climate Out the Greener Path for Officer, Shares His ‘State Port Operations of the Industry Address’

Full Coverage of the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show FCCA Foundation’s Relaunch & New Partnership with Diamonds International CLIA Cruise Week Europe Coming Up Charting the Future of Sustainable Cruise Travel Cruise Lines’ Newbuilds & Environmental Progress Destinations’ Tourism Developments & Initiatives Aquila’s Strategies to Prepare for Crises








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

















10 Gus Antorcha Takes the Spotlight in FCCA’s Webinar Series The Holland America Line President Joins FCCA’s webinar series to dive deep into the world of cruise leadership and Caribbean connections – and give a glimpse of the strategies and stories behind one of the leading cruise lines 14 Josh Weinstein’s Keynote Address at the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show A full transcript of what the President & CEO & Chief Climate Officer of Carnival Corporation delivered at what he called “the premier industry event that brings together all the most important players in the world’s largest cruise market…”

Meeting and Events Trunk Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands DEPARTMENTS 7, 9 President’s Letter

Travel & Cruise Magazine © 2023. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part, in any form, electronic or otherwise, without written permission of the FCCA is prohibited. To subscribe or change your address, please send requests to Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) 10390 USA Today Way Miramar, FL 33025 Phone: (954) 441-8881 Fax: (954) 441-3171 Published by:

In Partnership with:

16 Cruise Lines and Destinations Route Mutual Success at the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show in Mazatlán, Mexico Coverage of what the nearly 600 destination stakeholders and cruise line executives experienced in the amazing Mazatlán, including Governor Ruben Rocha Moya’s opening address and the meetings, events, and workshops moderated by FCCA Presidential Partners: Alexander Gumbs, CEO, Port St. Maarten; Natasha Chalwell, Marketing Manager, British Virgin Islands; and Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner of Tourism, United States Virgin Islands

21 20 FCCA Foundation to Relaunch with Marquee Event at Seatrade Cruise Global The FCCA’s charitable arm is coming back with a bang – and a new partnership with Diamonds International – to achieve its revamped focus centered on building a foundation for youths throughout the Caribbean and Latin America to help them thrive in the present and future 21 CLIA Cruise Week Europe Join CLIA and your global cruise community colleagues for a one-of-akind experience in beautiful Genoa, Italy from March 11-14, 2024


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.

Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 3


On Board 25 Charting the Future of Sustainable Cruise Travel 26 Emerald Cruises’ Christens Newest Luxury Yacht, Emerald Sakara, in San Juan 28 Norwegian Welcomes Viva to Miami & Unveils Aqua 28 Celebrity on the Ascent, Xcelling to New Heights 29 Icon of the Seas Joins Royal Caribbean 29 Carnival Jubilee Welcomed to Growing Carnival Fleet 29 Here Comes the Sun Princess


30 Cunard to Bring West End Theatre to Queen Anne 30 MSC Cruises Confirms Orders for Two World-Class Ships 31 Regent Takes Delivery Seven Seas Grandeur 31 Oceania Cruises’ Marina’s Extensive Refurbishment 32 P&O Cruises Introduces Jewelry by Barbados Designer 32 Windstar Cruises Expands Global Footprint to South America


33 Holland America Line Sets New Black Friday Records 33 Cunard Secures Record Black Friday Bookings 34 Carnival Corporation on Pace to Achieve Next Aggressive Food Waste Reduction Milestone

On Land 36 Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte Leads the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Unprecedented Transformation The destination’s remarkable journey to success can be attributed to Boschulte’s visionary leadership, including building a brand and finding innovative ways and strategic partnerships to source guests 38 Explore the British Virgin Islands: Beyond Sailing and Hidden Gems 40 Cayman Islands Exceeds Visitation Goals 42 Sint Maarten Marching Forward 44 Puerto Rico Celebrates Landmark Year, Invests in Service Quality and Expansion of Airlift to Support the Cruise Industry

46 Azul Destinations’ Calypso Cove to Bring Needed Economic Engine to Long Island, Bahamas 48 PortMiami Setting Records, Continuing Growth 49 Dominican Republic Continues Record Pace 49 Jamaica Stays Hot 50 Antigua and Barbuda Evolves as a Homeport 50 Colombia Moving Full Steam Ahead 50 Disney Cruise Line Opens New Cruise Terminal at Port Everglades 51 Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve’s Enhancements

Members & Travel Agents 52 How prepared are your teams on navigating crisis? <tag> Beth Kelly Hatt, President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, takes a page out of the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show’s CARE Team workshop to help readers think about the unthinkable 53 FCCA Platinum Member Highlights

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Micky Arison FCCA Chairman Chairman Carnival Corporation

Michael Bayley President & CEO Royal Caribbean International

Thomas Mazloum President Disney Signature Experiences

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

Harry J. Sommer President & CEO Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings


Michele M. Paige Chief Executive Officer

Adam Ceserano President

Terri Cannici Vice President, Operations

Omari Breakenridge Director, Digital Strategy & Creative Services

Mario Aguirre Director, Membership Events & Programs

Justin Paige Director, Communications

Bruna Milazzotto Director, Operations & Ports and Destinations Analytics

This year closes out a historic one for the cruise industry, with a record number of cruisers projected to sail – beating the previous record set in 2019. Obviously, plenty has happened between that resume gap, but now we can focus on the historic instead of the history. As anyone reading knows, the records are only possible because of one of the silver linings from the pandemic, the unprecedented level of communication and collaboration happening between cruise lines and our partners in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico. Those who attended the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show in Mazatlán, Mexico – or what Josh Weinstein, President & CEO and Chief Climate Officer of Carnival Corporation, called “the Michele and Estrella Palacios Domínguez, Secretary premier industry event that brings of Tourism for Sinaloa, share a moment of joy during together all the most important the vibrant evening carnival celebration in the historic players in the world’s largest cruise district of Mazatlán, Mexico, highlighting the rich cultural heritage of the region during FCCA’s Annual Cruise market, the Caribbean” – experiConference and Tradeshow. enced this firsthand. In case you missed it or want to catch up, this issue of Travel & Cruise offers full coverage, including the keynote address by Weinstein, Governor Ruben Rocha Moya’s opening, and of course, the meetings, events, and workshops moderated by some of our Presidential Partners: Alexander Gumbs, CEO, Port St. Maarten; Natasha Chalwell, Marketing Manager, British Virgin Islands; and Joseph Boschulte, Commissioner of Tourism, United States Virgin Islands. Plus, the CARE team workshop was inspiration for Beth Kelly Hatt, President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, who wrote an article detailing preparedness on navigating a crisis. We also look ahead to future events at Seatrade Cruise Global, including the relaunch of our charitable arm, the FCCA Foundation, with marquee festivities, along with upcoming FCCA Platinum Member events, such as the 2024 PAMAC Conference taking place next June in Jamaica. And not to bury the lead, but Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line, takes the spotlight to dive deep into the world of cruise leadership and Caribbean connections, while giving a glimpse of the strategies and stories behind one of the leading cruise lines. Additionally, highlights from the destinations and cruise lines show why the historic figures may soon be history with new records on the horizon. Respectfully yours,

Jessica Lalama Executive Assistant

Vanessa Gutierrez Membership Administrator

Michele M. Paige President FCCA Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 7

A World-Class Welcome Deliver the cruise port experience preferred by discerning travelers, from effortless access through FLL and modern terminals to exceptional pre- and post-cruise diversions in Greater Fort Lauderdale. We’ll pamper you, too, with a warm welcome through our Harbormaster Office, concierge-style service by our dedicated cruise team and fully scalable amenities all available 24/7.

We make it easy.



Pierfrancesco Vago CLIA Global Chairman Executive Chairman MSC Cruises

Micky Arison Chairman Carnival Corporation & plc

Richard D. Fain Chairman Royal Caribbean Group

Jason Liberty President & CEO Royal Caribbean Group

Thomas Mazloum President Disney Signature Experiences

Charles B. Robertson President & CEO American Cruise Lines

Harry J. Sommer President & CEO Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings

Josh Weinstein President & CEO Carnival Corporation & plc


Kelly Craighead President & CEO

Caroline Johnson Senior Vice President, Membership Operations

Brian Salerno Senior Vice President, Maritime Policy

Joshua S. Good Senior Vice President, Global Finance and Operations

Anne Madison Senior Vice President, Marketing and Strategic Communications

As we move into 2024, there is much to celebrate. Cruise continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors of tourism. In recent weeks, major cruise companies have reported on the strength of their operations and confidence in the industry’s outlook. At 2% of total international tourism, there is room to grow. Consumer intent-to-cruise is at an all-time high, and we are successfully attracting new cruisers. The industry is generating huge economic and social benefits in communities around the world. CLIA’s 2022 Global Economic Impact Study shows cruise generated more than $137 billion dollars globally. Cruise also supported 1.2 million jobs – up 4% over 2019. There is clear progress in our work to advance a strong environmental agenda. CLIA’s Charting the Future of Sustainable Cruise Travel highlights the industry’s progress towards sustainable impacts. It also shows advancements in shoreside electricity facilities and fuel availability. You can find this at, along with research and data to help you tell the positive stories of cruise. Every voice counts in overcoming misinformation and for cruise to be recognized as a leader in responsible travel. Educating stakeholders, policy makers and other key decision-makers is critical to helping protect the industry’s ability to operate. CLIA’s member cruise lines are making significant investments in building a more sustainable future. 16 new ships delivered in 2023, and another 12 new ships will arrive in 2024. Ten of these ships will utilize the transitional LNG fuel and will also be able to utilize alternative, sustainable fuels once available at scale. The orderbook through 2028 shows 67 new cruise ships, more than 142,000 lower berths and a total investment of nearly $44 billion. CLIA’s priorities for 2024 and beyond remain to make cruise a trusted partner to destinations when tourism management decisions are made – and as a leader in maritime decarbonization solutions. Our advocacy efforts and maritime policy work are essential to advancing the industry’s leadership position on our path to net-zero emissions by 2050. For six years, Brian Salerno has led CLIA’s Maritime Policy team, and he is retiring at the end of the year. We thank Brian for his significant contributions to the industry. Donnie Brown has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Maritime Policy. He joined CLIA in 2014 and his deep experience in maritime and policy matters will continue to help guide our efforts. Donnie also served a distinguished career in the U.S. Coast Guard. Fred Kenney also joined CLIA as a Special Envoy. Fred is former Director, Legal and External Affairs at the International Maritime Organization and served as Judge Advocate General and Chief Counsel for the U.S. Coast Guard. Together, our worldclass Maritime Policy team supports the cruise industry’s positions on technical, regulatory and policy matters. May the new year bring you success, prosperity, and the joy of cruise travel!

Together in cruise,

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

Kelly Craighead President and CEO Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 9


Gus Antorcha Takes the Spotlight in FCCA’s Webinar Series


us Antorcha, President of Holland America Line, joined the ongoing series of open access webinars hosted by Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) to give interested parties a better understanding of the industry’s inner workings. On December 7, Antorcha linked up with FCCA President Adam Ceserano to dive deep into the world of cruise leadership and Caribbean connections, while giving a glimpse of the strategies and stories behind one of the leading cruise lines. A lightly edited transcript follows. AC: Holland America Line has a massive tradition in the cruise industry, a brand that has been around since 1873 built around timeless elegance with midsized ships focused on engaging itineraries. Can you tell us what the future holds? GA: The brand’s been around a long time, over 150 years now which is quite a feat, and it’s had different stages given what’s happened in the world over the last 150 years. But the history of the brand has always been one anchored around service, even from the in the early days when it brought immigrants from Europe, mainly the Netherlands, to the U.S. Cunard and Holland America Line were actually the largest carriers of immigrants into Ellis Island – I think Holland America Line counted for 10 percent of the folks that passed through. Even back in those years, we were known for being safe and taking care of

10 Fo ur th q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise

Gus Antorcha,

the passengers. Our offices in Rotterdam provided health checkups so you were more likely to get through Ellis Island because if you were sick they put you in quarantine or deported you. So, there’s been a long tradition of taking care of our guests, and that continues today. We’re very well known for our service levels and the care we take with our passengers – actually, we just received the Cruise Critic award for service two years in a row. I think that will continue, and we do embrace traditions in cruising, whether that’s turn-down service or high tea –

We’ll do a significant amount of regional sourcing… there are things our guests have told us they really value, so we keep those. Also, we tend to have longer itineraries, and guests spend more time on board. We have 180-plus-day itineraries, and so they literally move in with us as we travel the world. You know, it’s their home too. So, I think that ties back to why service is so important to us and how we fine-tune the product. We don’t do anything really anything shorter than seven days other than small repositionings. We skew longer, and we’ll continue to do that because that’s what our guests tell us they want.

President of Holland America Line

AC: Speaking of the longer itineraries, is there anything special coming in the next couple of years? I know you announced your 2025-2026 South America and Antarctica season, and FCCA covers South America. Anything you can tell us about that? GA: We’ve generally shifted a little longer in our deployment. We actually created a new segment and product offer, which is our Legendary Cruises which are roughly 25 to 50 days, and we’ve really built that offering up. Then we have our Grands, which are much longer – 50 all the way up to 180plus days. It’s interesting you mentioned South America and Antarctica because one of the Grands in 2025 really focuses on South America. It’s pole to pole, so it goes down the western side of Central and South America, goes to Antarctica, and then then sails all the way north to the Arctic. Along the way there we visit 30-plus ports in South America. But on our regular itineraries, we visit the Amazon, Panama Canal we do a lot, Chile, Argentina, and we have a Grand South America. Zaandam is there right now in Brazil, I believe. So that’s just more regular deployment. We cruise a lot, and it’s absolutely a part of our offer because guests want to visit these places in South America – so it’s a core part of what we offer.

partners and suppliers in the Caribbean and Latin America can get involved?

AC: You mentioned building offerings based on what guests want – how does this play into shore excursions and the importance of destinations’ offerings, including their history, culture, food, etc.? GA: We very much include culture in the broadest sense into the itineraries when we go anywhere around the world, including the seven-day Caribbean product that we offer. We’ll do a significant amount of regional sourcing – it’s part of our offer – so the food offered on board incorporates a lot of local dishes and local ingredients – again because that’s what guests want. We really fine-tune it to whatever part of the region we’re in. We also bring on entertainment in the form of speakers and lecturers that talk to the different regions and cultures that our guests will experience. And we design shows – in particular, in the Caribbean, we have a show that was designed with a partner in Trinidad and Tobago that runs in the main theater when we’re in the Caribbean.

… you have to offer something unique. When we’re in Alaska, we have a more nature-driven show in the theater, and we get naturalists on board. So, depending where we are, we get different lecturers, entertainment elements, and food – and that’s just on board the ship. On the shore side, in the ports, we work to have not just the shopping or beach tours. We offer a pretty extensive array of cultural immersion type tours – that could be cooking, it could be a walking tour, or visits to the museum. We need to have that balance, which I think makes us a little unique compared to other cruise lines. But it’s what our guests want, and those are the guests we target and why we build the product and experience to focus on those elements. AC: You mentioned local sourcing and partnerships – is that something where our

GA: Absolutely. I know this has been an effort the FCCA has been leading for a while and it comes up In the Conference. I would say part of that program is both on shore ex and on board, we offer regional dishes with local ingredients and are true to the cuisine of that region – and we offer a lot in the Caribbean. Now where we source the product mainly comes down to two things. We have a preference for regional where we can. It simplifies the supply chain in many ways. If you think about it, we’re all over the world. Opposed to have containers chasing us, it’s better to source where we are. I think the best example of where we push this is our fish example. This year we launched a fresh fish program where we serve fresh fish on board, and we’ve worked with our supply chain and our partners where it’s 48 hours from dock to our ship. It then means you’re serving more local fish. In the Caribbean, we’re going to serve snapper, grouper, and mahi – all the things you can catch in the Caribbean. I’m not sure where we’re sourcing it, but it is an important element to our offer and simplifies our supply chain when we can source wherever we’re deployed regionally. The challenge with sourcing in out ports, not homeports, is we need reliability. It has to be there. If we’re going to source lobster and don’t get it because something happened, that’s a problem because the menu assumes we’re going to have lobster on whatever night. There are 2,000 guests expecting to eat that on board.

Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 11

Spotlight So, the availability and consistency of quality – we’d have to get through that, and we have a network of suppliers that we’re comfortable with. Beyond that, it is in our strategy to source locally, so I’m happy to facilitate whatever discussions make sense. But the bar is high. It came up in the panel [during the FCCA Cruise Conference & Trade Show] where a Royal Caribbean representative commented that cost isn’t that important. Yeah, that’s not going to work for us. If you are competitive on cost and your reliability and quality are there, then let’s have that discussion. But we’re not going to pay double, that’s not going to happen. AC: Much of the talk has been about destination immersion (and itineraries), and Europe features a mix of both with itineraries that delve deeply into particular destinations. Many of our partners, such as Jamaica and Cayman, would love these multi-port stays – do you see that working? GA: We do in Mexico. We hit multiple Mexican ports on an itinerary. I think it gets down to what we think is most marketable and what people will buy. It’s a competitive market – so if it makes sense to have two calls in Jamaica, I’m not sure if it does. I don’t think we’re doing that outside of Mexico. Maybe in the Dominican Republic, you could have that with the northern coast and southern coasts, which are quite different. People want some level of diversity where they’re going – in country, topography, geography, etc.

