SeaTrade Cruise Convention Updates
Join Kuki and myself here for minute by minute updates from the Miani Seatrade Cruise Comvention.
You can also follow us on Twitter @cruisemates and @CruiseMatesKuki.
Kuki arrive tonight (Sunday) and I will be there Minday afternoon. Stay tuned!
I'm in Miami, though it was a bit of adventure getting here, and no this time it isn't an airline story.
Screwed up setting my alarm this morning. Set for 5 AM, alarm went ??? I woke up at 6:15, my flight was 7:45. Jumped into some clothes, threw toiletries in my bag, and ran for my car for the normal 25 minute ride to the airport.
Saw a photo radar camera flash as I zoomed by (RATS). Parked off-site, they got me to the airport, check in was smooth, and I was onboard when the flight left 10 minutes early.
I used to say I'd rather join AA than fly AA, but today's flight went well; arrived in Miami almost half an hour early, and my bag was almost the first one to appear on the carousel.
Off to the DoubleTree Surfcomber I had booked on South Beach. Checked in, and checked out. The room was smaller than the old broomclosets on NCL's Norway, and not in great shape.
Now settled into luxury at Loew's on South Beach, though I may have to unretire to settle the bill when I check out.
Looking forward to my first visit to the biggest Cruise Convention in the world, Seatrade (Cruise Shipping Miami). Going to see what kind of mischief I can cause .. ER... I mean observe :)
Tomorrow I'm going to see a presentation on Pasturized Eggs. I'm so excited about the topic I'm already almost over easy.
I WONDERED WHAT YOU MEANT when you said don't do what I did, leave at 6:15 for a 7:45 flight. I can actually be curbside from my house in about 15 minutes, and I am on the same AA flight tomorrow (leaves 7:45) but that will be a Monday. LEAVING my house at 6:15 is what I plan to do.
But I will wake up at 5:30 or so.
Yes, Mondays are a bit slow at the conference, but actually I wish I was there with you. had I known you were leaving a day early I would have done so as well and been less rushed. Anyway - it's going to be fun.
Tomorrow night is the Royal Caribbean dinner.
The Sea trade - Cruise Shipping Miami Conference - opened this morning with a presentation by Chile.
A very current and topical opening I thought.
The presentation was entitled, Oportunities for Cruises Chile. I noticed in the Power Point presentation, then it was confirmed by my spell checker that the word “Oportunities” jumped out at me. I don’t speak or read Spanish, so at first I thought it may have been Spanish, but the rest of the presentation was in English.
Certainly not a big deal, but it did allow me to begin the conference with a bit of a laugh (under my breath of course).
The thrust of the presentation, which I’ll go into more detail about later, that even with the devastating earthquake that the country is struggling to deal with, the country is indeed still ready for cruise ship visits.
Though it’s nearing the end of their season for cruise ship visits, they wanted us to know their ports are now running at 90% efficiency.
A note of interest - cruise ship passengers visiting Chile are compromised of 57% Americans, 8 % British, and 8 % Canadian.
Also of note is that even before the earthquake Chile had reduced their port costs for cruise ships by 30%.
NCL Epic to be the First to Use a Radio Operating System for Cabin Door Security
NCL Epic is to be the First to Use a Radio Operating System developed my Norwegian company Ving Card, who has been supplying door entry systems for cruise ships and hotels world wide.
The currently used systems are all off-line; that means all details of exit, entries, etc. are kept only in each doorways mechanics, and they presently only maintain the history of 100 “events”. If any questions about entry arise anyone investigating has to physically go to the door to retrieve the information.
With the new Radio Operating System, each door system is equipped with an antenna, and sends radio signals on every type of “event” to the ship’s servers in 30 seconds. The signal goes from the lock, to a gateway, through the Ethernet to the ship’s Zigby server.
It was explained that with the previously used system, if a card was lost, and then replaced by guest relations, the old card would still work in the door until the new card was first used.
For example, if a person found a key card in the hallway, they could conceivably walk down the hallway, trying the card in every door they pass…. And they could get “lucky” and find the cabin door it opened.
With the new system, not only is the lost keycard made useless immediately, the system will pick up the attempted use of a suspicious/ incorrect card after 5 attempts in different doors and send a warning.
