This Week in Cruise: Cruise360 Presidents Panel, New Ship Orders

When Jeff Anderson, co-CEO of Avoya Travel, was tasked with moderating a panel of top cruise line leaders at Cruise Lines International Association's (CLIA) annual Cruise360 conference in South Florida last week, he presented one major challenge to them. He wanted the executives to help advisors "generate six-figure incomes." He also told the 1,250 travel advisors attending the first General Session of 2024 conference at Port Everglades that "I want you to achieve the most that you possibly can as travel advisors."

During the first part of that session, Kelly Craighead, CLIA's president and CEO, offered a robust industry outlook and trend tidbits. But the executive panel, in turn, leaned more toward such trade-business topics as how to view making mistakes as a necessary element in the path for growing and developing any business. However, the executives also explained that while advisors shouldn't be afraid to try new and different things, the approach should include a "measured risk" that won't put the person out of business or cost significant revenue if it fails. 

Participating in that panel discussion were: Gus Antorcha of Holland America Line, Michael Bayley of Royal Caribbean International, Frank Del Rio, Jr. of Oceania Cruises, David Herrera of Norwegian Cruise Line; Laura Hodges Bethge of Celebrity Cruises; John Padgett of Princess Cruises, and Ruben Rodriguez of MSC Cruises.

Left to right, Frank Del Rio, Jr., Michael Bayley and Laura Hodges-Begthe provides insight and advice for advisors at the annual Cruise 360 conference.
Left to right, Frank Del Rio, Jr. of Oceania Cruises, Michael Bayley of Royal Caribbean International, and Laura Hodges Bethge of Celebrity Cruises, who were among seven top executives offering insight for advisors attending Cruise 360. (Photo by Susan J. Young)

In addition, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, advisors attending Cruise360 headed out to South Florida ports for 12 ship inspections. At Port Everglades, they toured Disney Dream, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas, Celebrity Reflection, Enchanted Princess, Emerald Princess and Celebrity Apex, while in Miami, they checked out Royal Caribbean's Icon of the Seas, MSC Seascape, Carnival Magic, Carnival Celebration, Virgin Voyages' Valiant Lady and Norwegian Breakaway.

Other Top News

In major executive news, after 22 years of service, Barbara Muckermann, president and CEO of Silversea, announced that she's leaving the ultra-luxury brand. With her departure, Bert Hernandez, Silversea's senior vice president, international, has been named as Silversea's new president and CEO.

Last week, Cunard Line took delivery of the new, 3,000-passenger Queen Anne, which becomes the fourth ship now operated by Cunard. Travel Agent will be aboard the new vessel in about 10 days to check it out. Separately, Abercrombie & Kent announced that it will launch a new river vessel to sail in Peru starting in 2025, while Windstar Cruises is acquiring two small ships—one a new-build—from Mystic Invest.

On the foodie front, Norwegian Cruise Line previewed the new culinary offerings planned for its new Norwegian Aqua, a Prima-class vessel launching in 2025. Princess Cruises, additionally, said that it will extend its trio of main dining options that debuted earlier this year on Sun Princess to all ships in its fleet. So, guests can choose either traditional, reservable or walk-in anytime main dining options.  

The growing number of cruise passengers heading ashore is causing concern for some destinations across the globe. In the latest development, Isafjordur, a town in northwest Iceland, has capped the maximum number of cruise passengers allowed at 5,000 daily, according to online site Cruise Hive.

More Cruise Developments

L to r, Josh Weinstein, Carnival Corporation; Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruise Lines, honored with CLIA's Lifetime Achievement Awards; and Charles Sylvia of CLIA. ith Charles Sylvia of CLIA at right.
Christine Duffy, president, Carnival Cruise Line, receives CLIA's Lifetime Achievement Award. At left is Josh Weinstein of Carnival Corporation, at right Charles Sylvia of CLIA. (Photo by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA))

In other developments, Carnival Cruise Line added new features to its online travel trade booking tool, while at Cruise360's Hall of Fame dinner, Christine Duffy, the line's president, was honored with CLIA's Lifetime Achievement Award and inducted into CLIA's Hall of Fame.

Also, Havila Voyages secured better liquidity to help improve its balance sheet, Viking announced new Mongolian extensions for its China cruises, and, in a surprise move, Holland America Line resigned its active USTOA membership.

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