12 Fo ur th q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise

I think it’s certainly possible, but I don’t think we’re doing that anywhere outside of Mexico. AC: That’s one of the questions that always comes up – more of those hot topics came up in the Heads of Government Forum at our Conference, where you participated: summer traffic and longer/ overnight stays.

You also need to understand when you have relative advantage and you’re differentiated. GA: With overnights, that’s interesting. For lines like HAL, where we deploy seasonally, we’re very much responding to the demand from the guest. We’re responding to where they want to go and where they’re willing to spend their vacation dollars. We go where demand is greatest, and in the summer, historically, that’s Alaska and Europe. That’s where we get more demand for those geographies because in the winter it’s cold and you can’t go there – and people want to visit those places. In the winter, everyone brings a ship to warmer weather because people are tired of being wet and cold. That dynamic is not easy to shift. I do think North America generally and the Caribbean have benefited from a shift away from Asia, for example, and a lot

of those ships have ended up on the west coast of the United States. That has benefitted Caribbean countries, but we’re responding to demand. AC: Along those lines, there has been an influx of homeporting options in the U.S., for example in Texas and California. What does this mean for Holland America Line? GA: For Holland America Line, we deploy out of Fort Lauderdale and then Boston – those are our two east coast homeports. On the west coast we have San Diego, Seattle, and Vancouver. I think for now given our itinerary mix in our deployment strategy, I don’t see us really opening up other homeports in the U.S. or in another region. Historically, there’s lots of discussions of additional homeports. I think Carnival actually has led that effort around greater homeports across the US and even exploring some of the Caribbean. Puerto Rico was a big homeport operation at one point, but it’s pulled back from that. Maybe it will grow in the future. I’m not sure, I’m not close enough to what the other lines are thinking, but I know it’s been a topic in the Caribbean for a long time. The way to think about it is you need you need to overcome the cost of air, to generate enough demand to make it worth it to deploy a ship far away from a population center. So, the advantage and why you’ve seen the homeports in the U.S. grow is because a large segment of the population can drive, which takes out air. If you think of a family going on vacation, you cut out all the air tickets – it’s a really good deal,

cruise becomes an even cheaper proposition. Or it’s a cheaper domestic flight. When you start talking about going a little farther away, you have to offer something unique. I remember back when I was at Carnival, the advantage of San Juan was you could get farther down into the Caribbean. It offered ports you couldn’t otherwise get to out of a seven-day in Miami. When it offers something that generates enough demand where people are willing to pay the incremental ticket, then it gets interesting. Or if it’s close to a population center where people can drive. There’s been some discussion historically about homeporting in Mexico – yeah, Mexico City is driving distance from a lot of potential locations. For the Europeans, it makes sense because if they want to get to warm weather, they’re on a plane regardless, most likely an international plane. That’s why you have Seabourn and other lines that do embarkations in Barbados and various other countries. That’s generally how I think about homeporting. AC: A question came in from one of our guests – FCCA recently held an amazing event, the Platinum Cruise, on Holland America Line (thanks again for that), but that was a short itinerary (four days). Why was that? GA: Repositioning – so, we get these little ones where if a ship comes in from Europe or Alaska, for example, to get on the proper rotation, you’re left with odd days. I tend to not like those because they don’t really sell particularly well. It’s an oddball thing, so we don’t market and our guests don’t really understand it. AC: I guess that shuts down my next question of why you don’t offer more of those. GA: Oh, you were going to say would we offer short cruises? No, I think you have to understand what your customer wants, and our customer is not a three-, four-day customer. You also need to understand when you have relative advantage and you’re differentiated. If we go down that path, then we’re competing head-to-head with Carnival, Royal, NCL – that’s not our business.

…guests want to visit... Carnival does a great job at what they do, they have an amazing product that’s very much fine-tuned and for the short market. The power of Carnival Corporation is that we have multiple brands that really know their guests and what their space is – and we each focus our product and marketing. AC: Your private island is an example of both guest experience and some competitive advantage, as Holland America Line was one of the first cruise lines with a private island – any updates on your private island? GA: Half Moon Cay is a wonderful offer and destination. Our guests love it. We have it on every single one of our Caribbean itineraries, and we typically go further. What we do is stop at Half Moon on the way down or back up (to the Panama Canal, ABC islands or some of the islands like St. Lucia and St. Maarten). Guests absolutely love it. In many ways it’s what they’re looking for in terms of beach experience. It’s a beautiful beach, wonderful service. They always maintain

the island superbly well, and they’re always thinking of little things to do and improvements, whether it’s cabanas or more beach venues or bars. AC: We’re getting to the end, so let’s end with what you see as the biggest headwind and tailwind going into 2024. GA: I think the biggest headwind or just risk for us is the macroeconomic, geopolitical situation around the world. Right now, Eastern Med, we’re worried about. The terrorist attack on Israel shocked everyone, and that’s led to instability in the Eastern Med. That has me worried not just for the business, but for humanity. Our ships are everywhere, they touch every continent (200-plus ports), so I think that’s the biggest thing. Other potential headwinds are things like fuel cost and foreign exchange – things we don’t have control over and are a pain, but we have to deal with. A tailwind is demand – we’ve had just incredible demand. Our Black Friday was a record, beating last Black Friday, which was another record. We’re just thrilled with how guests are reacting to our itineraries and product enhancements. I’m quite optimistic on the continued recovery and trajectory of Holland America Line. Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 13


Josh Weinstein’s Keynote Address at the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show


osh Weinstein, President & CEO and Chief Climate Officer at Carnival Corporation, delivered the keynote ‘State of the Industry Address’ at the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show’s Opening Ceremony in Mazatlán, Mexico on November 5, 2023. A lightly edited transcription of that speech follows. Thank you, Michelle…and thanks to FCCA more broadly for inviting me to kick off our packed agenda and set the stage for a great couple days together. Before I get started, I want to take a brief moment to acknowledge the heartbreaking devastation we’ve seen during the past week in Acapulco. It’s clear from news reports that the damage is extensive, and our thoughts are with the people of Acapulco, who are now facing the difficult task of rebuilding their lives and homes. If you’re able, I urge you to consider supporting the local organizations providing assistance to those who’ve been affected with much-needed supplies, as we’ve done. Acapulco is a special place, and I am confident that it will come back stronger than ever from this disaster. Now…turning my attention to brighter times and why we’re here today… it is my distinct privilege to together with you at the premier industry event that brings together all the most important players in the world’s largest cruise market – the Caribbean. Standing on the protocol being observed today, I’m honored to welcome all of the many distinguished leaders from our destination partners who have also joined us. Thank you for your valued partnership and for being advocates for cruising. I also would like to extend a special thank you to our gracious hosts, Governor Ruben Rocha Moya of the State of Sinaloa, and the state’s Secretary of Tourism, Estrella Palacios. This is truly a remarkable venue. 14 Fo ur th q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise

And, of course, to all of you — including my cruise colleagues— who made the trip here, welcome and thank you for your ongoing support for FCCA and its mission. Your commitment to building stronger connections, fostering deeper relationships, and sharing powerful ideas for the future will help us work better together to create the next chapter in the Caribbean’s success story.

“…the more cruisers who visit, the bigger the benefit to the destinations.” Since we’re together today in historic Mazatlán, I thought it would be fitting to go back to the early 16th century. That was when Spanish nautical explorers first became entranced by the siren song of this magical land. Interest has only skyrocketed over the centuries. Since that time, shipborne travelers in growing numbers from around the world have been drawn to the unspoiled beauty, amazing people, proud communities, and endless wonder of this incredible country. From the pristine beaches and picturesque coast lines to the crystal-clear waters and abundant wildlife to the historic landmarks, rich culture and distinctive culinary traditions, Mexico is truly unique. It’s no wonder the country has become one of the world’s top cruise destinations. In fact, an estimated 9.1 million cruise guests will visit Mexican ports on FCCA member cruise lines in 2024 alone. For us as at Carnival Corporation, collectively our world-class brands will bring almost 4.7 million guests to Mexican ports next year – representing over half of all cruise ship guests visiting the country.

Josh Weinstein,

President & CEO and Chief Climate Officer at Carnival Corporation

And the more cruisers who visit, the bigger the benefit to the destinations. That’s because our data tells us that each guest visiting a Mexican port spends an average of $70 on shore. On top of that, cruise ship crew members also spend an average of $40 when they visit a port. This spending is part of the nearly $700 million in total direct expenditures cruise tourism contributes each year to Mexico – supporting over 17,000 Mexican jobs and $115 million in wages across the country. In other words, the impact is substantial…and the benefits for local residents and communities – including employment opportunities and long-term economic activity – will be felt long after the ships depart. Now, let’s zoom out a bit and take a look at the Caribbean as a larger regional market for cruising. When you take everything into account – from Western to Central to Eastern Caribbean – we’re talking about more than a million square miles of territory encompassing scores of spectacular destinations…each one more captivating than the last. Add to that the region’s many incredible cultures – complete with dynamic tra-

ditions, storied pasts, endless adventures, and warm and welcoming people – there is a reason the Caribbean holds a special place in every cruiser’s heart…and why it’s by far the most popular destination for cruise vacations. As the world’s largest cruise company, we certainly know this to be true. We’ve had the honor of being the leading cruise provider in this region for decades, and we have the largest overall presence with multiple world-class cruise brands each delivering their own distinctive guest experiences to enhance any Caribbean itinerary. But we are not stopping there. In fact, next year alone, our portfolio of cruise brands will expand our Caribbean presence to over 5,000 calls bringing almost 16 million guests to the region as a whole. Of course, it gets even better as our colleagues are expanding as well – and together, we all expect to continue to invest here and work hard to introduce even more cruisers to this region. Because the fact is, despite all of our progress, cruising is still vastly underpenetrated in our source markets with enormous headspace for growth. Couple that with the appeal of the Caribbean and the result is huge, untapped potential for ongoing industry growth here. All of this is just part of the story for global growth and momentum. Let’s zoom out one more time to look at the state of the industry. Bigger picture, all eyes are on continued and sustainable growth across the entire cruise industry, as we’ve gone from recovery mode to full speed ahead and a return to profitable growth.

Notably, cruise tourism is still on a steep upward trajectory and continues to be one of the fastest-growing sectors of tourism worldwide – and quite frankly we see no signs of a slowdown. Now, what we are seeing is more interest in cruising than ever before. In fact, intent to cruise is higher than it was in December 2019, when we were coming off a record year for cruising. And the demand is industrywide, with multiple cruise companies generating record bookings and reporting positive improvements moving forward. At Carnival Corporation, we recently announced third quarter earnings that included all-time records for revenues, per diems, yields, customer deposits and forward booking volumes. Now that is forward progress! Of course, it’s a good thing because our debt load is tripled and is still over $30 billion dollars, so we have a heck of a lot of work in front of us to reshape our balance sheet. But back to the bright side again, another area with continued progress is our shared commitment to reducing our

environmental footprint. Our entire industry is investing heavily in technologies and solutions to cut our emissions, enhance our energy efficiency, avoid and eliminate waste, and reuse and recycle materials whenever possible. As we continue growing cruise tourism in the region, we look forward to working closely with all of you to ensure we’re doing so while protecting and preserving the natural beauty of our oceans and destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean and around the globe. Speaking of the cruising ecosystem, I want to wrap up by expressing my sincere gratitude to you, our trusted government, community, and business partners – leaders – in the Caribbean. You are the key to our industry’s success in the region. Your support and collaboration have been instrumental in helping us create shared value and opportunities for our mutual growth and success. You help us to showcase the best the Caribbean has to offer to the millions of cruise guests we bring to the region each year. In the process, together we generate billions of dollars in economic activity, creating jobs, boosting economies, and empowering residents and communities throughout the region. And we are here this week to take our achievements to the next level. Let’s use this time at the FCCA Conference to maximize the positive impacts of cruise tourism for everyone. This event is a powerful forum for connecting, learning, collaborating, listening, and sharing ideas for building on our collective successes, for building a better future for all of us. Thank you again for taking the time to be here, and I hope the conference is as enjoyable as it is meaningful for all of you. Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 15

Meeting and Events

Cruise Lines and Destinations Route Mutual Success at the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show in Mazatlán, Mexico


hile welcoming the nearly 600 destination stakeholders and cruise line executives gathering for what he called “the premier industry event that brings together all the most important players in the world’s largest cruise market, the Caribbean,” Josh Weinstein, President & CEO and Chief Climate Officer at Carnival Corporation, pointed to the significant numbers throughout the Caribbean and Mexico – “and quite frankly we see no signs of a slowdown.” Indeed, the industry has moved from recovery mode to “full speed ahead and a return to profitable growth… and we are here this week to take our achievements to the next level,” according to Weinstein, who also emphasized the importance of “building stronger connections, fostering deeper relationships, and sharing powerful ideas for the future.”

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That was on the agenda for all throughout the 29th annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Cruise Conference and Trade Show, but Mazatlán and the State of Sinaloa took advantage of the spotlight to impress the prestigious audience including 100 high-level executives from FCCA Member Lines. Mazatlán, which expects to host 430,000 cruise guests this year, and the State of Sinaloa pulled out all the stops to display its products and cruise tourism potential to the entire audience, but also took their homefield advantage with the cruise executives, mesmerizing them through exclusive tours, site visits, and meetings. Governor Ruben Rocha Moya waxed poetic about ‘the pearl of the Pacific’ during his opening ceremony speech, pointing to the Centro Histórico, its sweeping malecón, fishing bounty, seafood gastronomy, and the world’s tallest lighthouse – while also recognizing the nationality and officials from other parts of nearby states and sharing highlights of their destinations including the ‘Pueblos Mágicos’ (Magical Towns), a federal tourism initiative around culturally rich and historic towns, along with natural wonders like the Copper Canyon, accessed from Topolobampo.

Mazatlán and the State of Sinaloa also shared and showcased some of their attractions and event planning prowess through planning a social program that included ‘A Taste of Mazatlán’ in the city’s historic district featuring a grand, festive party with a Day of the Dead parade, fireworks, music, and dancing. The destination also hosted ‘Mazatlán Carnival’ at Shekina Beach Club, plus exclusive FCCA Platinum Member gatherings. The networking events not only got attendees closer to Mazatlán’s authentic culture and history, but also brought them closer to cruise executives in more casual environments to develop business and relationships. “I want to applaud everyone throughout Mazatlán and the State of Sinaloa, especially Governor Ruben Rocha Moya, for coordinating this successful event and showcasing the spectacular destination,” said Michele Paige, CEO, FCCA. “It was also humbling to see the continued conviction in FCCA’s mission witnessed by all the attendees and cruise executives, with a record number of early registrations by executives.” Of course, there were ample opportunities to promote products to and learn from the cruise executives who decide where ships

call, what is sold and used onboard, and how to invest in destinations – with the event featuring its usual blend of workshops, meetings, and networking functions.

Meetings The recipe focused on one-on-one meetings, which became the focus in the revamped format two years ago, was further perfected. In fact, attendees had 700 preset 15-minute sessions with cruise executives, where they could promote products, pitch ideas, get individualized input, and so much more. How to further enhance benefits for the destinations – and entire regions – was front and center at the ‘Heads of Government Meeting,’ featuring high-ranking government officials and a cruise executive panel that included Gus Antorcha, President, Holland America Line; John Padgett, President, Princess Cruises; Richard Sasso, Chairman, MSC Cruises (USA); and Joshua Weinstein, President & CEO & Chief Climate Officer, Carnival Corporation & plc. The meeting focused on mutual benefits, such as purchasing and sourcing opportunities, in addition to overall cruise tourism topics that were open to input by the government officials. Those Presidents and above participated in numerous other functions during the event, with all four leading government discussions and attending many other high-level meetings throughout the event – as the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show serves as the largest regional gathering for the cruise industry to interact with representatives from the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico.

