Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

Returning to the technical attributes of Project Blue, Robertson highlights that American is is committed to burning only ultra-low-sulphur diesel. “On this series, all the generators and main engines are at least Tier III Environmental Protection Agency emissions compliant,” he says. “That will be the first time that any ship of this size is actually Tier III compliant in the USA.” Using shore power supply is high on the company’s agenda but there are currently very few ports ready. However, Robertson is optimistic. “This is a major infrastructure priority for the federal government here. There is a lot of discussion about shore power for ports, so we believe it is coming.” American’s advantage in this respect is that the electrical requirements of its ships are more akin to those of a boutique hotel, which would have far less impact on the local grid than large ships, as they are more like adding an extra town. “Our requirements are smaller so the infrastructure burden on the community is substantially less, and the investment required is not hugely impactful,” explains Robertson, adding that in this respect, the company is looking at co-investing with a few of its ports. Looking ahead to 2023, Robertson is happy with bookings to date but says: “I think the challenge that faces us this year is a broader economic one, the prospect of recession and the ambiguity of the political football right now. This is a challenge all the tourism industry face, but I do think the pandemic is in the rearview mirror. I’ve said that before and been wrong but I’m optimistic and will say it again!” Meanwhile, American plans to keep exploring and will shortly unveil a package of longer cruises lasting between 30 and 60 days which will link several of its ships and regions together. “Once people get out, they want to stay out longer, particularly now post pandemic,” says Robertson. The company has also witnessed a change in guest perception. “A sense of security is very valuable for our guests,” says Robertson. “The idea of only checking in once and getting to see a lot of different places has always had a convenience message, but now it has a safety message also.” For this reason, American is now offering airfare to its packages which is “enormously popular as our guests feel that we are with them every step of the way,” concludes Robertson. TURNS HEADS THE TURNAROUND THAT With great museums, historic neighborhoods, art galleries, culinary o erings, summer-long festivals and more, it’s no wonder Milwaukee has been chosen as one of National Geographic’s top-ranking international communities to experience and is recognized as a premier Great Lakes turnaround port. DISCOVER OUR DIFFERENCE. EMAIL PORT@MILWAUKEE.GOV TO LEARN MORE. “ I think the pandemic is in the rearview mirror”