Cruise360 Day Three 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 was day three (four if you count the pre-conference seminars) and there was a lot going on.


Our day started with breakfast provided by Holland America Line. While we ate, one of their sales managers talked about their robust Alaska product. This year, they are celebrating 75 years in Alaska and they have many itineraries and ships available to experience this magnificent destination. I will be leading my third trip to Alaska next summer and I’d love to have you join me. Get all the details here.


The bulk of today’s events were Cruise Line Showcases, where one by one, each line has a chance to talk about their brand and update us on their latest ships, itineraries, and more. We have to pick and choose, as there is simply not enough time to attend them all. Here is a recap of each line’s presentation from the ones we attended today:

AmaWaterways – AmaWaterways is a family-owned river cruise line, lead by husband and wife Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst. Rudi is the man behind the ship design, while Kristin is the brains behind the sales and marketing. They are the only US-based river cruise line that operated in 2020, and without a single COVID-19 positive test. They are currently in the middle of the roll-out of their ships, with 19 of their 25 vessels returning to service in the next few months. They also pointed out that the Christmas Markets will be open this year and their holiday cruises are starting to fill up.

American Cruise Lines – American Cruise Lines brings you 35+ itineraries on the US rivers but also features cultural experiences from the regions in which you sail. They have different ships depending on the waterway. You’ll see more traditional ships on the coastal and select river voyages, plus authentic paddle wheelers on the Mississippi River. The ships are all US-flagged, crewed, and built here in the states. Expect lots of space, amenities, and outstanding service. They also offer lots of theme cruises, including Civil War journeys, Lewis & Clark, Lobster Bake cruises, and much more. Their four new “modern” riverboats offer 100% balcony cabins. All of their ships are currently in service.

Atlas Ocean Voyages – Atlas is a brand new all-inclusive small ship expedition-style luxe cruise line. Their first ship launches in just a few days. Their first ship, World Navigator, holds 196 guests on most voyages. Airfare is always included with Atlas, plus a choice of excursions in every port. The ship can sail in warm and cold waters, offers 6 different dining options, and much more.

Carnival Cruise Line – Most of our customers know about Carnival, but today we focused on the re-start and their newest ship, Mardi Gras. By the end of October, Carnival expects to have half of their fleet up and running, with more coming shortly thereafter. But tomorrow, Mardi Gras finally sails her long-awaited maiden voyage. And, in two weeks time, I’ll be onboard for her third seven-night voyage and plan to post constant updates, including daily blogs, photos, videos, and much more. This ship looks absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to share her with you. I’ll also be hosting a Thanksgiving 2022 cruise onboard this amazing ship and I’d love for you to join me.

Celestyal Cruises – They are Greek owned and have over 84 years of experience. They cover not only Greece but also other ports in the Eastern Mediterranean. Unfortunately the day started with bad news for Celestyal. They have had to suspend sailings in Greece due to the Delta variant of COVID-19. They had just resumed sailing earlier this month. Once they do re-start again, you can enjoy the only cruise line that offers regular Greek Isles cruises sailing from Athens.

Costa Cruises – Costa Cruises has already returned to service in Europe, which is their primary market. They have three new ships, one of which debuts this Christmas. While this line caters primarily to the Italian market, there are some Americans who love this product for its true European feel onboard.

Cunard – Cunard has been in business for 180 years and their three ships still sail the world in style. They have three “Queens” – Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary II, and Queen Victoria. A fourth ship is coming, although it has been delayed by the pandemic. In the past two weeks, Cunard has added 40 new voyages to its slate of great itineraries.

