Heinemann’s cruise business takes off in the Americas with new lines and major ship contract

Heinemann Americas is the retail concessionaire onboard Carnival’s newest, largest and most innovative new ship, the Carnival Mardi Gras, which is scheduled to launch in November.

Heinemann Americas was in the midst of a very successful year in the cruise channel in 2019 and early 2020, celebrating concessions for new ship brands and announcing it had won a major retail contract for Carnival Cruise Lines newest, most high-tech ship. The Miami- based division of global travel retail company Gebr. Heinemann added its first Royal Caribbean ship to its retail portfolio last year, and continued to grow its supply arrangement with fast-growing MSC Cruises in the region.

“We were very satisfied with our turnover in 2019, especially since we were able to bring in new products and new concepts,” Nadine Heubel, CEO of Heinemann Americas, tells TMI.

Nadine Heubel,
CEO of Heinemann Americas

In a huge development for the company, Heinemann won the retail concession for Carnival Cruise Line’s new Mardi Gras ship, which is scheduled to launch in November of this year. The 5,200-passenger ship is named after Carnival’s first ship, which set sail back in 1972. The new Mardi Gras is Carnival’s largest ship to date and features a new hull design, a new color-scheme and is Carnival’s first ship to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG), which emits almost no emissions. It will be based out of Port Canaveral near Orlando, Florida, where Heinemann is the concessionaire on two other Carnival ships.

“We are thrilled to have been selected as a duty free retailer aboard Carnival’s newest, largest and most innovative ship to date,” commented Heubel. “This is the latest addition to an already successful retail partnership that includes four Carnival ships: Carnival Liberty, Ecstasy, Fantasy, and Spirit. We look forward to unveiling new, one-of-a-kind shopping experiences and concepts that will continue to provide the best retail experience for travelers.”

The new Mardi Gras (the first one was retired in 1993) will feature six themed “zones” inspired in part by New Orleans neighborhoods. These include “French Quarter” and the 3-deck high Ultimate Playground that is making history with the first roller-coaster at sea.

“We have developed a vision and concepts together with Carnival for Mardi Gras, that will be revealed later,” said Heubel.

William Butler, Vice President, Retail at Carnival Cruise Line, says that Carnival Mardi Gras will feature Carnival’s most extensive retail offering in the fleet.

While noting that it is still too early to divulge specific details, Butler tells TMI: “We are extremely proud to launch with our wonderful partners at Heinemann and Effy Fine Jewelers. We’ve worked closely with both partners to create the most exciting and entertaining product assortment that we know our guests will love. Our retail environment is thread throughout several areas of the ship on multiple decks. I can assure you our guests will be wowed by the breadth of offer and we look forward to sharing many more details closer to launch.”


Independence of the Sea

Heinemann added Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Independence of the Seas to its cruise portfolio last July.
The 3,858-passenger ship is based in Ft. Lauderdale for its 5- and 6-day Caribbean cruises.

In May of 2018, the ship had gone through a major refurbishment as part of Royal’s $900 million “Royal Amplified” program, which introduced a host of new features from a virtual reality trampoline experience to two water slides and a kids’ aqua park.

The new retail offer includes a range of shops along the massive Royal Promenade, an at-sea mall that includes a logo shop, an essentials shop, designer fashions, handbags, watches and duty free.


Heinemann’s special relationship with MSC

Parent company Gebr. Heinemann has been partnering with leading European cruise company MSC for the past 10 years, supplying products and logistical support for the fast growing line, which handles its retail concessions in-house.

In fact, Heinemann opened the Miami office – which was a strategic milestone for the company — in November, 2013, to act as a distribution partner to MSC Cruises in order to supply MSC’s fleet in Miami, the Caribbean and South America. Heinemann supplies the core duty free categories to MSC in the U.S., including liquor, tobacco, confectionery and beauty products.

“MSC came to the U.S. the same year that Heinemann opened their Miami office – we have been evolving together at the same time,” Adrian Pittaway, Head of Retail for MSC, tells TMI.

“Our strong global relationship was instrumental in Heinemann opening our office in Miami,” confirms Heubel. “You could say that our story in the Americas started with our partnership with MSC.

“Today in Miami we want to grow our proven business model for the past 140 years, to the U.S. and North America in all channels, but initially it started with the partnership with MSC. MSC is a great example of how a long-term partnership is the cornerstone of the success of Heinemann globally,” she concludes.


Carnival’s Butler comments on the impact of COVID-19 on cruise business

“It has been a challenge over the past several days since we announced our suspension, but our industry will bounce back. Although this point in time can feel a bit uncertain, I am proud of what Carnival Cruise Line and the Corporation have done thus far to protect the health and well-being of our guests and crew. I’m grateful for the partnerships with our retail partners and suppliers and I look forward to our industry-wide relaunch soon. Our retail partners and suppliers are an integral part of the Carnival Cruise Line experience and we will come back stronger than ever before.

“We are all eager to celebrate the relaunch of the industry…and of course the launch of Carnival Mardi Gras.”