CLIA Conference 2022

Date Posted: 14/06/2022

CLIA cruise conference is an annual event that takes place every year. It is the largest event of its kind in the UK and includes a trade fair, daily conference sessions and a gala dinner.

This year was the first year since 2019 that the conference was able to go ahead in Southampton and we were more grateful than ever to be invited to attend.

The aim of the event is for our Retail and Head Office staff to gain some valuable knowledge about the industry, meet suppliers, attend ship tours and have plenty of fun while doing so.

Day 1

On day one we were welcomed on-board MSC Virtuosa. The day kicked off with a fantastic guided tour around the breath-taking ship.

Once the tour ended we were then invited to enjoy a four course fine dining experience in one of the many restaurants. To say the food was exquisite would be an understatement. The staff were more than attentive and we were treated like royalty.

After experiencing the most incredible meal we were then invited to the on-board theatre to hear from some guest speakers about the exciting future of cruising hosted by Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland Managing Director and Lucy Huxley, the Editor-in-Chief of Travel Weekly.

Once we had heard from some of the top members of the cruise industry we then disembarked the ship and made our way to the trade fair. This was an amazing opportunity to meet with suppliers and hear what they have coming up in the future of cruise.

In the evening we were hosted by Carnival Cruise Line in the centre of Southampton. The evening consisted of complimentary food, drinks and a fun filled quiz. It was a great opportunity to get to know everyone and a perfect way to end the first day of the conference.

Day 2

Our second day of the conference we were invited on-board P&O Cruise’s Iona. The newest ship of the P&O fleet, which we were eager to get to see as our very own Dame Irene Hays is the godmother of this ship.

Once on-board we began with a self-guided tour in small groups. This was a great way to see the ship and meant we could really take our time taking in the full ship. This was followed by a sit down dining experience in one of the many restaurants on-board.

Following on from our meal we then attended another afternoon of guest speakers who spoke about a number of things including the steps they are taking to become climate neutral by 2050. Some special prizes were given out during the conference with a number of attendees even wining some fantastic cruises with different suppliers!

On the evening of the second day, we attended the gala evening in the o2 in Southampton. We were welcomed with a champagne reception followed by a three course meal. Once the meal had ended we had the pleasure of watching Faith Tucker perform who is a previous contestant on Britain’s Got Talent. The evening was the perfect opportunity to get dressed up and meet some wonderful people in the industry.

Day 3

Day three was our third and final day at CLIA Conference. We began the day on-board Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. We were welcome with a breakfast buffet with more options than you could possibly imagine. Once breakfast was finished we heard from Joff Eaton, who is the cruise director for the ship about all the different amenities on-board.

This was followed by a self-guided tour around the ship to see all of the amazing things on this Quantum-class ship. Once we had seen all there was to see we took the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary cocktail on the top deck while the sun was beaming down.

The conference then came to an end with one final closing conference in the incredible theatre on-board.

Overall we had a fantastic weekend and gained so much knowledge of the cruise industry and had an incredible time while doing it. We already can’t wait for the next CLIA Conference!