Workshops Attendees also learned how to maximize cruise tourism through a robust and interactive workshop schedule led by cruise executive panels and moderated by destination representatives. The schedule included three separate workshops focused on port operations and destination partnerships; providing emotional and logistical support during a crisis; along with itinerary planning and the destination experience. In ‘Port Operations & Destination Partnerships,’ Port Operations executives took the floor with a united front. Like most days, they worked together and explain how they jointly and cooperatively operate with

“Keep coming to us with ideas.” —Michael Bush, Product Manager Shore Excursions, Holland America Line & Seabourn

each other and destinations to obtain and maintain overall guest satisfaction – and also discussed what today’s (and tomorrow’s) guests want in a destination. Moderated by Alexander Gumbs, CEO, Port St. Maarten, FCCA Presidential Strategic Partner, panelists included Carlos Estrada, Director of Commercial Homeport Operations, Carnival Cruise Line; Chris Martin, Director, Port Operations, Holland America Line & Seabourn; Rick Sasso, Chairman, MSC Cruises (USA) Inc.; Juan Kuryla, Sr. Vice President, Port Development & Construction, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.; Bryan Attree, Director, Worldwide Port Operations, Royal Caribbean Group; and Juan Trescastro, Vice President, Global Destinations, Virgin Voyages. “One size does not fit all of us,” according to Trescastro, who asked destinations to “be creative and flexible.” As Virgin features longer stays and overnights, this served as a reminder of both the different needs and large opportunities if catering to them. As the largest ships in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class obviously has large needs, and Attree told they are certainly looking to expand itinerary options. Destinations aiming to be Oasis-class capable can learn from existing Oasis destinations. Attree added that it’s crucial to con-

sistently evolve so people want to come back to destinations they’ve already visited – giving the example of Perfect Day at CocoCay, the brand’s top-rated destination in the world, which continues to develop new offerings such as the upcoming Hideaway Beach for adults. “Understand time, speed and distance,” emphasized Kuryla. “Look at existing itineraries and how you can fit in.” That means finding the right mix of offerings, as Kuryla pointed out that cruise lines aren’t looking for seven beach destinations in a row, which is why “the cultural experience is very important.” Sasso advised to ensure that sustainability is part of the equation. He informed that the pressure to decarbonize is critical, and ports play a role. The panelists said shore power – when supplied by clean energy – is desirable, but recognized that not all Caribbean destinations have the capacity to support the electrical needs for big ships. Gumbs revealed some of the things to come leading a greener path for port operations, including a shift to electric vehicles and government incentives such as the U.S. providing funding grants to help its ports in that transition. The single best way to cut carbon emissions now is by saving fuel, so ships need to slow down, Sasso said, and that impacts itineraries. However, there are still ample options for itineraries. According to Martin, numerous attractive ports untouched by cruise ships could be added a lot to itineraries. Plus, cruise lines continue to develop new ports in the region. Estrada pointed to the Fun Ships that will go to Carnival Cruise Line’s new Celebration Key. (More than 500 itineraries were announced early, a massive ramp-up for the new destination.) While the cruise calls and guests themselves get much of the glory for the economic impact, there are several other ways to boost the direct impact for cruise communities, including recent focuses to enhance local purchasing and sourcing. Martin added that Holland America and Seabourn aim for more local sourcing, in part because it gets trucks off the road – and if destinations can provide recycling and waste-to-energy alternatives, that would be tremendous progress. Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 17

Meeting and Events ‘Itinerary Planning & the Destination Experience’ addressed how and why destinations are selected for an itinerary, along with the impact that has on the shore excursion program – and how to improve operations to target it all. Moderated by Natasha Chalwell, Marketing Manager, British Virgin Islands, FCCA Presidential Strategic Partner, panelists included Sandra Neffgen, Head of Shore Excursions, AIDA Cruises; Paul Chapple, Head of Land Development & Operations, Azamara; Ugo Savino, Director, Deployment & Itinerary Planning, Carnival Cruise Line; Hein Erasmus, Senior Manager, Port Adventures & Recreation, Disney Cruise Line; Michael Bush, Product Manager Shore Excursions, Holland America Line & Seabourn; Jennifer Marmanillo, Director, Itinerary Planning, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd.; and Emilio Freeman, Vice President, Itineraries & Destinations, SeaDream Yacht Club. To get business, identify needs, differentiate experiences, customize by brand, think of psychographics, and continuously innovate – those were some of the key takeaways from the panel working to empower destinations with the knowledge to attract ships and guests. “You do have power,” said Savino addressing the ability to harness social media to create demand. “You don’t have to buy Super Bowl ads to advertise your destination. Social media has slashed to a fraction the cost of advertising. You can customize, personalize, and target. Do you track rates to see the power of your brand? Do you look at word search online?” When crafting messaging, look at psychographics that drive travel, he added. The same person may have different needs and interests depending on if they’re cruising with a spouse, family, or as a group of friends. Bush gave the example of a tour operator who solved a problem and addressed sustainability to get business. In his destination, where buses are scarce, he crafted walking tours within a 10-minute radius of the port – cutting the need for 600 bus seats and providing a significant carbon emission reduction. “Keep coming to us with ideas,” encouraged Bush. Of course, cruisers sale for the experiences. According to Chapple, travelers look to potential experiences in port when 18 Fo ur th q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise

cruise shopping, so cruise lines try to feature great destination content on their websites – and why Azamara makes the excursions visible online, pre-booking. Destinations can help by providing “merchandisable assets so we can market the cruises” – and for Azamara, which feature longer stays and overnights, could include double the economic impact like two tours for the same passenger. What does it take for a destination to support these longer stays and overnights? “Think about how activities in your destination change from morning to evening to night,” suggested Chapple. Erasmus encouraged destinations to differentiate for each brand. As for Disney, “I’m a family-centered brand. I want niche experiences with a cultural point of view.” “We really want a cultural interaction,” he continued and added that while planning the new Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point in Eleuthera, the Bahamas’ Junkanoo traditions are highlighted. AIDA Cruises draws a young, active crowd. They love hiking, walking, and bicycling, said Neffgen. Obviously, Germanspeaking guides are a must and the number one need when crafting AIDA tours. If those needs are met, Neffgen and AIDA are always open for ideas, as their shore excursion portfolio is “never ‘set’ …it always has to be adapted and expanded.” For SeaDream Yacht Club’s demanding clientele, authenticity is key, according to Freeman. The brand focuses on yacht harbors, hideaways, and beaches, so this means opportunities for destinations with less infrastructure, even the lack of a terminal – as Freeman told, “We prefer to tender.” ‘Care Team Training: How to provide emotional and logistical support during a crisis’ taught the audience how to provide emotional and logistical support to someone experiencing a crisis by using the guiding principles of compassionate care from Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Virgin Voyages care teams. These principles provided you the foundation to build a customized and compassionate approach. Panelists included Stacy PallotShweky, Manager, Care Team, Carnival Cruise Line; Vladimir Lindor, Training Specialist, Family Support, Carnival Cruise Line; Allie Jennings, Vice President, Guest Experience, Norwegian Cruise Line; and

Lizette Nicolau, Director of Public Relations CostaMed Group, Mexico.

“We are excited to give a friendly welcome to all.” -Alexander Gumbs, CEO, Port St. Maarten

Sint Maarten to Host 2024 Event The 2024 FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show will take place in Sint Maarten, where the expected 100+ cruise executives and nearly a thousand attendees can see why they call it ‘The Friendly Island’ and how the destination aims to stay friendly to cruise tourism and remain at the forefront of the cruise map for the long-term future. “We are excited to give a friendly welcome to all at the region’s most important cruise event so all can experience our high satisfaction ratings first-hand,” said Alexander Gumbs, CEO of Port St. Maarten. “Those ratings are from not only our people’s hospitality and land’s remarkable offerings, but also our commitment to continual improvement. So, we look forward to displaying all of that and more while we also work towards further growth and an even brighter future.”

Meeting and Events

FCCA Foundation to Relaunch with Marquee Event at Seatrade Cruise Global


fter having its operations ceased due to the pandemic, the FCCA Foundation – once synonymous with the ‘Holiday Gift Project’ on top of its annual poster and essay competitions, hurricane relief efforts, including an award-winning marketing campaign following the historic Hurricanes Irma and Katrina, support of orphanages, and so many more initiatives to improve lives throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico – will soon relaunch with a revamped focus and an executive-studded, record-setting event at Seatrade Cruise Global. “I cannot be prouder to again help so many through the FCCA Foundation, especially with its revamped focus and collaborative partners like Diamonds International,” said Michele Paige, CEO, FCCA. “There also seems like no better way than to bring it back with a bang, as we anticipate this to be our largest-ever event at Seatrade Cruise Global.” Taking place on the evening of Tuesday, April 9, the event will gather attendees and high-level cruise executives for an intimate, exclusive affair, with the executives hosting private tables for each ‘Table Sponsor’ that will come complete with multiple seats for a delegation to join and execute a multifaceted approach that can encompass an entire destination’s cruise tourism operations. All event proceeds will go directly to the FCCA Foundation’s efforts and its revamped focus on building a foundation for youths throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, with primary identi-

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fied objectives of education, sports, and career-building opportunities to help them thrive in the present and future. The event and relaunch of the FCCA Foundation has been supported by a new collaborative partnership with Diamonds International. As part of the partnership, both entities are combining their resources, especially on the focus of direct contact with local communities to determine needs and ways to help that can generate long-term benefits. After all, Diamonds International is a main player in the employment of Caribbean nationals, while also performing training programs and providing ongoing support for locals throughout numerous islands as part of its commitment to supporting the communities and improving lives. This is an extension of continuous Diamonds International initiatives including regular outreach projects and charity events, as well as responses to natural disasters. Diamonds International also constantly coordinates with regional managers, stores, and employees that can provide insight into communities’ wants and needs. It is also part of Diamonds International’s desire to expand partnership with FCCA and cruise lines similarly to its pillar of building relationships with employees, travelers, and customers – while also due to Diamonds International being aware of the industry’s potential growth and the need to expand programs to help support employees and travelers.

CLIA Cruise Week Europe


oin CLIA and your global cruise community colleagues for a one-of-akind experience in beautiful Genoa, Italy from March 11-14, 2024. You will have the opportunity to discuss the evolving business of cruising, share your thoughts on key issues and challenges, cultivate new relationships, and collaborate on solutions to help the industry grow and meet its sustainability goals. Connect with key decision makers, innovators, media, and suppliers from around the world at two engaging events in one rewarding week.

The CLIA European Summit, in Partnership with Risposte Turismo

• The new IMO and EU regulations. • Technologies and practices to help the industry meet its sustainability goals. • Cruise as a solution for managed tourism. • The impact of the industry’s sustainability strategies on suppliers and port operations. • Attracting a new generation of crew and cruisers. • The role of innovation in providing enhanced experiences in ports.

The CLIA Innovation Expo This is an exclusive new platform for industry suppliers to showcase their inno-

vations to cruise line buyers. The Expo Hall will be a melting pot of creativity, technological advancements, and visionary concepts. The Innovation Center will connect naval architects, marine and technical developers, and solution providers featuring new products and services that support optimal cruise operations. The Taste of Cruise Marketplace will feature hotel, food, and beverage suppliers, with opportunities for regional and global sourcing. Local culinary groups will also demonstrate the benefits of sourcing locally. For more information and to register, visit

This three-day summit includes speakers from cruise lines, regulatory authorities, and the broader cruise sector. The event offers interactive workshops, networking opportunities, product showcases, and engaging dialogue on important topics, including:

Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 21

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

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

A m a z i n g a n d u n s to p p a b l e

On Board

Charting the Future of Sustainable Cruise Travel


LIA member cruise lines have set inspiring sustainability goals, and each year the CLIA member fleet becomes more efficient as cruise lines embrace new technologies, innovations and, as available, the uptake of sustainable alternative fuels. CLIA’s latest publication – Charting the Future of Sustainable Cruise Travel – examines cruise industry efforts to make positive impacts for the long term. Key areas of focus among CLIA member lines include climate action, sustainable tourism, conservation, diversity and inclusion, with the health, safety and security of passengers and crew foremost in everything CLIA members do. Although small in size, the cruise industry has a powerful impact in terms of innovation in the sustainability arena. Cruise lines are implementing processes to scale up the use of advanced biofuels, green methanol, and synthetic fuels. They are also deploying new sustainable energy sources such as electric batteries, hydrogen fuel cells and even wind and solar to significantly reduce their environmental footprint. To reduce emissions in port, 120 CLIA member cruise line ships today are capable of plugging into shoreside electricity, where available. On ships and on shore, the cruise industry is working to be the best way to travel responsibly. Cruise companies collaborate with destinations, ports, and other organizations around

the world to embed sustainable practices such as managing traffic flows, supporting local community initiatives, and educating cruise passengers to be culturally sensitive, and more environmentally aware. Cruise lines increasingly are incorporating sustainability education in their communications, onboard offerings, and shore excursions. Accessible to a broad range of travelers, including those who would otherwise be unable to travel due to physical, neuro, sensory or other challenges, cruise is considered an essential and key factor in many travelers’ lives. The same can be said of the effect of the industry on liveli-

hoods in local coastal communities and on national economies; and on crew who come from approximately 150 countries around the world. The crew comprises a workforce that mirrors the cultural diversity of destinations visited by cruise ships. CLIA member lines have set sustainability goals both as individual companies and as an association and have already made significant progress. CLIA is proud of its members’ work in supporting various recognized goals and standards, including many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, designed to help protect the planet for future generations. The cruise industry relies on clean oceans and air, the beauty of natural places and the preservation of cultural heritage. CLIA members are committed to pursue net zero carbon cruising by 2050. To demonstrate progress, CLIA tracks the uptake of sustainable renewable fuels and energy sources by member cruise lines and publishes the data showing the deployment of environmental technologies and practices on board cruise ships. 2022/2023 data is included in Charting the Future of Sustainable Cruise Travel. Business partners ashore constitute the broader cruise ecosystem and contribute significantly to the sustainability of cruise. This cruise ecosystem extends to shipyards, suppliers, port authorities, terminal operators, provisioning companies, destination management organizations, tourism operators, hotels, restaurants, catering and ground transportation, among others. The interconnected nature of the cruise community means that many different people play distinct but critical roles that contribute towards the achievement of the industry’s overall sustainability goals.

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On Board

Emerald Cruises’ Christens Newest Luxury Yacht, Emerald Sakara, in San Juan


n December 2, Emerald Cruises’ ance with CLIA over the recent challenging Emerald Sakara carries 100 guests in newest, warm water luxury yacht, years for the industry is inspirational.” 50 deluxe staterooms and suites ranging Emerald Sakara, was christened CLIA represents the world’s most from 185 to 1,185 square feet—with 44 feain San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the Pier 4 prestigious ocean, river, and specialty turing large walk-out balconies. Amenities East terminal. Speeches were made by cruise lines, and a network of more than include an infinity pool, spa, sauna, gym, Glen Moroney, Scenic Group Founder 75,000 global travel trade members. Under and a marina platform offering kayaks, and Chairman; Brad Dean, CEO of Craighead’s leadership, CLIA advocates for standup paddleboards, snorkel equipment, Discover Puerto Rico; Crystal J. Bell, Air the sustainability and responsible tourism SEABOBs and a giant water trampoline. & Cruise Director of Puerto Rico Tourism work of the cruise industry. During the The La Cucina dining room specializes in Company; Christian Trinidad De Jesus, pandemic, CLIA helped ensure the indusfresh, seasonal cuisine with both indoor Deputy Executive Director of Puerto Rico try’s safe return to operations. and terrace seating. The Amici Lounge Ports Authority; and godmother Kelly “The dedication of Emerald Sakara was features live music, and a top deck Sky Bar Craighead, President and CEO of Cruise extraordinary, and I am honored to be an is perfect for watching the sun set. With Lines International Association (CLIA). ambassador for the entire CLIA team in the 76 crew members onboard, guests receive In attendance were Scenic Group esteemed maritime tradition of godmother,” attentive, personalized service. Managing Director for the US Ken said Kelly Craighead, President & CEO, Emerald Sakara also employs some of Muskat, Captain Rob O’Leary, captain of Cruise Lines International Association. the industry’s latest technology. Engines Emerald Sakara, local travel advisors and “The stunning luxury of Emerald Sakara, meet IMO tier III emission regulations, US trade partners, and embarking guests complemented by Emerald Cruises’ comincluding the removal of NOx and SOx and media from around the world. Kelly mitment to environmentally responsible from exhaust gases; recycled energy is used Craighead christened Emerald Sakara with tourism, exemplifies CLIA’s advocacy for to heat water for the yacht’s needs; and a traditional champagne bottle breaking sustainable tourism and preservation of advanced sewage treatment complies with ceremony, followed by surprise fly-boardcruise destinations around the world for the latest regulations. The company has ers emerging from behind the yacht. future generations. Thank you to Emerald earned a Green Passport from the EU for “We are a pretty unique entity in the Cruises for this very special recognition.” its recycling efforts. cruise industry when it comes to Five days after the christening both our river and ocean luxuceremony, Emerald Sakara met up ry ships,” offered Glen Moroney, with sister-yacht Emerald Azzurra Founder and Chairman of Scenic in St. Barts. Group. “We are intimately involved Emerald Cruises offers a diverse with every aspect of the build prolineup of river and yacht cruises cess—coming up with the concept, across four continents and was doing the design, overseeing the recognized in the 2023 Conde Nast engineering, then building the ships Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards as including all interior design in a favorite river cruise line and voted house then employing all of the crew the #1 small ship cruise line for their members directly. Having Kelly as fleet of luxury ocean yachts. the godmother of our newest luxury Emerald Cruises is part of From left: Glen Moroney, Scenic Group Founder and Chairman; yacht, Emerald Sakara, follows that Scenic Group, which includes Ken Muskat, Scenic Group Managing Director for the US; Kelly same thought process as she embodScenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, Craighead, President and CEO of Cruise Lines International ies a similar can-do attitude and Mayflower Cruises & Tours, and Association (CLIA); Jason Flesher, Director of Discovery history, and her leadership and guidEvergreen Tours in Australia. Operations; Robert O’Leary, Captain - Emerald Sakara. 26 Fo ur th q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise

