There was palpable excitement that the cruise industry was able to hold its key annual gathering with ships operating at pre-pandemic levels and a conference centre ballroom full to the brim.

But as the top executives of the world’s four largest groups spoke at the Seatrade Cruise Global three years after Covid-19 brought the industry to a punishing halt, there was also a feeling that the sector is more than a rebound fuelled by pent-up demand.