News & Notes from Cruise Shipping Miami 2015

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The new MSC Seaside ship is a mega ocean liner that will dock at the Port of Miami.
The new MSC Seaside ship is a mega ocean liner that will dock at the Port of Miami.

Recommend attended Cruise Shipping Miami 2015 and walked away with a few notable news briefs from this year’s conference held in Miami Beach. Here are some cruise news highlights:

Cuba & Cruising
Travel to the island of Cuba has been the topic of conversation within the travel industry now that new travel regulations are in effect, and whether or not cruise lines will be ready to sail to the island was one question moderator Richard Quest, business correspondent at CNN, asked the top executives from the world’s largest cruise line corporations at the much-anticipated Cruise Shipping Miami panel discussion. Here are a few quotes we jotted down that give some insight on the cruise industry’s preparation when it comes to Cuba:

“I’m not sure if any one of us are ready for Cuba. Cuba is such an amazing opportunity and used to be the ultimate destination for cruising. I think we have a lot to learn as we move into cruising to Cuba.”
Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd

“The wonderful thing about the cruise industry is that we bring our own infrastructure so, yes, I would say that we’re ready, and I believe that all of us are ready to move at the drop of a hat.”
Frank J. Del Rio, President and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd

“Once the embargo is lifted, we’ll be there.”
Arnold Donald, President and CEO, Carnival Corporation.

MSC in North America
MSC Cruises revealed some big news at its press conference. With efforts to become huge players in the North American cruising industry, the Geneva-based cruise line is now going to have its first ship docked at the Port of Miami–and a great ship it is.

Able to carry 4,140 passengers, the new MSC Seaside will debut in November 2017 and sail to the Caribbean year-round; its christening will take place in December at the Port of Miami—this is the first MSC ship to be christened in the U.S.

The Seaside is a massive ship with 2,070 staterooms, an innovative aqua park with slides and a play area for families, a waterfront promenade, and high-end suites designed to look like apartments. “This is a different ship. It’s a ship that will surprise people just by looking at it from the outside before getting on board,” said Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises.

The Culinary Arts Center aboard the ms Noordam.
The Culinary Arts Center aboard the ms Noordam.

Culinary Experiences with Holland
To cater to cruisers who seek a culinary experience on board a cruise ship, Holland America Line has introduced its new Sip, Savor and Sail cruises to the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe. On board the ships, guest chefs and local vintners, mixologists and brewmasters will present their creations for passengers during classes and demonstrations in the Culinary Arts Center. In addition, customized menu options will be featured in the dining room and restaurants. The Sip, Savor and Sail cruise dates are as follows: to the Caribbean, passengers will sail on the ms Maasdam on April 7; to Alaska, guests can join ms Westerdam on May 2, ms Statendam on July 13, or ms Amsterdam on Aug. 16; and to Europe, the ms Ryndam departs May 4 from Harwich, England, sailing to France, Spain, and Portugal.