Has anybody considered the future of the cruise industry?
I was asking myself:-
1. What do people look forward to in a cruise?
2. Where do they want to go?
3. How long do they want to go for?
4. Who do they want to go with?
5. How much do they want to pay?
And I thought:-
1. These days there's a shift in opinion away from the belief that cruises are for retired people. Younger people are taking cruises, either in the form of families or young couples. So - something must have attracted them. You are almost guaranteed to get:-
Visiting different places without having to repack your bags
And - and this is probably VERY important...... lots of value for your money.
2. This is a big topic. Some people like to be at sea and others want to do 'a port a day'.
Those who prefer to stay at sea don't really mind where the ship is going, probably though somewhere sunny. Those who want to do a port a day want to see beautiful and/or historic places. The Caribbean is favourite (it seems) followed by the Mediterranean, then come cruises to places that are reachable in 7 days (round trip) from the main cruising ports. Finally there are world cruises. The problem is, for people in the US, North and South America together with Canada are the easiest places to 'do'. Going further afield than that means taking long flights which eat into valuable vacation time. (US working people have 2 weeks vacation per year I believe. European employees get 4 weeks). On the flip side - Europe can 'do' the Med and Baltic in 7 days easily. Caribbean means a 2 week slot which isn't too bad as it still leaves people with 2 weeks vacation to take.
The point is, what about the Far East and Austalia? If cruise lines could open up these regions (which means flying there), there's a whole new world to discover!!!. The main cruise markets are the US and Europe (within Europe - UK, Germany, France). The US market being the largest is the one that HAS to 'agree' to going further afield. But, people are still nervous about flying, and remember - there's still the 2 week problem if you're going that far away. I think it's important to take vacation time into consideration IF cruise lines want to attract those who have not yet retired. That 'chunk' of market is too small to ignore. As it is, the only reason I do not go on a cruise more often is that I just don't have the leave available to me!!!!!
Of course, the big influencing factor too is cost. The further you go - the more it costs.
Pity that we can't re-arrange some of the continents from time to time!!!!
3. 7 days seems the favourite. 14 days is next favourite. Then 24, 31, and world cruises which are abuot 109 to 120 days. I prefer the 14 day option. 7 days is too short. And you?
4. Often it's couples, singles, families and groups of friends together. In that order I reckon.
5. This is what a lot of it boils down to. Cost. The variation in cost is tremendous. Late deals are all around with 7 day cruises for $500. At the other end of the market - there are people ready and happy to pay 6 figure sums. I think that ships are becoming a very attractive choice for vacations. Land based accomodation is costly these days, and for example, hotels on land cannot 'hold on' to your wallet like a ship can. People spend a vast proportion of their cash on board. Cruising is getting cheaper and families really can now go together whereas 30 years ago cruising was for the well heeled.
Okay. I've put my thoughts forward. And here's my bottom line question.
How can cruise lines extend their arena of operation to greater include the Far East and Australia at a cost and duration that will be acceptable to US and European cruisers?
I've been wanting to do a QE2 sector in the Far East/Australia - but all the options are too long. Anybody know of a 2 week cruise in that region departing from the UK?