I imagine every industry has one or more associations that involve companies from across that industry working together on legally permissible topics. There are thousands and thousands of such associations. If you have ever visited one of the Senate or House office buildings in Washington DC, it often appears as if all of these associations are walking the halls of Congress at the same time. Most of these associations have professional (i.e., full time paid) staff and volunteer leadership from executives within the industry.
The cruise industry is no exception to this rule. Sometimes it seems as if we have more associations than we have cruise lines. Typically, in the cruise industry each association is allocated its own geography. For example the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association or FCCA looks after the industry’s interests in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico region including Mexico. The European Cruise Council or ECC has (surprise!) Europe. Abremar is the industry’s association for Brazil. And so on.
Within the U.S., the primary association is called Cruise Lines International Association or CLIA. CLIA has a large membership of dues paying travel agents, travel agencies, business partners and of course the cruise lines. We are very fortunate to have Christine Duffy as CLIA’s President along with a very capable staff. Almost all of the industry’s top US-based executives have some volunteer role within CLIA. In my case, I sit on the Executive Committee and on the Board of Directors. There are also committees for environmental and technical matters, government affairs, marketing, etc. CLIA’s primary focus at present is to complete an Operational Safety Review that will result in policies enabling the member lines to enhance the industry’s already enviable safety record. CLIA has recently announced a policy that calls for all guests to attend a muster drill before their ship leaves the port of embarkation, and a policy that all relevant information concerning marine accidents be maintained in a robust database under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization or IMO.
Not to worry. The cruise lines still compete like cats and dogs to offer you the best vacation amenities and the greatest value. But I thought you should know that where we are allowed to work together we put a lot of time and effort into making sure the industry is doing the right things in the right way.