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Crystal appoints Christian Sauleau as SVP, Operations & Total Guest Satisfaction

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

As it continues the most significant brand portfolio expansion in luxury travel and hospitality history, Crystal Cruises is also expanding its executive bench power. The line today announced the appointment of longtime luxury cruise industry executive Christian Sauleau as its new senior vice president of operations and total guest satisfaction, and will report directly to Thomas Mazloum, Crystal’s chief operating officer. In this newly created position, Sauleau will oversee Crystal’s departments of marine, hotel, food & beverage, entertainment and land programs. He will also manage safety and security operations, as well as officer and crew hiring processes and development, with the goal of maintaining the line’s long-celebrated standard of excellence and guest satisfaction ratings.

“Christian Sauleau’s esteemed career boasts a wealth of industry savvy – much of it gleaned from working in direct competition with Crystal – as well as experience in launching new ships and innovative enrichment programs,” says Crystal’s president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez. “We are thrilled he has agreed to join us as we continue to grow and encounter bigger opportunities and guest offerings than ever before, as our guests’ satisfaction remains paramount.”

Mazloum adds, “With more than 25 years in the luxury cruise industry, most of that time spent as a senior executive of operations, Sauleau brings to the Crystal family an affinity for delivering award-winning experiences and services, things for which Crystal has also been recognized for more than 25 years.”

In his prior roles, he has overseen the construction and launch of several luxury ships and facilitating innovative partnerships and onboard offerings with the likes of the prestigious Le Cordon bleu culinary school in Paris and with renowned chef Paul Bocuse. His other successes have included a partnership with Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society to offer the Ambassadors of the Environment program for young travelers.

In his new position with Crystal, he will support the line’s ocean cruises, as well as Crystal Yacht Cruises, Crystal River Cruises and Crystal Exclusive Class ships. A native of France, Sauleau will be working closely with Crystal’s teams in its Los Angeles headquarters and Miami branch office.

Carnival Corporation to sail to Cuba with all travelers, including Cuban-born passengers

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Carnival Corporation & plc, the world’s largest leisure travel company, today announced it will sail as planned from the U.S. to Cuba with all travelers, including Cuba-born passengers, for the company’s week-long voyages to Cuba. Carnival Corporation worked closely with Cuba to allow its cruise ships to operate in a similar manner as current air charter operations to Cuba, starting with its historic inaugural voyage on May 1, 2016.

Last week, in anticipation of this positive outcome, Carnival Corporation announced its new Fathom brand was accepting bookings to Cuba from all travelers, including individuals born in Cuba. Fathom’s 704-passenger Adonia cruise ship will begin sailing to Cuba every other week, marking the first time in over 50 years that a cruise ship has been able to sail from the U.S. to Cuba, as well as the first time in decades that Cuban-born individuals will be able to sail to and from Cuba.

"We made history in March, and we are a part of making history again today," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation. "More importantly, we are contributing to a positive future. This is a positive outcome and we are extremely pleased. We want to extend our sincere appreciation to Cuba and to our team who worked so hard to help make this happen."

"We have already seen tremendous interest in the incredible Cuba journey we have put together, and we are ecstatic that this historic opportunity is open to everyone who wants to travel to Cuba," said Tara Russell, president of Fathom and global impact lead for Carnival Corporation.

Russell added: “Our guests will visit three beautiful and unique destinations on the island all in one week, with the convenience of only having to unpack once while we sail on the Fathom Adonia, our premium small ship with its excellent and diverse dining, service and accommodations. We are looking forward to treating Fathom travelers to an unforgettable experience.”

Carnival Corporation’s Fathom brand and its voyages to three ports of call in Cuba

During each sailing, Fathom will visit Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba, three ports of call for which Carnival Corporation has obtained berthing approval.

As part of this historic sailing in this inaugural year, travelers will enjoy an exciting Cuban experience and will sail aboard the Adonia, where they can choose to partake in onboard experiences, including Cuban- and Caribbean-inspired food and films, music and dancing, and much more.

Special onboard programming will include a wide variety of activities covering an array of interests, ranging from an orientation of Cuba's history, customs and culture, to geographic-inspired entertainment, to casual and fun personal enrichment activities, along with conversational Spanish lessons.

Seven-day itineraries on Carnival Corporation's Fathom brand depart from PortMiami on Sundays at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). The ship will arrive at its first destination, Havana, the following morning (Monday) at 11 a.m. ET. The Adonia returns to its homeport, PortMiami, at 7:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

Prices for seven-day itineraries to Cuba start at $1,800 per person, excluding Cuban visas, taxes, fees and port expenses and including all meals on the ship, onboard experiences and several on-the ground activities. Prices will vary by season.

