This year, the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) Cruise3sixty conference, held in Vancouver, B.C., June 2-6, saw a record number of registrants, with 1,220 travel selling professionals at the show. Including suppliers and exhibitors, the show hosted nearly 2,100 delegates. This year’s tradeshow welcomed a total of 302 exhibitor booths as well, another record-breaking number.
“Cruise3sixty has grown bigger and better each year and we were delighted by the exceptionally strong response to holding it in the magnificent city of Vancouver,” said Terry L. Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. “In addition to our many loyal travel agent partners from the U.S., the strong showing by agents from Canada and other parts of the world are an indication of how important international business and the globalization of cruise operations are for the industry going forward.
The conference opened with a welcome reception for all delegates at the Vancouver Aquarium, complete with a dolphin show starring CLIA’s president, and the first general session featured the “A View From the Bridge” Presidents Panel during which panelists (presidents from Crystal Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises and Windstar Cruises) fielded questions about what the industry learned from the recession that can be applied to the future.
Adventurer and business executive Alison Levine addressed delegates during the second general session, describing her experiences leading an expedition to Mt. Everest despite battling a disease that should have made the climb impossible. Her speech was followed by a panel that addressed the role of women in the cruise industry. Alaska’s lieutenant governor also addressed the audience and pledged the state’s commitment to the cruise industry.
Throughout the course of the conference, agents participated in 15 CLIA seminars to earn up to 135 credits toward CLIA Certification as well as workshops, destination briefings and cruise line product demonstrations and booking demos. CLIA training seminars taught a total of 2,425 participants, with many agents taking more than one course.
On June 5, during a gala dinner that featured entertainment by the Blue Man Group and 42Five, CLIA’s Cruise Industry Hall of Fame inducted four new members: Micky Arison, Carnival Corp.’s chairman and CEO; the travel industry educators, marketers and travel agents Doris and the late Phil Davidoff; Matthew Upchurch, CEO of Virtuoso; and the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH).
Ship inspection opportunities during the conference included: Holland America Line’s Volendam, Ryndam and Zuiderdam; Silversea Cruises’ Silver Shadow; Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance of the Seas; Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess; and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Mercury. The vessels hosted a total of 1,977 agents.
The next Cruise3sixty will be held April 14-17, 2011 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., at the Broward County Convention Center at Port Everglades. Registration is currently open.