News & Events
Metro’s cruise brand has grown significantly in the Northeast region in recent years, beginning with the providing of stevedore services in the Port of Boston to Crystal, RCI, Celebrity and Carnival cruise lines. The addition of BCT, home port for Princess and Cunard, highlights Metro’s focus in this region and strategically positions the company in the Eastern Seaboard’s largest port. Brooklyn is one of three cruise facilities in the Port of New York and New Jersey. It is the easiest terminal to reach by road and has excellent facilities that position it for future growth. Additionally, its friendly layout and beautiful views of Governors Island to the north and the Statue of Liberty to the west make it the perfect venue for special events, a major portion of Metro’s business proposition for the terminal.
Metro’s cruise team will work in tandem with the NYCEDC to attract new cruise customers to Brooklyn, while also creating the conditions to increase the call volume from existing loyal clients Princess and Cunard. Substantial effort will be deployed to offer the terminal facilities to special event planners and to work with the “Big Apple’s” largest destination management companies to bring corporate and sports events to the BCT. The first vessel, Queen Mary 2, arrived in May 2013. In the meantime, Metro Shore Services ground services and agency departments also have begun planning for growth.
Metro Cruise Services LLC President Stefano Borzone commented on this new business. “The plan, both current and future, is to expand in this port and broadly deploy our suite of services for our esteemed clients,” Borzone said. “We look forward to developing our new relationship with NYCEDC and demonstrating our commitment to excellence and dedication to the cruise industry.”
Metro Cruise Services LLC and Metro Shore Services LLC, which jointly provide a full suite of services to the cruise industry, is part of Nautilus International Holding Corp. Nautilus, headquartered in Wilmington, Calif., maintains oversight of various subsidiary companies concentrating in stevedoring, terminal operations, agency, logistics and risk management. The companies of Nautilus International Holding Corp. include Metro Ports, a contract stevedoring and marine terminal operator specializing in bulk materials, breakbulk cargoes, forest products, wind energy, and a variety of other marine cargoes; Metro Cruise Services LLC and Metro Shore Services LLC; and Metro Risk Management LLC, which specializes in claims administration and other risk management services. For more information, please visit www.metroports.com, www.metrocruiseservices.com, www.nautilusintl.com.
When Crystal Cruises was looking for a partner to help develop their Pacific Coast shore excursion program last autumn, Metro wasted no time in developing it. After many hours of research, vendor reviews and site inspections, Metro came up with an innovative and creative tour program that met Crystal's high expectations, achieving some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in Crystal's entire worldwide tour program.
Tour options included such diverse offerings as visit to the Boeing Factory in Seattle, a behind-the-scenes look at wine-making in Napa Valley, and even a tour of Santa Barbara by Segway! Metro Shore Services looks to build upon our success and are already working with other cruise lines, including Silversea Cruises and UK-based P&O Cruises. Tour programs are now up and running in Los Angeles, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, and Miami.
We will manage twenty-one Regent calls in Port Everglades in the upcoming season—November 2010 through May 2011. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is a premier luxury brand of cruising operated by parent company Prestige Cruise Holdings, a subsidiary of Apollo Management LP from February 2008. Regent features smaller, more intimate, all-suite, all-balcony ships. The current fleet includes the Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner, and the Seven Seas Navigator, all of which we will service in Port Everglades.
Metro Cruise Services has worked successfully with Regent Seven Seas in San Francisco, and San Diego; we are excited to expand our partnership to the East Coast.
Metro Cruise was unanimously awarded the franchise by the Broward County Board of Commissioners at a public meeting held on April 13, 2010 in Fort Lauderdale. Stefano Borzone, president of Metro Cruise Services and James Callahan, chairman, president and CEO of Nautilus International Holding Corporation, the holding company of Metro Cruise Services, were in attendance to accept the permit on behalf of Metro.
Port Everglades holds world records for hosting the most cruise passengers in a single day (more than 52,000 passengers) and the most cruise ships in port on a single day (fifteen). With forty-eight different ships operated by fourteen different cruise lines, Port Everglades offers more cruises by more cruise lines aboard more cruise ships than any other cruise port in the world.