Disney Cruise Line – The big news is Disney Wish, the first of three new vessels joining the fleet in the coming years. Wish will sail her maiden voyage next summer from Port Canaveral. Disney is slowing sharing details about the ship, revealing new spaces and features. Here is the newest video that was shared today:

Emerald Waterways – Emerald is a sister brand to Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours. Instead of giving you the all-inclusive option that Scenic offers, Emerald is luxury but not fully inclusive. While Emerald isn’t all-inclusive, all meals onboard and drinks with dinner are included. There are also included daily excursions, complimentary wifi, and more. Emerald has been voted best value in river cruising five years running. The other distinction between Scenic and Emerald is that the Emerald ships hold a few more passengers, therefore slightly smaller staterooms than their sister brand. Although Emerald is primarily a river cruise brand, they have recently launched Emerald Yacht Cruises featuring the Emerald Azzurra Superyacht. She will hold 100 guests and visit ports the larger cruise ships cannot reach. They are currently building a second yacht and we heard a rumor of a third coming soon as well.

Holland America Line – The excitement is building at Holland America Line as they are about to take delivery of their latest ship, Rotterdam. She’s not the first ship in their fleet to bear that name, but she certainly looks like she will be the most magnificent. They are working towards their return to service and will have several ships sailing by the end of the year. There are some great rates available on their holiday sailings this year, in fact I will be enjoying one of those cruises over Christmas.

Norwegian Cruise Line – Norwegian Prima is the first in a new class of cruise ship, coming in the summer of 2022. It is the first of six Prima class ships on order, the last arriving in 2027. Prima will visit various ports around the world during her debut, including Galveston. 8 of their 17 ships will return to service by the end of the summer. NCL is doing a 5-part web series giving a behind-the-scenes look at their return to service. Episode 3 just came out yesterday. All of them can be viewed at

Princess Cruises – As we meet here in Florida, Princess is actually sailing again in Alaska. It’s a huge feat for the line as that’s one of their top destinations and they do it very, very well. A lot of today’s session focused on Ocean Medallion, the technology that Princess now has throughout the fleet that allows you to open your stateroom door, order food or drinks to anywhere on the ship, play in the casino, and so much more via a wearable device. I’ve used it on one of their sailings and it’s pretty cool.

Oceania Cruises – Oceania is known for their small ship experience, with exquisitely crafted cuisine and immersive curated travel experiences. They try to find both marquee and boutique ports on each itinerary, giving customers the best of both worlds. Their wheelhouse is “upper premium” and they put themselves above lines like Celebrity, Princess, or Holland America, but just below lines like Regent or Crystal. Their first ship is set to return to service next month, with the rest coming on line into the fall and winter. Their brand new ship Vista goes on sale in September.

Pearl Seas Cruises – A sister brand to American Cruise Lines, Pearl Seas Cruises offers itineraries that include Canada, so they are not currently sailing due to closed borders. They have one 200-guest coastal ship that visits places like Niagara Falls and the Great Lakes, plus the Canadian maritimes and the St. Lawrence seaway.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Regent will be the last of the Norwegian Cruise Holdings brands to return, but they will begin their roll-out later this year. By February of 2022, all five ships will be back in service. One of the reasons is that they are the top premium brand in the family and they do not want to sacrifice the experience for guests. Regent is known for an “Unrivaled experience” at sea and they will continue that luxury included experience when they return. Over 450 worldwide destinations are included on their itineraries. They often feature one-of-a-kind and/or exclusive shoreside experiences, often at no extra charge. Regent is a truly all-inclusive experience.

Riviera River Cruises – Riviera River Cruises was established 37 years ago and is the UK market leader in river cruising. They only started marketing to US residents in the past few years. They are the only company with no single supplement in at least 5 cabins on all voyages. They also offer a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not happy by day two, they’ll send you home at no charge and with a refund. Pricing tends to be around 20% less than their competitors. The line has three different sizes of ships for a total fleet of 12 vessels. Their staterooms are significantly larger than most of the competition and 85% have French balconies.

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours – Scenic is an Australian all-inclusive cruise brand specializing in river cruises. Their ships are starting to return to service this month with more coming online soon. The Scenic group is known for inclusion and innovation. They were the first to introduce full-size balconies on the rivers of Europe. Scenic also has an onboard cooking school, something else unique to this brand. They also offer Scenic Enrich – special cultural experiences ashore that can only be found on their ships. Butlers are also available onboard and laundry is included (something rare on any ships). Scenic also has Scenic Eclipse, their first ocean-going vessel designed as a discovery yacht.

