By: Mary Pat Sullivan, Content Director, Travel Weekly Events
If you have not yet registered to join Travel Weekly and the travel industry at this year’s CruiseWorld, you are missing your chance to help make history! Royal Caribbean is welcoming the CruiseWorld travel advisor attendees to actually be on board the world’s largest cruise ship when she is officially named the Harmony of the Seas. Royal Caribbean is inviting the CruiseWorld delegates to a private Viewing Launch Party aboard the vessel.
“Royal Caribbean has always valued the travel professional and when we realized the largest ship in the world, Harmony of the Seas would be making her North American arrival at the same time as CruiseWorld, we worked hard to find a way to share the naming ceremony with the travel professionals who are attending CruiseWorld. A naming of a ship is a special experience and we are proud to offer this opportunity to the travel advisors that have helped Royal Caribbean become the largest cruise line in the world,” said Vicki Freed, Senior Vice President, Sales and Trade Support & Service, Royal Caribbean International.
This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many travel advisors allows them to be a part of a deeply routed shipping industry tradition. Recently, Travel Weekly’s Editor-in-chief, Arnie Weissmann discussed this deep seeded tradition with Richard Fain, chairman, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Ltd. to better understand its significance.
According to Weissmann, “Namings are entertaining and fun, but they are a bit more meaningful when one takes into account the history of these ceremonies. The shipping industry is one of the world’s oldest forms of commerce, and it’s rich in traditions, rituals and even superstitions.”
“Naming ceremonies were once overtly religious,” said Fain, “incorporating animal sacrifices. But as religious practices evolved, so did ship namings. The similarities between a ship being named and slipped into the water (as used to occur simultaneously) and baptisms did not go unnoticed. Priests began to bless the ships with red wine, and the ceremonies came to be known as christenings.”
“As times changed, the priests were replaced by women—godmothers, in fact—and the red wine became bottles of Champagne smashed across the bows of ships already afloat.”
On November 10, 2016, a bottle of champagne will be broken across the hull of the world’s biggest cruise ship, and you don’t want to miss out on being a part of it. The Harmony of the Seas is the newest addition to Royal Caribbean’s award-winning Oasis Class fleet. It boats 7 distinct neighborhoods, 20 dining options, cool one of a kind features like The Ultimate Abyss (the tallest slide at sea), surf simulators, rock climbing walls, zip lining, basketball, ice skating and so much more to serve the clients you’ll no doubt book on this stunning ship.
Space onboard the Harmony of the Seas is limited. Attendance will be offered to the first 500 RSVPs. Once you have registered for CruiseWorld, you will receive information on how to RSVP for the Viewing Launch Party on November 10. Use code HBTA at checkout to receive a discounted rate of $75 on full conference access when you register before September 15.
The event, slated for November 9-11 in Fort Lauderdale, includes 11 ship inspection options, 30+ breakout sessions, four general sessions with dozens of the industry’s top leaders taking the stage, supplier training programs, peer training and a diversified exhibitor showcase.
The STAR (Select Travel Advisor Recognition) Program is also now open for applications. As part of Travel Weekly’s ongoing commitment to supporting the professional development and growth of the travel advisor community, this program will help fund attendance and two nights’ hotel accommodation for nearly 300 of the estimated 1,000 attendees at CruiseWorld.
“We launched this program last year and it was a tremendous success. The supplier attendees were extremely impressed with the caliber of our travel advisor attendees and our travel advisors reported amazing leaps in their business after participating. As an organization we will continue to make financial and professional commitments to help bring the best of the travel industry together to learn and do business,” said Alicia Evanko-Lewis, Senior Vice President of Events for Northstar Travel Group. The program is structured to provide enhanced event programming while offsetting some of the financial expenses incurred by travel advisors to attend professional development events. Applications for STAR close on September 15.
For more information on the Viewing Launch Party, registration, speakers and the STAR Program, visit www.CruiseWorldshow.com