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Caribbean still No. 1 for cruising


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Caribbean still No. 1 for cruising

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COMPETITION FOR MARKET SHARE  has intensified, but the Caribbean is still expected to be on top of the cruise world this year.

In its Cruise Industry Overview 2015, the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) said: “Despite…global growth, the Caribbean continues to headline the industry’s success. It again ranks as the dominant cruise destination, accounting for more than a third (35.5 per cent) of the global deployment capacity market share.”

The global growth it referred to was the prediction that this year the cruise industry “is poised to reach new heights and break more records, with a forecast of 23 million sailing the oceans on FCCA and/or [Cruise Lines International Association] member lines – a four per cent increase over 2014”.

“Driven by 22 new ships (six ocean going vessels and 16 riverboats) representing 20 000 new beds and an investment of more than US$4 billion slated for the 2015, the record passengers will have the world as their gangway, with nearly 1 000 ports around the globe and expansion in regions including the Mediterranean, Asia and Australia,” the report said.

Looking back at 2014, FCCA said “another record was broken in 2014, with 22.1 million passengers cruising globally – a four per cent increase over 2013’s previous high of 21.3 million – and about 12 million sourced from North America”.

“Coupled with an annual occupancy percentage again exceeding 100 per cent, this passenger growth shows sustained consumer interest in cruising and an industry where demand continues to outstrip supply,” the report added.

“Building onto the 18 per cent cruise ship capacity growth from 2009 to 2013, cruise lines released an additional 15 innovative, feature-rich ships in 2014, but they also enhanced demand by establishing and increasing their presence in international ports of call.”

In predicting more growth for the cruise industry, the report said this was being driven partly through the sector’s product diversification.

“Throughout its history, the industry has responded to vacation desires of its guests and embraced innovation to develop new destinations, new ship designs, new and diverse onboard amenities, facilities and services, plus wide ranging shore side activities. Cruise lines have also offered their guests new cruise themes and voyage lengths to meet the changing vacation patterns of today’s travellers,” it added. (SC)

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