By staff writer
Miami is globally known as the cruise capital of the world, receiving 22 cruise lines and millions of passengers every year. With that much traffic and momentum to maintain, it’s not enough to just catch the latest wave, you have to stay ahead of it.
That is just what top cruise lines in Miami have been doing. Many are busy updating their Miami operations, headquarters, terminals, cruises and more to keep up with the industry’s latest trends. No wonder: With an almost 7 percent increase in the number of global cruise passengers, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), represents over 1.5 million more passengers, 2018 was a record year for the cruise industry.
Among the most high-profile updates unveiled at the world’s biggest cruise hub is Norwegian Cruise Line’s new PortMiami terminal, which will leverage the terminal’s size and include the latest technological innovations to move guests through embarkation and disembarkation faster and more efficiently.
The president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, Andy Stuart, spoke with Invest: about the importance of the new terminal, which is expected to be completed by fall 2019. “Aside from representing our brand’s commitment to cruising innovation, the terminal represents a big commitment to the city as well, as it assures local officials that we will maintain a large number of ships here well into the future. With each ship able to bring thousands of people into the city on a regular basis, the terminal is projected to contribute to the local economy with increased tourism volume and revenue,” he said.
In addition, last year, Carnival Cruise Line opened a 35,000-square-foot Fleet Operations Center at its Doral headquarters.”This state-of-the-art monitoring and support center is the cruise industry’s largest and most advanced facility of its kind. We have immediate access to the status of our fleet and we can communicate with our ship teams,” Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, told Invest:.
Some of the trends cruise travelers are looking for include on-board smart tech, wellness and restorative experiences and achievement travel, according to the 2019 Cruise Trends & Industry Outlook report from CLIA.
“There has been tremendous pressure on the industry to enhance onboard offerings and attractions, such as dining, entertainment and amenities, to compete with land-based destinations that continue to grow and expand their offerings and capabilities,” Stuart said, adding that one major trend is a broader range of destinations, such as the Baltics, Alaska and the Caribbean.
Carnival Corporation has gone so far as to establish an Innovation and Experience Center in Doral. “That’s where we developed our breakthrough OceanMedallion guest experience platform, an innovative system based on a small, wearable device that helps us enhance an already great vacation for our guests,” Donald said. The corporation is also the first to build cruise ships powered by liquefied natural gas. The move was made to address its 2020 sustainability goals.
Updates are also happening onshore at PortMiami, including the new Virgin Voyages’ cruise terminal, which will break ground later this year, MSC Cruises’ two new cruise facilities, Disney Cruise Line’s expansion with two cruise ships and a possible new cruise terminal, which was approved by Miami-Dade County Commissioners in September 2018.
For more information on our interviewees, please visit their websites:
Norwegian Cruise Line: https://www.ncl.com
Carnival Corporation: http://www.carnivalcorp.com/
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA): https://cruising.org/