iLocal News Archives


DECEMBER 18, 2023

Holland America delighted with cruise recovery

Gus Antorcha, President of Holland America Line (right), speaks with FCCA President Adam Ceserano during the recent webinar.

Holland America Line, which in its earliest years transported immigrants from Europe to Ellis Island, is known today as one of the industry’s top lines for service excellence aboard the high seas.

Speaking recently during the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s (FCCA) web series with FCCA President Adam CeseranoGus Antorcha, President of Holland America, said Cruise Critic’s awards for service over the past two years are an affirmation of the company’s commitment to its passengers, and he pledged to maintain the traditions of cruising with the provision of incredible service “whether that’s turn down service or (serving) high tea.”

Authenticity is an important part of Holland America’s brand reputation and the company does a significant amount of regional sourcing to ensure that local ingredients are incorporated into food served on board, reflecting the tastes of its destinations.

The line also brings aboard speakers and lecturers to brief passengers on local cultural experiences. Some entertainment shows, particularly in the Caribbean, were designed with a Caribbean partner to prepare guests for the color and rhythms of the region.

Once ashore, in addition to shopping, the company offers an extensive array of options to encourage cultural immersion, including, for example, cooking, museum visits, and walking tours.

Of the headwinds ahead, Antorcha said the global geopolitical instability, including in the Eastern Mediterranean, was a concern not only for the company but also for humanity as a whole. Fuel costs are another challenge cruise lines must address.

He reported seeing “incredible demand”, which indicates guests are responding well to the itineraries and product enhancements, all of which made him optimistic about the continued recovery and trajectory of Holland America Line.

To watch the webinar, visit

A visionary journey in Caribbean tourism

screenshot. To view video click HERE

CHTA President Nicola Madden-Greig, OD at the 2023 CMEx Leadership Awards

In the heart of Coral Gables in Miami, a moment of profound recognition unfolded earlier this month as Jamaican Nicola Madden-Greig, OD, a paragon of the Caribbean tourism industry, was one of close to a dozen to accept the 2023 Caribbean Media Exchange (CMEx) Leadership Award

Madden-Greig, with an array of experiences from the cruise industry, tourism attractions, airlines, and hotels, radiates both professionalism and deep passion for her field. Her words resonated with the audience, a blend of industry experts and professionals from the Caribbean Diaspora, as she recalled her days at Florida International University, marking the ceremony not only an accolade but also a homecoming of sorts.

“It is truly indeed an honor to be recognized in this way,” she expressed, her voice carrying the weight of her accomplishments and the challenges overcome. As Madden-Greig detailed her tenure as president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) since October 2021, her narrative wove through the trials of COVID-19, highlighting the extraordinary collaboration between the public and private sectors. 

Her vision, ambitious yet grounded, aimed to propel Caribbean tourism beyond mere recovery to unprecedented heights. “I want to see the Caribbean region not only grow but reach the stratosphere in terms of Caribbean tourism,” she said while expressing her gratitude towards her peers. Have a listen above.

Celebrating cultural advocacy and community engagement

screenshot. To view video click HERE

Popular Caribbean-American South Florida broadcaster Pat Montague

The December 2, 2023, CMEx ceremony was also illuminated by the presence of another Jamaican woman, Pat Montague, a dynamic force in the Caribbean community of South Florida. 

Montague, the President and CEO of Pat Montague Marketing & Promotions, embodies passion, dynamism and commitment. 

A popular radio personality, dedicated fundraiser, and marketing maestro, Montague has dedicated her career to keeping the Caribbean community informed and engaged. Her work is a testament to her love for her culture and community. She stands as a cultural icon, making a difference and leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of those she reaches.

Montague shared a glimpse into her journey, revealing a profound love for her work that transcends the conventional notion of a job. “I haven’t worked for the last 30-something years because I really love my job,” she stated, her words echoing her deep-rooted passion for spreading the good news about the Caribbean and its people. 

