Seatrade Cruise Global: what happened on day four?

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 fourth day of the biggest cruise industry event of the year

Seatrade Cruise Global: what happened on day four?
Jon Ingleton met up with Adam D. Tihany to gain some insights into his design process for Cruise & Ferry Interiors 2019
Wednesday 10 April

My fourth day at Seatrade Cruise Global (SCG) started with a very pleasurable interview over breakfast with one of the most charming and revered designers in the business, Adam D. Tihany. There are few other more pleasurable breaks in an otherwise manic week than a long lazy breakfast with Tihany whose cruise reference list continues to grow. Conversation topics covered much of his recent work and his approach to both design and creative direction – you’ll be able to read all about it in this year’s Cruise & Ferry Interiors (subscribe here so you don’t miss out).

Douglas Prothero, founder and CEO of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, led the press conference again this year to update an eager audience as the company looks forward to a February 2020 launch. Notably, Prothero told the media that his company is already talking about plans for after the first three ships are delivered. With six of the nine press conferences this year reporting positive news for small luxury or expedition cruising, market appeal would appear to support Prothero’s hints about more ships joining the fleet in the future.

The ‘Veterans or Virgins’ design conference moderated by Ayesha Khan from Jeffrey Beers International was a thought-provoking session that drew on the wisdom of a compelling panel comprising Dee Cooper, senior vice president of Design and Customer Experience at Virgin Voyages; Jan Krefting, senior architect at YSA Design; and Paris Swan from Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. A consensus appeared to have been reached by the end of the session with everyone seemingly in favour of a blend of both.

The introduction of the ‘Neighbourhoods’ sector on the show floor may have been the catalyst that prompted the launch of the inaugural Designers Lunch. It may take some time to grow into the equal of the Planners Lunch, but this initiative is a welcome addition to proceedings, giving the industry’s creative heartbeat a casual occasion to network and share experiences. Fifty-one guests were counted through the door and with a bit more finesse, this occasion could quickly become another popular event on the schedule.

German shipyard Blohm + Voss is a strong case study for corporate reorganisation. Speaking with managing director Ralph Peterson, it seems the business is in good health now and competing strongly for new business. Experience, reliability and efficiency are the pillars that have become synonymous with the business today but Peterson believes that it is their reliability of delivery that truly differentiates the yard from its competitors. Client trust is perhaps a fourth key strength – trust in Blohm + Voss’s ability to fulfil the promises it makes around the core pillars.

While on the exhibition floor, I managed to steal a few precious moments to chat with Bourne Group, Emser Tile, 2WayChaise and Cush – all good content sources for Cruise & Ferry Interiors that I hope to be able to share more about in June.

The annual SCG presentation at the French Pavilion prompted happy recollections of my recent adventures in Le Havre and Var Provence. The ports of mainland France and its overseas regions enjoyed a 3.3% growth in passengers last year over already impressive numbers in 2017. These numbers are surely reflective of the successful efforts made to enhance the range and quality of shore excursions across the country and abroad. The legacy of Le Havre’s 500th anniversary in 2017 is still paying dividends for its visitors. On the other side of the country, Var is only just starting to see a return for its investment in building a compelling programme of eco-tours.

Good news came from the Mexican ports of Baja California Sur, Sinaloa, and Sonora at a press conference with Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV). Together, they announced details of the first cruise from Puerto Peñasco (known as Rocky Point), starting in December. “Our new Treasures of the Sea of Cortez voyage takes travellers to discover some of the best-kept secret destinations of Mexico from a beautiful seaside town conveniently located just outside Arizona,” said John Dennis, vice president of Sales and Marketing for CMV USA. Meanwhile, the new terminal in Puerto Vallarta is set to open in July and it will lift the standard of cruise facilities in a country that is committing to widespread cruise infrastructure improvement projects.

The Silversea Cruises press conference was full of eager journalists ready to hear whether 2019 can live up to a momentous 2018 for the company. Project Invictus and Silver Origin dominated proceedings, but the company also used the opportunity to talk about its ‘Sea and Land Taste’ programme and take a tour through its two world cruise itineraries for 2021, The Finest and Unchartered.

Originally slated for 5.00pm, the Tauck press conference was bought forward to 2.00pm – doubtless because the team couldn’t wait to share the latest news. Andorinha’s hull has been completed and moved from Valhali Shipyard in Serbia and is now in Hardinxveld, Netherlands for outfitting. Consistent with the company’s stated premium goals for the ship, she will have just 84 cabins, compared to 112 on other ships of a similar size in the fleet.

Accepting party invitations during SCG week will inevitably lead to a few late nights. The combination of MJM Marine and Bolidt hospitality on opposite sides of Collins Avenue provided back-to-back drinking and dancing until the early hours. The popularity of both companies was clearly demonstrated by the size of the crowd, and I’m sure by their bar bills too!

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

Jon Ingleton
By Jon Ingleton
18 April 2019