This promises to be a busy year for hotel operations, with the introduction of new ships and refurbishment projects, as well as new homeports and new itineraries, while also meeting revenue targets, keeping expenses under control, and delivering a solid guest experience.

At Royal Caribbean International, Senior Vice President of Total Guest Satisfaction Michael Bayley said he will be focusing on the introduction of the Liberty of the Seas; the revitalization of the Majesty of the Seas; seven ships going into drydock; preparing the Navigator of the Seas for the U.K. market; preparing the Rhapsody for Asia and the Splendour for South America, and sailing the Legend out of the U.K. and Santo Domingo.

Natko Nincevic, senior vice president of hotel operations at Carnival Cruise Lines, will help take delivery of the Carnival Freedom in February, while the Inspiration and the Imagination are scheduled for refurbishments. In addition, he is looking at tweaking and improving the product wherever possible.

At Holland America Line, Johan Groothuizen, vice president of marine hotel operations, said: “We have finished the physical upgrades of Signature Excellence so this will be the first year we will be running all the venues on all the ships. Our focus is now on crew training. We have invested so much in the hardware, now we are investing more in the crew, too.”

Tino Hensel, vice president of hotel operations and entertainment at AIDA Cruises, is focused on the AIDAdiva, the first of the line’s new class of ships, to enter service this year. The Diva features a theatrium – combining the mid-ship atrium with the ship’s theater – aimed at entertaining passengers throughout the day and late into the night, according to Hensel.

Costa Crociere faces a 22.5 percent increase in capacity in 2007 due to the full year operation of the Costa Concordia and the introduction of the Costa Serena, according to Antonio De Rosa, vice president of cruise operations. “As a result, we will be putting a great deal of effort into crew sourcing and training,” he said.

The full text of this article appears in the 2006-2007 winter edition of the Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine.