Seatrade Cruise Global: A look back at day one

ICFR’s executive editor Jon Ingleton was at Seatrade Cruise Global in Miami, Florida from 7-11 April 2019. Here, he shares the best bits from the first day of the biggest cruise industry event of the year

Seatrade Cruise Global: A look back at day one
Orlando Ashford revealed that Holland America's new Pinnacle-class ship would be named Ryndam at Seatrade

Sunday 7 April
Kicking off Seatrade Cruise Global (SCG) with its annual Seatrade Sundays event, Holland America Line was a generous host, treating guests to a viewing of Nieuw Statendam in the company of president Orlando Ashford and his executive team. She didn’t disappoint – the public spaces are typically sumptuous, as you’d expect of the company. I fancy that my appreciation of the quality, variety and general thoughtfulness of the interior spaces has elevated since I was onboard her older sister Koningsdam.

Ashford took advantage of the occasion to tease the crowd before slowly announcing that the next Pinnacle-class ship will be called Ryndam. It’s the fourth time there has been a Ryndam in the fleet and this latest incarnation will boast even further elevated facilities and amenities. There will be high expectations for a ship that carries such a treasured name.

The food onboard every Holland America ship is routinely excellent and so it was for our visit. The line’s culinary council is clearly paying off by enhancing an already strong offering. The celebrity chefs in the team are adding a slightly more contemporary touch to the ingredients, style and presentation that will appeal to guests of every generation without drawing criticism from traditionalists.

Staying on the theme, entertainment followed in the new World Theatre by contemporary dance troupe Step One. The theatre’s 270-degree digital display is an expensive bit of kit, but with the imagination and skill shown here, it turned good dancing into a dramatic spectacle.

An afternoon disembarkation was timed perfectly for the start of the Cruise Baltic and Cruise Norway press conference. Sustainability, a market review and port developments were the stated agenda topics, but it proved too hard to steer the conversation away from the environment – unsurprising given that our hosts are such passionate protectors of it. Of course, the appeal of the Baltic and Norwegian destinations for cruise passengers lies in the natural landscape and their leadership position was in evidence again as the panel negotiated an expert route through a candid conversation that included a new phrase to me, ‘environmental alibis.’ The words resonated and I expect to hear them again soon.

When the serious business had concluded, the party started. Members, cruise executives and others steeled themselves for the busy week ahead with a drink, or two, in the very good company of old friends and new.

Read ICFR's highlights from the second, third, fourth and fifth days of SCG.

Jon Ingleton
By Jon Ingleton
15 April 2019