Tuesday's Return to Sail Summit was the first live event since COVID-19 for the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.
Preparing for the return of cruising to partner destinations
Hosted and sponsored by PortMiami, the event joined a capped-out 200 attendees with the FCCA member line executives for workshops and networking opportunities to help prepare for the return of cruising to FCCA partner destinations.
'After 15 months, it was beyond exciting to again gather with our partners during this pivotal time to prepare how to make it out of this crisis, hopefully even better than ever,' FCCA President Michele Paige said. 'We are grateful for PortMiami hosting the event and showcasing some of the protocols that will drive cruising’s return from North America.'
Importance of working together
'I can confidently say on behalf of all people and destinations the FCCA represents that we are ready to again get back to business,' said Micky Arison, chairman, FCCA and Carnival Corp. & plc, who participated in functions including the ‘View from the Top’ round table. 'It has been a long, arduous time, but we now see the light at the end of the tunnel and know the importance of working together to make it to the other side even stronger.'
The FCCA-PortMiami Return to Sail Summit featured workshops and networking opportunities, from an opening event/reception to lunch and other chances for attendees to talk privately with the participating cruise executives while observing safety protocols including a mask mandate and distancing.
During the workshops, the cruise executives took center stage to discuss key issues to help the attendees prepare, with the latest information about the industry’s return to the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico.
'View from the Top'
In ‘View from the Top,’ cruise leaders shared some of the when and how their brands and companies will return to the region and how the industry’s reset has led to opportunities including more homeporting, multi-port itineraries in island destinations and longer stays.
Besides Arison, the panel included Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International; Christine Duffy, president, Carnival Cruise Line; Tom McAlpin, president and CEO, Virgin Voyages; Jason Montague, president and CEO, Regent Seven Seas Cruises; Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings; Rubén Rodríguez, president, MSC Cruises USA; Harry Sommer, president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line; and Jan Swartz, group president, Holland America Group.
Along with taking advantage of the first chance in over a year to talk in person with attendees who can help move the cruise industry’s return full steam ahead in the destinations, many of the other 35 participating FCCA member line executives joined workshops to address the larger audience.
Operations updates and job opportunities
‘Grand Tour’ featured cruise executives from the FCCA Operations Committee giving updates on new protocols in destinations, including the impact for tour operators and shore excursion operations.
‘You’re Hired!’ engaged the newly formed FCCA Employment Committee to detail some of the recent developments creating job opportunities for destinations.