For fly-in convenience, culture, non-stop entertainment, or simply relaxing in the warm Southern California sunshine, nothing beats a cruise vacation out of the Port of Los Angeles. Our world-renowned home-ported cruise lines offer exceptional accommodations and itineraries to suit any passenger preference. And when your clients are back on land, there’s no limit to the fun they can have in greater LA – one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations. So book them on a one-of-a-kind experience that they’ll truly love. Follow us on

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On Board

Norwegian Welcomes Viva to Miami & Unveils Aqua Norwegian Cruise Line officially christened its newest ship Norwegian Viva, the second ship in the award-winning Prima class, in Miami on November 28 with exclusive performances and festivities. “To christen Norwegian Viva in Miami is incredibly special to many of us at NCL, not only because Miami is our hometown, but also because we can share this moment with our local family and friends,” said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line. “Launching a ship is no solo endeavor. I am overwhelmed with gratitude towards the entire NCL team, our partners and especially our amazing crew who have contributed to bringing Norwegian Viva to life and who care for and deliver exceptional vacation experiences for our guests.” Following Norwegian Viva’s debut this past August and its inaugural summer season of European voyages, over 1,500 guests joined the christening ceremony held in the Company’s LEED® Gold Certified terminal at PortMiami. The Prima Class is committed to breaking new ground in ship design and amenities, reflecting Norwegian Cruise Line’s unwavering dedication to putting the guest and onboard experience at the forefront. Luis Fonsi, Norwegian Viva’s godfather and GRAMMY® Award-nominated singer, songwriter, musician, and producer, officially named and christened the vessel with the ceremonial champagne bottle break across the ship’s hull which signifies good fortune and safe travels for all who sail aboard. As a native Puerto Rican, who is also based in Miami, Fonsi embodies the vibrant energy guests can enjoy aboard Norwegian Viva with warm-weather itineraries spanning from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean. The excitement is sure to continue, as Norwegian Cruise Line also recently unveiled the evolution of the Prima Class with the all-new Norwegian Aqua,

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the first of the expanded Prima Plus Class setting sail in April 2025. Building upon the award-winning experiences of Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Aqua will set new standards and deliver brand-new guest experiences with an overall 10% size and capacity increase from its sister ships. Spanning 1,056 feet long, 156,300 gross tons and accommodating 3,571 guests at double occupancy, Norwegian Aqua will offer more outdoor space and the highest staffing levels of any new contemporary cruise ship. “Norwegian Aqua is a true testament of fusing together what represents the future of our Brand as the first ship in the Prima Plus Class, and our commitment to pushing the boundaries in guest-first experiences that will make new waves at sea,” said Herrera. “Named for both the beautiful shades of blue from the ocean and our connection to the sea, Norwegian Aqua will feature new, elevated and exhilarating offerings that once again showcase NCL as the innovator in the industry and as a key contributor to a new era of cruising.” Innovations include the world’s first hybrid rollercoaster and waterslide, the Aqua Slidecoaster. featuring three stories of exciting twists and turns around the ship’s funnel, and the new Glow Court, a digital sports complex with an interactive LED floor offering a variety of interactive guest activities by day and then transforming into a nightclub in the evening. Following a series of seven-day Caribbean sailings from Port Canaveral, Norwegian Aqua will offer five and seven-day voyages to Bermuda from New York City from August 2025 through October 2025. The ship will then sail five and seven-day Eastern Caribbean itineraries from Miami beginning October 2025 through April 2026.

Celebrity on the Ascent, Xcelling to New Heights It wasn’t long after welcoming Celebrity Ascent to the family that Celebrity Cruises announced she would soon have another sister, Celebrity Xcel. Celebrity Ascent officially joined the fleet on November 7, as company officials took delivery of its newest ship at the Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in St. Nazaire, France. The fourth ship in the line’s innovative Edge Series, Celebrity Ascent continues to shatter preconceived notions of cruising with its forward-thinking design by the world’s leading architects and interior designers; culinary excellence from Michelin starred chefs; wellness woven throughout the experience; expansive onboard entertainment and more. “Celebrity Ascent features all the innovative and award-winning Edge Series signature experiences that launched a new era in cruise ship design, plus a few new enhancements, and I can’t wait to welcome our guests aboard,” said Celebrity Cruises President Laura Hodges Bethge. “It is a true honor to welcome this ship to our fleet and I am so grateful to everyone involved with all that goes into launching a new ship.” Celebrity Ascent made her official debut in Fort Lauderdale on December 3, with a 7-night Eastern Caribbean sailing visiting such popular destinations as St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and the Dominican Republic. Also on November 7, the countdown began for the fifth vessel in the brand’s award-winning Edge Series, Celebrity Xcel, when Celebrity Cruises announced the name. The reveal was made at Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France, as executives from both Royal Caribbean Group, the world’s leading family of cruise vacation brands that includes Celebrity Cruises, and the shipyard cut the first piece of steel for the new ship. “The Edge Series has shattered preconceived notions of cruising, and I am

thrilled to announce our next bold step as a brand with Celebrity Xcel,” said Hodges Bethge. “True to her name, this next ship will ‘Xcel’ beyond her sister ships with entirely new experiences, yet to be revealed, but that will change the game all over again.” Celebrity Xcel will make her debut in November 2025 in the Caribbean, sailing her inaugural winter season from Fort Lauderdale, on 7-night itineraries alternating between the Bahamas, Mexico and the Cayman Islands, and Puerto Plata, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.

Icon of the Seas Joins Royal Caribbean After more than seven years of dreaming and 900 days of design and construction by thousands of experts, Royal Caribbean International welcomed the highly anticipated Icon of the Seas to the family in a momentous celebration at the Meyer Turku shipyard in Turku, Finland. The world’s largest cruise line hosted a ceremony on the first-of-its-kind combination of the best of every vacation, where representatives signed on the dotted line just two months before the new ship’s January 2024 debut in Miami. Marking the milestone at the celebration were more than 1,200 crew members and workers, who were joined by Royal Caribbean Group President and CEO Jason Liberty, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley and Meyer Turku CEO Tim Meyer. “Today, we are celebrating more than a new ship; it’s also the celebration of the culmination of more than 50 years of innovation and dreaming at Royal Caribbean to create the ultimate vacation experience,” said Jason Liberty, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group. “Delivering Icon of the Seas represents all that can be accomplished with strong partnerships and a commitment to delivering

memorable vacations responsibly, and we thank Meyer Turku and an incredible village of skilled partners for joining us on this journey.” Whether ‘family vacation’ means getting away as a family, couple or friends, Icon’s all-encompassing lineup features firsts and next-level favorites for everyone to make memories their way every day across eight neighborhoods. There are adrenaline-pumping thrills, unrivaled ways to chill, more than 40 ways to dine and drink, cutting-edge entertainment across the cruise line’s four signature stages – air, ice, water and theater – and more. And with 28 different ways to stay, including the new three-level Ultimate Family Townhouse, even the rooms are thoughtfully designed for every type of vacationer. Each 7-night Eastern or Western Caribbean adventure from Miami features idyllic destinations across the Caribbean and an unmatched day of thrill and chill at Royal Caribbean’s award-winning private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas. Plus, dialing up the perfect on Perfect Day in January 2024 is the private island’s first adults-only escape, Hideaway Beach, an all-day experience complete with a private beach and pools, new dedicated spots for drinks and bites, exclusive cabanas, live music and more.

a great addition to our plans to remain the number one cruise line in Galveston,” said Christine Duffy, President of Carnival Cruise Line. “From the thrill of the roller coaster, BOLT, to a piece of paradise at the Serenity retreat, and so much more, we’re delivering a new level of fun for our guests sailing from Galveston that will complement our current and upcoming operations there.” In addition to Carnival Jubilee, additions to the Carnival fleet since 2021 include Mardi Gras (2021), Carnival Luminosa (2022), Carnival Celebration (2022), and Carnival Venezia (2023). Carnival Firenze will join the fleet in April 2024. Carnival Jubilee ushers in a significant expansion of capacity from Galveston, one of Carnival’s top homeports. Carnival was the first cruise line to sail year-round from Galveston in 2001, and the new ship with a Texas star on its bow is a Texassized symbol of the cruise line’s loyal and intense following by guests and travel advisors in the region. Carnival Jubilee will join Carnival Breeze and Carnival Dream at the port as part of a four-ship deployment plan that will be complete when Carnival Miracle repositions to Galveston in October 2024.

Carnival Jubilee Becomes the Newest Addition to the Growing Carnival Fleet Carnival Cruise Line welcomed Carnival Jubilee, the third ship in its award-winning Excel-class and the 26th Fun Ship in the Carnival fleet, on December 4 during a delivery event with ship builder Meyer Werft in Bremerhaven, Germany. “Carnival Jubilee is the fifth additional ship we’ve welcomed into our fleet since 2021 and an integral part of our growth strategy. This ship will bring our most dynamic offering of fun to one of our most popular homeports and will be

Here Comes the Sun Princess Sun Princess will mesmerize guests when debuting in early 2024 as Princess Cruises’ largest-ever ship, and Princess Cruises has revealed plenty of dazzling details awaiting guests, from show-stopping performances to going all-in on the casino. Iconic performances and world-class experiences headline an incredible array of Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 29

On Board entertainment, with four exceptional production shows taking center stage in the Princess Arena, the most technologically advanced entertainment venue at sea. The pinnacle of technological innovation in the world of cruise ship entertainment, the configurable Princess Arena supports shows in the round, in a 270-degree keyhole configuration, as well as via a traditional proscenium theater. “The Princess Arena is an engineering marvel that allows us to create awe-inspiring entertainment, offering our guests a completely different experience every night,” said Denise Saviss, vice president of entertainment experience for Princess Cruises. “Not only will our productions shine, but the venue itself, with its stateof-the-art stages, captivating lighting design, and immersive surround-sound, will deliver show-stopping spectacles on every voyage.” Headlining the entertainment lineup are three completely new productions, showcasing the tremendous talents of the Sun Princess troupe with four lead vocalists, 13 top dancers and eight Dome Cirque artists in various performances. Additionally, the largest casino ever built by Princess Cruises is readying to deal a full house of luck on the next-generation, 4,300-guest Sun Princess. The Princess Casino – with an astounding 50% more space and 30% more machines than the line’s Royal Class ships – is preparing for guests to hit the jackpot With over 200 of the newest and most popular slots and video poker games, the Princess Casino will feature live table games offering progressive jackpots, as well as a variety of other games Princess players have come to enjoy. Included in the expanded casino will be a first-of-its-kind “Buffalo Zone” at sea – bringing these popular games by Aristocrat to the newest “Love Boat.” “Casino lovers, high rollers or simply those wanting to try a hand during their vacation will be stunned by the new Princess Casino onboard Sun Princess,” said John Padgett, President of Princess Cruises. “Princess has embraced the casino experience and is proud to offer such exciting gaming surrounded by absolutely world-class dining and entertainment.” 30 Fo ur th q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise

Cunard Teams Up with Acclaimed Producer to Bring West End Theatre to Queen Anne

MSC Cruises Confirms Orders for Two World-Class Ships

Cunard raised the curtain on an exclusive collaboration that will see acclaimed theatre producer David Pugh bring award-winning shows to the new ship Queen Anne. The renowned West End and Broadway producer will work with the luxury cruise line’s creative team to launch two iconic stage shows during Queen Anne’s maiden season. Neither production has ever graced an ocean stage. David Pugh is one of the most successful theatre producers on both sides of the Atlantic, winning every major theatre award across the globe, with his most recent success the sell-out “Shirley Valentine” by Willy Russell and starring Sheridan Smith. The collaboration will kick off with a uniquely adapted production of Noël Coward’s “Brief Encounter,” directed by Emma Rice, which will debut on Queen Anne’s maiden voyage in the Royal Court Theatre. Queen Anne’s Royal Court Theatre will usher in a glamourous new act of live performance, echoing the elegance and grandeur of great Art Deco concert halls. With cascading chandeliers that frame the action to perfect sightlines and velvety seats, this incredible venue really will put storytelling at center stage. “This hugely exciting collaboration is a real celebration for theatre-lovers and the stage is almost set for guests to enjoy some of the most remarkable live performances on board our newest ship Queen Anne,” said Katie McAlister, President of Cunard. “Whether it’s the bright lights of Broadway or the buzz of the West End, the incredible David Pugh, together with Emma Rice, will deliver the very best that theatre has to offer.”

MSC Cruises confirmed the order of two liquefied natural gas (LNG)-powered vessels with French ship builder Chantiers de l’Atlantique on November 13. This sees the two World Class options confirmed as firm orders with an option for a fifth ship. The two new ordered vessels – currently referred to as World Class 3 and 4 – will be delivered in 2026 and 2027. MSC World Europa and MSC World America are already the most energy efficient ships in the industry, performing significantly better than the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) requirement, and the new ships will be an evolution of the state-of-the-art World Class prototype with innovative solutions to maximize the energy efficiency, with extensive use of heat recovery and other technological solutions, which will see the vessels having an even further reduced carbon footprint. In addition, the new ships will be ready for a variety of alternative fuels including bio and synthetic methane and green methanol. The ships will also be fitted with the next generation dual fuel internal combustion engines with reduced methane slip. “We are proud to continue our 20-year partnership with the Chantiers de l’Atlantique, with whom we have already built 18 ships with our 19 under construction. The World Class is a truly innovative prototype and together we are building some of the most advanced ships in the world,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises. “We are committed to researching and investing in future environmental technologies as they become available, to ensure we continue progressing on our decarbonisation

journey to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.” The new World Class vessels will feature shore power plug-in connectivity to reduce carbon emissions in port, the most advanced wastewater treatment

systems designed in line with the IMO, new advances in waste management, and a comprehensive range of onboard energy efficient equipment to optimize engine use and hotel energy needs to further reduce emissions.

Regent Takes Delivery Seven Seas Grandeur Regent Seven Seas Cruises took delivery of Seven Seas Grandeur™ - A Heritage of Perfection on November 14. The sixth ship to join The World’s Most Luxurious Fleet™, Seven Seas Grandeur is the culmination of Regent’s more than three decades of expertise in luxury cruising. Inspired by the past and stunningly reimagined for the future, this magnificent vessel was designed by the multi-award-winning Studio DADO and built by premier ship builder Fincantieri in Ancona, Italy in just over two years With gross tonnage of 55,500, staff of 548, and holding only 746 guests, Seven Seas Grandeur provides among the highest space and staff to guest ratios in the industry providing unrivaled space, unparalleled service, Epicurean Perfection, fascinating art, and transformative experiences for guests beginning the moment they step on board. “We would like to thank Studio DADO and Fincantieri for their out-

standing collaboration in realizing this incredible new vessel which truly builds on the ground-breaking traditions of Regent’s exceptional Explorerclass ships which came before,” said Harry Sommer, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “Seven Seas Grandeur’s inaugural season is all but sold out, which is testament to the burgeoning popularity of the unrivaled Regent experience and also reflective of the ship being the most anticipated launch of 2023.” “The expectations of both our loyal past guests and those who are new to Regent will be exceeded by Seven Seas Grandeur’s refined style, matchless elegance, and breath-taking beauty,” said Andrea DeMarco, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “As the appetite for luxury travel continues to grow, the delivery of Seven Seas Grandeur provides even more opportunities to cruise the world while enjoying the highest standards of hospitality in lavish and spacious surroundings.”

