Tomorrow, April 25, 2022, marks the start of the annual Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Miami Beach, Florida. It has been said this is “where the cruise industry does business”. And, once again, Goldring Travel will be there…first, and foremost, as a journalist but also as one of the industry’s top luxury travel agents.
My involvement with this conference goes back almost two decades when there was a Superyacht Pavilion and I was a lecturer and panelist. I would – as a developing luxury travel agent – run over to the cruise sessions to sit with the folks at Seabourn. And then I noticed the cruise folks (not just Seabourn) were coming over to my sessions. And then I really became aware of the cross-over between the two industries on everything from construction to crew to culinary to port development to…well, you get the idea.
As I transitioned out of the superyacht industry, this blog became relevant and, thus, my career as a journalist of sorts began and has since developed to the point that not only do consumers, but the industry, reads Making Waves (which I have a tendency to do!)
For me, Seatrade Global is a goldmine of information and networking opportunities. And I literally hit the ground running; proving my point. I arrive in Miami International Airport at 3:59 PM, quickly check in at the art deco classic hotel, Marseilles Hotel, and immediately am off for cocktails with Explora Journeys.
Tuesday morning, after picking up my credentials, it is one of the highlights of the conference: The State of the Cruise Industry, which is a panel discussion with the heads of Royal Caribbean Group, Carnival Corp and MSC Group. (Of note, Frank Del Rio, of NCL, will not be a part of this panel this year. I suspect it is due to his constant tension with virtually every other cruise line executive.) This year it should be very interesting as there is so much to discuss regarding the effects of, and recovery from, Covid, among other things.
Next up is a conference by MSC Group which I suspect will highlight the new luxury cruise kid on the block, Explora Journeys, to be followed by an invited lunch by Windstar Cruises and then the Luxury Cruising Leaders Panel. It is at events like these that breaking news is, well, broken and details are given that are more indepth than what is eventually released to travel agents. (Oh, and as a journalist I am free to ask questions…and I do!)
In between and after those events there is an Exhibition Hall with almost 500 vendors exhibiting everything from new bedding to electronics to food services to classification society trends to port information to… And then it is off to an invited dinner with Explora Journeys.
Wednesday won’t be quite as hectic, but will include a press conference by Silversea, another by Ponant and a “Small But Special Panel” on small ship cruising which includes Windstar.
Thursday will be extremely interesting to me as it is all about Expedition Cruising. It will include a CEO Panel with Seabourn and Silversea (which I find curious as neither CEO can really speak to the expedition experience, so their perspectives will be enlightening!), discussions on technical advances, “Hybrid Luxury”, staffing and crewing challenges (of which I have pondered often) and supply and demand (especially of interest as I fear this market is being flooded) and more. And then it is a mad rush to the airport and back to Tahoe so I can be in the office on Friday.
I love what I do and part of what I do is trying to be a real “expert”, not just someone who just says they are or who measures their alleged expertise solely by the number of cruises or expeditions they sell. Yes, I sell a lot, but I believe I sell as much as I do because, in part, I am an actual expert! (I’ve been noticing a significant trend on Facebook and Cruise Critic of folks booking cruises and then not having the slightest idea of what they actually booked, how a cruise or expedition works or even how to get there. I hope to address this in another article.)
If you have any questions or areas of interest you would like me to explore while I am at Seatrade Cruise Global, let me know!