Seatrade Cruise 2023: Sunshine, Sustainability and Robots

Technology as a tool for enhancing guest experiences once more proved a key theme for Seatrade Cruise (27-30 March), despite news reporting urging caution over the use of artificial intelligence ahead of the Fort Lauderdale show.

The Cruise Innovation Theatre on the exhibition floor offered an impressive line-up of presentations: from reimagining entertainment and retail onboard and the power of collaboration, through to how technology is shaping the future of onboard experiences.

In one highlight, Trevor Young, Vice President, New Building, MSC Cruises and Mark Amos, Vice President, JRA, shared how they have worked together to create ROBOTRON. Located on the ship’s top deck (19), the attraction features a robotic arm with a gondola attached that offers thrill-seeking guests extraordinary views as it twists and turns over the side of the deck, 53m above the sea.

Seduction by technology proved a common theme, with several exhibitors showcasing new technologies. For example, one exhibitor was showcasing onboard VR in an area given over to headsets, while a small robot in Hall 3 was available for a chat, to provide customer service support, and even to take a selfie with guests – if asked nicely.

Getting up close and personal was also a main attraction over at the Bolidt stand. During the show the flooring innovators ran a number of ‘Bolidt Bear Resin Art Workshops’, offering visitors the chance to decorate a polystyrene bear with Bolidt’s proprietary Bolicoat® resins. A great networking opportunity, the workshops also delivered a learning experience by allowing guests to work with Bolidt materials to create their own unique piece of art.


Sustainability and decarbonisation were also key conference and exhibition themes for 2023. As someone who carries a refillable water bottle, the refill stations dotted around the venue were a welcome sight, after many shows where buying bottled water has been the only option.

At the conference, shore power was a headline topic as cruise lines look at ways to reduce their environmental footprint, while the drive to understand what the industry is doing to meet both regulatory obligations and guest expectations dominated media enquiries.

Foreship’s expert insights into designing ships to support alternative fuels and how cruise owners can address and manage the challenges of CII to improve ratings were of particular interest, while YSA Design explained the importance of the source of materials used onboard. YSA recently set-up a new sustainability division to set new standards for cruise projects.

Professional Women in Cruise

As a majority female maritime PR agency, helping to raise awareness of women in maritime is something JLA Media is truly passionate about. Supported by WISTA USA, the Professional Women in Cruise Brunch returned for another year, in a packed event that delivered on learning as well as networking. With the panel focusing on drydocking, Anna Silva, Manager of Cruise Operations and HSE at Port Everglades Terminal LLC, led a lively discussion between experts including Lorena Galan, Director of Global Logistics for the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection, Martina Gallus, VP Technical Operations at Carnival Cruise Line, Maija Harju, Director of Operations at Fassmer Technical Projects, and Linda Turnquest, CFO of Grand Bahama Shipyard.

Supported by a video of a cruise ship in drydock showing the sheer scale of the operation, the panel provided an overview of everything from essential ship repairs to water slide refurbishment.  From planning and logistics to equipment handling and installation, and work that sometimes requires over 1,500 personnel, the panellists brought the video to life by sharing their experiences and explaining each stage of the operation before opening the floor to questions.

For more insights or to meet the JLA Media team at an upcoming event, get in touch or follow us on LinkedIn.

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