The cruise industry is a highly profitable international activity, and the fastest growing sector of the travel, tourism and leisure industry. The cruise industry has gone through significant changes from the days of transoceanic transportation and tropical vacations only available to the domain of society’s elite, to the modern multimillion tourism and leisure industry that offers an affordable vacation option and a level of comfort difficult to match for the average citizen, with a number of people cruising that seems to grow every year in the world. A relatively reduced number of cruise companies compete for world market shares in different ways, developing innovative commercial strategies and investing multi-million dollar budgets in the research and development of state-of-the-art vessels able to combine the elegance of high quality living spaces with the cutting-edge technological concepts needed to provide stability to these new floating hotels, pushing the boundaries of naval construction and design to the limits for exceptional navigation performance and liveboard comfort while maintaining the highest standards for safety and environmental management systems.
The modern cruise industry offers an option for everyone, exceeding the expectations of its customers, with an also growing number of companies specializized in offering more choices and alternatives, including smaller cruise ships, yachts and sailing vessels that carry out from ten-thirty to a few hundred passengers to exotic and, sometimes, remote destinations and regulated ports, prohibited to larger liners because of the concerns about what the influx of thousands of travelers would have on the local environment.
History of Cruise /industry
Ever since the inception of mankind we have been fascinated by our seas and oceans, mainly used to explore new lands or to transport cargo as the world became industrialized and began trading with distant lands. With industry came money and people wanting to spend their disposable income to chase more adventurous types of vacations and excitement. Our impulse to visit places in the world previously only read about in books by famous explorers became a thing of the past and was turned into a reality. A large ship coined the Black Ball Line, as of the year 1818, operated out of New York City and was the first shipping establishment, offering a scheduled passenger service from the U.S. to England. Trade and leisure combined as one and fuelled the demand for the creation of larger, more luxurious ships like the Titanic. The Titanic at this point in history, as most know, has a category all its own, complete with its own stories and history.
World War I and II required use of cruise ships as troop carriers. After the war ceased, they were used for transporting displaced refugees seeking a new start in distant lands. The industry recovered speedily as the government heavily funded the building of cruise ships with the view to possible redeployment in the future. Even though huge breakthroughs in the flight industry dented the flow in transatlantic journeys, the sixties witnessed the start of the modernized cruise ships. People desired to relive the glory years of times past and were now able to experience short vacation cruises by means of connecting flights to the destination. Some might actually argue that the breakthroughs in flight have recreated the industry of cruising that exists today. The cruise industry had a boost again in the eighties when a fleet of gigantic passenger liners were launched, a number of which were capable of carrying more 2,000 people. These vessels were made exclusively for vacationers, maintaining a cruising itinerary including various sun-drenched locations around the world.
Unlike ships of the past, this fleet was designed to act as floating resorts with casinos, spas, salons, champagne and caviar bars, basketball courts, even multi-story nightclubs. All of a sudden the ports of call weren’t the main draw for travelers. People were now interested in the entire experience of simply being on board. Quite speedily many other popular cruises followed suit of thoseluxury world cruises offering such amenities. Among these new beaming palaces the message advertised was “luxury for the masses,” and typically, this remains the rallying cry of the industry. Where have all the money-laden cruisers gone? The upscale world cruise lines found their forte too by using a fleet of tinier ships that are able to visit secluded ports, avoiding the hustle and bustle of well-known destinations.
Furthermore, concern for the environment’s well being has created cruises involving ecologically friendly itineraries. Coined “eco-tours,” the new branch of the tourism industry matches the needs of the environment with a want to experience the world in its entirety. Businesses specializing in eco-cruises look to education, wildlife, and relaxation, instead of just entertainment, gambling, and margaritas. These ships are small and fares can be costly, but do guarantee exotic, peaceful destinations and a healthy conscience.
Regardless of which cruise you choose, the market continues to grow each year for these specialized businesses. With fantastic luxury amenities and activities, and high class entertainment aboard the ship, today’s cruisers see the voyage itself as being the main draw rather than the actual locations at ports. Hence, the birth of the statement of life changing around the world cruises. Nonexistent are the days of catering solely to the wealthy-this industry is ready for the masses and is the most rapidly growing sectors in the industry of travel.
One of the pioneers in the cruise industry was Albert Ballin of the Hamburg-Amerika Line. He coordinated the first recorded cruise in 1891, on the Augusta with 241 passengers. Later sailing on ships became more refined. Originally, sailing vessels were used primarily to transport travelers from one place to another. As economic conditions changed, rich individuals began to take cruises or round trip sailing in which passengers returned to their point of origin.
In 1906, the Cunard Company entered the cruise industry in on a large scale. Their flagship was the Mauretina, which was considered as the “gem of the sea.” Another important event in the cruise industry was the sinking of the Titanic in1912. World War 1 caused a decline in the cruise industry. After World War 1, business improved when American Express chartered the Laconia for the first cruise around the world. At the outbreak of World War 2, cruise ships started sailing between Europe and the United States of America. The cruise industry flourished until 1958 when the first jet crossed the Atlantic in six hours. This had an adverse effect on the number of passengers who used the cruise ship as a primary means of travelling across the Atlantic.
