Cruise vacationing is the fast growing sector in the tourism industry, at a rate twice as fast as tourism as a whole. North America accounts for 75-80% of the market. The big three Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess are leading the way. Together they capture 2/3rds of the market.
Cruise ship themselves have become the entertainment for the trip. With a multitude of activities there is something for everyone. From morning to dusk there is an activity available. Swimming in the pool, movies, casinos, games, lessons, kids programs, cooking classes, golf, ice skating,….the list goes on and on. You never have to leave the ship.
The cruise lines are competing for ports, with many more cruises leaving from ports in Florida. Disney is bringing back seven day cruises leaving from the west coast, Los Angeles, to sail to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta., as well as cruises to the Panama Canal.
Of the eight major cruise lines in the Caribbean six of them have their own private islands, Half Moon Cay, Casaway Cay, Great Stirrup Cay, Princes Cay, Serena Cay and Coco Cay. Some of the lines are investigating private clubs at ports of call.
Several cruise lines are introducing new ships or reintroducing newly refurbished ships. The Disney Magic has new enhancements: a 24×14 ft. LED movie screen, new spa and fitness center for adults and new youth space. Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Princess are all introducing new or refurbished ships this year as well.
Shorter length cruises aimed at a younger crowd are becoming more popular, accounting for 37% of all cruises. Clearly cruises aren’t just for the rich and famous anymore. All this growth and competition mean more opportunities, more choices, and better prices for the consumer. Now is a good time for a cruise vacation.