Now that ships are once again carrying passengers, the cruise industry is optimistic.

At the CruiseWorld conference and trade show in Fort Lauderdale, delegates heard that message.

Royal Caribbean Group sponsors a luncheon that features its three main cruise brands.

The president and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group took to the stage and said that his company was optimistic for the fourth quarter and the rest of the year. The company just released better-than- expected third quarter results.

He said that he has dropped the Iron Curtain on the past. Business is back to normal for us. We sailed at 96 percent load factor in the third quarter and we are going to do the same in the fourth. I am very excited that we can use our energy to deliver the best vacations in the world.

Barbara Muckermann, chief commercial officer of Silversea Cruises, was introduced by a senior vice president of sales for Silversea.

Today's luxury consumers are more interested in experiences than buying a handbag. She said to focus on the experience rather than the product. A memory like that doesn't go away.

Five executives were asked to pitch their ideas to different types of family clients. Nolan Flynn, marketing and operations manager, LaMacchia Travel, and Brian Major, managing editor-digital publications and guides/Caribbean, moderated the "Pitch Perfect Multi Gen Panel".

For a family who says "money is no object", as more may be inclined to do for their first post-pandemic travel, the all-inclusive Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana could be a good choice. There are 12 restaurants, a swim-up bar, and a two-story Zen Spa at this hotel.

There is a pineapple villa similar to the one that SpongeBob SquarePants lives in, butlers, water park, all ocean-view suites, and character meet-and-greets.

Club Med has a resort in Sicily that is located on rugged cliffs overlooking the Mediterranean and is close to the village of Cefal.

The Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos is located near the town and marina and is front and center to the Land's End rock arch.

If money is no object, charter the entire ship.

Rob Borden, senior vice president of commercial and cruise at Uplift Inc., spoke to attendees. Uplift is responsible for payment once it's booked. It is paid in full at the time of booking.

Uplift can be purchased through World Travel holdings companies that sell directly to consumers and through travel advisors.

Reed said the average order with Uplift is over $5,000 and 10 percent higher than the average.

Reed said that people dream bigger when they know they can afford it.

Vicki Freed, senior vice president-sales and trade support and service for Royal Caribbean International, talked about the record-breaking bookings when sales opened for Icon of the Seas.

CruiseWorld 2022 in Fort Lauderdale
Vicki Freed and Michael Bayley of Royal Caribbean International. (Photo by Theresa Norton)

He said that this is the culmination of 50 years of trying to be the best. Our expectations were shattered by the record booking.

Travelers are an important part of Royal Caribbean and I don't think that will change.

The Black Travel Advisory Board was created in the summer of 2020 after George Floyd was killed. Bob Sullivan said that he wanted to increase diversity in the travel industry and his own company. The board is dedicated to the equitable representation of minority individuals within the travel industry, with an incentive to recruit more Black speakers, Black attendees, and to launch new programs and initiatives that will make a positive difference in the travel industry.

CruiseWorld 2022 in Fort Lauderdale
Some of the members of the Black Travel Advisory Board created by Northstar Travel Group in summer 2020. (Photo by Theresa Norton)

Five members of the board talked about how they want to see more people of color in marketing material and in hiring. The board members present were the owner of a Cruise Planners franchise, Stephen Scott, and the CEO of Zenbiz Travel.

There were presentations with serious messages from the CEO and founder of Cruise Planners and the vice president of trade engagement for Travel Planners International.

CruiseWorld 2022 in Fort Lauderdale
Vicki Freed and Dondra Ritzenthaler's presentation on nurturing and caring for plants -- and clients. (Photo by Theresa Norton)

The session ended with a presentation from Vicki Freed and Dondra Ritzenthaler.

Advisers need to nurture clients just as plants need to be watered and cared for.