We look forward to a long relationship with the Port and the cruise lines calling at this world-class location.
On February 19 of this year, we had our first turn of Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas at the World Cruise Center (operated by our Pacific Cruise Ship Terminals LLC) in Los Angeles. Part of the Voyager class of Royal Caribbean vessels, Mariner of the Seas is 1,020 feet long, weighs 138,000 tons, and holds 3,500 passengers. Servicing this vessel has offered us some new challenges. Based on its size, we needed to work the ship at Berth 91-92, which required new gangways to meet the height of the ship’s designated side doors. While new, state of the art gangways have been ordered by the Port and are expected by the end of the year, an interim solution was needed. To solve this issue, Metro liaised with the port’s Engineering and Property Management Divisions to design two new 50-foot platforms to support stainless steel gangways capable of transitioning passengers on and off the vessel. PCST Terminal Manager Wilkin Mes provided vision and leadership, ensuring that the platforms and gangways were designed, approved, and fabricated in record time. A turn-around day for Mariner of the Seas is a demonstration of efficiency and teamwork between the shore side team and ship’s management. A cruise vessel of this size and capacity can present major logistical and time management challenges unless every detail of the turn operation is perfectly planned. When Mariner of the Seas comes alongside every Sunday, Metro processes 3,500 passengers off and 3,500 passengers on the ship, ensuring baggage is offloaded and collected by the departing group in less than 4 hours, and loaded for the newcomers in about the same time. The Metro team is also tasked with overseeing the loading of over 500 pallets of provisions during the duration of the call. While with each larger vessel the challenge continues to grow, we consistently find a way to service the ships within the time allowed.
On April 5, we had our first turn of the long awaited Carnival Splendor in Long Beach. The largest ship in the Carnival fleet, the Splendor is 952 feet long, weighs 113,300 tons, and also holds 3,500 guests. As with the Mariner, the Splendor presented us with exciting new challenges. The increase in passenger headcount called for adjustments in passenger baggage collection and baggage sorting. Carnival built functional outside check-in stations that helped passenger processing at embarkation and truly maximized the space available. Operationally, Carnival Splendor required new thinking in the areas of baggage loading as its side door configuration could not accomodate our traditional cages and its door height did not allow our preferred lift equipment to be placed on board. Once again, a close liaison with Carnival translated into a set of solutions that allowed a top quality operation to be put into place from the first call.
We are very proud of our ability to adapt to new situations, and the exciting arrival of these new vessels in our ports offered an opportunity for us to prove our competency. The ingenuity and commitment of our staff resulted in exceptional service to these new, very large vessels and much recognition from two top clients that expected nothing less. The Mariner of the Seas and Carnival Splendor are scheduled to call at Los Angeles and Long Beach every Sunday, year-round, for the foreseeable future. The ships have been extremely well received by the loyal customers of the two cruise lines and will certainly become West Coast flagships and symbols of the cruise industry’s might.
The story began in 2007, when another Nautilus company, Metro Shore Services LLC, under the leadership of Stefano Borzone-Pinna and John Oldefendt, established exceptional services in Miami for Crystal Cruises. Through Metro Shore Services, which provides ground services to Crystal Cruises, the Port of Miami gained a clear vision of the type of individuals running our business and the quality of services that we consistently provide to the Port’s most discriminating customers. We are confident that the successes of the Metro Shore team were a major factor in the success of obtaining a stevedore permit in 2009.
Alternately the number one or number two cruise port in the world, the Port of Miami is properly considered by industry experts to be at the epicenter of cruise. It is therefore with great pleasure that Metro Cruise Services will now compete for business in South Florida in the same professional manner that we have done in other cruise ports. That’s all we ever ask of any port – the ability to compete on a level playing field. After that, we let our outstanding reputation and proven performance do the talking.
