International Cruises Summit 2021: optimism and news

The eleventh edition of the International Cruise Summit concluded in Madrid, for the first time in full attendance after the pandemic, an increasingly important meeting and debate point for the cruise world.

Many important figures in the cruise industry, from companies to service providers to port and logistics operators. There were also numerous sponsors, demonstrating the importance of the initiative and the historical moment of the cruise industry.

The general atmosphere was certainly one of great optimism, even though we are aware that the timescale for recovery will not be too rapid. What is important, however, is that the trend is not reversed and that we continue in the direction of restoring operations and increasing the number of ships in operation. All the managers of the companies present agreed to set 2023 as the year in which the entire fleets will enter service.

Many topics were addressed, providing a very comprehensive overview of the new companies born, destinations and sales at this particular time, but also of crews and environmental sustainability.

Particularly interesting is the comparison between luxury and expedition companies, often confused but with two often different target markets. Enthusiastic description of the stopovers in Saudi Arabia recently undertaken by Msc Crociere and well described by the Chief Executive Officer of Cruise Saudi.

We talked about revenue and market strategies, about the new attitudes of cruise passengers, more and more devoted to last minute as a consequence of the uncertainties given by the pandemic. All the inconveniences of disembarking crews in spring 2020, as emerged from the panel dedicated to the Crew, today have new implications and new difficulties but also a new momentum in recruiting, a very positive sign.

It was also very interesting to see the insights of many new companies: Cordelia Cruises, Ambassador Cruise Line, Tradewinds Voyages, Explora Journeys but also the evolutions of Mystic Invest and the future Ocean Residence Development.

Respect for the environment and research into the use of renewable resources are always at the center of attention of all companies. Respect but also enhancement because more and more itineraries and cruise philosophies are thinking about direct contact with nature, thanks to special destinations or excursions.

Two days of updating and comparison that are certainly good for the world cruise industry, marked by great collaboration and enthusiasm. The key words for the future are certainly collaboration between the companies and synergy with land-based resources such as port authorities and recruitment companies. But also the awareness of having to have great flexibility and promptness in adapting to the new situations we will encounter.

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Gabriele Bassi