Oceania Cruises’ Marina’s Extensive Refurbishment Oceania Cruises’ 1,250-passenger ship, Marina, will undergo an all-encompassing refurbishment in May 2024. The refurbishment will include the addition three new dining options: Aquamar Kitchen, the new wellness-focused dining venue which debuted on Vista this year; an expanded poolside ice cream parlor serving milkshakes and smoothies, plus inventive flavors from artisan ice cream company Humphry Slocombe; and a new casual al fresco trattoria offering sumptuous Italian dishes, including freshly made pizzas. Marina is the last of Oceania Cruises’ current fleet to be refurbished, meaning that the line boasts eight new, or betterthan-new, ships. Its eighth ship, Allura, is set to launch in Spring 2025. “Marina is a ship designed by foodies, built by foodies, for foodies,” said Frank A. Del Rio, President of Oceania Cruises. “We are renowned for serving The Finest Cuisine at Sea, and this is not just a tagline, it is a mantra which we have built the business around. Food is the foundation of what we do onboard each of our ships, and globally, in the destinations we visit. “This refresh of Marina will see her updated to offer three exciting new dining venues. We are especially thrilled to expand the Aquamar Kitchen concept to Marina, following its incredible reception from guests since it was unveiled aboard Vista in May.” Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 31

On Board

P&O Cruises Introduces Jewelry by Barbados Designer

create unique pieces which emphasize a sophisticated primal energy, rooted in traditional craftsmanship. In 2001 she entered the prestigious Commonwealth Arts and Craft competition and won an award for the Caribbean region. The award gave her the opportunity to travel to Ghana, West Africa, where she studied Metal Product Design at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. In 2011, Ichia also won the Design Caribbean award for Best Innovation and Creativity. “It is so exciting that P&O Cruises guests will have the opportunity to purchase my jewelry on board Arvia,” said Ichia. “Every piece is handmade in Barbados and each purchase will be the perfect way to remember a holiday on our beautiful island.”

P&O Cruises introduced a range of jewelry by local Bajan silversmith and art jeweler, Ichia Tiyi on Arvia in December. The range will be sold in the shops on board during Arvia’s 2023/2024 Caribbean season and will include a selection of silver cuffs, bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings. Ichia will also join the ship each week in Barbados to host a talk about her range. Earlier this year, Ichia was commissioned to design a unique gold cuff and necklace for Arvia’s godmother, Nicole Scherzinger, which was presented to the multi award-winning performer when the ship was officially named in Barbados in March 2023. Ichia has been designing jewelry since 1993 by using local Barbados materials to

Windstar Cruises Expands Global Footprint to South America Windstar Cruises is expanding its global reach with first-time cruises in South America beginning in December of 2025 on board all-suite yacht Star Pride. The diversification to the region creates new opportunities for the small ship cruise line’s well-traveled guests to experience bucket-list destinations, like Machu Picchu in Peru and Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, allowing Windstar’s guests to enjoy the uncrowded and unpretentious style they are well known for.

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“Our new cruise tour in Machu Picchu and overland tour to Galapagos allow our guests to see more of South America,” explained Windstar Cruises President Christopher Prelog. “I’m excited to offer our loyal guests new destinations to visit with Windstar. We’re taking care of the complicated logistics to get you to all these spectacular places.” Windstar has made significant increases in the number of cruise tours on offer in every region the small ship line sails, including these first-time

offerings in South America. The move is in response to customers’ demands to spend more time soaking in the sights and spirit of each destination. “These tours take care of every detail while also getting you closer to the wildlife, culture, and history of the region in a way that’s respectful of the land and the locals,” Prelog said. “Since we begin or end in Panama versus Florida where traditionally these itineraries depart from, we have fewer sea days and more port calls in South America for a rich destination experience.”

Holland America Line Sets New Black Friday Records For the second year in a row, Holland America Line’s Black Friday booking volumes broke a record high for the shopping holiday in the United States, with volume for the day more than 20% higher than last year’s record high and 23% higher for the period from Black Friday through Cyber Monday. “Breaking Black Friday records two years in a row tells us that not only are guests excited to plan ahead for travel, but that they value Holland America Line’s award-winning service and carefully crafted itineraries that

visit more than 100 countries,” said Gus Antorcha, president, Holland America Line. The record Black Friday weekend comes just weeks after Holland America Line announced a new global fresh fish program. The pioneering initiative engages a global network of 60 ports to source and serve 80 types of fresh fish on board in all restaurants, going from port to plate in less than 48 hours. The program also engages world-renowned Chef Masaharu Morimoto to serve as Holland America Line’s “Fresh Fish

Ambassador.” Chef Morimoto brings his signature style to curated dishes served in the ships’ Dining Rooms, as well as Morimoto By Sea, a new stand-alone restaurant aboard Nieuw Amsterdam and a Morimoto By Sea pop-up restaurant on the remainder of the fleet by spring of 2024.

Cunard Secures Record Black Friday Bookings Cunard has reported its highest ever number of guest bookings over the Black Friday period, seeing strong booking momentum across 2024 and 2025 sailings, with Queen Anne’s European itineraries proving to be particularly popular with guests. “Following a record start to the year with our strongest Wave campaign in ten years, we have seen unparalleled bookings during the latest Black Friday period,” said Cunard President Katie McAlister. “It’s fantastic to see momentum for our newest ship Queen Anne gathering pace, and these results are testament to the enduring appeal of Cunard’s commitment to unrivalled luxury, unique White Star Service, and unforgettable holiday experiences. “We look forward to a bumper start to 2024 with ever-increasing demand for Queen Anne as we approach the final countdown to her maiden voyage in May.” Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 33

On Board

Carnival Corporation on Pace to Achieve Next Aggressive Food Waste Reduction Milestone Carnival Corporation & plc has achieved a 38% reduction in food waste per passenger relative to its 2019 baseline, nearing its interim target to reduce food waste by 40% per person by 2025 on its path toward a 50% reduction by 2030. Less than a year since surpassing the previous 30% food waste reduction goal announced in its 2022 Sustainability Report, this performance signals continued momentum in the company’s efforts to shrink its food print – an important element in the company’s long-standing commitment to sustainable operations from ship to shore.

Innovative Solutions to Maximize Food Efficiency Carnival Corporation has put in place several practical, technological, and educational initiatives designed to creatively cut food loss while continuing to deliver exceptional dining experiences. By monitoring and analyzing guest dining trends and flow, including utilizing AI technology, the company has further optimized food use at every step of the food lifecycle onboard its ships – from purchasing fresh ingredients, recipe creation and menu design, to real-time meal prep, creation and presentation techniques and in-suite dining. Many of the company’s brands have also implemented onboard awareness campaigns to educate both guests and crew alike on doing their part to help reduce food waste onboard. Plus, Costa Cruises works with a network of registered food

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banks in communities it visits to deliver hundreds of thousands of surplus ingredients and meals to people in need. In addition, the company also continues to explore even more ways to create and reimagine creative recipes that get the most out of every possible ingredient. Whether transforming orange peels into citrus muffins or unserved bread into croutons, the company’s award-winning culinary teams find delicious ways to use every ingredient to its fullest, and in the process, reduce waste.

gies such as dehydrators. These machines build on the effectiveness of biodigesters by enabling the ships to sustainably break down a wider range of food items, including fruit and vegetable rinds, animal fats and other solid foods that are traditionally harder to break down. To date, the company has installed 45-plus food dehydrators across the fleet to remove excess water from leftover food, reducing waste volume by up to 90%.

Food Management and Disposal Technology Investments

Food Waste Reduction Goals Advance Carnival Corporation’s Long-Term Sustainability Plan

Carnival Corporation continues to invest in the industry’s smartest solutions to safely treat and handle uneaten food, while helping to substantially limit impacts from conventional disposal methods, such as landfills. The company leads the industry with over 600 innovative food waste biodigesters installed across its fleet, which house naturally occurring bacteria that enable the ships to organically break down and liquify 80% of uneaten food on board to just a fraction of the original volume. By “digesting” this leftover food down to a liquid form, it can be sustainably returned to nature and diverted from landfills where natural decomposition would otherwise slowly release methane – a greenhouse gas. As a result, in 2023, the company has avoided over 31,000 metric tons of equivalent greenhouse gas emissions that would have been generated had the food gone to a landfill. In addition, the company continues to innovate its approach to maximizing waste diversion by installing technolo-

These advancements support the company’s ongoing commitment in leading the way in sustainable cruising by promoting positive climate action, contributing to a circular economy, partnering with the communities it sails to and from, and reducing its greenhouse gas footprint. Overall, the company, including its nine world-class brands, is investing to achieve its 2030 sustainability goals and to pursue net zero emissions from ship operations by 2050. To accomplish this, the company has six key areas of focus, all aligned with elements of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, including climate action; circular economy; sustainable tourism; good health and well-being; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and biodiversity and conservation. The company’s current Sustainability Report provides more detail on its progress against all its 2030 sustainability goals and its strategy to pursue net zero emissions from ship operations by 2050. The report is available at

----------- @jamaicacruising -----------


On Land

Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte Leads the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Unprecedented Transformation


n the year 2023, the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) has witnessed an unprecedented transformation, firmly establishing itself as a premier Caribbean destination. This remarkable journey to success can be attributed to the visionary leadership of Joseph Boschulte, who serves as the Commissioner of Tourism for the USVI. Despite facing the challenges posed by two Category-5 hurricanes and a global health pandemic, Boschulte’s unwavering commitment and innovative strategies have not only weathered these storms but have propelled the USVI to new heights of prosperity. Joseph Boschulte, a native of St. Thomas and a distinguished graduate of the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, brought to his role as Commissioner of Tourism over three decades of experience in business, finance, and government. However, his mission was far more ambitious than merely promoting the USVI as a tourist destination.

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Boschulte aimed to craft a distinctive and marketable brand that would encapsulate the unique allure of the USVI, with its three main islands: St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. In his own words, Commissioner Boschulte expressed his vision: “I love my home, and I knew that to go beyond being just a destination was the necessity to build a brand. The United States Virgin Islands brand.”

“I knew that to go beyond being just a destination was the necessity to build a brand.” —Commissioner of Tourism Joseph Boschulte

Joseph Boschulte,

U.S. Virgin Islands’ Commissioner of Tourism

Commissioner Boschulte embarked on a transformative journey in close collaboration with the Department of Tourism, focusing on shaping the USVI’s brand identity. This initiative gave birth to three official destination taglines: “Naturally in Rhythm,” “St. Croix: A Vibe Like No Other,” and “No Passport Required.” These taglines served as the foundation for the USVI to distinguish itself among the myriad of Caribbean destinations that dot the map. In explaining the importance of this branding endeavor, Commissioner

… a thriving brand that celebrates the culture and natural beauty of its three main islands.

Boschulte noted, “For many years, the Virgin Islands were seen in a singular dimension as a cruise stopover or a playground for the American elite.” Transforming this perception marked a significant milestone for the USVI. The success of Commissioner Boschulte’s vision is substantiated by the resurgence of tourism in the USVI. A recent report from ForwardKeys indicates that Caribbean tourism has experienced double-digit growth over pre-pandemic levels, with the USVI playing a prominent

role. Projections indicate a remarkable 39% growth in international arrivals above 2019 levels in the fourth quarter of 2023, with the USVI leading in extended stays exceeding 14 nights, boasting a notable 25% increase. Strategic partnerships have been a cornerstone of Commissioner Boschulte’s success strategy. The USVI Department of Tourism forged a multi-year partnership with the New York Jets, designating the USVI as the Official Caribbean Destination partner for the team. This collaboration was designed to promote year-round visitation to America’s Caribbean through various fan-facing channels and events. Expanding its reach into the Midwest market, the USVI Department of Tourism sealed a multi-year partnership with the Chicago Cubs, further enhancing its visibility and appeal. The USVI Department of Tourism also celebrated a successful partnership with KLUTCH Sports Group, the premier agency representing some of the world’s biggest athletes across major professional sports.

The journey towards success continued with the hosting of the 2023 Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit (CHICOS) on St. Thomas. This summit served as a platform to bring together stakeholders, investors, and dignitaries from the hospitality and tourism sector, shedding light on the USVI’s potential as a global tourism hub. Additionally, the USVI actively engaged the Hispanic market in the United States by extending a warm welcome to esteemed Hispanic journalists. This initiative aimed to showcase the vibrant Hispanic influence that is intricately woven into the fabric of the USVI. To celebrate and share Caribbean culture, the USVI brought the vibrancy of its culture to Atlanta’s ONE Music Festival, where it proudly served as the official destination sponsor. The USVI’s captivating activation space immersed festivalgoers in the beauty and spirit of the islands. Cruise passengers are also expecting a significant increase, with projections indicating an 80% rise through 2024. Almost all major Caribbean cruise lines sailing out of major U.S. ports have resumed docking in St. Thomas, leading to an anticipated increase of nearly 650,000 new passengers in 2024. What’s even more exciting is that many ships arrive at our ports at 100% capacity, while the overall average is 92%. This success has opened opportunities for increased port calls in St. Croix, a testament to the idea that success breeds expanded opportunities. The goal, as Commissioner Boschulte outlined, is to turn a cruise passenger who makes a 6- to 8-hour stop in the Territory into a 6- to 8-day overnight guest. The U.S. Virgin Islands has undergone a remarkable transformation. It has evolved from a singular tourist destination into a thriving brand that celebrates the culture and natural beauty of its three main islands. Through visionary leadership, strategic partnerships, and an unwavering commitment to showcasing its unique identity, the USVI has emerged as a shining star in the Caribbean, attracting visitors from across the globe. As the USVI continues to thrive, it stands as an inspiring testament to what visionary leadership and a well-defined brand identity can achieve in the world of tourism. Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 37

On Land

Explore the British Virgin Islands: Beyond Sailing and Hidden Gems


he British Virgin Islands (BVI), renowned as a sailor’s paradise, holds many enchanting secrets waiting to be discovered. Beyond the allure of yachting, this Caribbean destination boasts a vibrant culture, tantalizing cuisine, and a commitment to sustainable practices that safeguard its pristine environment. Prepare to be captivated as we delve into the wonders of the British Virgin Islands, a destination that offers far more than meets the eye. Let’s embark on a culinary adventure, where the BVI’s unique flavors take center stage. Unlike other tourist hotspots, you won’t find any franchises here. Instead, you can savor authentic BVI cuisine and indulge in the warm hospitality of the locals. Journey just outside the capital, Road Town in Tortola, and you’ll discover Crandall’s Pastry Plus, a hidden gem renowned for its delectable offerings. Transporting you back to a time when coal pots were used for cooking, Crandall’s serves up a variety of mouthwatering treats, including savory patties, fresh local fish, and invigorating bush tea brewed with lemongrass. Imagine savoring fish tacos while the gentle surf playfully tickles your toes. Welcome to Paradise Club Lounge Bar and Restaurant in Cane Garden Bay, Tortola. Located just a short taxi ride away from Road Town, this delightful eatery promises an unforgettable dining experience that is well worth the journey. For those seeking adventure, a world-famous destination awaits: the Willy

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T. Situated off the coast of Norman Island, this unique floating restaurant is legendary for its tempting libations and delectable grilled fare. Picture yourself aboard this extraordinary vessel, savoring mouthwatering dishes while surrounded by the vast ocean. It’s an experience that will leave an indelible mark on your memory. But the wonders of the British Virgin Islands don’t stop there. Embrace the opportunity to immerse yourself in the crystalline blue waters that extend far beyond the visible spectrum of colors. Whether you participate in one of the 20 regattas held annually, hop on a ferry to explore the various islands, or embark on a world-class diving adventure, there are endless ways to experience the mesmerizing beauty of these waters. Join us during the Emancipation festival, a time of celebration and reflection that you simply cannot miss. Feel the rhythm of live music pulsating through the streets as you partake in early morning street parties, reminiscent of the Pied Piper leading a joyous parade. This unscripted and unpretentious revelry offers an unparalleled experience that will forever hold a special place in your heart. And when the moon casts its enchanting glow, prepare for the destination to come alive with vibrant parties that ignite the night. It doesn’t end there; the British Virgin Islands also invite you to get involved and make a difference. Participate in activities such as turtle tagging, contributing to the conservation efforts aimed at protecting

these magnificent creatures and their habitats. Engage with local initiatives that promote sustainable practices and support the BVI’s commitment to preserving its natural treasures for generations to come. The British Virgin Islands, a sailor’s paradise renowned for its hidden gems, is an extraordinary destination waiting to be explored. From the tantalizing flavors of BVI cuisine to the unparalleled beauty of its azure waters, this enchanting archipelago offers an experience that goes far beyond your expectations. So, set sail for the British Virgin Islands and embark on an unforgettable journey filled with awe-inspiring moments and cherished memories.