Hurtigruten in up to four expedition cruise vessel contract with Kleven

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Hurtigruten, which operates expedition cruises and a coastal express service between Bergen and Kirkenes along the west coast of Norway, has signed a letter of intent to build up to four expedition cruise ships at the Kleven shipyard at Ulsteinvik in Norway.

The first vessel is due to enter service in 2018 and the contract is the largest investment in the 120 year history of the company, The ships are designed by Rolls Royce, with assistance by Espen Oino, a Norwegian naval architect.

This is the first newbuilding contract for more than a decade Hurtigruten has placed in the expedition cruise sector, although it converted a former Portuguese ferry into an expedition cruise liner last year.

The new ships will employ environmentally friendly technology and they can also be used in the coastal express service, Hurtigruten said in a statement.

Carnival Cruise Line appoints Kathy Mayor as Chief Marketing Officer

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Following an extensive global search, Carnival Cruise Line has hired Kathy Mayor as chief marketing officer. Mayor possesses wide-ranging experience in an array of marketing disciplines including e-commerce, digital and loyalty marketing, customer relationship management, business development and product and brand management.

In her new role as CMO, Mayor is responsible for driving Carnival Cruise Line’s marketing strategy across a variety of platforms including digital marketing, e-commerce, advertising, guest loyalty and public relations. She will report directly to Carnival President Christine Duffy.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have someone with Kathy’s experience, talent and knowledge joining the Carnival family,” said Duffy. “Her multi-dimensional marketing background focused on consumer brands and experiences make her an ideal candidate for this role.”

Mayor previously worked at Las Vegas Sands Corp. where most recently she served as global senior vice president of strategy, CRM and e-commerce. In that role she led Sands’ corporate marketing efforts in marketing technology, data science and market research, and then led Sands China’s digital marketing, social marketing and e-commerce product management. Mayor joined Las Vegas Sands in 2008 and previously carried the titles of global vice president of CRM and loyalty marketing, and executive director of strategic initiatives.

Prior to joining Las Vegas Sands Corp., Mayor filled leadership positions at Caesars Entertainment, McKinsey & Company and Procter & Gamble. She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Management Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines.

Odo-CBR Commentary - Fathom sails into perfect storm before launch

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Fathom, the new impact travel brand of Carnival Corporation & Plc group, has sailed into as perfect storm even before it has been able to commence operations. Unveiled with a great fanfare at an event in New York in June last year, the one-ship brand accounts for 3.2% of Carnival group's 220,000 lower bed capacity. However, its problems could carry more weight than that when it comes to negative publicity and absorption of management resources.

Fathom will operate the 710 berth Adonia, transferred from P&O Cruises in the UK, which will continue to manage the 2001 built 30,277 gross ton vessel. A planned first two week cruise that was due to sail on 18 April had to be cancelled as the ship failed to pass US Coast Guard's inspection.

Adonia is due to call in Cuba and this has been a key selling point of the new brand, However, it emerged that Cuban authorities would not allow passengers born in Cuba to travel on the vessel to their native land. Passengers travelling by air from the US do not face similar restrictions.

On 18 April, Carnival Corporation & plc issued a statement in which it said that it remained in talks with Cuban authorities to solve the issue. "We want everyone to be able to go to Cuba with us," said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc in the statement.

"While optimistic that Cuba will treat travelers with Fathom the same as air charters today, should that decision by Cuba be delayed past May 1, Carnival Corporation will delay the start of its voyages to Cuba accordingly," Carnival added.

In our opinion, the future of the new brand largely depends on the success of these talks. Should they fail or to be seriously prolonged, the ship would only call in the Dominican Republic, which would greatly reduce the brand's appeal. This outcome could release an angry backlash from those passengers that have booked on Adonia with an anticipation that the ship will take them to Cuba.

The Carnival group would survive such a storm, but it could occupy lots of management resources and result in lots of negative publicity, without which the brand, the group and the cruise industry could all be better off.

Deep problems in a small unit of a large organisation can result in problems far more significant that the weight of the troubled unit in that organisation: Greece accounts only for 2% of the euro zone GDP, yet problems with its economy have, from time to time, virtually paralysed the European Union that ultimately stands behind the single currency.


Odo Maritime Research, in cooperation with Cruise Business Review, will publish Global Ocean Cruise Market Analysis & Forecast 2016 in June.

This will be the second issue of the bi-annual report, which will study and analyse the recent development of the cruise industry in terms of fleet growth deployment of tonnage, various aspects of the newbuilding sector and the financial performance of the industry.

The pdf format report will comprise about 125 pages and feature a large number of graphs, charts and other visual forms of presentation of information, which makes it easier for readers to form a comprehensive picture of the industry than if lots of text had been used.

To pre-order your copy, please send an email to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.





The price of the report will remain unchanged from two years ago, at £520, €650 or $860.

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