Michael Thamm, Chairman of CLIA Europe kick started the event addressing a 450-strong audience during the opening ‘State of the European Cruise Industry’ session, reporting, “The growth of our business year after year is reflected in fleet size, which currently counts 290 ships with an order book of 114 newbuilds arriving over the next 8 years, many of them in the expedition and luxury segments. "
Co-located with the first MARINE INTERIORS Cruise & Ferry Global Expo, powered by SMM, the two events staged new and exciting elements in both exhibition halls including free-to-attend content in the Showcase Deck and MARINE INTERIORS Forum.
Visitors filled the Showcase Deck theatre of the trade show floor with standing room only available in interactive sessions such as Lightning Pitch, ‘What’s New at My Port/Destination?’, which saw ports, destinations and service providers representing countries from the Caribbean to the Indian Ocean and North Europe to the Cape Verde Islands present to a panel of cruise line judges.
The show welcomed 95 speakers, its highest ever, evoking insightful and rich conversations. A full and engaging conference programme covered topical issues and trends ranging from greener cruising and sustainability to technology, expedition and interior design.
The Newcomers Boulevard positioned in the central walkway of the show floor was bustling as 15 new exhibiting suppliers from safety equipment to electronics and lighting to uniform and amenities networked with visiting buyers and cruise lines looking for new to cruise suppliers.
The final day concluded with a focus on shore excursions provoking discussion on the interpretation of the term ‘experiential’. Panellist David Vass, SVP Worldwide Cruise Business & Operations, Abercrombie & Kent Destination Management commented, "Experiential is fluid; it is constantly changing” whilst it was agreed technology such as virtual reality applications could enrich the shorex experience.’
The next Seatrade Europe will be held at the Hamburg Fair site from 8-10 September 2021 alongside the co-located MARINE INTERIORS Cruise & Ferry Global Expo.