On Land

Cayman Islands Exceeds Visitation Goals


he Cayman Islands’ latest data showed steady growth towards full tourism recovery. Between January and September 2023, stayover and cruise arrivals to the Cayman Islands maintained an upward momentum, with the destination seeing a 105% increase in total visitation compared to the same period in 2022. The Cayman Islands welcomed 323,038 stayover visitors and 930,621 cruise visitors between January and September 2023. This represented 83.6% of 2019’s visitation numbers, far surpassing the destination’s target of 70% of 2019’s visitation. Standout months included January, with 89% of 2019’s visitation, and September’s 88%. With the destination having exceeded its visitation goal in the first three quarters of the year, Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism and Transport, is confident that the Cayman Islands is on track to full tourism recovery by the end of the year. “Last year, we predicted that 2023 would be a momentous year for tourism, and this year has exceeded our expectations,” said Minister Bryan, “Going into our traditional high season our accommodations, restaurant and retail partners are fully primed to welcome guests, and we look forward to stellar end of year visitation numbers. From a cruise perspective, we look forward to seeing a continued increase in the number of ships calling into Grand Cayman as we work with our local partners to deliver an authentic and memorable destination experience for cruise visitors.”

Accommodations and Length of Stay Concurrent with the increase in stayover visitors was an increase in the average length of stay with visitors spending an average of six nights on island, the same as 2019, showing a steady return to pre-pandemic nightly stays. Tourism revenues were also buoyed by a 30.2% hike in the average daily rate (ADR) of hotel rooms from January to September 2023 compared to the same period in 2022, according to STR Inc, the major hotel industry intelligence database. 40 Fo ur th q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise

The total room stock in the destination also saw an increase with 7.624 rooms as of September, representing 10,410 beds and 21,516 bed places. Apartments/ Condos, Hotels and Guesthouses accounted for 49%, 34% and 18% of accommodation stock, respectively.

How CIDOT Moved the Needle As part of our tourism recovery strategy, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) invested in several strategic initiatives to help increase cruise and stayover visitation from all of our markets. We invested in rebuilding our cruise tourism by attending SeaTrade, the leading global cruise conference and hosting the 2023 FCCA PAMAC Conference, a strategic meeting of top cruise executives, which allowed us to showcase the destination and engage directly with important decision-makers in the cruise industry. In the US, we hosted an in-market culinary event in New York; a guerilla marketing activation in Dallas inviting potential visitors to “cool down” with Cayman by distributing tropical frozen treats from an ice cream truck; attended major travel and trade shows like IMEX (North America’s largest MICE show); and capitalized on our membership with

Virtuoso. These tactics all drove awareness of the destination in crucial US gateways. In Canada we targeted journalists writing for major national publication and influencers focused on luxury lifestyle content, attended leading golf and tennis tournaments, and hosted an exclusive dinner with Top Chef Canada X’s winner, Chef Tre Sanderson, as part of Canada’s 100 Best, the definitive Canadian culinary guide. These tactics drove awareness of the destination in Ontario and Quebec. The UK saw us embarking on a series of advertorials with leading travel publications Food & Travel, Conde Nast Traveler, Nat Geo Traveler and JRNY to showcase Cayman’s culinary and cultural delights to an affluent and engaged UK readership. Recognizing the importance of Latin America as an emerging market for visitors, the Department of Tourism undertook a proactive and multi-faceted approach to increasing awareness of the destination in

Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil during and since the pandemic. This included engaging Brazilian influencers to tell the story of Cayman through video on a leading television channel, partnerships with travel agents in Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, and Cayman Airways’ new route to Panama allowed us to capitalize on pent up demand which resulted in incremental visitation growth from this region. Globally, we launched a campaign partnership with Travel Zoo consisting of emails, dedicated landing pages and native displays driving traffic to a custom microsite on one of the world’s most popular travel and entertainment websites. Mrs. Rosa Harris, Director of Tourism, commented: “We are pleased that our stayover and cruise arrivals to-date are well above our targets. As we move into our traditional high season and close out the year, we will see an increase in seat capacity from North America as seasonal routes come online from the United States, West Jet and Air Canada increase their frequency from Toronto, and Cayman Airways starts twice-weekly service to Los Angeles. We will continue to engage in strategic discussions with our airline partners to ensure increased airlift to the destination. Our goal is to maintain consistent performance throughout 2023, and we are confident that we will continue to reach or exceed our visitation target for the last quarter of the year.”

United States The United States continues to be the largest source market for visitation with 270,187 arrivals out of the total arrivals between January and September 2023. This indicates an 83.6% increase from 2022, and it is on par with 2019’s 84.5%.

Though there were 1,060 fewer inbound flights than in 2019, there was an increased airlift of 2,339 more flights arriving to the Cayman Islands from the United States compared to 2022.

Canada Though Canadian arrivals between January and September 2023 were down 6% from 2019, Canada remained the second largest source of visitors with arrivals from Canada representing a 6.4% share of the total number of stayover arrivals between the 9-month period. This was a slight increase from 6.1% in 2022 and 5.7% in 2019 over the same period. Visitors from Canada were up 87% compared to 2022 and on par with arrivals in 2019 indicating a strong recovery for this market when compared to the United States and UK in line with Canada’s projected post COVID-19 economic recovery.

UK & Ireland The UK & Ireland market accounted for 3.2% share of total stayover arrivals, on par with 3.0% in 2019.

“…work with our local partners to deliver an authentic and memorable destination experience…” —Hon. Kenneth Bryan, Minister of Tourism and Transport

Air arrivals from the UK & Ireland had a decrease of 8.9% over the same period in 2019. This decrease indicates that the UK & Ireland market has slowed in its recovery, which could be attributed to changing travel habits due to the UK cost of living crisis. Encouragingly, the UK & Ireland visitation improved by 9.4% in September 2023 compared to September 2022, which can be attributed to a 27% increase in flights to the Cayman Islands from London between January and September 2023.

LATAM Arrivals from Latin America remain steady with travelers from the region, accounting for a 1.3% share of the overall stayover arrivals over the 9-month period, the same share as 2019. Though considered an emerging market, Latin America is proving itself a fruitful source market, with 54% more stayover visitors arriving from Latin America between January and September 2023 than the same period in 2022. Mexico and Brazil were highlights in the region with their 2023 August numbers showing an increase on the 2019 numbers in the same period. The Cayman Islands Department of Tourism (CIDOT) supports the overall strategic objectives of the destination by providing reliable statistical data, useful information and analysis for future planning, decision making and policy formulation. CIDOT provides online statistical data in an easy-to-use format for persons requiring tourism related figures. To view our 9-month destination report, please visit

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On Land

Sint Maarten Marching Forward


int Maarten, ‘the Friendly Island,’ has been friendly to progress lately. From new events and developments to marketing campaigns and initiatives focused on the people, culture and local offerings, there are plenty ways Sint Maarten is attracting new and repeat visitors, while working to remain a marquee cruise destination for the long-term future with landmark projects and partnerships under the leadership of Port St. Maarten CEO Alexander Gumbs.

St. Maarten to Tap the Caribbean Region for YearRound Travel The St. Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB) has signed an agreement with Jacqueline Louis, owner of IMBRACE Group, to promote St. Maarten in the Caribbean Region. IMBRACE, a local marketing firm that has been established in St. Maarten for over 15 years, has worked with several major businesses and organizations throughout St. Martin, the Caribbean, the U.S.A., and Europe. The contract was awarded to IMBRACE Group after scoring the highest during the Public Tender process, which comprised of proposal responses by both local and regional companies that were vetted by a Selection Committee consisting of private and public sector members. The Caribbean Region is a viable market with a population of more than 40 million persons. The goal is to attract regional travelers to the island year-round, mitigating the effects of seasonality. STB intends to expand destination awareness, stimulate bookings, and attract regional travelers by targeting key islands and onestop connecting islands, specific niche market segments, upmarket travelers, as well as travelers for special local events.

St. Maarten St. Martin Attends IMEX America 2023 St. Maarten St. Martin recently participated in IMEX America 2023. The delegation from St. Maarten St. Martin, led by Directors of Tourism May-Ling Chun and Aida Weinum, actively engaged in strengthening the island’s relationship 42 Fo ur th q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise

with the trade industry, with a particular focus on expanding its presence in the Meetings Incentives Conferences Exhibitions (MICE) market. Attending IMEX America were the two tourist offices on both sides of the island, Artemia Group, Lagoon Group, Saint Martin Adventures, Sonesta Group and JW Marriott coming in season 2024. The destination possesses an array of attributes that make it an outstanding destination for the MICE market: exceptional connectivity with major global hubs, favorable government policies, a resilient service sector, an abundance of tourism resources, and the capability to cater to groups of varying sizes. A vital component of the MICE industry holds a central place in the destination’s marketing strategy.

Meghan Smith’s Keynote at St. Maarten SMILE Meghan Smith, former Chief Technology Officer of the United States under President Barack Obama, former Vice-President of Google and main speaker at the St. Maarten Innovations, Initiatives, Industries LinkUp Event (SMILE), spoke to the theme of “Accelerating Solution Making” for her keynote at the event on Oct. 28. In her keynote, Meghan delved into innovative strategies and insights emphasizing how technology can expedite the creation of influential solutions for pressing challenges. The speech was intended to be a positive call for every individual pas-

sionate about fostering change, and attendees were encouraged to engage, brainstorm, and become part of the dialogue aimed at reshaping global paradigms. SMILE took place October 27-28, with the main theme of “Making Your Business Future Proof.”

Battle of the Maxi Yachts th at the 44 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta St. Maarten Heineken Regatta attracts an incredible Maxi class year over year, and the 44th edition is set to be the best one yet! The legendary 4-day inshore event will take place Feb. 29 - March 3, 2024, and the Regatta’s elite big boat fleet is already set to return – and get bigger. For decades, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta has been the choice regatta of Maxi yacht teams looking for “Serious Fun!” both on and off the water. The island’s geography offers the

perfect playing ground for the big boat fleet – from the iconic 30+ NM ‘Around The Island Race’ to long courses around neighboring islands and soaring volcanic rocks used as marks between St. Maarten, Anguilla and St. Barths. In 2022, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta was cemented on the International Maxi Association calendar with the establishment of the IMA Caribbean Maxi Challenge Trophy – and for 2024, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta sits among fellow top events in the region. “From my experience, the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is the best big boat race in the Caribbean for teams that want to have challenging races around the cans and a good time on the shore. I have competed 3 times with the V65 in this race and we have been able to race every day,” said Jelmer van Beek, Skipper of Team JAJO Volvo 65.

St. Maarten Supports Fashion Designer Hazel in Promoting Destination/ Orange Economy The Sint Maarten Tourism Bureau (STB) recently sponsored well-known local fashion designer Zillah Duzon Hazel,

who attended The Bomb Fashion Show at the Chelsea Industrial in New York City, NY, hosted by Nene Leakes, an American TV personality, actress, businesswoman, author, and philanthropist. Zillah Duzon Hazel was one of the featured designers at the New York City Fashion Show. The Bomb Fashion Show was a star-studded experience that discovers and recognizes cutting edge creatives in fashion, showcasing their critical contributions as the fashion industry grapples with diverse representation and construc-

tive solutions for economic inclusion. Destination Sint Maarten was proud to have Zillah Duzon Hazel profiling the island and showcasing her fashion brand, which is part and parcel of the orange economy that the STB has been focusing on. This was the perfect opportunity to sponsor a Sint Maarten fashion designer.

St. Maarten Flavors Ambassadors to Spotlight Culinary Diversity The St. Maarten Flavors Committee came together to introduce Ambassadors. Alanna Busby, Mercedes “Elektra” Van der Waals-Wyatt, King Vers and Giovanni Webster were chosen for their ability to resonate with and inspire the St. Maarten community. They visited restaurants and shared their experiences during the St. Maarten Flavors program, which took place in November and showcased the extraordinary variety of culinary delights that St. Maarten offers. Participating restaurants offered tempting deals, featuring samplers and onecourse delights. The proceeds of its auction will be reinvested in nurturing the next generation of St. Maarten’s culinary talent, as they gear up for the prestigious “Taste of the Caribbean” event in Miami in 2024. Delve into the flavors of St. Maarten this November and discover a world of culinary diversity at

Full Steam Ahead for the Future, Hosting 2024 FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show Alexander Gumbs, CEO of Port St. Maarten, revealed some of the initiatives leading a greener path for port operations during the 2023 FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show workshop he moderated. If the past is any indicator, the future will

be even brighter (and greener), as under his leadership, the Port has not only successfully steered through the pandemic, but also set the course for continued and sustainable growth. In fact, in 2023 nearly 1.2 million cruise guests on FCCA Member Lines were projected to visit, more than 20 percent higher than 2022 – a clear sign of the recovery, and higher numbers should be on the horizon through the Port’s master plan that leads the way through 2030 and beyond, which already has been presented and discussed by Gumbs with numerous and unanimously approving cruise executives. Part of the growth has also been through partnership and stewardship with the industry, including assisting in a time of need by offering cruise ships a place to stay during the cessation of operations – and of course working in tandem with FCCA, from attending all the industry events to working together on individualized initiatives as an FCCA Presidential Partner. Now, ‘The Friendly Island’ will again host the FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show, with the 2024 edition taking place in Philipsburg in October. “We are excited to give a friendly welcome to all at the region’s most important cruise event so all can experience our high satisfaction ratings first-hand,” said Gumbs. “Those ratings are from not only our people’s hospitality and land’s remarkable offerings, but also our commitment for continual improvement. So, we look forward to displaying all of that and more while we also work towards further growth and an even brighter future.” For more information about the destination, visit, or Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 43

On Land

Puerto Rico Celebrates Landmark Year, Invests in Service Quality and Expansion of Airlift to Support the Cruise Industry


uerto Rico’s tourism industry has had a landmark year 2023 overall with record breaking numbers in sectors such as passenger arrivals and lodging occupation. Furthermore, the cruise industry has rebounded, expecting to finish the calendar year with over 1.3 million passengers visiting the main port of San Juan, moving closer to pre-pandemic levels. Roughly 15% of these passengers are homeporting from Puerto Rico. To prepare for increased calls in the next two seasons, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company has spearheaded various initiative focusing on both quality-of-service programs, as well as supporting improved air access to increase homeporting out of San Juan back to historical levels, that is, between a quarter and a third of total passengers.

tem, contributing to elevating the quality of the experience Puerto Rico offers as a destination. Simultaneously, it celebrates the talent and hard work of the tourism industry personnel who consistently give

…emphasize the role individuals play within the tourism ecosystem…

their best to create a positive and enjoyable experience for visitors. The Puerto Rico Sí: Quality in Service 100 x 35 educational component is a project designed to provide additional professional training to the hospitality sector workforce and promote the growth of the local tourism industry. Its core purpose is to enhance Puerto Rico’s competitiveness and ensure high levels of satisfaction among consumers utilizing tourism-related services. The program seeks to strategically influence all industry sectors, including

The Puerto Rico Sí: Quality of Service 100 x 35 Program In line with its commitment to maximize the growth of all sectors in the local tourism industry and enhance the destination’s appeal and customer satisfaction levels, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company launched the innovative ‘Puerto Rico Sí – Quality of Service 100 x 35’ program. This initiative, named after the island’s geographic size of 100 x 35 miles, aims to emphasize the role individuals play within the tourism ecosys-

hotels and inns, food and beverage, bars, entertainment venues, tour operators, transportation, and casinos, among others. Through workshops, conferences, updates of quality standards, and the creation of new working guidelines, the program covers key subjects and strategies essential to achieving excellence in customer service. 44 Fo ur th q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise

Recognizing the benefits of strategic partnerships when planning and implementing such a wide-reaching multisectoral curriculum, the Puerto Rico Tourism Company established new alliances with educational institutions and international organizations like the Instituto Para la Calidad Turística Española. One of this campaign’s actions focused on service for cruise passengers has included expanding the decade-long partnership with Aquila Center for Cruise Excellence. The program’s first training activity, a workshop for cruise industry frontline operators and employees, was offered the same day the campaign was launched. Furthermore, in August 2023, Puerto Rico became the first destination to organize a collective visit with relevant operators to experience Aquila’s Living Lab in Saint John and learn on-site about the organizations’ implementation of their best practices. Over the course of their three-day visit the Puerto Rican delegation, which included both staff from PRTC and representatives from six tour operators, spent time with the Aquila team to learn their operational practices, saw a busy port day in action, and participate in an Aquila shore excursion of the Bay of Fundy region. The feedback from tour operators has been extremely positive with comments that indicated their eagerness to implement learnings in their business models; acquisition of new practical skills to improve logistics; strategies for problem solving and increased customer satisfaction; frontline teambuilding tactics, personnel empowering techniques, as well as other important insights on cruise industry operation. Aquila trainings were also recently held for our boutique ports-of

…a celebration of that which makes Puerto Rico a unique travel destination: its people. call in Vieques, Culebra, Cabo Rojo and Salinas municipalities. A key element of the ad campaign is a celebration of that which makes Puerto Rico a unique travel destination: its people. Through images, music, and an empowering message developed by the PRTC’s Promotions and Marketing team, the campaign highlights the work, friendliness, courtesy, and warmth that characterize the service Puerto Rico offers to its guests.

