Platinum Associate Members enjoy the fabulous dinner party
sponsored by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.
The 2005 FCCA Platinum Cruise marked a celebration of flourishing
partnerships between cruise industry executives and FCCA Platinum
members. The cruise embarked from Puerto Rico, which was an exciting
port change for many attendees that have sailed each year out of
South Florida. It also allowed to not only experience the ports of
call of the cruise, but to also experience the beauty and attractions
of Puerto Rico before the ship even sailed.
One special aspect of the FCCA Platinum Cruise is that Cruise
Executives and Platinum Members are encouraged to invite their
families and/or friends to attend. This makes the trip an even
more memorable experience. Industry executives and their families
have the opportunity to bond on a personal level in addition to
the business relationships they have already developed. “I
enjoyed having my family with me in what was essentially a business
environment, however, the experience was not one where my family
felt left out or that I was spending too much time in meetings
without them. I also enjoyed the tours and other activities that
were preplanned which made it easier for the family to do things
together, taking away the decision making process where no one
can agree to do the same thing,” says Horace C. Hord, Jr.,
Regional Vice President, Government & Community Relations,
Royal Caribbean International/Celebrity Cruises.
Platinum Members, Judy and
John Reeve, with Patrick Powers of Norwegian Cruise Line.
Although the cruise sailed on Friday, January 28,
through Monday January 31, most people arrived the Wednesday and
Thursday prior and participated in the FCCA preplanned activities
in San Juan. On Thursday, the FCCA arranged a variety of excursions
to choose from including a hiking tour of El Yunque Rainforest,
a day of golfing at the Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort with a stop over
at the Puerto Rico Museum of Art, a leisurely day at the beach
on Palomino Island, or a guided tour through Old San Juan and the
Bacardi Rum Distillery. InPlatinum Members, Judy and John Reeve,
with Patrick Powers of Norwegian Cruise Line. the evening, the
Puerto Rico Tourism Company sponsored a welcoming cocktail reception
on the beachfront patio of the Courtyard Marriott Isla Verde Beach
Resort. “It is always fun to see
old friends again and catch up. The reception had a beautiful setting – friendly
faces, a beautiful setting, and delicious food. Puerto Rico, the
hotel, and the FCCA did a wonderful job.” Norman Pennycooke,
Managing Director, Fun Sun Inc.
On Friday, it was down to business. The FCCA Platinum Associate
Membership Council (PAMAC) meeting was called to order and cruise
executives and Platinum Members discussed and presented recent
FCCA developments and accomplishments. In additions, there were
presentations from a few selected Platinum Members on their individual
business plans. “I was pleased to see how well organized
the pre cruise meetings were especially with the new government
personnel and the Platinum members luncheon meeting. The meeting
with the government personnel was very effective giving an opportunity
to meet the new Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company,
the Port Director and Secretary of Economic Development. I also
had an opportunity to meet other cruise line executives that I
had not meet before,” Hord comments.
After the meeting broke, the group packed up and boarded Royal
Caribbean International’s Empress of the Seas for the anticipated
Platinum cruise. While the ship disembarked, the FCCA group enjoyed
the private welcoming party before dinner. At dinner each night,
the group was encouraged to mix and mingle by switching tables
and dining with different people, maximizing the networking opportunity.
“In addition to networking with other cruise executives,
we are able to network with our shore side partners and gain a
better understanding about the challenges and opportunities they
face in delivering their product to our cruise guests. At
the end of the day, it’s all about communication. The
better we communicate within the industry and with all our shore
side partners, the better cruise product we will be able to deliver,” says
Lania Rittenhouse Vice President, Hotel Operations, Norwegian Cruise
Line and Orient Lines
Mike Ronan, (second from
right), Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.
at one of the beach outings.
Passengers woke up on Saturday morning to a beautiful, sunny day
in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and boarded a the Kon Tiki party boat,
courtesy of Cruise Ship Excursions, Inc. where they cruised to
Honeymoon Beach to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, volleyball, and
snorkeling. The group then feasted on a delicious buffet lunch
and reception back at the port accompanied by a local children’s
steel pan drum band and Mocko Jumbie dancers sponsored by Atlantic
Adventures, WICO, the V.I. Port Authority and Accessible Adventures.
Later, many rode the Paradise Tramway to take in the magnificent
scenic view of the island.
The next stop was St. Maarten on Sunday, January 30th. Many in
the group experienced the thrill and exhilaration of the America’s
Cup Yacht Racing, which has been voted the number one shore excursion
in the Caribbean. Later, the FCCA group took a guided bus tour
through the French side and into the Dutch side of the island,
arriving at the luxurious beach setting of Waikiki Restaurant.
There, they were served an elegantly catered lunch,
played more beach volleyball, and took in the unique setting of
rolling waves, and horses running the beach. The afternoon was
certainly a bonding experience of good food and laughs for all.
“Overall, I greatly enjoy experiencing other cruise products,
learning how our industry partners conduct business, and networking. The
planned shore excursions were terrific and allowed us to
experience the product as our guests do.
Cruise executives and Platinum Members make
to a great platinum event.
Often times when
working aboard, we can’t take the time to experience the
full product,” shares Rittenhouse.
There was so much to see and do, but surely all agreed that this
was another successful Platinum Cruise. Business relationships
were strengthened, family friendships bloomed, and together the
group experienced some of the joys that the Caribbean offers.
the cruise served to reinforce the bonds of key cruise industry
leaders from all angles of the business. “Not only does this cruise
help foster stronger business relationships, but also
friendships. In addition to cruise line executives,
it has been extremely valuable for us to develop relationships
with those folks who provide services and support to
the industry. The cruise industry’s success is based on the
teamwork of all of us. We must all work together to
create a win-win situation for the entire industry. It
is always a plus when friendships are built on top of professional
relationships,” shares Hydi Webb, Cruise Development Manager,
Port of Miami.