From ocean to river to specialty cruise ships, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) represents more than 95 percent of global cruise capacity, 40,000 travel agent/agency members, and 300-plus executive partners. I was humbled and honored when CLIA introduced me as the new Chair for their Executive Partner Diamond Advisory Council during Seatrade Cruise Global, the cruise industry’s annual premier event at the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center with over 11,000 attendees from 125 countries.
I am extremely passionate about the cruise industry stemming from my first cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Song of America, a ship long gone from service! In the 90s, Song of America was considered one of the largest ships, and yet you could fit the entire ship in a mere section of today’s largest ships such as Harmony of the Seas, – a perfect metaphor for how the cruise industry has grown exponentially over the years.
After closing out a very healthy 2016, cruise line executives state that they believe things are only getting better. CLIA president and CEO Cindy D’Aoust, opened Seatrade with the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook. She shared the impressive news that the industry has grown 62 percent since 2007, with an estimated 25.3 million passengers expected to set sail in 2017, and 74 new ships scheduled to cruise into the market over the next 10 years.
Diamond level makes waves in the cruise industry
As the industry sets sail for record expansion, so does CLIA’s Executive Partner program. With more than 300 members worldwide and ever evolving, members enjoy a number of benefits including informative newsletters, research reports and educational content. CLIA’s networking events connect Executive Partners with cruise line executive decision makers. The Diamond tier, launched in 2015, is the highest level of the Executive Partner program, and as such, offers the greatest benefits. At this year’s Seatrade conference, I had the privilege of welcoming seven new Diamond members into the program. We are now a record total of 40 Diamond-level companies, all working to support the cruise industry globally at the highest level.
Amadeus has been a solid partner with CLIA for decades. We were one of CLIA’s original Executive Partners. My team and I have experienced the evolution of this dynamic, exclusive platform that connects us in a deeper way to the cruise lines. In my new role, I am delighted to work closely with CLIA, helping to shape the strategic focus of the Diamond partners, making certain our goals align closely with those of CLIA and the member cruise lines. While the program is offering some great new benefits and opportunities to maximize engagement in 2017, I as well as fellow council members have lots of fresh ideas to bring to the table!
As Chair over the next two years, I plan to help generate even more event content, develop greater benefits, and help Diamond members forge stronger connections with cruise line executives, as we all work together to contribute to the strength and growth of the cruise industry.
I look forward to hosting the Diamond Advisory Council meetings twice a year and hearing more about your cruise needs!