European cruising is on the upswing. According to the European Cruise Council (ECC), 2.8 million Europeans sailed on ocean cruises in 2004 – an increase of 5 percent over 2003. Fred Hitchins, director of IRN Research, the company that provides the ECC with its statistics, pointed out that while 2005 will see some increase, 2006 and 2007 will grow at a higher clip. But in addition to the prospect of future growth, yet another trend exists among European cruisers, travel agents in the top four European source markets told Cruise Industry News: the demand for newer ships.
Unfortunately, these are all things that can – and do – happen aboard cruise ships, and to the millions of passengers who set sail each year. So it comes as somewhat of a surprise that for the most part, travel agents say they receive very few complaints when their customers return home after a cruise. It could be that the passengers who do have a beef take it directly to the cruise lines, but by and large, cruising seems to leave people very satisfied.
At Costa Crociere, CEO and Chairman Pier Luigi Foschi’s management philosophy has raised the bar for the industry. Earlier this year, Costa announced Green Ship certification for its entire 11-ship fleet by RINA, in addition to receiving Best 4 certification last year – both are voluntary, Foschi pointed out.