At Costa Crociere, CEO and Chairman Pier Luigi Foschi’s management philosophy has raised the bar for the industry. Earlier this year, Costa announced Green Ship certification for its entire 11-ship fleet by RINA, in addition to receiving Best 4 certification last year – both are voluntary, Foschi pointed out.

The key to creating a memorable dining experience for passengers is training, according to Natko Nincevic, senior vice president of hotel operations at Carnival Cruise Lines.

“With 20,000 crewmembers and a turnover of some 4,000 a year, if you do not have training programs it would be very difficult to run as smooth an operation as we do.

Caribbean cruise capacity stays flat in 2005, compared to 2004 when it was up 5 percent; 2003, 13 percent; and 2002, 16 percent.

According to estimates by Cruise Industry News, cruise ships will be able to carry 6.5 million passengers in the Caribbean (including the Bahamas, but excluding Panama Canal cruises) this year.

But the Caribbean continues to attract more cruise traffic than any other region and will have 52 percent of the worldwide passenger capacity in 2005.

With so many different nationalities represented among cruise ships' crews, seafarers' and maritime workers' unions clearly play an essential  role when it comes to crafting labor (and various other) agreements for workers at sea. Most  major cruise lines, say experts and union officials alike, have collective bargaining agreements on board their vessels and work readily with the unions to resolve any issues that affect cruise ship workers - anything from negotiating pay to dealing with sexual harassment on board.

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