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Has The Caribbean Cruise Lost Its Lustre For You?

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Today’s version of cruising was built around the core idea of sailing through the Caribbean islands, enjoying great beaches combined with water activities, shopping, and possibly a bit of adventure. But, has that changed?
One could easily argue that Caribbean cruises are still easily the core of the cruise industry, with more ships than ever delivering more passengers than ever to these small dots of land spread throughout the waters of the Caribbean.
I think most experienced cruisers will admit the culture and the feel (or attitude) of the Caribbean islands has changed considerably over the years. The magnificent beaches, and wonderful snorkelling opportunities are still there, but it seems, for some, the changes they’ve witnessed from repeat visits may be causing them to view the Caribbean islands in a different light.

These days, when ships visit Caribbean ports of call, you’ll find many more people simply staying onboard to enjoy the ship for the day, or getting off the ship for a short while to have a stroll around, or shop a bit. This probably isn’t news that the island’s departments of tourism want to hear, but it appears to be the reality.

Aware of this, and likely not to disturbed by the trend (since more time onboard by passengers translates to more money spent onboard) cruise lines have built many of their own pier-side facilities to make their passengers happy, and separate those passengers from their money. A good example of this is in Grand Turk, where Carnival built a pier-side shopping area, along with a Jimmy Buffets Margaretville, complete with a large swimming pool, and flow-rider for passengers to entertain themselves. Really, not much different than what they could be doing on the ship.

Caribbean cruise passengers are also more conscious of some of the rising crime rates on the islands, and frankly most of the islands don’t have the resources to combat and control that crime.

Those crime rates tend to encourage even more passengers to stick to areas close to the ship, or not even get off the ship.

For a variety of reasons, including those mentioned already, the cruise lines are moving their ships further a field, to all parts of the world. Europe has shown the most growth in cruise ships visits; with more ships being located there than ever before. The decline in the value of the Euro against the U.S. dollar has also made European cruises much more attractive to passengers from the United States, and has given people growing a bit tired of visiting the same Caribbean ports over and over again an alternative.

The cruise lines put more resources and research into plotting and projecting trends than the rest of us would ever do. It’s their business to keep their industry alive, growing, vibrant and attractive to past passengers and prospective passengers, and there are lots of brilliant people working in the cruise industry. They are both foreseeing trends, and trying to set trends.

Are they right? Are you tired of the “same old” Caribbean, and look to a wider variety of itineraries now? Do you still enjoy sailing to the Caribbean, but stay on the ship, and skip port visits more now? Or do you continue to love the Caribbean islands, and still look for new things to do when your ship stops there?

 - A View From the Kuki Side of Cruising –




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Comment from Queen Mary II
Time August 4, 2010 at 12:29 am

Interesting article, the author has the gift of writing.
Greetings from the Queen Mary II

Comment from Tim Butler
Time August 4, 2010 at 12:43 am

This is probably the reason the newer ships coming out are like resorts at sea. With more and more passengers staying onboard the ships these passengers need more things to do.

I do agree that most Islands come into the old saying, “If you have seen one, you have seen them all”. After all, every Island seems to have the same ole same ole shore excursions, nothing new or different really.

The cruise lines, I believe, will have to take more responsibility in keeping their passengers safe while taking “Ship” shore excursions. This would also be a good selling point for the ship shore excursions, the added security of knowing that there is someone along with the group to provide security while visiting these Islands.

Comment from Brian Myers
Time August 4, 2010 at 8:09 am

I think this has much to do with why the cruise lines are building these mega ships… making the ship the destination and the ports of call almost secondary. It really makes sense as the seasoned cruiser can enjoy the amenities of the ship and choose the specific ports or port activities they really want to enjoy. The newbie cruiser are excited and free to experience all of the ports and port activities yet still have a great ship to enjoy.

Comment from Dave Beers
Time August 4, 2010 at 8:42 am

I recently did exactly as Kuki wrote. On a western Caribbean cruise I stayed aboard in Grand Cayman, and never got past the pier shopping areas of Cozumel and Montego Bay. The ports meant nothing to me from a tourist point of view. Been there. Done that. Too many times. I really just wanted to experience the ship for a week.

I like the private “islands” better than any of the other stops. I wish there were cruises that overnighted at the private stops. Probably a safety issue though.

Comment from wooly101
Time August 16, 2010 at 9:38 am

While the caribbean can be nice, it simply hasn’t kept up with the modern cruiser. The last voyage we were on was for ten nights and by day 6 I actually started to get bored of the ports of call; like someone said, been there done that. take into account the crime, the poverty of some places and the homophobia in others and one would rather spend there bucks somewhere else.

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