Stay informed with the latest happenings at this year’s Cruise Shipping Miami with the Interjournal: See below for the latest news as it happens:

Four Key Discussion Points from CSM 2015

China Isn’t The Be All & End All: 

John Tercek, Vice President of New Business Development at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., mentioned dozens of cruise markets that will be developed around the world, highlighting the challenges they face. John highlighted that RCCL are still seeking new customers in Germany, France, Mexico, Brazil, China, Colombia and Hong Kong.

Bigger Is Better… Or Is It:

 John Tercek, Vice President of New Business Development at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, highlighted the new trend of bigger ships have limited itinerary

“A lot of [destinations] in Asia are on rivers, it’s different than a deep water port,” Tercek said. He noted that a destination like Myanmar will only be able to handle small ships because of its geography.

The Cruiser Is Dead, Long Live The Cruiser

 Cruisers aren’t what they used to be. “They were mostly old folks,” said Tine Oelmann, Director Port Operations at TUI Cruises, comparing present-day cruisers to travelers in the 70s. “They have changed a lot.”

They’re also a lot more tech savvy and do more research on the Internet before traveling, the panelists agreed. Websites like TripAdvisor have more clout than ever before.

If You Build It, They MIGHT Come

Cruisers don’t want to travel to a destination and find a water park similar to the ones they left back home, said Marc Melville, director of Chukka Caribbean Adventure Tours. He stressed that travelers will pay more for experiences that are unique to their destinations.

“People want multiple experiences on one site for less money and usually for less time,” Melville said. “Stay local, stay local, stay local.”

Overheard in Miami

A collection of rumours and odd news coming out of Miami after Day 1 of the conference (sourced from Cruise Industry News):

whitehatspyNCL: Has Norwegian Cruise Line stolen the show in Miami? It may seem so, although not in the most positive way, as the recent executive revamp of the now Frank Del Rio-led company has the industry grapevine at full speed.

Lindblad: Lindblad Expeditions newbuilds will be in the 100-passenger range, according to the company, not the 300-passenger range as rumored yesterday.

Crystal: Crystal Cruises will get its newbuild in 2018, according to a statement released by the company last week. Meanwhile, this morning, STX France released a new small-ship concept. Coincidence? We hear there will be options on the newbuild order for additional vessels. Look for Crystal’s tonnage to eventually be split between the Chinese market and its existing market mainly sourcing from North America and Europe.

Genting: While the Genting buyout of Crystal came as a surprise, the luxury line has been actively for sale since the fall. JPMorgan was reportedly in on the deal, and declined to comment when approached byCruise Industry News last November.

Quest: For the second straight year show organizers have brought in an outside-the-industry journalist to run the trademark State of the Industry panel. CNN’s Richard Quest hosted the panel this year, appearing to ask top executives real questions, although for those in the know, the conference program remains relatively scripted. Quest, at least, had been on a cruise prior to his panel hosting debut.

Oops: Singapore Cruise Centre may not be poised for growth, despite pushing out a clever public relations spin at the show. The legacy terminal in Singapore has air restrictions due to a bridge. The new Marina Bay facility is garnering all the attention with a nine-figure build budget and the latest big ships calling. Meanwhile, cruise lines eye sourcing Chinese passengers from Chinese ports.

Off Site Events: Over three days, events during trade show hours, seminars and nightlife entertainment have cruise industry professionals busier than ever. But perhaps not so smart are events hosted off-site during the day at Cruise Shipping Miami – taking ports and suppliers off the show floor – and often for hours at never-ending lunches at hotels on Collins Avenue.

State of the Cruise Industry 2015

Key points from Cruise Shipping Miami’s key conference panel:


Richard Fain, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises:

We are growing, the industry is continuing to grow and this is a good time of the industry.”

Fain said the industry has yet to find its break-out formula to find a whole new customer, although he added there was infinite growth opportunity on the near horizon in Asia.

“My focus is on demand growth,” said Fain. “I frankly can’t change supply growth in the near-term. We need to find a way to break out of the pattern we’ve been satisfied with.

Growth Markets

Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald said annual growth of 10 to 15 percent was possible given the right factors.

“We today probably go to other destinations that are less developed than Cuba,” said Del Rio, who quickly cited a sailing distance of 220 or so nautical miles from Miami.  Donald added: “When the embargo is lifted we’ll be there.”

More realistic than Cuba, however, is the potential market in China. Both Norwegian and MSC are looking into going to China, and Donald said eventually there may be Chinese cruise ship building to support the growth that could come from the Chinese market.

Market Penetration

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises noted the

2014 showed growth in cruise penetration (in Europe)“.

However he quickly noted that Europe was made up of 700 million potential customers, and currently the penetration rate was close to one percent. And that may be the case around the globe, where market penetration rates are considered much lower than they could be. 

“It’s still a United States driven industry but we are global now,”

said Frank Del Rio, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

“The United States still drives the majority of customers.”

Global cruise industry gathers for Cruise Shipping Miami 2015

CSM 2015 expecting to draw around 11,000 attendeesThe world’s cruise community is gathering in Miami for the 31st Cruise Shipping Miami conference and exhibition at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

The annual three–day exhibition and four-day conference is expected to draw around 11,000 attendees. Today’s summit will kick off with the State of the Industry Panel in few hours time, make sure to check back here for the latest news.

Read more about the CSM 2015 preparations here