These warnings, as well as any events like break-ins etc. can then be transmitted by text messages to the onboard telephones of the appropriate personnel, who can react immediately.
The system also reports doors that have been accidentally left ajar, which could potentially make for an unsafe situation. The operators/monitors of the system would have the ability to pre-set an amount of time before warnings are raised about the door ajar.
With the new Ving Card system REAL TIME action is the key!
Of course, some may have thought that these types of systems were already in functional on ships. And that does raise some questions about existing ship’s systems, such as how long it might take for all cruise ship doors to get such equipment installed.
Just took a spin around the showroom of the convention floor. The show doesn't actually begin until tomorrow, but as you can imagine there's PLENTY of hustle and bustle as all the exhibitors rush to get their booths ready.
There's certainly a huge digital aspect to almost all the booths. The large display screens, flashing lights, and everything they can think of to attract the viewer's eyes.
I was looking for the guy with the mic around his neck displaying and selling the slice and dice gizmos.... maybe tomorrow ;)
Now I'm off to stroll over to Lincoln Rd. and grab some lunch before coming back for the pasteurized egg presentation I have so been looking forward to.
I remember the joy of Trade Shows. They are like a giant buffet with little nutritional value. Once in a while you do get a good look at what's to come and the keynote speakers and representatives sometimes give you a good tidbit of information.
I'm looking forward to you reporting about those tidbits. I'm not too sure I want to know about the pasteurized eggs. Do they heat the chicken up to 180F before it lays the egg? :D
Have fun and keep us informed.
Eggs actly what you need to know about Eggs
This afternoon I attended a presentation by Davidson’s Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs, along with 3 other “interested” cruise journalists. Seating was not obviously not at a premium. This goes to show you that so many of us simply take eggs for granted. It’s almost tragic (tongue planted firmly in cheek).
I wondered if the presenter made a mistake by beginning his presentation by telling us 80% of all salmonella illnesses are sourced to eggs, and according to the CDC 200,000 cases are reported annually. Gosh, could this be the beginning of the newly titled (by me) Cruise Egg Disease running rampant?
It was explained that in most ways eggs are prepared, such as sunny side up, easy over, etc. , the eggs are not cooked to high enough temperatures to kill the Salmonella bacteria.
So, naturally the question followed… What makes Davidson’s Safest Choice Pasteurized Eggs the better choice?
Davidson’s process begins with AA eggs only, that are normally delivered to their plant within 1 or 2 days of “exiting the chicken“.
The chickens are vegetarian fed, and no hormones or antibiotics are used on them. Once at the Davidson’s plant the eggs are lowered into a hot water bath tank, equipped with special air pumps, and kept in the bath long enough to kill any salmonella, but still not cook the eggs. Once washed the eggs are covered in a light food wax to keep the eggs bacteria free.
Once the process is completed the pasteurized and bacteria free eggs have a shelf life of 60 days, which I was told is about twice the shelf life of “normal” eggs. These pasteurized eggs can also be left un-refrigerated for 8 hours, and then safely refrigerated once again.
The eggs come from two types of chickens; those raised cage free, and those raised caged. To the marketplace suppliers the eggs from the caged raised chickens run @ $2.00/dz. Those from the cage free chickens run @ $3.00 dozen.
BTW… cage free does not mean the chickens are lounging on Miami beach in a cabana, where I could have spent the afternoon if I wasn’t so darn interested in eggs.
Genius that I am, I forgot to ask if any of the cruise lines are currently using these “Safest Choice Eggs”, but I’ll remember to follow up when I visit Davidson’s booth on the tradeshow floor later in the week.
I just arrived at my beayutiful (???) Dorchester Hotel in SoBe. ummm. never again will I take the advice of a friend on where to stay.
Actually, the room is nice, but the rest of the place is a dump. But I have internet access for three days for one price, so that is good.
I have not been to the show yet, I decided I could miss the eggs seminar. Tomorrow is when the good stuff starts, but tonight we have a dinner hosted by Royal Caribbean at he new Miami "W Hotel"
This is a trendy new hotel chain. for those who may not have heard.
I have heard:) That's where the 2 of you should have booked rooms...
