“The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different.”
— Peter F. Drucker
2019 started with a bang. We finished the Antarctica season with three ships; the M/V Sea Spirit for Poseidon Expeditions, the M/V Ocean Atlantic for Albatros Expeditions, the M/V Ocean Adventure for Quark Expeditions, and the Spring semester onboard the M/V World Odyssey with our client Semester at Sea. (ISE)
Our clients had a strong season; Antarctica and the Expedition cruise ship segments are gaining in popularity within the cruise industry at large. We did see an increase in guests from China and Asia overall.
The last several months we have been eagerly preparing for our exciting new ship, the M/V Greg Mortimer. Every department, from Human Resources and Finance to Hotel Operations and Operations Support, is in full swing with the planning of our first new ship from the Sunstone Ships Infinity series. We are in constant communication with the management team at Aurora Expeditions in Sydney, Australia, discussing the startup and day to day operation for their new ship. We have been collaborating on the selection of some of the durables and consumable items as well as a new modern uniform for the brand, which will be a fresh look for the industry.
The Operations Support Team, under the leadership of our new Vice President of Operations Support, Mr. Tayfun Aybar, and Mrs. Elenita Delgado, is working with our key suppliers to select and order all startup consumable and durable items for the new ship. Everything is currently in transit, and enroute to China, with expected arrival dates in June, via containers from the U.S. and Europe.
This is always an exciting time, starting a new contract with a new ship. From the uniforms to the glassware, china, and cutlery, in the dining rooms, the linen and towels in the cabins, the amenities; everything needs to be selected, ordered, and shipped.
Our next critical phase will be selecting the hotel crew, providing all documentation and getting them ready for the startup operations onboard the M/V Greg Mortimer. Many will join the ship in China, taking her out, while others will join during the repositioning voyage before our inaugural cruise on October 31st from Ushuaia to Antarctica.
We have been working with Aurora Expedition for the last three years with the M/V Polar Pioneer. They are discontinuing operations with that ship and will focus on the M/V Greg Mortimer this year. They are planning to expand their fleet moving forward.
Building a cruise ship, regardless of size, is one of the most complex endeavors and becomes a united nations effort. We believe this is the perfect marriage of European cruising expertise with efficient and capable production in China. Our Norwegian technical design, and our Finnish interior design will be brought to life by the oldest, most respected shipbuilder in China. Considering our client is an Australian company, this endeavor is truly a global effort.
I had the pleasure of visiting the shipyard in China this last March. It was an impressive sight, seeing the size of the yard with all its buildings and activities. The M/V Greg Mortimer was still alongside as we arrived. We were all curious to see how the famous XBow would look in person. She has a beautiful sleek modern, futuristic look, differentiating her from most expedition cruise ships in the industry. She is certainly a stand-out from the usual small ships.
Shifting focus, we wanted to share with you that we hope to increase our social media activity and exposure via LinkedIn and Facebook moving forward. We chose these two platforms to communicate with all our constituencies and stakeholders, because we believe that LinkedIn will be a wonderful conduit with our business partners, and Facebook will work well for our crew and shipboard communities. They are both wonderful tools.
Facebook will allow us to share our work and life experiences from our ships, posting with fellow crew members and those in our corporate office. As our Facebook grows, the CMI – Leisure Community will develop and flourish.
Our annual cruise industry convention, Seatrade, was held in Miami Beach this last March. The tone was very upbeat about the industry and every segment, be it large or small ship, is building and expanding.
The Expedition market is extremely hot right now; there are about 40 plus new builds on the drawing board for various cruise lines and operators. It is a very exciting time for the cruise industry, which translates into a lot of opportunity for all of us from different perspectives in the company and market segment. There will be a lot of demand for hotel and marine crew, as well as expedition leaders; it is certainly a positive outlook for all involved in our dynamic industry.
For the upcoming summer, we will continue operating Victory I and Victory II with their new owners, American Queen Steamboat Company. That is an exciting new addition for this year for us at CMIL. We have been working with their management team the last few months setting up and getting ready to deliver the two ships for their Great Lakes season.
We will also be operating the M/V Ocean Diamond with Island Pro Cruises, M/V Sea Spirit with Poseidon Expeditions, the M/V Ocean Endeavor with Adventure Canada, M/V Ocean Adventure with Quark Expeditions, and for the first time the M/V Ocean Atlantic with Albatros Expeditions for the summer. The M/V World Odyssey with ISE will start in early September from Amsterdam. The M/V Greg Mortimer with Aurora Expeditions will begin operating in September. That makes a total of 9 ships, which is certainly good news!
The season is in full swing already.
A big thank you to all of you for a wonderful start of this year and the summer season.