In the early eighties, the cruise industry gained popularity due to the television series “Love Boat” which was first aired in 1977. The Love Boat publicized modern-day cruising and created awareness of cruise ship vacations to the whole world.
The Anatomy of the Cruise Ship
There are six important terms that are necessary to understand the anatomy of a ship, namely: the bow, stern, aft, port, starboard, and the midship. These terms refer to the front, extreme rear of the ship, rear, left side, right side, and towards the middle of the of the ship, respectively. Most ships have the “lido deck,” a deck which offers informal activities such as indoor and outdoor buffet.
A ship is classified by its “gross registered tonnage” (GRT), which measures the volume of public space on a ship. The larger the GRT, the greater the number of passengers a a ship can carry. The space ratio is essential in considering a ship’s size. The larger the space ratio, the larger the space a passenger can room while on the ship without interacting with other passenger. A ship has decks with specific names such as bridge, boat, sun, promenade, and sports decks. There are facilities on each deck such as dining rooms, lounges, bar, theatre, meeting rooms, shops and various recreational areas.
Profile of Cruise Ship
There are more than 35 cruise lines operating in the world today. Some have only one ship in their flee while others have 18. Cruise ships are classified as traditional, small luxury, masted sailing (tall ships) adventure/ expeditons, river ship, barges, steamboats, and passengers freighters. 1. The luxury/upscale cruise lines segment with yacht-like upscale cruise accounts for approximately 10 percent of the total industry fleet and carries less than 10 percent of the passenger. 2. The mass-market cruise lines segment, which is the most dominant segment of the industry; it operates medium to large ships and carries approximately 75 percent of the industry’s passengers. 3. Niche/specialty market cruise lines which concentrate on specialized, exotic and adventurous itineraries. 4. Bargain basement cruise lines which use older ships and therefore, are able, to offer cruises at a lower price.
Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, P & O Princess and the Delta Queen Steamboat are regarded as the leaders in the mass market, luxury /upscale and niche and boutique, respectively. Marketing plays a very significant role in the success of the cruise industry. According to Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), the cruise industry spends $500 million ebery year to generate awareness and create demand. Although the cruise industry represents only 2.5 percent of the worldwide tourist product, it competes with resorts and destinations worldwide.
The industry is now offering diversified cruises to suit every taste. Major cruise line companies are using “mega-ships” to attract more passengers. The cruise ships are called “floating resorts” or “hotels at sea.” They provide the same amenities offered by resorts such as accommodations, restaurants, bars, lounges, entertainment, personalized services and several activities. They look more like hotels than ships. Name of Cruise Line| Number of ships| Characteristics|
Carnival Cruise Line| 18| Fun ships-relaxed and casual atmosphere – world’s largest brand| Royal Caribbean International| 12| Serves the volume contemporary and premium segment market – cruises to every area of the world.| Holland America Line| 11| Pampering service – worldwide itineraries.| Princess| 10| One of the fourth largest in the industry – one of the widest varieties of destination and itineraries.| Radisson Seven Seas| 7| Fifth largest luxury cruise line – exotic ports|
Reasons Why People Cruise
There are many reasons why people take cruises. The following are the principal motives. 1. A cruise pampers the clients – A cruise provides services that are rare in everyday life but are common on a cruise such as lounging on deck, breakfast in bed, soaking in a hot tub, afternoon tea, champagne, and caviar. 2. A cruise provides a stress-free vacation – On a cruise, a person packs and unpacks only once. He does not look for a hotel or a place to eat. The cruise experience lessens his worries and maximizes his vacation time. 3. A cruise is a new experience – Many people have never been on a cruise, so they would like to experience adventure on a cruise.
4. A cruise is a learning experience – On many cruises, expert lecturers on board give enrichment presentations that help the passengers understand the history and culture of the places that they visit. Some specialty cruise lines make passenger learning their major goal. 5. A cruise facilitates shopping – Every port provides passengers its own shopping opportunities which are often duty-free. The ship itself has a wide selection of boutiques where the passengers can make their purchases. 6. Cruises offer a variety of events, activities and meals – It is impossible to be bored on a cruise because of various events and activities that you can choose from such as swimming, jogging, watching a show, shopping, dining indoors or out, exploring a port or staying on board, sunbathing and reading by the pool.
7. A cruise develops friendship – A cruise provides opportunities to meet new people and to make friends. These friendships may last even after the cruise. 8. A cruise is a romantic experience – Many plays, movies, songs and books use cruises as the setting for romance. Cruises strengthen an old relationship and start a new one. 9. A cruise is a great way to celebrate a special event – Couples celebrating their wedding anniversary, honeymooners, birthday celebrants find the cruise an excellent venue for their celebration. 10. A cruise satisfies practically everyone – A cruise satisfies almost everybody – families, old people, young people, lovers of knowledge, lovers of sports, church groups, singles, and couples.