Kuki,the egg seminar should have had, an egg buffet for the few of you:)
Looking forward to the inside scoop, day by day!
Kuki, a few weeks ago I was at the Doubletree Surfcomber. Of course we did not pay for the room but were there as guest of Bud Light for part of the "BUD Light Hotel with the Hooter Girls" for the pre Super Bowl parties. Room we had was not that bad but definitely not the best either.
Tonight we had cocktails and dinner on the fine folks at Royal Caribbean, along with many other press, at the W Hotel. The property is quite something. The food and service... not so much. A bit too "boutiqe like" for me. But it was still a very enjoyable evening.
As I walked back down Collins Ave to the Loew's I passed by Paul's hotel. According to the lit neon sign it says it's the R Hotel (not the DorchesteR). That gave me a good chuckle to end the night rofl rofl rofl
I walked home with Anita Potter who is also staying at the dorchesteR
hotel. I guess we broke up the party if Kuki is home already (Anita and I were the first to leave and everyone else was still seated when we walked out the door) - oh well. first night out we don't want to blow our brains out.
The cruise lines, RCL, Celebrity and Azamara were all there and very nice to us. I sat with Cynthia Martiez who took over from Michael Sheehan in PR. She said she helped plan the menu and it was delicious.
I had free range chicken. The spinich salad was unbelievable as was the cheesecake, both of them based on traditional Mexican components.
Anyway - time for beddy-bye and up early for the STATE OF THE INDUSTRY synposium, my favorite part of the whole convention. Lots to learn tomorrow, goodnight folks!
We just finished the "state of the Industry" forum with Gerry Cahill (CEO Carnival), Adam Goldstein (Royal Caribbean) Kevin Sheehan (NCL), Stein Kruse (HAL) Dan Hanrahan (Celebrity) and Rick Sasso (MSC Cruises USA).
One thing I just learned is that Costa will have just one ship in the Caribbean this summer, and it will mostly be marketed to Europeans. That means they are closing down many of their US operations. This is also somewhat good news for MSC Cruises who will continue to have a heavier Caribbean presence.
Of discussion was the sudden rash of new ship orders starting with the third ship in the Carnival Dream class ordered last month. This was followed by a new order by MSC and then the announcement of a new MSC Cruises ship.
Generally, the consensus was that ship building will be slower for a few years, at least until the economy recovers. Right now the focus is on refurbishing older ships, such as the Fantasy Class of Carnival, the ongoing Signature of Excellence of HAL and a new program called Solsticization by Celebrity.
Kevin Sheehan, the new CEO of NCL (replacing Colin Veithch) has brought NCL into profitability for the first time in may years. Of course it helps that EPIC is now officially on sale. It also helps that Hawaii has picked up substantially as a destination and NCL has the franchise to sail there.
As for economic recovery, Stein Cruse of HAL said "never underestimate the American consumer."
On a note, I want to point out the the recovery has so far been much limited to the stock market, therefore it is the upper income people who are felling this recovery more than lower income people.
Many things went wrong last year, but one thing that went right (in a sense) was that H1N1 did not turn out to be the disaster many people (including the WHO and several stock market analysts) predicted it would be. The cruise lines do not seem to be bitter that they were essentially forced out of Mexico for what turned out to be something of a false alarm, but only because it could have been worse.
Dan Hanrahan raked the governor of Alaska over the coals for that states restricting legislation. He said "there will be fewer ships there in 2010 and even fewer in 2011, the question is 2012 and 2013. There is a head tax, regulations that re ridiculous and local port fees as well. Currently we cannot bring on water in Alaska because if we discharged the same water they were giving us we would be violating their ecological limits." He added "some $200 in taxes have been collected, and so far they don't even know where to spend over $120,000,000 of it." (the taxes are limited to being spent on projects that benefit the cruise & tourism industry.)
So, it isn't just the head tax, it is other fees as well.
While Royal Caribbean showed a big focus on new markets in Asia, India and South America, Carnival CEO responded "are those places in the Caribbean?" The point is that "Carnival wants to focus on the local consumer. They are concerned about airfare and other expenses, and we prefer to develop new destinations in the Caribbean than wait out new markets.
