Shaping the future of cruising together

The MARINE INTERIORS Cruise & Ferry Global Expo and the Seatrade Europe Cruise & River Cruise Convention will take place in Hamburg in parallel this September.

© Hamburg Messe

Up to 250 international exhibitors, nearly all of the top-flight players and experts of the industry, and around 5,000 participants are expected to attend both events. More than 40 conference and on-stage sessions will highlight expert views on design trends, sustainability and the future of cruising. 

From 6 to 8 September 2023 the MARINE INTERIORS Cruise & Ferry Global Expo and the destinations fair Seatrade Europe will take place in conjunction in Hamburg. “Holding the two fairs in parallel has a certain charm,” said Claus Ulrich Selbach, Business Unit Director – Maritime and Technology Fairs & Exhibitions at Hamburg Messe und Congress, “by bringing together all the movers and shakers of the cruise industry: Cruise operators, designers, yard owners, suppliers and representatives of cruise destinations. This is a unique opportunity to see so many decision-makers from the cruise segment all in one place.” The exhibition team is especially looking forward to the comprehensive, varied conference programme, which will address all the current and emerging topics, challenges and opportunities of the ship interiors segment. Anchored in the overarching theme, “Scaling Sustainably,” this year’s Seatrade Europe conference will take a deep dive into topics surrounding the importance of continued reinvention and expansion in a way that is both responsible and practicable for the industry.

Focus on ferries and river cruise ships

Right on day one (06 Sept.), the MARINE INTERIORS conferences will start with a premiere: For the first time a conference session, titled “Creating a first-class customer experience”, will be entirely dedicated to ferry interiors. Featured experts will include Peter Ståhlberg, Managing Director of Wasaline, and Matteo Della Valle, Sales & Marketing Director at Grandi Navi Veloci. „Ferry operators must provide a seamless experience that makes passengers feel valued and understood. The fact that MARINE INTERIORS is focusing on ferry interiors this year is insanely exciting for us. The interface between design and shipbuilding has been missing on the market so far,” said Della Valle. During the second part of the session, international designers will explain the most crucial elements to consider in the planning process: Alan Stewart, Director at SMC Design, wishes for more explicit sustainability rules from ship classification societies, while Helena Sawelin, Partner at Tillberg Design, believes effective planning to be essential “to avoid overhasty design compromises.”

River cruise ship interiors will likewise play a major role on the first day of the conference (06 Sept.): The Hamburg-based firm JOI-Design will manage a related session together with two industry associations, IG River Cruise and River Cruise Europe. “This is a great fit for River Cruise Day, which is organised by Seatrade Europe, our co-located partner fair,” said Selbach. On the following day (07 Sept.), Seatrade Europe’s inaugural River Cruise Day will offer a full day of programming dedicated to exploring the intricacies of river cruising. Key industry leaders will discuss the current European landscape and unveil strategies to become a successful river cruise destination.

Newcomers & new technologies

“IMO Certification for Beginners” (07/08 Sept.) is a session which takes an entirely new approach: Companies that are new to the industry will get key insights into the maze of SOLAS requirements. Markus Hill, Head of Sales at DMT, will explain the regulatory hurdles suppliers of products for maritime use must overcome. The fire expert will guide newcomers through all the necessary process steps. “Many get scared off. But in the best of cases they may get their certification within as little as six months,” Hill points out. During Seatrade Europe’s “Smart Ports & Biometrics: How Is Tech Improving Embarkation & Security?” session (06 Sept.), cruise lines and port executives will look at how technology and biometrics are charting a course towards enhanced embarkation experiences, fortified security, and a new era of port operations.

Anticipating new trends

Another session featuring top-ranking guests is “Designing Ships – An Annual Update”, moderated by Tal Danai, the CEO of Artlink. It will focus on the latest trends in the cruise sector. This is about much more than “bigger, longer, wider,” said Sascha Lang, Vice President, Architectural & Design, Newbuild & Innovation at Royal Caribbean Cruises who contributed substantially to the design of the “Icon of the Seas”: Built by Meyer Werft, she is the world’s biggest cruise ship yet, scheduled for delivery this year. “When we set out to create the ship, we simply wanted to make the world’s greatest holiday”, says Lang. Developing the vessel took five years.

Close cooperation between the designers, engineers, architects and various artists was crucial for a successful outcome, Lang adds. The direction cruise ship design may take in future will be the subject of a panel discussion including him as well as Wybcke Meier, CEO of TUI Cruises, and Thomas P. Illes, Owner and CEO of the coaching and consultancy firm Thilles Consulting.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of MSC Cruises and CLIA Global Chairman, is a fierce campaigner: ”We want to become the number one in the cruise industry. In the session ”ONE ON ONE In Conversation with Tal Danai” (06.09), the MSC CEO reveals how he intends to achieve this.

Refitting & sustainability

It doesn’t always have to be a completely new ship. A thorough refit will leave even older ferries and cruise vessels looking like new. The experts from Partner Ship Design know how to accomplish that: For example, they have given a fresh new look to iconic vessels like AIDA’s ”AIDAcosma” or Carnival Cruise Line’s ”Mardi Gras”. Together with Alexander Höfling, Managing Director at Meyer RE, the mega yard’s after-sales subsidiary, they will spend a session (06 Sept.) discussing the challenges that must be overcome when refitting a cruise ship.

Rebuild instead of building new: What else is the industry doing to make shipping greener? A question Carla Guilbaud, Vice President Member Experience at CLIA, will ask her guests in a panel discussion (08 Sept.). “Another intriguing proposition has been brought forward by Schiff & Hafen magazine and the supplier association VDMA: they see the cruise industry as the vanguard of alternative propulsion technologies,” said Claus Ulrich Selbach. The topic will be examined in depth by editor-in chief Katrin Lau and Hauke Schlegel, Managing Director VDMA Marine Equipment & Systems, during their session (06 Sept.).

The Seatrade Europe conference programme will dive deep into how major players in the cruise industry are collectively navigating towards a sustainable future. Attendees can enjoy a line-up of discussions, presentations and workshops that explore ways to scale sustainably, including: maximising efficiency of shoreside operations; evolution of itineraries; developing destinations; harnessing stakeholder relationships; using technology to your advantage; and navigating ESG goals industry-wide.

Attending the conferences at MARINE INTERIORS is free of charge. Not all pass types grant access to the Seatrade Europe conference programme – for more information on the different pass types and to register, click here. For additional details, view the complete conference programme.

Jaa artikkeli