Bruce Nierenberg brings 50 years’ experience in travel and tourism industry in the areas of cruise line management, airlines, hotels and resorts, destination management, product development, and over-night ferry operations.
As a senior executive or owner of cruise lines and ferry operations since 1974, he has been responsible for some of the most significant new product development in the cruise industry. He has consulted for governments and tourism development throughout the Caribbean islands. He established the first cruise operations in the Ports of Canaveral, Florida, and Houston, Texas. He developed year -round operations for ultra-successful ports of call such as Cozumel, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and the Out Islands of the Bahamas. From their first regular, scheduled service in the mid-1970’s to their position today as among the most successful ports operations in the cruise industry, Cozumel in particular has become the #1 port stop in the world in terms of arriving passengers.
The Western Caribbean 7-day cruise route, he created and implemented in 1975 is still the most popular Caribbean itinerary 40+ years after it was initiated.
Bruce Nierenberg began his career in tourism as an airport ticket and operations agent at Eastern Airlines while in college at the University of Miami. While at Eastern Airlines, he worked as a Senior Passenger and Cargo Sales Representative. In his first year, he was named salesman of the year for the company.
His first position in the cruise industry was with Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) in 1973 as Regional Sales Director in Chicago. In his first year with NCL he used his airline background to create the first national program of air-sea packages that brought packaged cruise and air vacations nationally for the first time.
While with NCL in 1970’s, he was responsible for the acquisition and conversion of the S.S. France into the S.S. Norway, the largest passenger ship in the word at the time and first “mega” cruise ship to carry over 2000 passengers. This was the first cruise product that marketed the ship as the destination and
proved consumer acceptance of the concept now used successfully on all of today’s mega cruise liners.
In 1977, he started the first cruises to the Out Islands of the Bahamas. These trips featured the first “Private Island Experiences” which have become a mainstream product for all Caribbean operators and the main reason for the growth of cruising in the Bahamas.
In 1982 and as CEO of Scandinavian World Cruises, he helped conceive, design and implement the first “super ferry” to operate in U.S. waters, the M.S. Scandinavia, which ran from New York to the Bahamas.
He started the One Day cruise market from Florida, the “Seascape”, which operated successfully for the next 25 years from several ports in the state. This product brought many passengers to their first cruise in the 1980’s
Beginning in 1983 through 1991, he was a founder and managing partner of Premier Cruise Lines (“The Big Red Boats”), which had its first cruise in March 1983 from Port Canaveral, Florida.
He is credited for bringing American families traveling with children into the cruise market. Premier Cruise Lines (PCL) introduced the first onboard children’s programming including a full staff dedicated to youth activities. PCL also instituted the first full service children’s dining program, the first daily onboard babysitting service and the first children’s onboard recreation centers divided by specific age groups. All These products have become staples of the cruise industry today and the foundation for Disney building their own ships and starting Disney Cruise Lines in themed 1990’s.
While Managing Partner at Premier Cruise Lines he developed the first all out- island cruises to the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas. This required completed development of the destination including channel dredging, and building the port and harbor facilities.
By the mid 1980’s, Premier had become the most successful cruise line in the 3/4 -day cruise market, and the Official Cruise Line of Walt Disney World.
He is responsible for getting the Disney Company into the cruise business.
Using the Disney contract relationship, Premier’s Cruise and Disney Week Package became
- The most successful tour operation in Florida,
- The largest individual seller of Disney admissions outside of Disney themselves,
- The largest individual renter of cars in Florida, and
- The largest contractor of Central Florida hotel rooms
After selling his interest in Premier Cruise Lines to the Dial Corp in 1991 he became President and CEO of Costa Cruise Lines, prior to the sale of the company to Carnival Corp., where he implemented several new profitable itineraries and introduced two new vessels for the company. In 1996 rejoined NCL and implemented the first- year-round cruises from Houston, Texas to the Western Caribbean.
In 2003, he became President and CEO of the Delta Queen Steamboat Company (DQSC), at that time the only American flag steamboat operation on the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. In cooperation with the parent company Delaware North he took DQSC, from an annual $15 million-dollar loss, to a positive result before it was sold in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina caused a cease in operation in late 2005. He successfully arranged for a post hurricane deployment of the steamboats of DQSC via contracts with major oil companies in Texas and Louisiana to use the vessels as accommodation ships for the workers who were rebuilding the refineries destroyed by Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita.
He has served on the Florida Tourism Commission including 2 years as Chairman, Vice Chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Brevard Community College Foundation’s Board of Governors, and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association Board.
During the last 5 years Nierenberg has worked to implement the first system of Super Cruise- Ferry service in the Caribbean Basin. This service will connect major shipping gateways in the US Gulf Coast such as Miami, Tampa, and Houston with The Yucatan peninsula in Mexico and eventually Havana Cuba.
On May 5, 2015 Nierenberg secured the first license form the US Government to operate passenger ships to Cuba.
In winter 2016, he became President and CEO of Victory Cruise Lines, a Miami based deluxe small ship, all-inclusive cruise product to sail to the Great Lakes in the summer. The first cruise onboard Victory I for Victory Cruise Lines took place in July 2016. A second ship, Victory II, will join the fleet on the Great Lakes in July 2018. Victory Cruise Lines will sail to Cuba and Yucatan Mexico from Miami Florida beginning in the winter 2018/2019.
He was appointed Chairman of the Board of Victory Cruise Lines in January 2018.