Margaret Thatcher said, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman,” and when it comes to moving corporate and government executives from one part of the universe to the other or disaster victims from crises to safety – and it can be done by sea, there is one woman who can make it happen: Joyce Landry, the CEO of Landry & Kling, Inc. Since 1982, Joyce and her partner, Josephine Kling, have successfully transferred heads of state and corporate presidents as well as victims of Katrina, from one port to another. Dockside charter projects include the 1992 Barcelona Olympics; 2005 Super Bowl (Jacksonville, FL); 2007 Cricket World Cup (West Indies) and the 2009 Summit of the Americas (Trinidad).
When Disasters Strike
Landry and Kling are pioneers in the use of cruise ships as floating hotels. In fact, Landry’s telephone number should be on speed dial for every corporate and government travel executive, for she can find a ship and get you home safely – even if she has to find one in dry-dock and get it towed to its destination (which is exactly what she had to do during the Katrina emergency). Currently she is working with various organizations to bring a ship to Haiti so that visiting contractors will have a place to stay while the country is being rebuilt. Cruise ships are excellent “stand-by” transportation options during any emergency and can be used to evacuate stranded passengers during weather emergencies or as a take-out of officials during political unrest.
Increased Interest in Cruise Ships
According to Landry, the entire cruise ship industry has seen an uptick since 9/11 as people are reluctant to fly – anywhere- and feel much safer onboard a ship. With 80 percent of Americans living within a one-day drive of a seaport it is likely that this trend will continue.
Although the BP oil spill is creating havoc and will require billions of dollars and multiple-years to resolve, the cruise ship industry is not currently impacted. According to Lanie Fagan, Director of Communications for the Cruise Lines International Associations, “All ports operating normally. There are some safety zones where oil cleanup operations are taking place but the ships are able to maneuver around these.” Landry points out that it is unusual for the US to have oil spills and even leaks from tankers have become rare. According to the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Ltd (ITOPF), between 1970 and 1998 there were nearly 10,000 incidents; however, there were none in 2009.
Although 2010 has not been a wonderful year, Landry is optimistic about 2011 and 2012 with increased interest from international organizations seeking to use cruise ships for corporate meetings and incentive programs. Groups arranging onboard programs and accommodations usually range in size from 250 to 1000 although she is finding a growing number of smaller size groups looking at ships as venues since the introduction of a new website (seasite.com) that empowers travel managers to explore ships online and develop a do-it-yourself site inspection from the comfort of their offices. Developing markets include Germany, Spain, the UK and Asia as well as Russia and South America.
Although Landry has been in the cruise business since the age of 23 (when she implemented the first air/sea department for the Holland America line) she devotes a large part of her day to pursuing personal interests that include serving on the Governing Group of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), an organization that certifies women-owned businesses. As a member of the board she assists the organization to expand into European markets. She has been recognized by the Athena Foundation for professional excellence and community service, named to the Women’s Hall of Fame by the City of Miami, acknowledged as one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry (as determined by Meeting News Magazine) and is the founder of the Deborah Natansohn Foundation which awards scholarships to women in need, enabling them to advance careers in journalism and tourism.
An avid traveler, Landry enjoys photography, hiking and competitive sports, and recently won a gold medal in the Women’s Master’s 1000 meter race at the Miami International Regatta and even trekked solo in the Himalayas.