Some of the cruise industry’s key players – including more than 40 executives with nine Presidents, CEOs and/or Chairmen from cruise companies – gathered with destination stakeholders at PortMiami to embark on the first live event since COVID-19 for Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the trade association that represents the mutual interests of destinations and stakeholders throughout the Caribbean, Central and South America, and Mexico, along with Member Lines that operate over 90 percent of the global cruising capacity.
Hosted and sponsored by PortMiami, the exclusive event joined a capped out 200 attendees with the FCCA Member Line executives for a day of 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,” said Michele Paige, President, FCCA. “We are grateful for PortMiami hosting the event and showcasing some of the protocols that will drive cruising’s return from North America.”
“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 Corporation & plc, who attended the event and participated at the functions, including the ‘View from the Top’ roundtable. “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 a schedule of workshops and networking opportunities, from an opening event complete with a meet and greet, to a joint lunch and other chances for attendees to talk privately with the participating cruise executives while observing safety protocols including a mask mandate and physical 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.
In ‘View from the Top,’ FCCA Member Line Presidents, CEOs and/or Chairmen 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 destinations and longer stays through the joint work with governments and stakeholders. The panel included Micky Arison; Michael Bayley, President & CEO, Royal Caribbean International; Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line; Tom McAlpin, President & CEO, Virgin Voyages; Jason Montague, President & CEO, Regent Seven Seas Cruises; Frank Del Rio, President & CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.; Ruben Rodriguez, President, MSC Cruises USA; Harry Sommer, President & CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line; and Jan Swartz, Group President, Holland America Group.
Besides 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 the itinerary of workshops to address the larger audience.
‘Grand Tour’ featured cruise executives from the FCCA Operations Committee updating on the new protocols in cruise 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 opportunities for destinations to have more of their populations join cruise line families.