Key Takeaways From CruiseWorld Day One

This week, Premier Custom Travel is attending (virtually) the annual CruiseWorld conference. Presented by Travel Weekly, the event brings together the entire world of cruise, plus other vacation suppliers like hotels, amusement parks, and more. This year, PCT’s Chris Grum has been accepted into the STAR Program, giving him exclusive insider access to the entire conference. Here are some of his key takeaways from day one of three.


Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, started growing a beard when sailings were first suspended back in March and vowed to only shave it off when we’re back cruising again. Problem is he actually likes the beard now (as does his family) and is torn about shaving it off when the time finally comes.

As far as when he might do that, he’s cautiously optimistic it will be sooner rather than later, but didn’t have a specific timeline for us yet. 


As one might imagine, the number one question asked at CruiseWorld this year on day one was, “When will we cruise again?” During the Carnival Corporation Presidents’ Panel, the heads of each of the individual lines were cautious to not give a specific answer, but did state that they are working in conjunction with the CDC and local governments to get back to the sea as quickly (and safely) as possible.

There may not have been a definitive answer or date given, but there were certainly some clues and hints. During his presentation, the head of PortMiami seemed to infer that it would be February at the earliest before cruises resumed from Florida. In at least one of the smaller roundtable groups, one cruise line’s director of sales hinted that he hoped January would be a go, but he wasn’t terribly optimistic. “There’s just too many things in the new CDC order to process. It will take time,” he told our small group of agents.


Another hot topic was a specific part of that new CDC order requiring all voyages to be seven days or less in length. Princess Cruises, prior to the conference beginning, announced that they would be temporarily removing all voyages longer than 7 days from sale through November 1, 2021 (the current expiration date for the new order). During today’s event, at least two other major cruise lines in the Carnival family followed this lead and also removed the longer sailings from their websites. The order can be amended at any time, so the limit on the length of the cruises may not last the full year, but the cruise lines say they will evaluate the order and its affect on their products before making any decisions. They all emphasized that none of these voyages are being altered or canceled at this time. We expect that most, if not all, of the lines sailing from US ports with cruises over 7 days long will also temporarily pause sales of those itineraries in the coming days.


It may be called “CruiseWorld” but they also cover other vacation types, and one of the places featured today was Universal Orlando Resort and their brand new roller coaster coming in 2021 – the Jurassic World VelociCoaster.

Get ready for a new species of roller coaster. Speeding through the jungle, rising high above the terrain, it’s the Jurassic World VelociCoaster. Board your vehicle for a high-speed dash through the park’s raptor paddock. You’ll feel the rush of the hunt as you race alongside these nimble predators, twisting and soaring above the land and water. The Jurassic World VelociCoaster is coming Summer 2021 to Universal’s Islands of Adventure.


Perhaps the most inspirational part of the day came from one of the events that was supposed to be all about a cruise line. The morning sessions today featured all of the Carnival Corporation brands – Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Costa, Cunard, and Seabourn. Agents could choose which line they wanted to spend time with to learn more about their products and services. But one brand took a completely different approach. Industry veteran Michelle Sutter used her time in the Holland America Line presentation not to talk about her cruise line but rather to inspire. She shared an incredibly positive inspirational message about overcoming the difficult times we are all facing and coming through on the other side stronger than ever. It was just what we all needed to hear and Michelle nailed it. I’m not sure she even said the name Holland America during her 20 minute address. She put the health of our community and industry ahead of a brand. You rarely see that in any business today and the session received rave reviews from attendees. She also invited us all to join her inspirational book club where she shares titles that motive you personally and professionally.

Tomorrow is day two of the three-day conference. I’ll share my thoughts again in a new blog tomorrow night.