We credit our success to many factors, including our concentrated effort to build relationships with local Florida companies, Port representatives, and cruise lines desiring competitive service options in the Port of Miami. The current economic climate requires value, efficiency, and positive results to our cruise customers, and our “total package of services” responds to the needs and desires of the cruise industry. Indeed, some of the largest cruise lines calling in the Port of Miami fully supported the concept of Metro Cruise Services starting business in Florida. We are thrilled that the Port of Miami agreed.
Metro Cruise and Metro Shore have been providing stevedoring, agency and ground handling services to Princess for the last three years in addition to managing the cruise ship terminal through Pacific Cruise Ship Terminals (PCST). Every year Princess chooses the winner based on a combination of passenger service rates, percentage of ontime sailings, as well as reviewing performance against the challenges faced at each of their ports of call. Out of thirty-eight ports worldwide, Los Angeles ranked number one for 2008.
It took a lot of work to earn the title. Metro began servicing Princess in the fall of 2006 when they had a passenger service rating of 81.79. By the end of 2007, we had lifted that rating to 88.46. Even more impressive was our continued rise in rates to 91.30 for 2008. We achieved these results through our dedication to uncompromising customer service and the introduction of a new paradigm. For the first time in the industry, we designed a “total package of services” that allows us to synergize all the aspects of a cruise call— from agency, to ground services, to stevedoring—into a seamless, well-run operation. All areas of logistics, from airport meet-and-greet programs, transfers from airport to terminal, hotel programs, to check-in at the cruise terminals and debarkation, were carefully planned. A staff average of 140 members work in these areas of logistics every call, and each is required to deliver seamless service, adapting to the circumstances each day brings. In addition, total integration of our stevedore services and agency required all areas of the operation to plan as a team, debrief and commit to continuous improvement mechanisms unprecedented in our industry. The results are exceptional with customer satisfaction ratings at record values and rising. Even more importantly, the results validated the vision Metro brought forward and fulfilled the commitment we made to Princess, our first partner in this new synergy.
The award was given at the Princess Annual Logistics Conference in Santa Clarita and presented by Alan Buckelew, Princess’ Chief Executive Officer and Dean Brown, Executive Vice President. On hand to receive it were Stefano Borzone-Pinna, John Oldefendt, Matt Temblador, Kevin Wong and Luis Solis. The entire Metro Cruise and Metro Shore team is to be congratulated for this achievement, defining the ultimate team effort. We are very proud of the service we offer to our customers and are greatly honored to have received this award in the name of Metro, helping to solidify its leadership in the cruise world.
We were also there when our partners at Port of Los Angeles were honored at the World Cruise Center. Our excellent working relationship with Port of Los Angeles staff created a powerful alliance resulting in outstanding customer satisfaction. “We are thrilled to receive this honor and share it with the outstanding stevedoring team at Metro Cruise Services which provides the land-side operations at our cruise terminal,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. “It is especially meaningful to us because it is the passengers who have said we are the best – we gave them a great experience to start and end their vacation, and that says it all.”
Wilkin Mes has been promoted to Regional Manager, Cruise Operations for Southern California. In this role Wilkin will assume the responsibility of day to day terminal operations at PCST, and oversee stevedoring activities in Southern California ports.
Joe Lockhart has been promoted to Operations Manager and will focus on Long Beach stevedore operations and planning. Joe will continue to support stevedore activities in Los Angeles/San Diego as needed, and will report to Wilkin Mes.
On November 4th, Crystal Symphony docked at Terminal J, and Metro’s personnel handled her guests with professionalism and attention to detail that are consistent with Crystal’s exceptional customer service. As Metro knows, each of these guests is looking forward to the perfect experience, made of welcoming staff at the airport, seamless transfers and check-in, and a fabulous ship’s crew. All of them will inevitably remember the destinations, food, and entertainment, however it is the people that care for them that will make the true difference, their attention to detail that will leave the long lasting sense of an exceptional experience.
Crystal Cruises is known for their high quality of service and their exceptional cruise experiences. Crystal guests expect the very best, and Metro is the company who can provide it.
We are very pleased to be chosen by Crystal and see our efforts and reputation being recognized by the cruise industry. We are often quoted as saying, “Let us show you the Metro difference”. In the Port of Miami, the difference is Crystal clear.