To be fair - RCL (Goldstein) said such world markets are perhaps 6 to 10 years away from fruition. But he said Asia may represent the biggest opportunity in the world ever. With 1.4 billion people in China and 100 million landlocked Japanese on a small island it seems plausible to me.
Stein Kruse (HAL) said "we are already visiting 300 ports around the world. We see plenty of opportunities out there. NCL is still largely focused just on the US however, although their fleet is smaller, plus they already have an Asian partner (star Cruises, Malaysia).
Hanrahan praised the newer ships like Oasis, and said "the biggest benefactor of all the pre-release doubt that surrounded Oasis will probably be Norwegian Epic. He also said "please let us know who that single cabin thing works out."
I am glad to hear that more emphasis is being placed on Asia. Was there a mention of South America? It seems that the cruise lines have fewer South America cruises. This could be related to the problems with Brasilian visas. Perhaps the cruise lines could use their influence to include Brasil in the Visa Waiver Program. This would lower the cost and hassle of obtaining a Brasilian visa because the Brasilian government is reciprocating with the same fees and hassles that Brasilians have when trying to obtain U.S. visas.
I also am interested in what is happening with Australia and New Zealand. P&O has the largest market down under but there seems to be more cruises coming in 2011. Will there be a concerted effort to exploit that market?
Kuki: Asking if the cruise lines are actually using pasteurized eggs will be a good question and one I'd be interested in knowing. I am an advocate of "Cage Free" production but the definition of that is so nebulous it can just mean there is a window in the barn. My "guess" is that the cruise lines do not use these eggs. However: I would never go as far as some places that have actually "outlawed" sunny side and easy over eggs. :rolleyes:
You guys have fun and don't get too tipsy in the hospitality suites. ;):D
State of the Industry
It's a very good thing that the "State of the Cruise Industry" is much more exciting than the "official" opening of Cruise Shipping Miami conference's "State of the Industry" forum,.
Paul already listed the panel participants, so no need for me to repeat.
It started off well with Richard Sasso of MSC talking about the evolution of the industry over the past 35 years; going from converted ocean lines to 200+ purpose built ships sailing the world's waters today. He showed slides of a ship's cabin from 35 years ago, with a small porthole and bunk beds, built directly into the superstructure. Then a picture of the "spa", with two bicycles and a couple of free weights. This was followed by slides of today's spas and NCL's "New Wave" cabins. The visual differences were quite stunning, quite drastic, and quite amazing, that the industry has gone that far in just 35 years.
He showed a brochure picture from 1975 that had passengers playing shuffleboard. "Why shuffleboard?" he said... "Because that is ALL we had". He then went on to credit Princess and the TV show the Love Boat for taking the cruise industry directly into people's homes.
While Paul has given you the bit of "newsy" items that were touched on, overall I felt it was all a bit short on substance. And certainly no bit "earthshattering" news yet.
The event did get more interesting when Stein Kruse of Holland America was quite blunt and direct in his critiscism of Alaska. It was particulary pointed because the present governor of Alaska (not Sarah) is in attendance, and it is the first time a governor of a state has attended this conference. (Must have heard I was going to be here).
Mr. Kruse pointed out that during the 2009 season, with cutbacks already put in place by the cruise lines to Alaska sailings, the Alaska cruise market declined by 17%. He very directly pointed out that the cruise lines own "mobile assets" and they are very good at moving them about the world. This certainly seemed like a public shot across the bow at Alaska. We'll have to see what the reaction is when there is an Alaska forum tomorrow.
I did accept a lunch invitation from Hurtigurten Cruises of Norway, and it was interesting to learn more about them.
More on that later though, as I'm headed down to the trade show floor to see what I can steal.
Here's a link to the SeaTrade convention web site:
Seatrade Cruise Shipping Miami: Home Port of the Cruise Industry - liferayexpo
Interesting info :) .
Australia is very interesting. Irt seems that since the OZ dollar is so strong right now that every cruise line wants to go there. Cunard just announced QM2 is going to circumnavigate Australia. Plus they won't let any Ozzies by their cruises overseas even over the web. They can only buy locally in Aussie dollars. they want that exchange rate. That is why the ozzies are so ticked off!
