ICS focused on sustainability, rising costs and supply chain shortages

Event also covered how brands are dispelling the cruise industry’s reputational problems

ICS focused on sustainability, rising costs and supply chain shortages


ICS 2022 hosted senior executives from cruise lines and associations to discuss the current state of the industry and to set goals for the future

By Alice Chambers |

The cruise industry’s reinforced its commitment to decarbonisation and sustainability and discussed how operators are dealing with rising costs and labour shortages at the 12th edition of the International Cruise Summit (ICS) on 15-16 November 2022 in Madrid, Spain.

During the event, cruise lines indicated that while there has been strong recovery in 2022, occupancy levels have not yet reached their peak and they are still facing challenges with a low frequency of flights (or no flights) on certain routes. However, the industry expects normality to return as economic activity continues to grow. These factors, combined with the rise in operating and fuel costs, mean that cruise lines have also committed to not lowering prices.

Cruise lines also outlined the issues they are facing with current supply chain shortages around the world, including the need for buses, drivers and tour guides for excursions, as well as port staff and onboard crew. Consequently, the industry is working on solutions to overcome these challenges. For example, it is negotiating new agreements with Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to recruit and train new crew members to work on Caribbean cruise ships.

Sustainability initiatives were another key topic at the event, with cruise lines sharing how they are moving towards achieving their environmental goals by building ships with technologies for emissions reduction, water purification, and more. Organisations are also researching the use of new energy sources such as hydrogen, ammonia and methanol to further these efforts.

These sustainability strategies have also been extended into the cruise brands’ offices and the destinations they visit. For example, some lines are considering how to improve environmental practices through the entire value chain in destinations, including at a port, tour operator, transport and shore excursion level. Andrea Zito, CEO of Swan Hellenic, also highlighted the importance of environmental education and the lasting impact that visiting Antarctica and the Arctic has made on him personally.

Furthermore, ICS outlined the industry’s continued efforts to combat preconceived myths about cruising by publishing health and safety operations, its sustainability commitments and efforts to improve economic value for passengers.

Another key point raised at the event was that although 34 per cent of cruise travellers are millennials and Generation C (a term used to describe people who deeply care about creation, curation, connection and communication), cruise lines must continue to improve communication about the value of cruises to increase this percentage.

ICS 2023 will be held on 14 and 15 November 2023 at the Hotel Meliá Castilla in Madrid.

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