Elisabetta De Nardo, Director Port & Destination Operations, Silversea Cruises, Chairwoman, CLIA Europe Port & Destination Sub-Committee

Please describe your position and role in the cruise industry.

I sometimes struggle to explain how complicated my position is and what the role of a Port & Destination Director means.

The cruise industry is growing rapidly, adding new amazing destinations, new excursions with increasing frequency, and building new ships with designs that make some terminals’ existing infrastructure obsolete.

The challenge for cruise ports and cruise companies to become increasingly productive and capture their share of the expanding market is never ending, requiring constant upgrades to all infrastructure of terminals and employing innovative methods of processing passengers. We are there to care for our passengers as well as help ports improve these operational processes.

The miraculous, if routine, task of disembarking a shipload of 600 - 3,000 or more passengers and then checking in the same number for the next excursion, all within a limited amount of hours, involves perfect coordination and infrastructure. We need to guarantee the best passenger experience and cooperate with onboard and ashore governments, tour operators, port agents, suppliers, and law enforcement agencies.

How long have you been in the cruise industry and what other roles/positions have you held?

I’ve been in the cruise industry since 2002, first as a service provider, then as Port Operations Manager (Costa), Head of Port Operations & Development (Costa), Director Port Operations & Development (Costa), Director Port & Destination Operations (Silversea). This industry gave me incredible opportunities to grow as a woman and professionally, and discover so much.

Please describe a contribution you or your company has made to the cruise industry that you are proud of.

We are proud to offer an industry-leading list of over 800 destinations across all seven continents in perfect coordination with ports. As an example, our new flagship Silver Muse showcases world-class locations to those who sail during her inaugural season with 52 UNESCO World Heritage Sites featured in her 2017 itineraries. Silversea offers a completely different proposition tailored to the requirements of our discerning guests. We are not trying to create the biggest luxury cruise ship - our strengths lie in offering a boutique, intimate, elegant but not opulent experience for our guests which will be reflected in our plans to expand capacity and fleet.

Name a “highlight” in your career.

I’ve been lucky enough to always have been recruited by the companies I have worked for, and for this reason I felt I had to give even more of myself to prove I was a worthwhile asset as a young professional.

The highlights of my career are truly the people I’ve met, most importantly my mentors, first Roberto Ferrarini and Gianni Onorato, and more recently Roberto Martinoli. Working for a family owned company, like Silversea and our Chairman Manfredi Lefebvre, is an example of how a concise value proposal survives versus big conglomerate companies.

The beautiful thing is my job and what I do every day is THE highlight.

What is the biggest challenge in the cruise industry as it relates to your sector and how would you address it?

The cruise industry is facing an increasing number of challenges, including port availability, customer demand, environmental concerns, volatile fuel prices, municipal and government taxes, as well as trying to work out the long-term effects of the financial crisis.

We haven’t effectively conveyed the cruise experience to all our different stakeholders, including the value of what cruising is compared to land vacations. This is a way for all cruise communities and potential communities to understand the enormous potential of these industry to the world economies.