'The show opens at the Miami Beach Convention Center in less than three weeks and we can’t be more excited to be organising the 35th edition of Seatrade Cruise Global after almost two and a half years of being away,' said Mary Bond, group portfolio director, Seatrade Cruise.
'We know travel restrictions will preclude many of our European and Asia cruise community, in particular, from attending in person which is why we are offering a virtual opportunity for those who are not US-based.
'We also know nothing replaces face to face engagement and even more so at a time when the cruise industry is restarting and rebuilding and looking to a brighter future after such a prolonged period in flux.'
Added Chiara Giorgi, global brand & event director, Seatrade Cruise Events: 'The theme of this year’s event is “The Future of Cruising."
'Never before has cruising faced such a critical pivot and restart,' Giorgi said. 'At the conference we have plans for leading cruise lines, ports, destinations, suppliers and service providers to weigh in on a host of relevant and on-trend topics.
Safety aligned with cruise industry protocols
'The trade show floor is down in scale meaning we have more space, fewer people and, most importantly, we have everyone’s safety at heart; we have worked with CLIA, FCCA and the major cruise lines to ensure that our event protocols are in line with those of the industry.'
The protocols are here.
Giora Israel: 'reconnecting in a safe way'
'I am looking forward to reconnecting with many of our business partners from around the world, doing so in a safe way,' said Giora Israel, SVP global port and destination development group, Carnival Corp. & plc. 'I know that some people/delegations for various reasons that I respect will not be able to come this year but many others will.'
He added: 'There is nothing like meeting people face to face and not meeting many people for a long time is just hard for us as humans to keep strong relations going.'
Like many, Israel has used Microsoft Teams and Zoom frequently in the past 18 months 'but nothing, nothing comes close to personal interactions,' he said. During 2021, he's traveled internationally 14 times, mostly on short trips, including aboard the new Mardi Gras and many times within the US.
Through it all, Israel continues taking the pandemic very seriously. Like his company, he's following the stringent health safety protocols established by the experts and 'cannot underestimate the importance of the vaccine.
'If we can sail on ships internationally, adhering to the protocols and the recommendation of being vaccinated, meeting in the newly renovated, spacious Miami Beach Convention Center, doing so responsibly, is a no-brainer for me,' Israel said.
Rick Sasso, chairman of MSC Cruises USA, will be on hand to '[learn] from experts what they have encountered these last 18 months and best practices to help us all continue to manage through this challenge.' He hopes for 'Priceless dialogue from all stakeholders who are anxious to move beyond today and create even further bonds with the private and public sectors like never before.'
Among the other MSC Cruises leaders planning to attend are Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman and global chairman, Cruise Lines International Association, who will be in the spotlight throughout, and Bud Darr, EVP maritime policy & government affairs, MSC Group, who's speaking on the 'Charting a Sustainable Course to 2050: Technological Innovations' and 'The Evolution of Fuels' panels Sept. 29.
Mark Conroy, managing director, the Americas, Silversea Cruises, is attending and said it will be 'great to get an update during this recovery period and also see competitors, suppliers, port agents and port officials we have not seen in two years.'
His Silversea colleagues Barbara Muckermann, chief commercial officer, and Roberto Martinoli, president and CEO, are scheduled as speakers on the 'What Cruise Can Learn from Broader Market Trends' session Sept. 28 and 'Luxury Cruising Leaders Panel,' Sept. 29, respectively. Plus, Conrad Combrink, SVP expeditions, tour operating and destination management, is taking part in the 'Expedition Leaders Panel' Sept. 30.
'Safety first' for Virgin's Juan Trescastro
Juan Trescastro, senior director - itineraries, destinations & government relations, Virgin Voyages, noted several of his appointments were canceled due to the COVID spike but as of now he plans to be at the convention.
'Our goal is to meet with our destination partners to discuss operations and the longer term plans for each destination. We always will look at safety first and if it is determined that it's in everyone’s best interest not to attend physically then we won’t,' Trescastro added. 'I hope those of us who do attend take everyone's safety seriously.'
SeaDream's Emilio Freeman: nothing beats face to face discussion
And Emilio Freeman, VP iItineraries & destinations, SeaDream Yacht Club, conveyed that 'After attending the FCCA conference in June, it was great to see friends, industry colleagues and partners face to face and discuss the ever-changing developments both internal and industry-wide. COVID has greatly changed the way we are doing business and, while much can be shared via email or a teleconference call, nothing can replace the opportunity to meet face to face.'