A magazine article in February 11, 2010 The Economist described what travel agents have known the past few months: Cruise lines are doing better than other segments of the travel industry, like hotels, resorts and airlines. The cruise industry has been aggressively pricing and marketing their products to the recession economy and cruise customers are buying.
Approximately 20% of Americans have been on a cruise, so the market is vast. Cruise lines are attracting younger cruisers with the median age dropping from 53 in 2002 to 46 in 2008. Cruise lines appeal to budget-conscious travelers by offering “all-inclusive” fares, even though on the mass-market ships, many amenities like alcohol and shore excursions cost extra. Some of the most popular choices for Stellar Travel clients are the premium to luxury cruise lines offering 2-for-1 all-inclusive fares (including alcoholic beverages and shore excursions), free or discounted airfare and stateroom upgrades. Some cruise lines are boasting that they are sold out or nearly sold for the first half of 2010.
13.4 million people cruised in 2009, up from 12.6 million in 2007 according to the Cruise Lines International Association. But the discounts have eaten into earnings. At Carnival Corporation, the biggest cruise line, revenues were 10% lower in 2009 than 2008. With growing capacity and 12 new vessels to be launched this year, the firms may not be able to raise prices to previous levels until 2011 or beyond.
Stellar Travel Tip: There are many differences between cruise lines, ships, staterooms and amenities. Let the cruise experts at Stellar Travel assist you with the best itineraries and cruise choices!