The Marine Hotel Association (MHA) wrapped up its 2023 Symposium at Sea event on the Norwegian Viva, as the new ship returned to PortMiami on Wednesday, Dec. 6 after a sailing to the Bahamas.
MHA members participated in panel discussions and speed networking on the ship over four days, as Norwegian Cruise Line hosted the small intimate group.
The group was made up of cruise line decision makers from a variety of cruise companies and MHA members, representing hotel, supply chain, food and beverage and logistics companies.
In addition were cocktail parties, hosted dinners and a comprehensive behind-the-scenes ship tour that touched on galley operations, storage, laundry and other areas on the 3,215-guest Norwegian Viva. Members were led through back-of-house areas with the ship’s general manager (hotel director), executive chef, laundry manager and others.
“What has changed most for our food and beverage team is we are more sensitive to the supply chain,” said Michelle Solorzano, senior director, F&B supply chain, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings “After we were able to come back into service after the pandemic, there is nothing we can’t do. We had to get creative and flexible. Previously we were set in our ways and not willing to try new things and accept substitute items. That all changed. Now we are much more open in bringing new ideas to the table.”
Vina Jumpp, associate vice president, global hotel, food and beverage procurement at Royal Caribbean Group, said the company was always on the lookout for new products and innovative solutions.
“There are a lot of comparable products out there with cost savings potential,” she said, also noting the company was sourcing more than ever before in Europe to save on shipping costs and the environmental impact of shipping containers. She said she expected this trend to continue.
- MHA members came away thrilled with key access to the right decision makers in a unique shipboard environment.
- Tuesday morning featured a keynote address by Emily Bishop, director ESG, strategy and reporting for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
- The itinerary featured one day at sea, as well as port calls to the brand-new Nassau Cruise Port and Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay.
- New for 2023 was a panel featuring suppliers from the cruise industry, talking logistics challenges, sustainability and the issues they were facing in ensuring timely delivery to ships.
- Next up, the not-for-profit MHA heads for its annual Conference and Trade Show, taking place in Naples Florida, March 24-26, 2024.