Passenger Traffic Breaking Records, New Routes Launched Cognizant that abundant airlift is pivotal to support and boost turnaround operations in the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico Tourism Company and other local stakeholders have focused on expanding air access. This sector has recently experienced a significant expansion, with traffic at San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) expecting to close 2023 with a record-breaking over 12 million passengers. During this winter, SJU is now seamlessly connected to a remarkable total of 56 airports across the Americas and Europe.

This translates into a robust network of over 100 daily flights originating from 31 airports in the continental U.S., which is certainty unparalleled for the region. Notable additions to the roster in the past year include new routes from Denver, New Haven, CT, and Wilmington, DE – the last two representing Avelo Airlines’ entry to the Puerto Rico market, the 9th carrier to serve US-SJU. Furthermore, Southwest Airlines will begin nonstop service from Austin in early Q2. International connectivity has also grown. Canadian travelers benefit from direct flights from Toronto and Montreal, served by Air Canada, Air Transat, and WestJet. Colombia is another key market, with Avianca offering service to Bogota and a recently introduced nonstop seasonal route to Medellín. Panama City is conveniently linked twice daily through Copa Airlines. From Europe, Iberia flies nonstop from Madrid, and frequency will be up to daily beginning January 2024. Furthermore, regional carriers such as Silver Airways have aggressively expanded Caribbean services. San Juan is now connected to 19 airports in the basin. Recently reopened routes include Antigua, La Romana, and Puerto Plata, thus showcasing Puerto Rico’s steadfast commitment to rebuilding the Caribbean hub, both for cruise passengers as well as cementing ties with regional partners. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company supports these expansions via marketing and sales coop agreements to ensure the viability of the new airlift. Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 45

On Land

Azul Destinations’ Calypso Cove to Bring Needed Economic Engine to Long Island, Bahamas


little over a year ago, Azul Destinations signed a groundbreaking agreement with The People of The Bahamas to develop Calypso Cove, a premier independent cruise port destination serving multiple cruise lines and bringing a much-needed economic engine to the southern end of The Bahamas, specifically Long Island, Bahamas. This multi-branded cruise port development will also act as a platform for growth in the cruise industry, which has rebounded with great success after the pandemic. Cruise lines are looking to further develop deployments to meet the ever-changing tastes of their guests while also addressing the longterm financial and commercial goals of their natural business cycles, particularly as they plan even more growth in the size of fleets and the number of expected passengers. A year after signing a Heads of Agreement with the Government of The Bahamas and because we are close to receiving critical environmental approvals, we thought it would be a good opportunity to provide an update on Calypso Cove and highlight the underlying strengths that are driving its value to The Bahamas, the local Long Island community, and the cruise industry at large.

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Caribbean Growth Resilience The Caribbean cruise market holds significant importance in the global cruise industry, showcasing consistent growth over the past two decades despite economic crises, political instability, and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary suspension of global cruise operations in 2020 due to the pandemic was a setback, but the industry displayed resilience, surpassing expectations for demand post-pandemic. The Caribbean/Bahamas market stands out in regional capacity distribution, experiencing remarkable growth from 2012 to 2022, with a substantial market share. Factors such as new ship introductions, infrastructure development, and the entry of new cruise operators contribute to the region’s growth.

Growing Importance of Bahama Deployments As the cruise industry undergoes substantial growth, the increasing size of cruise vessels requires corresponding development in marine, upland, and tourism infrastructure. The Caribbean/Bahamas region, known for its secure access points, proximity to North American consumers,

and diverse ports, is poised for further expansion with significant investments exceeding the billions in cruise terminal upgrades and port renovations underscoring the commitment to harnessing the potential of this region. The Caribbean/Bahamas cruise itineraries, spanning from two to 14 days, cater to diverse consumer demographics. Short cruises (two to five days) constitute much of the market in 2023, with further growth projected for 2024. The Bahamas, with its proximity to the U.S., witnesses increased cruise line investment, benefiting from regional expansion. Competitive dynamics in the Caribbean/Bahamas region are prompting changes in downstream ports of call. New port infrastructure is being added to accommodate larger vessels, and private islands/destinations are being created to alleviate berth congestion. Calypso Cove, whether enhancing existing ports or part of a new destination, is critical to the region’s sustained growth.

Calypso Cove: A Strategic Addition Calypso Cove in Long Island, Bahamas, set to open in 2026, emerges as a strategic addition to the Caribbean/Bahamas landscape. With a Bahamas-themed focus and the capacity to berth three of the largest cruise ships simultaneously, Calypso Cove stands out as a versatile destination. Its proximity to existing private destinations and popular Caribbean ports positions it as an incremental port for short and/or longer cruises, attracting deployments from multiple homeports and cruise brands. Securing long-term agreements with cruise operators, Calypso Cove will ensure

guaranteed berth allocations, aligning with cruise lines’ strategies for future deployments. As a non-cruise line-operated destination, Calypso Cove will adopt a “brand agnostic” and independent approach, welcoming all cruise operators.

Calypso Cove: Filling Infrastructure and Commercial Gaps Calypso Cove addresses berth and infrastructure deficiencies in the Caribbean/ Bahamas region. The region faces significant berth demand due to the increasing size of cruise vessels, and Calypso Cove is strategically positioned to meet this demand. As previously outlined, most of the vast investments in the region, made by cruise lines themselves, creates a strong financial incentive to increase cruise vessel traffic in the Caribbean/ Bahamas region, making Calypso Cove’s development align with current industry trends and future demands. The majority of three-, four-, five-, and seven-day itineraries from the U.S. mainland include stops at private islands operated by specific cruise lines, and popular ports like Nassau and Freeport are consistently offered in addition to another island destination. The proximity of Bahama ports, including Calypso Cove, to mainland homeports provides a significant fuel advantage, leading to a preference for such destinations. Despite a growing number of Bahamian private islands near homeports, the demand has outpaced their availability. Currently, there are only five private island berths within a 400-mile radius of South Florida, with nine more under construction or planned, including Calypso Cove. Currently, there are some 31 homeport terminals sending ships to the islands (Florida and east coast U.S. ports), with an anticipated four additional homeport facilities scheduled over the next few years. Based on a Bahamian berth demand analysis by the firm Bermello & Ajamil, they indicate a shortage of available slots, especially during the winter, even with new private cruise line Bahamian developments and Calypso Cove. The competitive analysis reveals that even with all new projects in operation, there will still be additional demand, resulting in oversubscription during the winter and full capacity during the summer.

…a strategic addition to the Caribbean/ Bahamas landscape Specifically, as it concerns the cruise industry, it has become evident that Calypso Cove plays a pivotal role in meeting and, ideally, surpassing several key goals for the cruise lines: Long-Term Berth Certainty: the cruise lines seek long-term certainty at a new destination that will undoubtedly provide a premium experience and drive more demand for Florida and other homeport itineraries featuring Calypso Cove and existing ports in The Bahamas including Nassau and Freeport, as well as their own unique destinations. Further, the long-term berthing certainty will allow cruise lines to make long-term decisions on capacity increases in the region without concern of being locked out of strategic ports. Unique Excursions and Experiences: We envisioned ample opportunities to develop a variety of distinctive excursions and experiences exclusively for cruise line guests within the overall location of the Calypso Cove project, with the potential for significant financial upside for each call to the port. Calypso Cove will offer a new fresh experience to cruise line patrons by inviting them to a green pristine and sustainable approach to developing and operating a premier cruise destination introducing the Bahamas in its most natural and unblemished land-

scape wildlife and native culture unlike anything otherwise. Strategic Location for Efficiency: The strategic location of Calypso Cove is crucial for maximizing the efficiency of cruise itineraries, particularly those ranging from 4-8+ nights, both in terms of fuel consumption and reduced carbon emissions.

Summary: Shaping the Future of Cruise Industry In summary, the global cruise industry’s growth trajectory identifies the Caribbean/ Bahamas as a key driver, and Calypso Cove’s development aligns with industry trends and demands. With strategic positioning, anticipated traffic from key cruise brands, and additional berthing spaces, Calypso Cove contributes to the Caribbean/Bahamas region’s infrastructure needs, ensuring it remains a viable efficient and sustainable destination for cruise deployments. Calypso Cove is not just a project; it’s a testament to the power of collaboration and shared vision. With the unprecedented support from the Bahamian Government and the local Long Island community, Calypso Cove is shaping the future of the cruise industry and creating a legacy that will be remembered for decades to come. Calypso Cove signifies the remarkable impact that can be achieved when industries, governments, and communities join forces. Together with the cruise industry, the Bahamian Government and the local community, Calypso Cove is set to leave an indelible mark on the cruise industry and on the broader Bahamas economy. Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 47

On Land

PortMiami Setting Records, Continuing Growth


ortMiami is known as ‘the cruise capital of the world,’ but it is showing no signs of resting on its laurels or relinquishing its star. PortMiami set a record for passengers served in one year, with 7.3 million passengers traveling in and out during the 12-month fiscal year 2023 beginning October 1, 2022 and ending September 30, 2023. That was nearly twice the 4 million passengers seen the prior fiscal year. More cruise passengers even before COVID Port travel exceeded by 7% its previous record of 6.8 million passengers set in fiscal year 2019. The record activity is reflected in several new ships sailing out of PortMiami, including Oceania’s Vista, Venezia and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Viva. Additionally, Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas, is set to homeport in January. The port also opened new terminals. Since the pandemic, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation and Virgin Voyages have built new terminals at PortMiami. Plus, Royal Caribbean Group has a new one expected to open in late 2027. Activity at PortMiami contributes $43 billion annually to the local economy and supports more than 334,500 jobs, so the cruise industry’s strong comeback since COVID-19 – with nearly sold-out sailings

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for many of the longest voyages leaving through early 2024 – represents a boon for the people and state. This comes at a time of tourism slowdown for Miami, with the number of tourists from the United States visiting MiamiDade County from January through June dropping by 6% to 6.6 million, according to data from the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau provided earlier this year. Miami-Dade’s average hotel occupancy rate this year through June decreased, according to CoStar, as did average daily hotel overnight rate and average revenue per hotel room. Fortunately, cruisers are not just staying afloat, but moving full steam ahead, with the most recent testament of the continuing demand being numerous cruise lines posting record Black Friday sales.

“PortMiami continues to drive our economy forward…” —Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava

PortMiami’s growth is also consistent with global numbers. CLIA’s “State of the Cruise Industry” report projected 31.5 million passengers will sail in 2023, a 54% increase from 2022 and beating the previous record of 29.7 million passengers in 2019. The growth is expected to continue through next year, with 36 million cruisers projected. Additionally, cargo continues to carry its weight. PortMiami handled 1,098,322 approximately 20’ shipping containers, exceeding one million for the ninth consecutive year. It handles about 3,000 of those containers a day – and that volume could get a boost following a trade group’s visit to Japan. That visit, led by Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, included a trip to the Port of Yokohama and a signed agreement to establish collaboration in port development, infrastructure, port security and environmental initiatives. “PortMiami continues to drive our economy forward, creating opportunities for residents and businesses across our country,” said Mayor Cava in a statement surrounding the visit. For more information about PortMiami, visit

Dominican Republic Continues Record Pace The Dominican Republic is continuing its record pace for tourism. According to data from the Ministry of Tourism, it welcomed 531,017 stay-over arrivals in October, the most ever for the month and an 8 % increase compared to 2022. The Dominican Republic also saw strong cruise growth, with 88,187 cruise guests – and a total of just under 1.7 million cruise arrivals this year. Overall, the Dominican Republic has welcomed a total of 8.245 million combined stay-over and cruise guest arrivals, putting its ambitious goal of 10 million arrivals in sight. That momentum was evident in Puerto Plata, which had a busy November with a total of 48 cruise ships. This bustling cruise calendar was evenly divided between Amber Cove and Taíno Bay, with each receiving 24 calls. Atahualpa Paulino, the northern regional director of tourism, anticipated that this high cruise season will be a resounding success and further solidify Puerto Plata’s premier position. This was on the heels of Tourism Minister David Collado saying that tourism maintained “unstoppable” growth by registering the arrival of 545,990 visitors in September and

reaching the historic figure of 7,625,986 in the January-September period. “Those are historic numbers, which are felt in the economy, and the best of all is that this growth is unstoppable,” he said when presenting the statistics. The Dominican Republic is working to further boost these numbers and its appeal through numerous initiatives, including a memorable appearance at the second State of Qatar tourism fair with an impressive stand featuring interactive activities including minigolf, hand-made cigar demonstrations, bachata dance classes, and tastings of Dominican coffee and chocolate. The Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Tourism also launched a new campaign looking to maximize tourism from New York City – complete with a new dome in Times Square showcasing the Dominican Republic’s primary attractions, including beaches, mountains, and culinary delights. Other planned events include a tourism and real estate fair in January, which aims to encourage Dominicans living in New York to invest safely in their home country and to offer attractive prices for stays in Dominican tourist centers.

Jamaica Stays Hot With the weather cooling down, Jamaica is staying hot in tourism, which means direct benefits for the destination and people. Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, announced at the end of November that approximately $5.6 billion has been collected by the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) from fiscal year to date, an impressive growth of 13.54% compared to the same period last year and a remarkable 15.68% increase compared to the corresponding period in 2019. “The TEF is on a record path for this fiscal year and is now projected to bring $9.3 billion to our revenue, which is 1.2 billion more than the last fiscal year. That represents almost 15% more than our best year, 2019,” said Minister Bartlett. It is no surprise with Jamaica receiving two major accolades at the prestigious 30th World Travel Awards – winning the titles of “World’s Best Family Destination” and “World’s Best Cruise Destination.” Minister Bartlett, founder and chair of the Jamaica-based Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCMC) ‘Think Tank,’ accepted the awards and presented five Global Tourism Resilience awards. Jamaica was also named the ‘Caribbean’s Best Culinary Destination’ at the 2023 World Culinary Awards ceremony, selected from other world leading brands, based on votes casted by culinary industry professionals and the public. Looking to future growth, Jamaica is looking to inject more health and wellness. Appearing virtually at the 5th Jamaica Health and Wellness Tourism Conference at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, Minister Bartlett said developing the health and wellness subsector was among the ministry’s growth strategy goals, “offering visitors an unmatched value proposition, based on innovation, diversification, and differentiation of our tourism product.” Jamaica is also looking internationally, aiming to welcome 250,000 visitors Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 49

On Land out of the United Kingdom and Ireland by 2025, and the government is already well underway to achieve the goal, according to Minister Bartlett: “Jamaica welcomed 229,000 U.K. visitors last year, making it the number one destination in the Caribbean for British visitors, and we plan to aggressively build on this number.”

Additionally, it has set an ambitious goal of attracting more than half a million Canadian visitors by 2025, 20% more the current figure of about 400,000. According to the Regional Director for Canada for the Jamaica Tourist Board, Angella Bennett, this goal is an “achievable target,” with several strategies already in place.

Antigua and Barbuda Evolves as a Homeport Antigua and Barbuda is continuing to prove its mettle as a homeport. Antigua Cruise Port was thankful during Thanksgiving for two homeporting operations on a single day – the first time two cruise ships homeported simultaneously. P&O Cruises’ Arvia – which began homeporting in January with nine turnaround calls planned this season – docked at the fifth berth with 5,200 guests and 700 debarking to the destination and replaced by another 700 guests. The subperyacht Emerald Sakara also did a full turnaround with more than 80 passengers and marking the first of 13 planned turnaround calls for the 100-passenger-capacity subperyacht. To support this passenger traffic, VC Bird International Airport welcomed chartered flights for cruises and facilitate the influx of visitors. These homeport operations – and with Star Clippers’ Clipper and SeaDream II also scheduled to homeport in Antigua this year – are helping to fulfill the vision to firmly establish Antigua and Barbuda as a homeporting destination.

Of course, hotel options are also part of the homeporting equation, and there was also big news in that sector with a new escape headed to Barbuda. Developed by Murbee Resorts, Rosewood Barbuda will bring an intimate expression of Rosewood’s ultra-luxury hospitality experience to the island, featuring 50 resort suites and 35 Rosewood Residences when opening in 2028 – and reflecting the island’s unspoiled natural beauty and vibrant culture. Additionally, the Great House Antigua – one of the last original Caribbean plantation houses that hosts guests in its 350-year-old main house – received the Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year in the 2023 Historic Hotels Worldwide Awards of Excellence, which are presented to historic hotels and hoteliers demonstrating innovative leadership, stewardship, and contribution to furthering the recognition, preservation, and celebration of preeminent historic hotels and their histories.

Colombia Moving Full Steam Ahead Colombia is expected to achieve “significant growth” in the 2023-2024 cruise season, according ProColombia. Data from port authorities shows 220 cruise calls from 30 cruise lines from the United States, Norway, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, and Monaco. The vessels will bring 334,000 passengers to Colombian ports through June 2024 – with an expected economic impact close to $50 million. The visits will also be essential for showing international travelers emerging destinations within Colombia – and will build on the growth last year, with cruise vessel arrivals increasing by 151% and cruise passenger arrivals growing by 346%.