More later, carnival just bought us dinner at Joes Stone Crab House. Micky Arison was there (I shook his hand- the first time he ever extended his hand to me, and I had to set down my suitcase to do it). We are all stuffed in an orgy of shellfish and homemade potato chips - what a dinner.
I've just returned to my hotel after attending Carnival Corporations dinner at Joe's Stone Crab.
But first, let me back up to lunch. Lunch today was at the Van Dyke Cafe on Lincoln Rd. as the guest of Norway based Hurtigruten Line. In attendance there were representatives of the cruise line, norwegian travel partners and press.
I had the pleasure of lunching with Rolf Logan, the Sales Director for Hurtigruten, based in the U.S. Certainly this is not a commonly known cruise line in North America, but after sharing lunch with Rolf today, and listening to his exciting and infectious stories, combined with looking at the pictures in the brochures they supplied, I was ready to pack my bags and jump onboard.
How does a cruise to chase the Aurora Borealis sound, through the Norwegian Fjords and on to the Arctic? AMAZING! When I return from Seatrade I'm going to get some more information together to pass on about this cruise line, and it's adventure and explorer sailings.
Poor Kuki, what did he eat at Joes, or did he eat elsewhere?
After lunch today and a stop at the Crystal Press Conference, followed by the Luxury Cruising Forum I visited the trade show floor. The number of booths, all in some way related to cruising was pretty amazing.
Interestingly the only crowds I found were the booths which were also offering free food and drinks. The Hong Kong and Oslo booths were by far the busiest. No doubt there'd be interest in these two great ports, but I'm guessing they had the best food and drinks on the floor. :) I was still too full from lunch to fight get a taste of what they were serving. Maybe tomorrow.
I haven't yet tracked down the "safest egg" booth to follow up, but I did come across the Ving Card booth, and caught their presenter from Monday's forum, Gerald McMillan, Vice President of Marine Operations there. I had a follow up conversation with him, and you'll have to read my Wed. Blog for the stories, which I think are very interesting, and entertaining. You can be the judge.
As mentioned, we went to the famous Joes's Stone Crab for dinner tonight as guests of Carnival Corporation. Executives and Management of all the Carnival Corp lines were there, including Mickey Arison.
Dinner was fun and fabulous! Much of the discussion with the press member's present was about the "shot across Alaska's bow" that I reported on earlier in the day, by Stein Kruse, Holland America's President and CEO. There was a rumor spreading at dinner that the Governor of Alaska was not in the room at the time, as we'd thought and reported.
Just as we were leaving dinner I got lucky and found myself standing next to Stein Kruse as he was retrieving his vehicle from valet parking.
He kindly answered a few questions about the response he's received since his comments this morning. He said "most comments have been VERY positive and supportive, but that's not unexpected considering it was an industry crowd".
I continued.. and asked him about the rumor that the Alaska governor had not been present to hear his remarks. He said "Oh he was there. And he heard my remarks VERY CLEARLY".
I'm up early today, and presently enjoying a cup of coffee on my balcony at the Loew's Hotel, looking down at Miami Beach. Good way to start your day!!
One thing that struck me about most of the Seatrade sessions yesterday was the optimism everyone in the industry seemed to be showing. Industry folks are anticipating a really solid year... which to the consumer means they are anticipating higher prices.
Only time, and the consumer's pocketbook, will show of if the optimism is warranted.
Attending an early morning press conference by Norwegian Cruise Line; lunch press conference by MTN Communications, the major supplier fo television and internet services to te cruise industry.
In the afternoon we're being whisked away to see Cirque Dreams, the new show being featured on the new Epic, in a dinner theater setting.
I would love to know if SeaMobile will be expanding service offerings for cruise lines. I.E. Higher bandwidth availability and 3G capability on cruise ships. Their answer will probably be "We'll give them anything they want as long as they will pay for it." :D
However, it would be interesting to know what new and expanded offerings are available to the cruise lines and their guests and which ones they anticipate or know the cruise lines will be offering in the near future.
This morning I attended a press conference for Norwegian Cruise Line where Roberto Martinoli , NCL’s President and COO announced their $20 Million dollar reinvestment in their private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay.
I’d met and shared dinner with Mr. Martinoli at the keel laying ceremony for the new Epic several years back at the shipyard in France. At the time he was a consultant for the Apollo Group, who’d then become a major shareholder of NCL.
