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Cruise Europe elects Simone Maraschi as new chair replacing Michael McCarthy

PHOTO: Mary Bond CRUISE_Maraschi_McCarthy.jpg
New at the helm of Cruise Europe: Simone Maraschi (left) takes over the chair from Michael McCarthy
Simone Maraschi, managing director of Cruise Gate Hamburg, is also the new chair of Cruise Europe taking over from Captain Michael McCarthy who has led the port association for the past 12 years.

Cruise Europe thanked McCarthy for his unwavering dedication and remarkable contributions to the organization. ‘Under his guidance, Cruise Europe has achieved significant milestones, solidifying its position as a vital entity within the global cruise community,’ noted Jens Skrede, managing director of Cruise Europe during the association’s annual meeting being held this week in Stockholm.

‘Michael's appointment as chair in April 2012 was pivotal. Slowly but steadily, we implemented changes to win back port members who had left, such as Southampton, Hamburg, Reykjavik, Tromsø, and Bordeaux. Now, 12 years later, we can proudly say that our recruitment drive was successful. Membership has grown from less than 90 to almost 150 in 20 countries under his chairmanship.’

New role for Maraschi

Commenting on his new role, Maraschi, said, ‘I am passionate about fostering collaboration between ports and cruise lines to ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for our industry. Together, we can overcome challenges, seize opportunities, and deliver exceptional experiences for cruise passengers.’

Maraschi brings vast expertise from the national and international cruise industry. His leadership and dedication will be instrumental in guiding Cruise Europe forward as it seeks to drive innovation and promote new technologies and practices that minimize the environmental impact, while at the same time striving for a balance that benefits all stakeholders – ports, cruise lines and destinations.

McCarthy's 12 years at the helm

In summing up his 12 year tenure at the helm of Cruise Europe, McCarthy said he was honoured to work alongside Skrede and over 30 different elected Council Members from every region of  Europe. 

‘I found that our “democratic leadership style” is one of the most effective for CE, because it encourages everyone to participate in all processes, sharing their opinions,  knowing that you value their input,  hear their feedback, and they have space to participate, increasing their empowerment, and motivation

‘In my opinion, "Leadership" is not just about directing; it's about inspiring, supporting, and growing together, about finding the balance of fostering trust and unity within our team. True leaders empower their teams to function effectively.’

He referenced the setting up of the committees for Sustainability and Marketing and the recent committee working on EES (Entry-ExitSystems), ‘which have all kept Cruise Europe at the forefront of the industry.’

McCarthy spoke of challenges experienced and overcome by all ports during the pandemic, the work done in reigniting cruising in the region both during and post covid and the invasion of Ukraine and the way in which Baltic ports in particular rose to those challenges through innovation, dialogue and drive to show the region is much more than just St. Petersburg.

He spoke of the good and open approach collaboration with MedCruise and the two port associations.

Finally, he thanked every single port member that has joined ‘our family which brings huge added value and expansion to itineraries and offerings to the cruise lines.’