Buzz, Buzz, Buzzing Around At Cruise3sixty Plenty Of Announcements & Celebrations
by Vanessa Lee
Norwegian Cruise Line President Andy Stuart
MSC's Ken Muskat & Rick Sasso with Vanessa
Preparing for the cruise3sixty trade
show at the
booth with Steve Simao new V.P. Agency Sales
Gloria Bohan with Joe Duckett & Steve Simao after being announced she will be Godmother for Star Legend
I am in Fort Lauderdale at the annual CLIA Cruise3Sixty
event which is a must-do on my calendar. It's an event I embrace and enjoy and
which helps to keep me revved up about “all things cruise".
Networking, schmoozing, wheeling,
dealing, learning and engaging and some
kissing and hugging – all of these things are accomplished when I am at
C3sixty. It's an excellent event and if you
haven't yet attended, make a point of doing
so next year. It will be held in YVR from
st to 6th.
Here's some of what I learned: Norwegian Cruise Line's
new and engaging President Andy Stuart, made
the big announcement of their 3 and 4 day ship from Miami, the
becoming an “all-inclusive" product in 2016.
What does this mean? Well first of all it's always tough to sell these 3 and 4
day cruises which most major lines offer on at least 1 ship. It's often a
locally sourced or “drive" market that will book such a cruise and invariably
it's one of the line's older ships that is utilized. Andy told us they
had been testing the waters with a beverage package
selling at USD60 a day for this cruise and had received lots of positive
feedback from guests. So they decided to take the step and include the liquor
in the cruise price. He emphasized this has no bearing on the rest of the fleet
but they thought it could work well for a short cruise and attract a bigger
audience and one that might also book a little earlier.
A good thing for all and of course travel agents now get commission on the
slightly higher price for which the ship is
being sold. They are not including
gratuities and the top notch specialty restaurants on board the
still come at a small premium. However, this is a sharp move and I like it. And
you never know what it might bring down the road. But as Andy says, “There are
no plans to go all-inclusive on any other ships or itineraries".
Other news from Norwegian is very much about their new ship
Escape and their new private “island" destination at Harvest Caye,
Belize which will become part of their Caribbean itineraries in Spring '16.
Then it was on to MSC and various announcements about their
new online agent booking engine called appropriately, MSC Book. It appears to
be quite amazing and many agents who have done beta testing on it love it and
feel it's very easy to use. This will be rolled out sometime in June so stay
tuned for that.
Their big news however, is that the Divina, the ship that was initially brought here in November 2013
for year round cruising and which, in fact has gone back to the Med this
summer, will now definitely stay in these waters when she sails back
this Fall. Yes – you have it right – Divina is here to stay and that is good
news. Clearly sales are picking up, more
agents are being supportive of MSC's agent oriented Serving You campaign and
now the line will have a ship here year round with Divina sailing in the summer
of '16 on 7 day Caribbean Cruises. She will not be heading back to the Med and
will also be joined by their new build,
Seaside when she arrives in
December 2017. And Rick Sasso, President of MSC Cruises USA promises us that
will have “the most unique christening ever"!
And then I was at a Windstar Cruises' event where they
made 3 agency-oriented announcements. First Steve Simao has joined Windstar as
their V.P. Agency Sales based in Seattle. I have spent much of the past few days with Steve, whom I like very much and I
know will do a great job for Windstar with his extensive sales background (HAL
and Seabourn) and wonderful attitude.
And a terrific new travel agent promo was launched by
Windstar called RISING STARS giving agents 1
of 4 chances to win a trip to the Emmy Awards in Hollywood in September with
air, 2 nights at the Ritz Carlton and 2
tickets to the Emmy's. Just make new bookings for the 3 new all-suite Star
Class yachts – the Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride and the winners will
be the ones who book the most by 31JUL. Go to
windstarcruises.com/risingstars for details and get booking (groups
And then there was the announcement, accompanied by a few
bottles of Moet et Chandon as Windstar V.P. Joe Duckett announced that the very
successful and well-known travel professional Gloria Bohan of Omega World
Travel has been named Godmother to their new yacht, the Star Legend which she
will christen in Rome on 25MAY. Gloria is a fabulous choice for
Godmother as she is as elegant and beautiful as she is charming and smart and a
very savvy business woman who has spent many years in the travel industry. A
terrific choice Windstar – well done!
And that's it for me for now although Cruise3sixty still has
a few more days to run and I have more networking to do. I will report more in
my next column.