Kelly Craighead named as Emerald Sakara’s godmother

CLIA President and CEO to christen Emerald Cruises second luxury yacht

Emerald Cruises has named Kelly Craighead, President and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) as godmother of Emerald Sakara, the line’s second luxury yacht, due to launch in August. The naming ceremony will take place in San Juan, Puerto Rico on 2 December 2023.

“Kelly portrays perfectly what we find special about Emerald Sakara, whose translated name means ‘thoughts become things,’ – a meaning that represents both how we designed and built Emerald Sakara, and how we view Kelly’s leadership and contributions to the cruise industry as she guided us through some of our most challenging times, only to emerge stronger than ever,” said Ken Muskat, Managing Director of Scenic Group USA.

“Kelly’s unwavering commitment to our valued travel advisors and to responsible tourism at sea and in destinations around the globe aligns with Emerald Cruises’ passion for growth and success. As our fleet continues to expand with our newest luxury Ocean Yacht designed to respectfully explore the world’s most unique destinations, we find it only befitting that Kelly, and through her, the CLIA team, be recognized and honored by Emerald Cruises as the Godmother of Emerald Sakara.”

Emerald Sakara at sea (CGI)

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As President and CEO of CLIA, Kelly Craighead represents a broad and growing community of the world’s most prestigious ocean, river, and specialty cruise lines, as well as a network of more than 66,000 CLIA Travel Trade Members and stakeholders across the industry. With more than 20 years of executive leadership in the private and public sectors, Craighead served as the United States government’s senior representative for travel and tourism, and the first-ever Deputy Assistant Secretary for Travel and Tourism at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She joined CLIA in 2019.

Under Craighead’s leadership, CLIA has honed its focus on leveraging its diverse community to advocate for a sustainable cruise industry. During the multi-year pandemic, Craighead and the CLIA team worked tirelessly to help ensure the long-term viability of cruising and the ability to safely return to operations in line with other travel sectors. In 2023, the cruise industry is projected to carry 31.5 million passengers – surpassing historically strong 2019 levels.

In addition to her leadership role at CLIA, Craighead serves as Vice Chair and Executive Director of the Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, a non-profit public charity devoted to improving the quality of life in communities served by the cruise industry. Her leadership on sustainable tourism has helped position the cruise industry in a better place than it was three years ago — and well on its way towards achieving carbon reduction goals for 2030 and net carbon-neutral ship operations by 2050.

Kelly Craighead, President and CEO, Cruise Lines International Association

“I am honoured to have been chosen as godmother to the luxury Ocean Yacht Emerald Sakara and am proud to represent this beautiful and ecologically friendly ship in this esteemed maritime tradition,” said Kelly Craighead, President & CEO, Cruise Lines International Association.

“The name Sakara reflects my deep personal belief that positive thoughts manifest reality, and the strong rebound of cruise from the past few years – along with our commitment to a future of sustainable cruising – demonstrates the optimism that drives this industry forward every day.

“Additionally, Emerald Cruises’ Cherish the Planet ethos, built in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, aligns with CLIA’s work around environmentally responsible tourism and protecting the destinations we visit,” Craighead added.

For perspective: Emerald Sakara is the sister-ship of Emerald Azzurra, pictured here in Rovinj, Croatia | Source: Facebook/Emerald Cruises

Along with its many amenities, Emerald Sakara employs some of the industry’s latest technology, as Scenic Group’s commitment to environmental safeguards and travel sustainability is unwavering. Engines meet IMO tier III emission regulations, including the removal of NOx and SOx from exhaust gases; recycled energy is used to heat water for the yacht’s needs; and advanced sewerage treatment complies with the latest regulations. The company has earned a Green Passport from the EU for its recycling efforts.

Set to launch this August, Emerald Sakara will join sister-yacht Emerald Azzurra sailing the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, as well as the Caribbean. Carrying only 100 guests, the 110-metre Emerald Sakara offers more space-per-guest than vessels of a similar size, and 88% of the ship’s 50 staterooms feature balconies. Guests will enjoy a large infinity pool, spa, gym, and marina platform outfitted with aquatic toys including paddleboards, snorkelling equipment and more.

Emerald Sakara is the 11th vessel in the Emerald Cruises fleet, joining nine river-cruising Star-Ships and sister-yacht Emerald Azzurra.

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