It’s been a tough couple of years for the cruise industry but its strong proposition of value and variety is still leading to record numbers of people taking a cruise holiday.
In America, where cruising has been a mainstream holiday choice for decades, my colleagues in the Cruise Lines International Association predict a record 14.3 million passengers will be carried this year by its member lines. Here, the PSA is predicting a record 1.65 million Brits will take a cruise in 2010, more than double the number who took a cruise just 10 years ago.
This growth is being driven by the arrival of new ships and ships targeted for the UK market. Already this year we have seen the launch of Costa Cruises’ Costa Deliziosa, the first cruise ship naming in Dubai, and the introduction of MSC Cruises Magnifica, launched in Hamburg. Significant growth in the number of Brits taking a cruise will come about with two ship launches in April - P&O Cruises’ Azura and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Eclipse followed by the launch in October of Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.
The diversity within the cruise sector is immense, something which was reinforced in my mind when I visited our smallest cruise line member, Hebridean Island Cruises, and their 49 passenger ship Hebridean Princess whilst she was on a visit to the Port of London.
The following day I flew to Miami to join Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas, capable of accommodating up to 6,200 passengers and 2,300 crew. My cabin was an outside with balcony overlooking Central Park on the inside of the vessel!
NCL’s new ship Epic is showcasing in Southampton in June. The Epic has some interesting new features such as “curved” balcony cabins and the new concept of inside compact “studio stateroom” cabins.
The Mediterranean will continue to be the number one destination for UK cruise passengers with a greater number of ships being positioned in the region including Thomson’s newly acquired Thomson Dream. We also expect to see continued growth in the number of people opting to begin their cruise from the UK, with more than 460 departures scheduled this year from British ports including Disney Cruise Lines, Holland America Line and Cruise & Maritime with their new ship Ocean Countess.
More on this and other news in Sea Breezes Magazine - April 2010 Issue
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