In the short time since he’s become the President and COO of NCL, and I’ve become a retired bar/restaurant owner, and snowbird. Mmmm
Roberto, along with NCL’s CEO Kevin Sheehan, and VP of Global Marketing all spoke of some of the upcoming features of the Epic. I do have to comment, that all three are amongst the friendliest and most approachable cruise line executives I’ve met. This made for a fun and relaxed atmosphere during the press conference.
But… now to the details. NCL is investing $20 Million to refurbish and refit their private island in the Bahamas, Great Stirrup Cay. Work has already begun to build a new marina, on the back side of the island, away from the main beach area. This will allow more efficient tendering, and decrease the likelihood that swells caused by weather will be cause for cancelling the ship’s visit to Great Stirrup Cay. Once the pier is in place, they’ll be making the beach area larger.
In addition there’s an Aqua Park with water slides being added, as well as the addition of private cabanas, jet ski facilities, and new pavilions for food and beverage service. New housing is being added for the 50 NCL employees who will live on the island permanently.
The jet ski area, and the Sting Ray experience area will be located near to the new marina, and the location will serve to keep those separate from the main beach area.
They are also adding new water, and waste water treatment equipment.
Also announced was that the previous announced 20 dining options onboard is now incorrect. They’ve added one to the list to make it total of a quite amazing 21 dining options onboard. 11 of these options are included in your cruise fare, the other 10 require a surcharge .
The newest addition is Brazilian-style “steak house”, Moderno Chuuascaria, which will feature Passadores carving meats tableside, as well as an expansive salad bar. The surcharge for this restaurant will be $18 per person.
We were shown pictures of some of the indoor areas of the Epic, and it appears much of the work in those areas is completed.
One I look forward to seeing live, as the pictures looked very appealing, is Sheehan’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill, which will be open 24 hrs. a day. This looks like a huge improvement over the atmosphere of the 24 hr. restaurants on NCL’s previous ship.
Another new feature on the Epic is the introduction of the delivery of 16” pizzas of your choice, for $5. The unique thing here is they will deliver anywhere on the ship, except for in the restaurants. So, if you’re on pool deck, in the library, in your cabin, or watching some sports on the sports deck, you can order fresh pizza for delivery for $5.
I just told Betty about the churrascaria and she loves it. I just wonder how good the beef will be since they can't have open flames on board.
Looking forward to more,
It's been a very long and busy day at Seatrade. Just awhile ago I got back to the hotel, after leaving at 8 AM this morning.
After the morning NCL press conference I headed to the MTN press luncheon for the announcement of their most recent Global TV initiative in partnership with the cruise lines.
I'll have to report more on this later but the essence is that MTN has developed the technology to provide a package of seemless television programming world wide. They have also negotiated licensing agreements with 6 program suppliers, which will likely expand to more pretty quickly. There will be no more losing tv signals while doing transatlantic sailings for example, and even if you are sailing in distant waters, you'll be receiving the same television programming you would in local US waters.
There are some issues with some networks for example who don't actually own the rights to their broadcast signals, so it has to be sorted out who to form the licensing agreements with.
The new system was put into action in Feb. 2010, and is already installed and functioning on 40 ships. I'll have to supply more details a bit later, when I have more time, but it's all pretty interesting stuff, and likely of particular interest to TV buffs.
At 2 PM a small group of journalists was wisked away by van to the rehersal studios for Crirque Dreams, the new show preparing to board the NCL Epic. We were joined at the studios by several NCL staff who are heavily involved in this most unusual (and now that we've had a hint of what's to come) dynamic show, that is sure to put a new face on cruise ship entertainment.
It's going to be held in a purpose built,2 deck high theater/restaurant. Attendance will cost $15PP, and that includes this spectacular show PLUS dinner. From the little we saw this is definitely going to be a MUST see!!!
And with the venue seating 274, no doubt demand is going to be incredibly high! There will be 2 shows, 6 nights a week, and it is going to be a show you will never see anywhere else.
I do have video and pictures I shot, but I'll need some time to follow up, to show them to you here, and then I'll discuss them more.
I know Paul was also shooting video, so perhaps since he's the "techie" he'll get the videos up before I do.
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