The rising fuel costs, more stringent environmental regulations and the economic crisis have affected the cruise industry prospects. However, cruise providers expect to see modest growth in 2011, helped massively by the launch of eight brand new large ships and the price reductions. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, it is expected that 16 million people will take a cruise in 2011, with three quarters of these people coming from North America. This is an increase of almost 7% year on year. Last year, despite the lasting effects of the recession, the industry actually exceeded growth expectations.
The top cruise lines are optimistic about the industry future as they try to encourage the industry development in those parts of the world where this type of travel is not particularly popular. Australia is one area which is seeing massive growth in the cruise industry, with more and more big names heading down under every year.
One of the measures taken by the top companies to expand their customer base during the recession has been cutting prices. By doing that cruise companies have managed to keep their ships pretty much full to capacity, even during economic crisis. What they aim is to hook prospective customers with affordable cruises and expect that they will keep coming back for more.
Compared to 2 years ago, cruising prices has definitively plummeted and cabins are becoming more luxurious, more comfortable while onboard entertainment and activities just keep growing. These factors have influenced the rising popularity of cruise holidays. Today one in every 12 package holidays booked in the UK is a cruise. That number is set to increase, with indicators predicting that the number of UK passengers will reach 2 million by 2012 at the latest.
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