CLIA'S first Cruise360 conference kicked off on July 27, exactly 501 days after the cruise industry's voluntary suspension of global operations in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Cruise360 is the first official, in-person cruise industry event in North America since 2019.
CLIA CEO Kelly Craighead highlighted the role that travel advisors have played in helping the cruise industry resume operations in the U.S. and called on them to remain engaged in addressing any misperceptions about the industry and to promote the measures cruise lines are taking to protect public health as sailing resumes.
"It was you and your voices that successfully made the case for cruise resumption in the United States," Craighead said, referring to CLIA's 'Ready, Set, Sail' initiative that engaged advisors as well as the wider cruise community to call on Congress and the White House to help get the CDC to engage with the industry about cruise resumption.
"The industry's reputation has been challenged like never before. We must do a better job correcting the record and telling the positive story of cruise, including our investments in environmental sustainability, which totaled $23.5 billion last year."
Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman of MSC Cruises and CLIA global chairman, delivered virtual remarks in the opening session at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Fla.
"I have been so impressed by how we have all worked more closely together during this crisis: Cruise lines, city mayors, port authorities, cruise terminal operators, ship agents and tourism authorities as well as many of you here today," he said. "When we band together and use the collective strength of our voices, we can generate positive change."