Disney Cruise Line Opens New Cruise Terminal at Port Everglades The magic of Disney Cruise Line has officially arrived at Broward County’s Port Everglades in greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Disney Cruise Line, along with port and community leaders, celebrated the opening of the new dedicated cruise terminal and Disney Cruise Line’s second year-round homeport in Florida on November 13. “The grand opening of our new dedicated terminal is an incredible milestone as we embark on the largest expansion in our cruise line’s history,” said Sharon Siskie, senior vice president and general manager of Disney Cruise Line. “Now our guests will

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have even more options to experience the magic of a Disney vacation at sea and can begin creating lifelong memories with their loved ones from the moment they arrive.” Once guests arrive to the terminal to embark on their voyage, they will “dive” into the world of Disney and Pixar’s film, “Finding Nemo,” with some of their favorite friends from the film displayed on colorful murals. The more than 104,000-square foot terminal was reimagined by Walt Disney Imagineering exclu-

sively for Disney Cruise Line guests to provide a seamless embarkation experience. Port leaders attended the dedication ceremony, including Broward County Mayor Lamar P. Fisher also attended the grand opening celebration, and said, “Dream vacations start here in Broward County. The addition of Disney Cruise Line in our community provides travelers with more vacation options at Port Everglades, while boosting our local economy and creating more than 1,100 direct local jobs.”

As part of Disney Cruise Line’s expansion, Disney Cruise Line and Broward County previously announced a 15-year agreement that includes a minimum 10.6 million passenger movements, and three 5-year extension options that could add another 11.25 million passenger movements. The agreement provides for one ship to homeport in Port Everglades year-round beginning this fall 2023, joined by a second, seasonal ship in 2025.

Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve’s Enhancements MSC Cruises announced a new infrastructure development program for Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve in The Bahamas. The agreement was signed at a ceremony in Bimini attended by the country’s Prime Minister the Honorable Philip Davis and Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Honorable Chester Cooper along with other government officials. The cruise line’s further investment for the island stays true to the original vision for the island, which was to create a positive long-term impact both in terms of the environment and the local communities. The development will see a significant benefit for the Bahamian economy benefit as well as the generation of jobs both for the construction

work as well as long-term jobs for Bahamians to work on the island. Guest facilities will be enhanced with the introduction of excursion centers to support watersport activities and island tours, a sea dive and snorkel center, additional food and beverage outlets and other facilities. The MSC Foundation’s Marine Conservation Centre will be built as a base for biologists, coral reef experts and students. It will also house interactive pavilions, a lecture hall and coral exhibition tanks and provide passengers with educational opportunities about the importance of the marine ecosystem and the need to protect the world’s oceans. The island is home to the MSC Foundation’s Super Coral Program, critical to understanding coral reef resil-

ience throughout the region, and MSC Foundation is supporting graduate student programs designed to address and mitigate changes in thermal resilience of coral reefs throughout the tropical Western Atlantic. The development will also see a third solar farm installed as part MSC Cruises’ aim to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions for Ocean Cay, an advanced wastewater treatment plant, a landscaping plan to further diversify and develop the sustainable environment on the island with native and adaptive trees, grasses, and shrubs to provide erosion control, improve vegetation and support ecosystem health. Additionally, new accommodation buildings will provide new amenities for island staff, which will see an increase in staff numbers from 150 to 280.

Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 51

Members & Travel Agents

How prepared are your teams on navigating crisis? By Beth Kelly Hatt, President, Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, FCCA’s Official Training Partner


hen the unexpected happens, it is important to be prepared to provide the necessary support for cruise guests, and for our teams to be prepared with the necessary tools. At the annual FCCA Cruise Conference and Trade Show in Mazatlán, a panel including the Carnival Care Team, Norwegian Guest Experiences and Costamed Mexico helped the conference attendees understand the importance of providing emotional and logistical support during a crisis and how essential this can be to successfully manage these sensitive, complex situations. The panelists talked about the importance of building trust and providing timely and accurate information, all while maintaining clear lines of communication. With all our training over the years, dealing with difficult situations and managing risk has been where most participants find very helpful and look for more. We have been asked about preparing teams for crisis situations and have been unable to help until now. Cruise lines continue to help teams as they offer Care Training in their

major ports throughout the Caribbean. Destinations and tour operators have the opportunity to receive this training directly from the cruise lines’ Care Teams, and we would recommend taking advantage of that as they are such a great asset at your disposal. However, the cruise lines’ Care Teams cannot always get to those smaller ports and destinations or those who don’t have full cruise ship schedules. And that is where Aquila is offering a solution. A few months ago, we were introduced to Gregory Crick through our Global Trainer, Ellen Lynch, who felt that some destinations might benefit from us partnering. Gregory has extensive experience in customer service and navigating crisis in the cruise industry. During his career, he saw the opportunity to take his passion for customer service and apply it to crisis management, an unfortunate but important part of business today. Having dealt with multiple challenging situations, he always ensured his customers were taken care of and that the company’s reputation was upheld. This included success-

fully navigating several large emergencies, mass casualty incidents, and a global pandemic during his 15 years as Director of Family Assistance and Care Team programs at Holland America Group. He looks forward to sharing his extensive knowledge with cruise destination stakeholders and frontlines. When Aquila delivers training, we find that stakeholders, tour guides, tour operators, and frontlines often list navigating a crisis or dealing with a difficult situation as among the top stressors and challenges. This is always where we see the most questions, where we see people perking up to listen and they rate that part of the training as the most helpful. Care Training is designed to provide the knowledge, skills, and most importantly, the confidence to manage these unexpected situations with excellence. This newly developed training is now available for small teams of 12 to 20 via Zoom as a tour hour session for either destination teams or tour operator teams. We cannot stop accidents from happening, but we can arm ourselves with knowledge and prepare for the unexpected. Planning ahead is key! Beth Kelly Hatt is the President of Aquila’s Center for Cruise Excellence, the FCCA’s official training partner, who celebrated 40 years in business in 2022. Contact Beth for more information about this and other training at

52 Fo ur th q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise

Cruise Excellence, A.T.A. recently successfully conducted a workshop for tour operators and front-line staff. The event featured various workshops, including “product development” and “service excellence,” which received enthusiastic participation and marked a significant achievement.

The Bahamas’ Momentous Year

Unforgettable New Year’s Eve in BVI Experience an unforgettable New Year’s Eve at the Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park! Join us for thrilling rides, ‘Movies on The Lawn,’ and a spellbinding Laser Light Show at midnight, creating a unique celebration under the stars with local artist performances. Don’t miss this extraordinary experience.

CHUKKA Expands to St. Thomas, USVI CHUKKA has expanded to St. Thomas, USVI! CHUKKA is proud to have the opportunity to continue the legacy of John and Judy Reeves, Cruise Ship Excursions Ltd. operating for 51 years in the United States Virgin Islands. This adds the sixth territory to CHUKKA’s portfolio, also delivering local experiences in Jamaica, Belize, Turks & Caicos, the Dominican Republic and Barbados.

Aruba Tourism Authority Progressing Service Excellence The Aruba Tourism Authority (A.T.A.) believes in continuous education to achieve service excellence as a destination. In collaboration with the Aquila Center for

For The Islands of The Bahamas, 2023 has been a momentous year marked with grand celebrations in honor of the nation’s 50th Anniversary of Independence. Worldclass entertainment venues such as the newly transformed Nassau Cruise Port and thousands of miles of spectacular waters and beaches await across the 16 distinct island destinations. Explore vacation offerings today at

Bimini, Bahamas Welcomes 1,000,000 Cruise Ship Passengers It’s time to raise the anchor and sound the horns as the cruise port in Bimini, Bahamas has achieved a remarkable milestone: we’ve welcomed more than 500 cruise ship vessels and 1,000,000 passengers! This momentous occasion calls for celebration and reflection on the incredible journey since 2021 that brought us here. As an increasing number of travelers select our port as their gateway to adventure, we stand at the forefront of the cruise industry, showcasing the beauty and culture of the island to the world. Visit for more information.

Elnet Lightering Forges a Strategic Alliance to Expand LNG Bunkering Services in The Bahamas Elnet Lightering, a Bahamian bunkering license holder, has partnered with Houston-based Eagle LNG Partners LLC to

expand LNG bunkering in The Bahamas. Known for expertise in offshore lightering and bunkering, Elnet’s collaboration aligns with its commitment to quality and Eagle LNG’s values. The alliance, supported by Bahamian and U.S. authorities, aims to strengthen maritime infrastructure and promote environmentally responsible solutions. The Bahamas’ Minister of Energy and Transport, JoBeth Coleby-Davis, endorses this partnership for its potential in driving maritime advancements. Eagle LNG’s Filipe Pinto sees Elnet as an ideal Caribbean partner, aiding in attracting new economic opportunities.

Your Caribbean Getaway Begins in Barbados Your Caribbean getaway begins in Barbados. Discover an island filled with a diverse range of immersive experiences that offers cruisers of all ages the opportunity to create unforgettable memories! As a cruise hub, it’s easier than ever to cruise and stay. Daily airlift from major cities in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe make getting to and from Barbados convenient and hassle-free. Contact your travel agent today to book your cruise and stay holiday in Barbados!

Curaçao, an Unrivaled Tropical Escape Home to 35 beaches, 55 different cultures, and stunning European architecture, Curaçao remains an unrivaled tropical escape in the Southern Caribbean. Ranked by Condé Nast Traveler’s 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards as one of the Top Caribbean Islands, the island’s continued recognition speaks to the destination’s flourishing allure. The vibrant arts scene, trendy culinary experiences, and clear-blue waters, all further cement the island as one of the most exceptional in the region. Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 53

Members & Travel Agents

Costa Rica Named “Destination of the year 2024” Costa Rica´s unwavering dedication to sustainable tourism and its stunning natural beauty made it the Destination of the year 2024, highlighted for travelers seeking unique, eco-friendly experiences. The award is consider the most reliable ranking in the travel industry, and offers suggestions from accommodation, tourist activities, and gastronomy to places to live. Whether you are looking for wildlife or wellness, the perfect beach or a stunning waterfall hike, you will find it all in Costa Rica.

Appleton Estate Limited Edition Rums

St. Kitts: Every Day Is an Adventure

Delight in the Joy Spence Private Select Blend at Appleton Estate, a unique interactive experience allowing you to bottle your own rum straight from the barrel. Customize your label for a personal touch. Created by Joy Spence to celebrate the Estate’s Rum Experience in 2018, this exclusive barrel-to-bottle encounter is only available at the Appleton Estate, making it a special and memorable way to commemorate your visit to this iconic location.

In St. Kitts, each day calls for its own adventure with hidden treasures in every soul-stirring discovery. Dive deep into one of St. Kitts’ most celebrated cultural excursions and become a Kittitian RumMaster. Begin at Wingfield Estate, where you’ll be introduced to the history of Old Road Rum and embark on a technical journey through the details of rum production methods and flavor profiles. Next, learn how to craft spiced rum through various methodologies at Spice Mill. Explore Mount Liamuiga, a dormant volcano and the island’s highest mountain, and stop by Timothy Hill for gorgeous views. Your trip is not complete without visits to Cockleshell Bay and S. Friars Bay, two of St. Kitts’ most loved beaches.

Ensenada, Mexico Celebrates New Cruise Arrivals In Hutchison Ports ECV, we enthusiastically celebrated the arrival of two magnificent cruise ships that made their maiden call at our facilities. Disney Cruise Line’s Magic arrived on October 21, followed by Oceania’s Vista on October 31. During these visits, we conducted the traditional plaque exchange ceremony between the ship captains, authorities, and our cruise terminal. We were delighted to welcome them to the port of Ensenada.

Mayan Princess Honduras

COSTAMED Adds Blood Bank

Welcome to Mayan Adventures’ exciting new offerings: Beach Front Villas and Ocean View Cabanas at the prestigious Turquoise Bay Dive & Beach Resort, renowned for its Overwater Bungalows. Experience an all-inclusive getaway perfect for creating unforgettable memories with family and friends on this beautiful island. Immerse yourself in the island life for a few fantastic hours!

COSTAMED is proud to announce that Cozumel now has its own blood bank, after many years of effort. This is a major step forward for the health of the island’s residents and visitors. The blood bank will provide a safe and reliable source of blood for all medical needs, including emergencies, surgeries, and transfusions. It will also help to increase the number of blood donations on the island, we invite cruise lines to join this campaign

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PortMiami Welcomes Eight New Cruise Ships PortMiami is thrilled to announce the arrival of eight new cruise ships to the “Cruise Capital of the World” for the 20232024 cruise season. Among the new lineup of ships departing from PortMiami beginning October 2023 are the Oceania Vista, Carnival Cruise Line Costa Venezia, and Scenic Eclipse II. In November

2023, Crystal Cruises Serenity, MSC Cruises Explora I, and Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian VIVA; and in December 2023, Regent’s Seven Seas Grandeur begin sailing from PortMiami. In January 2024, Royal Caribbean Group Icon of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, will set sail from the Port.

Seatrade Cruise Global 2024

Port Canaveral Continues to Impress Port Canaveral, the world’s busiest cruise port, impresses passengers from the start. It stands tall as a world-class gateway, featuring some of the largest and most advanced cruise ships. Port Canaveral strives to maintain its peak position with its commitment to providing a high-quality guest experience. With its easy-in, easyout access, the port caters to families with relaxed beachside vibes and stress-free arrivals and departures. Modern facilities, convenient parking, diverse vacation options and a dedicated team of cruise-focused staff complete the exceptional first impressions, ensuring a memorable journey from the outset.

Port Tampa Bay Has Never Been Better Cruising from Port Tampa Bay has never been better! Steps from our cruise terminals are attractions like the Florida Aquarium, Sparkman Wharf, new hotels, shops and restaurants on Water Street, the unique Ybor City (Tampa’s Latin Quarter) and Downtown Tampa’s Riverwalk. Port Tampa Bay is home to major cruise brands including Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises. From Port Tampa Bay, travelers can visit a variety of eastern and western Caribbean destinations.

Experience the pinnacle of the cruise industry at Seatrade Cruise Global 2024, happening from April 8-11 at the Miami Beach Convention Centre. With over 10,000 professionals, 600 exhibitors, and 100+ cruise brands representing 120+ countries, it’s the premier event for the global cruise community. The 2024 edition promises a dedicated program for students, HR and recruitment professionals, a Retail Day focusing on onboard retail, an Interactive Tech Zone showcasing the latest cruise tech, a new Wellness Lounge, enhanced networking opportunities, and a show-floor featuring an array of hand-picked exhibitors from every sector of cruise. Find out more at www.

Crafting Your Perfect Exhibit Space with CDEI JAXPORT Celebrates 3M Passengers JAXPORT marked a major cruise milestone with the 3 millionth cruise passenger. The lucky guests were the Lester family from Claxton, Georgia. To commemorate the occasion, Carnival Cruise Line treated the family at the chef’s table for a special dinner and additional VIP treatment during their 4-day cruise. The JAXPORT Cruise Terminal opened in 2003. It is home to the 2,190-guest Carnival Elation, which sails year-round from JAXPORT on four- and five-day cruises to The Bahamas.

If you’re considering a new look for your exhibition space, our team at CDEI is ready to assist. Located in Saint Martin, we specialize in crafting custom booths for various events. Our services are comprehensive, ensuring a seamless experience from design to dismantling. We also offer additional support such as storage, catering, and on-site assistance. Should you need our expertise or wish to discuss your project, feel free to reach out to us. Contact Sandy at or call us at +590690344067 or +590690604313. We’re committed to supporting your vision, wherever your journey takes you.

Crown of Light The Crown of Light revolutionized the diamond market in 2007, quickly becoming the best-selling branded diamond. Now, Diamonds International takes it further with new diamond shapes, experimenting with dazzling designs at their cutting headquarters in Namibia. After years of development, they proudly unveil five new patented Crown of Light shapes: Oval, Marquise, Cushion, Pear, and Octagon. These fancy shapes are certified by the DeBeers Lab Institute, pushing the boundaries of the traditional diamond industry and beyond. Fo ur th Q ua r te r 2023 | Travel & Cr uise 55

Revolutionizing Waste Management in Ports: Innovative Circular Solutions to Combat Climate Change and Marine Pollution.

PS Maritime Sustainability Solutions is committed to making a significant impact on the United Nations' 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in the area of climate action. Our innovative circular economy solutions for waste management, combined with our waste carbon impact traceability model, enable us to track the carbon impact of each waste stream's management, promoting responsible consumption and production while reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with waste disposal. Our approach to ship generated waste management not only helps prevent marine pollution but also supports the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, helping to combat climate change. By promoting the circular economy, we aim to reduce waste generation, increase recycling rates, and prevent marine pollution, supporting the United Nations' Life Below Water goal. 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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