Cruise Tourism, a subset of leisure tourism, can be referred to as a luxurious form of travelling that includes an “all-inclusive” holiday package on a cruise ship and lasts at least 48 hours. There are different types of cruises such as river cruises, expedition cruises, sea cruises and theme cruises. Further classification includes transit cruises, mini cruises, world cruises and turnaround cruises. Expedition cruises are visits to special locations that are generally inaccessible – for example the Polar Regions – and these are best suited for individuals who are adventurous and curious.
Another example of expedition cruises is glacier cruises that are conducted in places like Alaska, Finland, Canada, Iceland, etc. River cruises are those where passengers spend time on the ship, navigating close to banks of a river exploring sceneries. The ships are generally small but provide every luxury that one can think of. Nile river cruises is an example of river cruises. Sea cruises offer a broader perspective than river cruises. The passengers stay on board and travel the oceans. The ship size is huge and accommodates a large number of passengers. Theme cruises are based on a particular theme, for example golf cruises, music cruises, cookery cruises etc. There are different types of cruise ships available. These ships are designed for select destinations, reflecting the individual functionality quotient; for instance, the ships used for expedition cruises are totally different from those used for world cruises or river cruises.
Cruise Tourism: Popularity Propellers
The popularity of cruises can be traced back to the 1990s. It was referred to as an elite class privilege. The demand for different types of ships for different cruises fuels the growth of the cruise tourism sector, which in turn impacts its popularity. This sector has seen enormous growth with respect to the number of passengers and destinations. The discovery of new regions worth visiting has triggered interests amongst people to explore different areas and derive travel pleasure. The idea that there are many such unexplored areas on earth is arousing interest in people and this is enabling ship manufacturers to manufacture more ships with better innovations. This is propelling the reputation of the cruise tourism sector. Cruise voyages deliver unparalleled customer satisfaction.
Cruise Tourism: Trends
The trends in the cruise tourism sector are noteworthy. The sector is likely to witness full-power go ahead mode characterised by trends such as – evolution in cruise ships, group oriented cruises, the ship as a destination, innovative cruise themes, creating new experiences, culinary delights etc.
Cruise Tourism: Restraints
The cruise tourism sector is influenced by various macroeconomic factors. The consumer sureness is influenced by financial crisis. Moreover, there are several natural disasters that cannot be controlled. These affect the growth of this sector. Also, presence of pirates in the Gulf of Aden and other areas pose threats. One more aspect that might impact the cruise tourism sector is the condition of crew members. Many a time, passengers are given the best privileges and facilities at the expense of the crew members, resulting in low salaries and low social security for the crew aboard a cruise ship.
Cruise Tourism: Region-wise Popularity
North America had experienced popularity in the cruise tourism sector initially. However, the sector seems saturated in this region today. Europe is the second popular region after North America and is likely to show high growth opportunities in the coming years. A low market penetration strategy provides plenty of opportunities for ship cruising. Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy represent the European region. Recently, Netherlands has shown increased demand for cruise ships owing to growing interest of people. In APAC, China is likely to promise higher growth opportunities in this sector.
Cruise Tourism: Organisations and Key Companies
Cruise Lines International Association is one of the largest non-profit organisations in the cruise tourism sector that supports the interests of 26 leading cruise companies. European Cruise Council, formed in 2004, represents leading cruise companies in Europe. The IG River Cruise organisation – formed by three Swiss cruise companies – consists of 14 big river cruise companies and represents almost 85 percent of the market in Europe for the cruise tourism sector. The DCC or Dutch Cruise Council organisation represents cruise companies in the Netherlands market. Some of the companies in the cruise tourism sector include Carnival Corporation, Genting Hong Kong, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Birka Line, Touristik Union International Group, Dunoon, Viking Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Saga Plc.
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Cruise Tourism Sector Overview
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