At the Seatrade All Asia Cruise Convention 2010, Michael Bayley, Vice President of Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, talked about Asian source market size and where it is headed. Bayley compared the penetration rates versus population in other markets: Cruising’s penetration is 3.2% in North America, about 1% in Europe and less than 0.05% in Asia. With a population close to 3 billion, Asia has the potential to reach 40 million cruisers in 30 years, he said.
"Whilst that is an outrageous number there were only 500,000 cruisers in North America 35 years ago. I think 5m Asian cruisers by 2020 is not unrealistic at this stage"
The cruise market in China has seen a lot of growth recently and fast. The change in atmosphere is thanks to regulations being eased, there has been a lot of government support for the industry and ports have been investing in the development of terminals and infrastructure.
At the UK Cruise Convention held in Southampton, England, Royal Caribbean UK general manager Jo Rzymowska denied that moving to e-docs was a way of driving up the level of direct sales. Ryzmowska said online was “critical for search” for cruise customers but that the level of bookings remained very small, at around 2%. She went on to say, “That will change over time as cruisers become more experienced and the next generation will use the internet as a norm,”
“But the point of e-docs is not about driving more online business. It’s about getting documents to clients as quickly as possible and in the most efficient way possible.”Rzymowska said just as travellers no longer expect to be sent airline tickets they will be comfortable not having paper documents for cruise.And she said having all the documentation online gives clients opportunity to find out more about their cruise and agents to provide a better service.
The Orlando Sentinel has posted a review of the private islands that cruise lines have been using to lure customers on their cruises for years. These paradises are great for the beach lover and offer the benefits of a day of sun, sea, beach and more. Included in these reviews are the two islands that Royal Caribbean offers to its cruisers.
This 138-acre island (Little Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas' Berry Islands) offers a private island experience to Royal Caribbean International's passengers. It has beautiful beaches, food and drinks, organized pastimes including limbo contests, volleyball tournaments, and children's activities.A variety of water sports is available, including snorkeling--snorkelers can see a replica of a pirate galleon. When you just want to relax, one of the hammocks may be the ticket.
Located on a 267-acre peninsula in Haiti's north coast this is another of Royal Caribbean's enclaves. In addition to the pleasures of the sea and sun, Labadee offers cultural pastimes including a folkloric show, tropical bands and artisans' market.Families with children will appreciate a water park, Arawak Cay, featuring water seesaws, slides and more.
Royal Caribbean is going to increase the length of its Dubai-based season for Brilliance of the Seas for the winter 2011-2012 season. Brilliance of the Seas began operating from the United Arab Emirates in January 2010 but would split it's time back in Europe. Now, Brilliance of the Seas will return to Dubai two months early in November 2011 and will offer an increased range of itineraries including longer cruises up to 12- and even 18-nights.
Royal Caribbean's General Manager Jo Rzymowska had an explanation for the change in itinerary, citing high demand for the middle eastern cruise
Dubai is very popular with UK & Irish travellers, and cruises consistently offer significant value for money. We have adjusted the itinerary based on our trade partner feedback and replaced Bahrain with an overnight stay in Muscat. Also included within this cruise itinerary is an overnight stay in the city onboard the ship at the end of the cruise which makes this an affordable way to enjoy this fascinating Emirate. The chance to explore more of the Middle East, Arabian Sea and even India make these additional longer sailings truly exciting options for agents to maximize.
Given the longer six month season that Brilliance of the Seas will now serve, she will visit ports such as Muscat, Oman; Cochin, Goa and Mumbai, India as well as the first time ever visiting the New Mangalore port in Panambur on the west coast of India. The town is famous for its beautiful beaches on the Arabian Sea, the Nandaneshwara Temple and the Gurupura River. Brilliance of the Seas will be the first Royal Caribbean ship ever to stop at this port.
The cruise industry as a whole wants you to book your next cruise vacation early, rather than later. At the recent annual UK Cruise Convention, cruise lines including Royal Caribbean held a summit regarding cruise pricing and defended their pricing strategies. Royal Caribbean General Manager Jo Rzymowska felt that the value of cruising should be more important than the pricing structure, "What ships offer today is phenomenal, we just don't focus on it".
The recent trend has been to have some great deals for last minute bookings but some in the cruise industry want the industry to give more incentive to book early rather than wait for a last minute deal. Furthermore, the cruise industry needs to give customers reason to book early. Cruise experts claim that booking early allows for better deals on airfare as well.
Lots of Americans say that sooner or later, they are going to "see Europe" and hop on over "the pond" to see "the old world" but to be honest, Europe can be a little daunting if you aren't an experienced traveler but the Mercury News recommends trying a European cruise to get a sampling of Europe without the hassle of trying to figure all the details out yourself.
Taking a cruise offers the chance to cover a lot of territory in Europe without the hassle of finding hotels, restaurants and transportation. It's the sampler approach to visiting Europe.
For fans of Royal Caribbean, seeing Europe is easy considering the cruise giant is increasing it's European fleet from eight to eleven ships next year, which will cover 27 countries and 78 ports. If that isn't enough of Europe for you, Royal Caribbean also offers pre- and post-cruise tours for extended visits.
You can read a great report by the author's experience aboard Voyager of the Seas on her Mediterranean Cruise.
But we were more enthralled with Port Grimaud. The port is nicknamed the Venice of France because homes and business are built on canals, complete with boats and bridges. Kitschy jewelry and apparel shops line the canals, most of the restaurants feature outdoor seating, and boat tours show off the seaside town created by architect Francois Spoerry in the 1960s. A sandy beach is also the ideal spot to rest after a long week.
Just a quick note that the first named storm of the 2010 hurricane season, Tropical Storm Alex, has altered Grandeur of the Seas. The ship was scheduled to call in Cozumel, Mexico on Sunday, but now it will stop in Nassau, Bahamas instead.
Good news for Royal Caribbean stock holders, travel agents in Bahrain have reported an 80 percent increase in bookings compared to the first six months of last year and Royal Caribbean is leading the way.
Travel agents said the US-Norwegian company Royal Caribbean International was leading the sales with Princess Cruises and the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) not far behind.
Travel agents there seem to be quite pleased with how well Royal Caribbean itineraries are selling. Oasis of the Seas is generating a lot of interest as well as their most popular package that sets sail from Singapore to Phuket, Thailand and Penang, Malaysia and then back to Singapore over a period of two nights.
"Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruise and NCL are all in the market selling like hot cakes."
There was an interesting article posted about the need for Information Technology (IT) to rebound in growth to help the economy and hidden inside was a tidbit about how Royal Caribbean uses IT to enhance their sales on board. Royal Caribbean International CIO Bill Martin uses an array of computing statistics on several of the company's newest, tech-rich cruise ships to help figure out what to sell next to cruisers.