3 things we learned at CLIA Cruise Conference 2018

04 Jun 2018

The annual CLIA Cruise Conference took place in Southampton at the end of May. The three day event is one of the largest conferences for members of the travel trade. It’s a chance to meet with cruise line representatives, find out more about the latest promotions, what makes each company unique, and learn all the latest travel trends and developments. There’s also plenty of amazing giveaways and prizes to be won. (Not at all jealous of the travel agent who won a free cruise to Antarctica with Silversea!)


Technology is playing an increasing role in how guests interact both before and during the cruise. Apps such as MSC for Me and the Royal Caribbean International app, make it easier for guests to plan their activities onboard, and book shore excursions. Princess Cruises bold Royal Medallion plans will see guests use a round coin-like device to automatically unlock their stateroom door as they approach it, track their children throughout the ship, and will tell bar staff your name and your favourite drink, plus many more small touches that enhance the guest experience. MSC Cruises also announced a in-cabin virtual assistant called Zoe. Launching on MSC Bellissima in 2019, guests can say “Hello Zoe” and get personal recommendation on what to do and useful cruise updates.


Probably the biggest announcement made at the 2018 CLIA Cruise Conference was the naming reveal of P&O Cruises new upcoming cruise ship. The 180,000 ton vessel will be named Iona after the small island in the Scottish Hebrides. Unveiling the new name, Paul Ludlow, Senior Vice President of P&O Cruises, said: “Everywhere you stand on the island you can see the sea, which was part of our thinking when we designed our new ship. One of the things we wanted to do when we designed our ship was to really make the sea the star, whether it be in our atrium or the giant dome on the upper decks of our ship. The sea will be visible from all points of the ship and really gives you a connection. So that was part of our thinking, but of course Iona is part of the UK. P&O Cruises is Britain’s favourite cruise line. We couldn’t think of a better [way] to name our ship after a part of the UK. It’s a celebration of the sea.” Find out more here.


Dr Paul Redmond from the University of Liverpool gave a fascinating insight into different generations and how cruising is evolving. He explained that a cruise holiday is one of those rare moments where all generations come together to create lasting memories. New travellers want to buy travel experiences rather than products. From the Silent Generation who put up and make the best out of any situation, to the high expectations of Baby Boomers and Generation X group. We learned of the importance of focusing not on the past, nor the present, but constantly the future. Where 4 year olds playing hold more technology in their finger tips today, than NASA scientists did in the 60s, we as an industry need to focus on the needs and requirements of future generations, which is why the trend is bigger and more advanced vessels with features galore.