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2011 Conference Program

Keynote Speakers Capt. Cees Deelstra, Vice-President Nautical Operations for Holland America Line and Seabourn

Gavin Smith, Managing Director for Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia and New Zealand

Capt. Deelstra joined Holland America Line over 38 years ago as a Cadet Officer and worked his way up to become a Captain. He is a graduate of Rotterdam Nautical College. After sailing worldwide for 18 years, in 1990 he accepted a permanent position ashore as Superintendent at the Holland America Line headquarters in Seattle, WA. A couple of years later Cees was promoted to Director Nautical Operations. In January 2011 he became Vice President Nautical Operations, he is responsible for overseeing programs to ensure the safe navigation of the ships, certification and maintenance of the ship’s safety and life-saving equipment, the efficient operation of the ships’ deck department consisting of the navigation officers, bosun and the sailors and other deck maintenance personnel and is the Alternate Company Security Officer.

Gavin Smith was appointed Managing Director for the Australian operations of Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited (RCL) in December 2008, and in March 2010 he opened the company’s first office in New Zealand.

Parts of his responsibilities are also the Security and Medical Departments. Capt. Deelstra has extensive experience dealing with maritime safety and navigational matters. He serves as chairman of the Technical and Operational Committee of the Northwest Cruise Ship Association representing the cruise industry in Alaska, Hawaii and British Columbia. He is a founding member and first Chairman of the Marine Safety Task Force in Alaska. This task force is made up of representatives from marine pilots, maritime shipping companies, U.S. Coast Guard and others having interest in safe navigation of Alaskan waterways. He is the present Chairman of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators. This association represents over 100 members and associate members operating ships in Antarctica. Furthermore he represents Holland America Line at the Alaska Steamship Association, at the BC Chamber of Shipping and he is an officer of the Alaska Steamship Response organization. Cees is also a member of several committees in CLIA.

David Vass, Vice-President Destination and Enrichment Programs for The World A 25-year travel and cruise industry veteran, based in Miami, David recently accepted the Director; Destination & Enrichment Programs position with ‘The World’ to head up reorganisation of the vessel’s global land programs and onboard cultural offerings. The World is the largest privately owned, residential ship with 165 homes onboard. Constantly circumnavigating the globe, she explores the most exotic and well known destinations. The World will visit both Australia and New Zealand in early 2012 and again in late 2013 or early 2014, spending approximately one month circumnavigating each country. Vass began his career aboard passenger ships as a Cruise Director, Port Lecturer and Shorex Manager before assuming land-based decision making positions with Holland America, Sea Goddess, Cunard, Seabourn, and SeaDream. In dual VP positions for Abercrombie & Kent Inc., he brought a proven track record and innovation to eco and cultural tour development for cruise clients from around the world, and served as a kind of ‘travel detective’, travelling the world and spotting trends and new venues to keep cruise tours and land programs current and on the cutting edge of travel. He is a popular speaker within the travel industry because he is not afraid to offer candid opinions and address provocative topics. His passion and enthusiasm are contagious as he urges his travel industry colleagues to “make it different, make it unusual, make it fun and never forget that for many of your clients this will be their only opportunity to experience the culture, sights and food in your region”.

Smith leads a team of around 55 employees and oversees all commercial and operational activities in Australia and New Zealand for the company’s three cruise brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises. Since joining RCL, the Australian operation has seen substantial growth in demand for cruising from passengers across Australia and New Zealand. In the second half of 2011 the cruise company will triple the number of ships sailing in Australasian waters for the Southern Hemisphere summer. In December 2010, Smith was appointed Chairman of the International Cruise Council of Australia, the not-for-profit organisation aided at training travel consultants and raising consumer awareness of cruising. Smith has over 20 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry. Prior to joining Royal Caribbean Cruises, he served as General Manager one of Australia’s leading retail travel groups, Jetset Travelworld. Previously, he served as Managing Director for P&O Cruises Australia and president for Carnival Australia, where he managed the organisation through a period of significant growth.

Conference Program

Conference Program cont. Day 2

Thursday 25th August (all delegates)


Registration (Newcastle City Hall, 290 King Street)


Official Welcome

9:30am Keynote Speakers Gavin Smith, Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia State of the Industry and RCCL in Australia Capt. Cees Deelstra, Holland America Line Developing Regional Cruise Destinations 10:30am

Morning Tea Sponsored by Port Stephens Tourism


Keynote Speakers

David Vass, The World The Effects of Cruise on Local Destinations David Nye, Newcastle Airport The Impact of Cruise on Regional Airports Ian Cameron & Alan McGuigan, Tourism New South Wales NSW Update and Regional Port Study

Day 1

Wednesday 24th August (all delegates)


Registration Desk Opens (Crowne Plaza hotel lobby)


Half Day Social Program:

Hunter Valley Tour …or… Port Stephens Tour 5:00pm

Registration Desk Closes


Meet in Crowne Plaza hotel lobby for short walk to Welcome Reception


Welcome Function at Newcastle Regional Museum Sponsored by City of Newcastle


Members’ only dinner at Silo Restaurant and Lounge

Leigh Sorensen, Tourism Australia Tourism Australia Update

Alex Stuart, AEC Group Release of Economic Impact Study 2010–11 1:00pm Lunch Sponsored by Newcastle Airport 2:00pm

Keynote Speakers

Gavin Smith, International Cruise Council Australasia

Kaylene Zakharoff, National Sea Passenger Facilitation Committee


Panel Session 1, The Shorex from Hell


Afternoon Tea Sponsored by Maitland Tourism


Panel Session 2, The Model Port


Announcement of 2012 Conference Venue


Conference Closes


Transport to Taste of the Hunter Showcase and Gala Dinner

6:00pm Taste of the Hunter Showcase – Fort Scratchley Supported by Trade and Investment NSW 7:00pm Gala Dinner – Fort Scratchley Sponsored by Abercrombie & Kent Inc.

Conference Program cont.

Day 3

Friday 26th August (Members Only Program)


Day 3 of Conference Opens (Crowne Plaza Hotel Conference Centre)

Event Sponsors

Members’ Forum 10:30am

Morning Tea Sponsored by Fremantle Ports


AGM Opens


AGM Closes

12:30pm Lunch Sponsored by Newcastle Airport

COUNCIL ... a community partnership

Getting Regions Onboard  

15 Annual Cruise Down Under Conference

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