Her vivid recollection of the first day in the radio studio, where she instantly knew she belonged, painted a picture of a life devoted to a key passion. Her promise to continue her work for many more decades was a pledge to keep fueling the vibrant spirit of the Caribbean.

For more information about CMEx, visit

PR Tips: Newsworthy news releases

In the ever-evolving landscape of public relations, one timeless tool continues to stand the test of time: the press release or as we like to say, the news release. As a powerful communication tool, news releases have proven to be indispensable for companies, brands, organizations and individuals looking to convey their messages effectively to the media and the public. 

There are a few moments that work best to use news releases, such as the following:

  1. Product Launches and Updates: Announce new products, services, or significant updates to capture media attention and create buzz.
  2. Milestones and Achievements: Celebrate key milestones, such as anniversaries, awards, or record-breaking achievements, to showcase company or brand success and build credibility.
  3. Partnerships and Collaborations: If the company or brand forms strategic partnerships or collaborations, a news release can help broadcast the news and highlight the mutual benefits.
  4. Crisis Management: In times of crisis, a well-crafted release allows for controlling the narrative, addressing concerns, and communicating responses effectively.
  5. Event Announcements: Whether it’s a grand opening, a conference, or a webinar, news releases help generate interest and attendance.
  6. Personnel Changes: Announce key personnel changes, such as new hires, promotions, or retirements, to keep stakeholders informed and maintain transparency.

Press or news releases remain a cornerstone of effective public relations strategies. By understanding when to use them and crafting compelling, informative releases, companies and brands can leverage this timeless tool to share their stories, shape public perception, and maintain a positive presence in the media landscape. 

Their effectiveness hinges on not only crafting a compelling narrative, but also on ensuring that authentic news is delivered without unnecessary spin. It’s this balance of informative storytelling and genuine content that makes a news release a powerful tool for communication and public engagement.

Quotable Caribbean

“This new route (Toronto to Martinique), more than an air connection, opens doors to new opportunities, strengthening our commitment to elevate Martinique to the top of must-visit Caribbean tourist destinations. As of today, Martinique has officially become more accessible to Canadians than ever with up to six weekly flights from Canada, among others. What an amazing journey! I would like here to thank especially Air Canada for their unwavering cooperation and support.” – Bénédicte di Géronimo, Tourism Commissioner, Martinique

Medical Moment

The British Heart Foundation offers the following healthy eating advice in restaurants or at home while enjoying this Christmas season:

  • Consider a starter (perhaps with a side order of vegetables), instead of a main course, or ask for a smaller portion.
  • Have a lighter meal in the evening, like soup, salad or sandwich, if you had a big meal earlier in the day. 
  • Replace chips with a jacket potato, salad or vegetables. 
  • Choose lean cuts of meat, remove any visible fat, and try to limit the red and processed meat you have in favor of fish, chicken, turkey, and plant-based options.
  • Avoid deep-fried, pastry-based dishes or those with creamy or cheesy sauces. 
  • Consuming a good helping of vegetables with your meal will add vitamins, minerals and fiber. Avoid vegetables that come with added butter, cheese sauce or salt.
  • Choose sugar-free drinks or water, and alternate these with any alcoholic drinks.
  • Select fruit-based desserts.

CHIEF Spotlight

The recent CHTA Caribbean Hospitality Industry Exchange Forum (CHIEF), held in Miami, showcased “Intergenerational Hospitality Excellence”, featuring Richard Doumeng (right), the owner of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and his son Mikael Doumeng

Mikael, following in his family’s footsteps, made a significant impact at CHIEF with his engaging and insightful presentation. He shared effective social media strategies to foster engagement and connect with a diverse audience, demonstrating the evolving dynamics of hospitality leadership and digital engagement in the Caribbean tourism sector.


Marketplace Excellence Corporation (MPE) is a global public relations, marketing and media company.


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