May 20, 2024
Cruise lines address ‘Been there, done that'
A Royal Caribbean ship docks off the company's private resort in Haiti.

International roundup

Cruise lines address ‘Been there, done that'

Amy Martinez | 10/28/2014

Cruise lines fight 'Caribbean fatigue' with new ports of call.

Before it became mainstream, the idea of taking a Caribbean cruise was such a novelty to most Americans that the variety of destinations hardly mattered.

Now, with more than 73 million Americans having taken a cruise, mostly in the Caribbean, straying from the beaten path is essential to continued growth for cruise companies.

Bob Levinstein, chief executive of, says the industry is grappling with "Caribbean fatigue" after two decades of rapid growth. "The Caribbean has a lot of islands, but if you've done five or six cruises over the years, you may lose interest," he says.

Giora Israel, senior vice president of global port and destination development at Miami-based Carnival, says repeat customers amount to two-thirds of the capacity on some cruises and need new experiences. "There are beautiful parts of the Caribbean that are completely undiscovered," he says. "We need to diversify our product."

Carnival, the world's largest cruise ship operator, already calls on 75 Caribbean ports in 32 countries and territories and has at least two more destinations in the works.

The parent company of Carnival Cruise Lines is building a $65-million port at Amber Cove on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. And it recently announced a deal with the Haitian government to develop a $70-million port in Tortuga, an island off Haiti's northern coast.

Meanwhile, Carnival's top competitors also are refreshing their Caribbean itineraries: Royal Caribbean has joined with the Barbadian government to explore building a cruise port at Sugar Point, and Norwegian Cruise Line is developing a new port in Belize.

Although Tortuga represents Carnival's first foray into Haiti, Royal Caribbean has stopped in Labadee, a private resort on the country's northern coast, for many years. A stark contrast to the intense poverty in Haiti, Labadee offers quiet beaches and family-friendly activities, including a zip line, roller coaster and water park.

Some new destinations will have to be marketed carefully, Levinstein says. He predicts Carnival will downplay Haiti's name in marketing materials to make travelers more comfortable with the destination, for example. "They're not going to market it as Haiti. They're going to market it as Tortuga Island because of all the negative connotations," he says.

Profile Melitta USA

Melitta USA, part of Germany's Melitta Group, produces coffee filters in Clearwater for the North American market. It also runs its North American operations out of Clearwater, overseeing a New Jersey coffee roasting plant and a large sales-distribution network made up of retail chains and specialty stores. In all, Melitta employs 66 people in Clearwater, where it can produce 300,000 packages of filters daily - representing roughly 100 million cups of coffee. Despite a boom in the single-serve coffee market, many traditional drip coffee drinkers still need the paper filters, says Donna Gray, public relations director at Melitta USA. To capitalize on growth in the market, however, Melitta now makes one-cup coffee pods in New Jersey.

Country Briefs

  • BELGIUM - Platform Specialty Products of Miami announced a deal to buy Belgian agrochemicals company Agriphar for about $400 million.
  • BRAZIL - São Paulo-based bank Itau took over as presenting sponsor of south Florida's largest tennis tournament for the next five years, renaming it the Miami Open. The annual event on Key Biscayne had been sponsored by Sony.
  • GERMANY - Gebr Heinemann, which runs duty-free and travel retail stores, opened an office in Coral Gables to oversee its Americas operations.
  • INDIA - Lupin, a Mumbai-based pharmaceutical company, plans to create 45 jobs at a new lab in Broward County, focused on developing inhalation products to treat lung diseases.
  • PUERTO RICO - Nova Southeastern University opened a regional campus in San Juan, offering master's and doctoral degrees in pharmacy and education.

Tags: International

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