Adrian Pittaway launches Cruise Retail Academy

Cruise industry veteran Adrian Pittaway, whose tenure at MSC Cruises as Head of Retail from 2015 and 2023 propelled the cruise line’s innovative retail concessions into an industry model, has launched the Cruise Retail Academy, an online digital hub designed to be a resource for the cruise retail community.

According to the official announcement, the online hub aims to empower onboard retail professionals – which Pittaway calls “shoppies”– with a one-stop shop for training, networking and career advancement opportunities.

Pittaway announced the launch of his Cruise Retail Academy portal during the DFNI Cruise Conference that took place in Istanbul last week.

Pittaway says that his Cruise Retail Academy stands as a unique and vital resource that will empower professionals, strengthen brands, and enhance cruise operator success, and thus play a pivotal role in helping grow and mentor the future retail talent at sea and provide free access to training, networking, and recruitment tools fostering professional development and career growth.

Key features of the Cruise Retail Academy include:

  • Community Hub: Cultivate connections, share successes, and learn collaboratively through a dedicated online forum.
  • Industry Expertise: Brand partnerships delivering targeted training, brand immersion, novelty launches and specialized knowledge directly to onboard professionals.
  • Specialist Training: Develop brand specialists into category experts, enhancing product knowledge, merchandising skills and sales techniques.
  • Creating Brand Experiences: Assist brands in crafting bespoke strategies specifically for the cruise retail channel.
  • Recruitment Platform: Streamlined access to job opportunities that align with evolving industry needs.
  • Leadership Development: The upcoming Academy+ program will equip onboard professionals for leadership roles with dedicated groups, podcasts, resources and bespoke online programs.
  • #Shoppies Hub: A wealth of resources including blogs, success stories, FAQs, Q&A sessions, industry news and social media engagement.
  • Free Mobile App: Connect, learn, and develop on-the- go with the dedicated easy to use Cruise Retail Academy app.

In a comment, Adrian Pittaway, states, “I’m thrilled to launch this unparalleled digital resource for the entire cruise retail community. We’re committed to putting onboard teams at the heart of our global industry, by opening doors and building a proactive network for partnerships with brands and operators alike.

“This extraordinary group of retailers inspires us as they go on their personal growth journey away from friends and family to find opportunity on the ocean. With amazing passion, dedication, professionality and motivation, they really are the true secret of cruise retailing.

“So, to take this to the next level for brands and operators, we believe the Cruise Retail Academy is our answer. Together, we navigate a future where this community-driven approach overcomes long standing challenges and illuminates a brighter future for onboard retailers.”

For more information, visit Cruise Retail Academy at