Cruise360 Day Two Recap

All this week, the Premier Custom Travel staff is attending our tenth Cruise360. You may have heard us mention this conference before or the host – CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association). Each evening, we’ll publish a blog post with a recap of all the happenings at the industry’s largest cruise conference. Today, a look at the second full day.


Starting today, the conference shifts from advisor training (how to do sales, marketing, etc.) to a focus on the actual products. Tomorrow will be all about the cruise lines, but today is mostly about destinations (and a few cruise lines too).

Since we will be seeing all the cruise lines tomorrow, we opted instead to sign up for the destination workshops, specifically Israel, Aruba, Singapore, and Puerto Rico.

We started the day with two of the workshops featuring Israel and Aruba.

Israel: Vacation Beyond Belief – Israel may be the size of New Jersey, but situated at the meeting point of Asia, Africa and Europe. It is one of the most historically and topographically unique destinations in the world. With its burgeoning culinary scene, world-class wineries and vibrant nightlife, Israel can satisfy even the most sophisticated traveler. In Israel, travelers can explore the universe of attractions and activities from delving into faith, heritage and history to diving into the submerged city of Caesarea or hiking almost the entire country on the Israel trail. We learned there is an Israel for every client.

Oh the Many Wonderful Things You Can Do in Aruba – Come along and discover the many treasures Aruba holds for your clients to discover. From the depths of our crystal blue seas to the shores and throughout our One Happy Island, it is sure to leave your clients longing to return.

In the afternoon, we attended two more – Singapore and Puerto Rico.

Singapore – Asia’s Top Cruise Destination – Cruise passengers have consistently voted Singapore as Asia’s Top Cruise Destination. You can feel like a “Crazy Rich Asian”, get lost wandering amongst tall futuristic Supertrees in Singapore’s dazzling Gardens by the Bay or seek one-of-a-kind experiences in Singapore’s colorful cultural districts. There’s much to uncover in this dynamic, cutting edge yet historical and charming city-state.

It’s Time for Puerto Rico – It’s time for simple pleasures and dramatic sunsets. It’s time for warm welcomes and ice-cold pina coladas; to get a world away, without needing a passport. It’s time to plan.

Singapore and Puerto Rico had a lot of amazing culinary options, and in the Puerto Rico session we learned about the island’s official cocktail (the Pina Colada) and the three men who all claim to have invented it.


Like yesterday’s General Session I, today’s gathering focused on the path forward to the resumption of cruise.

After CLIA’s Charlie Sylvia opened the session, we heard from Marriott International. The talk focused on their safety measures and various properties around the world, but one cool take-away is that Marriott is getting into the “all-inclusive” market in select destinations with plans to further expand later. We were told that the reason they have taken so long to enter that sector is that they intend to “do it right.”

Up next was the keynote address from CLIA’s Anne Madison, Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Communications & Marketing. Anne presented “A Retrospective Look at the Cruise Industry’s Path to Resumption,” detailing the steps that CLIA and its member cruise lines have taken over the last 18 months.

At the end, she shared the inspirational video above.

The second General Session wrapped up with the Sales & Marketing Leaders Hot Seat, where industry execs sat on the hot seat (literally a red chair) and had 7 minutes to answer various questions about their brands and what they’ve been doing during the pandemic. The panelists were:

John Diorio – Virgin Voyages
Vicki Freed – Royal Caribbean International
Todd Hamilton – Norwegian Cruise Line
Michelle Lardizabal – MSC Cruises
Jamie Paiko – Cunard
Adolfo Perez – Carnival Cruise Line
Dondra Ritzenthaler – Celebrity Cruises

There was also one special guest – Princess Cruises sales exec John Chernesky, who joined us virtually from onboard one of their ships currently sailing in Alaska.


This afternoon was the Cruise360 Trade Show, where we visited booths from the suppliers attending, including dozens of cruise lines, hotels, ports, visitors bureaus, and much more. This event is a great way for travel advisors to make connections and get answers to specific questions about the various products we sell. You also need to bring an extra suitcase for all the goodies the various booths hand out.


One of my favorite events each year is the CLIA Cruise Industry Hall of Fame Gala & Dinner. During the evening, we induct several people into the Hall of Fame, plus we enjoy cruise entertainment from three different brands – Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises.

This evening, we inducted a new Elite Cruise Counsellor into the Hall, plus a travel agency innovator and the fantastic Scott Koepf, who all of us in the industry admire and have been inspired by.

Between induction ceremonies, we enjoyed some amazing entertainment.

Royal Caribbean kicked things off with the incredible Xavier Mortimer. A social media sensation with over 3.5 million followers, he is part magician, part musician, and part indescribable. Royal is smart to have snatched up this talent for their ships. We were all left amazed and very entertained.

Up next was Norwegian Cruise Line, bringing us the musical revue “After Midnight” direct from their ship Norwegian Encore. These four ladies sure could sing and I can see why Norwegian features them onboard.

The entertainment and the gala ended on a high note (well actually a bunch of high notes) as Celebrity Cruises brought us “Uptown” from Celebrity Edge. These three gentlemen brought us some of the most recognizable hits around, from Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” to a Motown Medley and ending with (appropriate for their show’s name) “Uptown Funk.”


Tomorrow, the entire day will be focused on the cruise lines. In just one day, we will hear from dozens of lines, getting updates on their products, their re-start plans, and much more.

Until tomorrow, good night from Hollywood, Florida.