A New Focus

Earlier this year, I began the process of narrowing the focus of Lisa Plotnick Editorial to a single industry – cruise travel. With the support and guidance of friends, family, and mentors (including the faculty of the Emerson College Department of Professional Studies and my new employer), the conversion is now complete.

Carnival Glory approaches Boston. (c) Lisa Plotnick and NauticalNotebook.com

Carnival Glory approaches Boston. (c) Lisa Plotnick and NauticalNotebook.com

Bear with me while I do some shameless self-promotion.

What sets me apart?

  • Objectivity. I am not affiliated with any cruise lines, travel agencies, or other travel providers.
  • Cruise experience. My history as a cruise passenger includes more than 30 cruises to three continents in the past 24 years, enabling me to make observations through the eyes of a cruise traveler.
  • Travel experience. So far, I have visited 32 U.S. states, 7 Canadian provinces and one Canadian territory, 32 countries, and 4 continents. So far…
  • Editorial experience. The skills I use in my career as a writer in the financial services industry — research, copyediting, developmental editing, and news reporting — have proven to be transferable to the travel industry.
  • Longevity. I began publishing cruise reviews and port reviews in 1998.
  • Digital communication. Through my tenure at Sealetter.com (2000-2005), I was among the early columnists of a Web-only magazine.

While I have not abandoned the retirement income industry – as if that could ever happen – I look forward to taking the business in a new direction. I hope you will join me on the journey.

Cruise alliance is a model for the retirement industry

A few weeks ago, I deviated from my retirement research to focus on another area of interest – the cruise industry. The Cruise Canada New England Alliance held its 2013 Symposium in my city and I was privileged to attend this three-day conference that featured discussions with executives from cruise lines, port authorities, and other industry stakeholders.

As I listened to the presentations, I could not help but think of the applicability to the retirement industry. This was a discouraging exercise.

Let’s backtrack. The Cruise Canada New England Alliance consists of port authorities of five separate regions—New York City, Boston, Maine, Atlantic Canada, and the Saint Lawrence. Between them, they represent nearly 40 ports of call in 3 U.S. states and 5 Canadian provinces. The Alliance was established in 1988.

All of the members share the goal of maximizing passenger traffic to their ports. After all, an influx of tourists can have notable financial benefits for a locale. For example, the Historic Charlottetown Seaport in Prince Edward Island estimates that cruise ship calls during 2012 generated $13.4 million for the province. Therefore, it might be reasonable to draw the conclusion that these port authorities are competing for passengers.

Yet, that is not the case. Before you can get cruise ships to commit to regular visits to your port, you must first convince the cruise lines that the region itself is worth considering. And, that is the goal of the Cruise Canada New England Alliance.

And, that also exemplifies a key difference between the two industries I follow. In the retirement industry, financial services companies have a number of products worthy of consideration for a retirement portfolio, and many can fit together as neatly as a cruising itinerary. However, there is a strong tendency to point out the disadvantages of competitors’ offerings rather than join forces to explain how to address the retirement issue in the first place.

Not every product is right for every investor who is saving for retirement. And, any product recommendation should not be considered by itself—that is, it needs to be considered for its role in the overall journey. In that area, the retirement industry has a lot to learn. In the meantime, I am continuing to weigh my options for my next Canada New England cruise.


Opening day

The arrival of spring in Boston is not complete until Opening Day. By this, I refer not to Fenway Park (for America’s pastime), but to Cruiseport Boston (for my pastime). Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2013 cruise season in Boston, as Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn departs on the first of her weekly, seasonal cruises to Bermuda. The attached photo of Norwegian Dawn was taken on Opening Day 2012, and I hope to get to the port tomorrow to capture a new photograph. Welcome home, Norwegian Dawn. And welcome, spring!

Norwegian Dawn, Opening Day 2012 (c) 2010-2013 NauticalNotebook.com

Norwegian Dawn, Opening Day 2012
(c) 2010-2013 NauticalNotebook.com