Press Release | May 14, 2023

CLIA announces host of trade initiatives and activities at largest-ever annual conference

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) unveiled a raft of agent initiatives and events at its largest-ever annual UK conference, which finished today (May 14, 2023) in Southampton. The conference, which was themed 'cruise heroes' in recognition of agents' work across the sector, was attended by over 750 delegates.

As part of the programme, Andy Harmer, managing director UK & Ireland, announced CLIA's biggest-ever trade engagement campaign over the next 12 months. The 'superhero-charged' opportunities include:

* Regional ships visits for agents across the UK and Ireland, which have been arranged in partnership with various cruise lines, in August this year. All visits will include updates from industry leaders, as well as a tour and complimentary lunch.

They comprise:

  • Seabourn quest on August 1 in Dover
  • Norwegian Dawn on August 4 in Newcastle
  • Holland America Line’s Zuiderdam on August 11 in Belfast
  • Crystal Serenity on August 22 in Southampton
  • Oceania Cruises’ Vista on August 25 in Liverpool

Agents can shortly secure their place via the CLIA website.

* The annual CLIA Cruise Week will be held from September 18-24, which will see a wealth of agent-friendly initiatives and updates made available.

* Next year’s RiverView river cruise conference will take place in Amsterdam, with dates TBC.

* This year’s river cruise residential is on September 28-29, with the venue TBC.

* A ‘CLIA Destination Residential’ will be held in Porto, Portugal, in the autumn, in collaboration with Visit Porto & the North. All delegates will be hosted onboard Norwegian Prima as part of the event, with additional ship visit options to include Seabourn Ovation and a number of river cruise ships. A series of sessions with destination experts will be held, as well as the opportunity to join local tours and excursions in Porto itself.

* Specialist cruise webinars - covering Europe and worldwide river cruise, plus ultra-luxury, expedition and yacht and sail - have been arranged for agents looking to boost their knowledge in these bespoke areas. The webinars will take place in June, September and October; agents can shortly secure their place via the CLIA website.

* Two new expedition dinners, which will be held in London and Manchester on October 16 and 18 respectively, and feature presentations from experts in the sector.

The CLIA Conference took place in Southampton from May 12-14. It is the largest UK travel agent of the year and included delegate ship visits to MSC Virtuosa, Fred Olsen's Balmoral, Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas, Celebrity Silhouette and P&O Cruises' Arvia. Presentations, panel discussions, a trade fair and celebratory dinner were also held.

65% of delegates attended for the first time, while around a quarter had not been on a cruise ship previously.

Andy Harmer, CLIA managing director for UK & Ireland, said: “This was our largest ever CLIA Conference, and I'm thrilled to say it proved a huge success, with great initial feedback from agents and the wider industry. The trade are all 'cruise heroes', and with so many new delegates joining us, it’s clear more agents than ever before can see the opportunities and advantages of cruise.

"We're so excited to announce our superhero-charged programme of events, with the widest ever choice of ship visit openings, domestic and overseas events, and virtual training opportunities. This approach recognises people like to learn, engage and network in different ways. It also recognises agents have a range of requirements, from focussing on certain sectors such as expedition and river cruise, to those who want to explore ships, to those who want to be inspired by experts, to those who have just started their cruise selling journey.

"We are encouraging all agents to take advantage of this wealth of opportunities, as cruise continues to go from strength-to-strength."

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