Minister Furbert Updates On Cruise Conference

May 4, 2024 | 0 Comments

Minister of Transport Wayne Furbert provided an overview of his attendance at the 2024 Seatrade Cruise Global Conference in Miami, Florida, stating that his “primary objective for attending specific sessions at Seatrade was to continue talks with small luxury cruise lines to bolster visitation, specifically to Hamilton and St. George.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to share with this Honourable House about my attendance at the 2024 Seatrade Cruise Global Conference in Miami, Florida, between April 8th and 10th and to provide an update on the latest trends and developments in the cruise industry, as well as the insights gained from networking with industry leaders and attending informative sessions.

Mr. Speaker, the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference is the industry’s largest Business to Business premier cruise event of the year, bringing together cruise line executives, governments, suppliers, and industry experts from more than 120 countries. More than 11,000 people attended this, including 600 exhibitors.

Mr. Speaker, I attended diverse panel sessions on ‘building and extending seasons’, ‘Caribbean in the Spotlight’ with ministry officials speaking on the increase of cruise visitation to their islands in Cayman, St. Maarten, BVI, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands and ‘CEOs on Luxury cruising’ for example. There were discussions on the evolution of the cruise industry and many opportunities to meet industry leaders both in the conference room and at an assortment of networking events.

Mr. Speaker, I was accompanied by Stacey Evans [Ministry of Transport’s primary cruise line contact], Tracy Berkeley [CEO], and Tashae Thompson [VP] of Bermuda Tourism Authority, and we actively engaged in mostly prearranged meetings with key industry players. Notable meetings included Norwegian Cruise Line Holding Ltd., Carnival Cruise Line, Virgin Voyages, Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection, Scenic Cruises, Silversea Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Carnival Corporation PLC, and with the Ports of Baltimore and Boston [MassPort].

Mr. Speaker, at the ‘State of the Industry’ Keynote address, Cruise Lines International Association released its 2024 State of the Cruise Industry report. I would like to share a few of the key points shared with us on the opening day:

  • The 2023 global passenger volume reached 31.7 million, surpassing 2019 levels by 7%. Record booking levels for 2025 has surpassed advanced bookings for 2024 already and the increased bookings have fuelled new ship orders over the next 10 years.
  • The continued demand for cruise holidays is so high, intent to cruise again is at 82%. 12% of cruisers, cruise twice a year and 10% will most likely take three to five cruises a year. The forecast for cruise capacity shows an increase of at least 10% from 2024 through 2028, as cruise lines make ongoing, concrete progress in the pursuit of net-zero emissions by 2050.
  • The number of new-to-cruise is increasing – 27% of cruisers over the past two years are new-to-cruise, an increase of 12% over the past year.
  • Cruises are a top choice for multi-generational travel – with more than 30% of families travelling by cruise with at least two generations and 28% of cruise travellers travelling with three to five generations.
  • Expedition and exploration are the fastest-growing sectors of cruise tourism, with a 71% increase in passengers travelling on expedition itineraries from 2019 to 2023.
  • Accessible tour excursions are on the rise—with 45% of cruise passengers booking an accessible tour for their most recent cruise.
  • 73% of cruise travellers say that travel advisors have a meaningful influence on their decision to cruise.
  • Today’s passenger is seeking immersive experiences with opportunities to engage with the environment, it is such an important factor in the booking decision.
  • Authenticity matters. Accessibility matters. A smooth journey matters. This allows the guest to focus on the destination.

Mr. Speaker, my primary objective for attending specific sessions at Seatrade was to continue talks with small luxury cruise lines to bolster visitation, specifically to Hamilton and St. George for 2026 onwards. The 2024 season marks the final year of Oceania and Regent Seven Seas 10+ contract calls.

Mr. Speaker, the Ministry of Transport has established positive relationships over the years with smaller luxury cruise lines who do stop over visits in Bermuda, usually during a transatlantic crossing. Despite our rapport, it remains difficult for small luxury cruise lines to commit to Bermuda as a one port destination on a contract basis.

Mr. Speaker, this is because their guests thrive on multiple two or three week plus port itineraries, with rich cultural and unique experiences that go beyond a five- or seven-day package to from the East Coast.

Mr. Speaker, as I conclude my update, I am very pleased to report that the cruise line industry is thriving, overseas and in Bermuda. Our cruise line partners, and their guests love Bermuda. Shortly, we look forward to sharing with you about a new initiative launching at the end of May to enhance our visitors experience in St. George through lively commerce and entertainment from the moment each Government Ferry and NCL Tender arrives in the Old Towne. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

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