Craighead Named Godmother of Emerald Sakara

Emerald Cruises has announced that Kelly Craighead, President and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), has been named godmother of Emerald Sakara, the line’s second ocean-going luxury yacht, due to launch in August.

The naming ceremony will take place on Dec. 2, 2023 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Jo-Lee Shantz, Emerald Cruises’ Director of Marketing Ocean Cruises, Canada, said: “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.”

Shantz continued: “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 honoured by Emerald Cruises as the Godmother of Emerald Sakara.”

As President and CEO of CLIA, 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 75,000 CLIA Travel Trade Members and stakeholders globally 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, bringing a deep knowledge of public policy and how governments around the world work.

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.

Said Craighead: “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. 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.”

Set to launch this August, Emerald Sakara will join sister-yacht Emerald Azzurra sailing the Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas, as well as the warm waters of the Caribbean. Carrying only 100 guests, the 110-meter (361 ft) Emerald Sakara offers more space-per-guest than vessels of a similar size, and 88 percent 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, snorkeling equipment and more.

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