Seabourn – Seabourn has two ships that have returned to service, with more coming on line later this year. Seabourn is a resort at sea experience with the youngest fleet in their category. Each of their ships carry between 600-800 guests and feature great dining venues, a world-class spa, marinas, and much more.

SeaDream Yacht Club – SeaDream offers yachting (not cruising) onboard two twin ships that hold 112 passengers each. This year is their 20th anniversary. They are a luxury product that is “casually elegant.” No suits, no jackets, no ties. It’s like as if you owned your own yacht. Each ship has a marina platform at the stern that lowers to allow for watersports in the various ports. One very popular feature is SeaDream’s Balinese dream beds that allow passengers to sleep out on deck under the stars in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean. They also offer a “Champaign and Caviar Splash” where the officers and staff are in the surf serving guests on a private beach. Each of the ships can be chartered for those who want the ultimate experience.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection – A family-owned company celebrating 45 years of service. They are a sister brand to the Red Carnation Hotels. Uniworld is an all-inclusive experience and features farm-to-table culinary experiences with around 75% of the menu highlighting local cuisine. Several of their shore excursions are exclusive experiences unavailable to guests of any other cruise lines. They carry 25 bikes onboard to allow customers to explore the various ports on their own. The decor of each ship is themed based on the river it sails. Two butlers are onboard for suite guests and they are trained to the same standards as those at Buckingham Palace. Seven of their ships are currently operating in Europe.

Windstar Cruises – People choose Windstar for the itineraries but return for the service and experience. They specialize in going where the big ships don’t go, but also finding places you might not have considered for your vacation destination. Windstar has six ships in its fleet, three of which are more traditional small ships and three are actual sailing yachts. While an upscale brand, they like to call their experience “traveling in understated luxury.” Never stuffy, never formal, but always impeccable service and luxury. One thing Windstar has done during the pandemic is put in hospital-grade air filtration on all their ships to enhance the safety onboard. They’ve also spent over $250 million on their “Star Plus Initiative” to literally cut their ships in half and expand them to add even more space onboard. Windstar currently has three of its six ships sailing.


This afternoon, we attended the last of the three General Sessions.

CLIA’s Charlie Sylvia opened the final session and then handed things off to Disney Cruise Line so we could hear about their re-start (beginning in August in the U.S.) and their newest ship, Disney Wish.

Following the update from Disney Cruise Line, CLIA’s Charles Sylvia returned to the stage for “Charlie Unscripted” – where he talked off the cuff about Cruise360 and how to leverage everything we have learned and experienced to grow our sales. Charlie used to be a travel advisor himself and he had a ton of great advice and tips for making our customer service even better. Charlie is a dear friend and an inspiration to all of us in the industry.

The final few minutes of the last General Session were used to highlight small ship cruising through a fun “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” type game where we, the audience, guessed answers to trivia questions about the various brands. Each executive from that brand then confirmed whether we got the right or wrong answers. It was a clever way to teach us about the various brands that could really make us millionaires by selling their products. The participants included:

Ellen Bettridge – Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Theresa Gatta – Ponant
Lisa Hernandez – Azamara
Richard Hickey – Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
Joe Leon – Silversea
Alex Pinelo – AmaWaterways
Steve Simao – Windstar


Sadly, we lost a member of the CLIA family this past year. Gabriella Shuskey was CLIA’s Senior Director of Marketing and always someone we looked forward to seeing each year. She passed away earlier this month at the age of 45 from colon cancer. She leaves behind a husband, two children, and many friends and family. All of the CLIA employees were wearing black wristbands this week in her honor and Charlie dedicated the Hall of Fame Gala to her last night.

Rest in peace, Gabriella. You will forever be a part of our memories and we will think of you every time we gather for this event.


Typically the weekend at Cruise360 would be spent visiting the cruise ships (the industry term is “ship inspections”). But due to the pandemic, there aren’t very many ships here in port and as you might expect, they do not have the ability to welcome tours at the moment. So instead, we will attend several “virtual” ship inspections.

Until tomorrow, good night from just south of Fort Lauderdale at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood.