In March several of us from AllThingsCruise attended SeaTrade, the annual conference of the global cruise industry, which was held in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl.
The big news all around is that the cruise industry is booming and there are now over 100 ships on the order books extending through 2030.
We have already written about the two new cruise lines – Virgin Voyages and the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection – which will begin service in 2020. But here’s a look at what is going on at other companies:
HOLLAND AMERICA (HAL)
Holland America is reinvigorating its Culinary Council by announced the involvement of seven chefs who will design menus for all of its ships.
The Culinary Council is led by Holland America Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, who is joined by international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Elizabeth Falkner, Andy Matsuda, Ethan Stowell and Jacques Torres. HAL also announced a collaboration with wine critic James Suckling to curate its wine lists and works with master mixologist Dale DeGroff on its cocktail program.
Each chef will be entrusted with a specific onboard dining experience. For example, Ms. Falkner will develop lighter fare and “healthy” cuisine while Andy Matsuda will focus on introducing top sushi trends and Ethan Stowall will bring the unique flavors of Alaska on board ships sailing to that region.
Sodamin has also released a book of his food stylings. Our writer Jackie Finch discussed the project with him. Her article and photos are here.
Holland America Line also announced it is partnering with Fujifilm for a new, interactive, creative photo space on board that will enable guests to immediately print their photos from their devices or memory cards using autoprint machines.
Guests also will be able to share cruise memories by creating keepsake souvenirs featuring images from their cruise on product offerings such as photo books, mugs, shirts, keychains, magnets, mousepads and more. Keepsake mementos will be produced offsite and shipped to guests upon returning home from their cruise.
NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES (NCL)
NCL made a big splash when it announced the construction of a new, ultramodern cruise terminal at PortMiami. Nicknamed “The Pearl,” will be highly visible and alter the skyline of the city, according to Frank del Rio, the CEO of NCL. PortMiami has been the company’s home since its launch in 1966.
Norwegian is often cited as introducing modern-day cruising more than 50 years ago, by transforming a common means of transportation to a new style of vacation with its first Caribbean voyages out of the port of Miami and launching the city’s status as the “cruising capital of the world.” The terminal is being funded jointly by the city and the cruise line.
For more details about the new building and to see renderings, read Jackie Finch’s story here.
VIKING OCEAN CRUISES
When SeaTrade began on March 5, there were fewer than 100 cruise ships on order…but the very next day that number had jumped to over 100. That is mostly because Viking announced the order of six more 930-passenger ocean ships, bringing its total to 16 ships by 2027. (Two days later it christened its fourth ship, the Viking Sun, in Shanghai.)
Viking’s all-veranda ocean ships have 465 staterooms and are all of identical design. Viking will welcome two more sister ships in the next two years, including Viking Orion in June 2018. With the arrival of Viking Jupiter in 2019, Viking will be the largest small ship ocean cruise line. Ten additional ships are now on order for delivery starting in 2021, which will bring Viking’s ocean fleet to 16 ships by 2027
While we didn’t see Viking’s owner, Torstein Hagen, at SeaTrade (no doubt he was in Shanghai) he was certainly present: He was featured on the cover of Maritime Executive magazine which was distributed throughout the show.
Founded by a group of French Merchant Marine Officers in 1988, PONANT celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. At SeaTrade, it announced that it will expand its fleet to 12 ships by 2021.
Its flagship, Le Ponant, features 32 staterooms on a three-masted sailing yacht. Four other intimate ships, each with 132 staterooms, as well as six new Explorer ships with only 92 staterooms each will enable the line to offer luxury expeditions all over the world. In 2021, PONANT will debut the world’s first luxury hybrid icebreaker powered by LNG.
The Explorer ships have garnered notice for their unique Blue Eye lounge which will be located beneath each ship’s waterline.
While many Americans are familiar with Tauck as a major land tour operator, not so many know of Tauck’s extensive small ship cruise offerings. It has long partnered with PONANT for its cruises, so it announced an extended list of new cruise tours that it will offer on PONANT’s new ships. The company is set to grow 40 percent in 2019 with new itineraries and an expanded fleet. In all, Tauck will offer 22 itineraries aboard 13 ships including explorations of Iceland, Greenland and the Galapagos islands.