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Old April 5th, 2013, 01:05 PM
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Mike M Mike M is offline
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This is a very interesting topic and there are definitely two, or more, sides to the issues.

First off I have to say that Rockefeller has enjoyed the fruits of his great-grandfather's empire all his life but he publicly denounces the family fortune. However, he hasn't given all of his away.

The cruise industry is definitely unique in the business world and provides the most cost effective vacation to millions each year. The way they can stay so cost effective is the structure of the companies. Being incorporated outside the U.S. and having their ships registered under a "flag of convenience" allows them to pay little tax, remain free of U.S. labor laws and have less government oversight than most other businesses. What they do is perfectly legal but they take advantage of every loop hole they can in order to deliver an affordable vacation and maximize corporate profits.

Is this an abuse of the tax and labor laws? Yes: But it is abuse that many other companies do and others would love to be able to to. The more the public becomes aware of how the cruise industry operates the more backing there will be for regulation. Further incidents of mechanical breakdowns, labor issues, passenger deaths and other things will be magnified by the media and politicians in order to garner more support for regulation.

I see more regulation of the cruise industry in the near future and with this regulation will come higher fares and lower dividends to shareholders.

In five to ten years I see cruising to be a much more expensive holiday and there will be fewer choices in ships, cruise lines and atmosphere. Smaller, niche, cruise lines like Azamara, Oceania, Seabourn, Silversea and Regent will either be gone or focus on the non U.S. market. Asia looks better every day for the cruise lines.

I do believe that the times are changing for the cruise lines and I don't think they will like it.

Take care,
Mike
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