So you want to start a cruise line? Join the more than 11,000 industry professionals who are attending Seatrade Cruise Global being held this week at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Anything and everything you need to start your own line can be found on the trade show floor, including the yards that will build your ship.
Rick Meadows, the president of Seabourn Cruise Line, a unit of Carnival Corporation & plc, was here to hold a press conference with designer Adam Tihany revealing the first interior renderings for Seabourn Venture, due in June 2021. He says he will spend at least a half-day walking the show floor. Last year he found a provider of innovative floor coverings. In the past impromptu meetings with port and destination officials who were exhibiting have led to the line bringing its ships to new places.
“You really have anybody and everybody you need to do business with under one roof, in one place, and so when you are going to a meeting, you naturally are looking around to see if there are things that might be interesting,” he says.
Bob Lepisto, the president of Sea Dream Yacht Club said the show is a good place to meet with port officials and tour companies that can provide sightseeing for passengers. He has meetings with representatives of destinations he is considering for Sea Dream Innovation, a new vessel set to launch in September 2021.
According to the conference organizers, executives like Meadows, Lepisto and their teams of executives contract for $63.7 billion in goods and services annually.
Where to start? If you want to build a ship, you only need to visit the expansive multi-floor stand of Fincantieri, which has built more than 7,000 vessels in its 230-year history. It is currently building the Scarlet Lady, the first ship for Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages. In 2018, it delivered the Carnival Horizon, Seabourn Ovation, MSC Seaview, Viking Orion and Nieuw Amsterdam for Holland America Line.
Once you have contracted for your ship, Rotterdam-based Bolidt Maritime can give your decks any look you want with its synthetic coverings. For new builds, orders can range into the millions of dollars said Steven den Hartog. It provided bumper car flooring for Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class vessels as well as faux teak coverings for the pool area of The Haven on the Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Getaway of Norwegian Cruise Line. You can find its synthetic coverings everywhere from museums in London to prisons in Bonaire.
Bourne Signs from Charleston, South Carolina, has a dedicated division that caters to cruise lines. It produces everything from promotional billboards you will find inside elevators to safety-related signs and way-finding diagrams you see of your ship, usually near the elevator banks, showing where various things are located on each deck.
After Princess Cruises chartered one of its ships for a series of cruises catering to Japanese clients, Bourne created translated signage for the entire ship. Its team also flew to the ship and handled the installation. In some cases, it is selling to the hotel manager of the ship, while in other cases somebody on the marine side when it comes to notices related to safety.
Your passengers and crew will need to eat while they are cruising. Ulian Gmbh, based in Papenburg, Germany, has you covered with marine catering equipment for your kitchen, including reach-in refrigeration units, distribution and bar counters, dishwashing equipment and even cold rooms. They’ll also handle installation.
For stains on the carpet, Whittaker System offers both cleaning equipment and chemicals, including its carpet roamer spotting tool which allows the housekeeping staff to remove those tough stains in seconds without having to bend down. It’s not only better for workers, but it also makes them more efficient, says Joseph Bshero. He says contacts he has made at Seatrade from executives passing by his corner stand have helped him get his foot in the door and have led to orders.
Not everyone already sells to the cruise lines. Stellar Outdoor Furnishings wants to expand beyond its current clients in the hotel business where if offers furniture for balconies, pool areas, and restaurants.
Le Waf is also looking to break into the cruise industry which attracts over 27 million hungry guests annually. The company sells waffle makers, mix and even packaged waffles. If you’ve eaten the cinnamon variety on a United Airlines flight, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Across the aisle is a purveyor of popcorn makers.
Decurtis Corporation sells tracking wearables that can also store any preferences customers have provided in advance to your cruise line. If you don’t like garlic and peppers, on the very first night, your waiter will already know that. He’ll also know your name, the last time you cruised on the line and as the voyage goes on that you were upset in the afternoon you had to wait too long for a drink at the pool.
Its technology can help guide you around the ship making it easy to find what you want faster or allow you to keep track of your kids so you will know where they are and what they are up to.
A large part of the show floor is dedicated to destinations, so the next time you are on the cruise, and you were wondering how the line found those out of the way ports, it well might have been here at Seatrade. According to CLIA, the industry’s trade association, cruise lines are responsible for over $130 billion in economic output.