Asia Growth Curve
It is hard to tell how much and how fast Asian cruise markets are growing, while Australia and New Zealand are definitely on a strong growth course. Despite an extremely inflated report by a Chinese news source that one million Chinese will have traveled overseas on cruise ships in 2011, the actual number may be less than one quarter of that.
The key is whether the cruise lines are offering more short cruises out of China next year and they seem to be. At Costa, Gianni Onorato, president, told Cruise Industry News that China is the company’s main Asian market. Some seven-day cruises also embark passengers in Japan and South Korea and the longer cruises are marketed to Europeans.
In addition to the China-focus, Rama Rebbapragada vice president of international commercial services for Royal Caribbean also said that Korea has been building ports and has significant passenger potential, and he described Japan as a sleeping giant.
After a two-year hiatus of riverboat operations on the Mississippi River, two companies are jumping in – American Cruise Lines, which is building a new 140-passenger riverboat, the Queen of the Mississippi, expected to enter service next summer, and the Great American Steamboat Company, which has acquired the 1994-built, 420-passenger American Queen and plans to start sailing next April.
What are their chances of success or even survival? There was a time when riverboats on the Mississippi made money, according to industry sources and financial filings. The Delta Queen Steamboat Company even completed a public offering in 1992, raising $44 million. But since then, the river has seen a number of failed efforts.
Pearl Mist Mess
Allowing for a 20-month construction period, the Pearl Mist was supposed to be ready for the 2008 summer season. Meanwhile, she is still sitting in lay-up at Irving Shipyard in Halifax, while the shipyard and the owner have been battling it out in arbitration and in court.
According to sources familiar with the situation, things were going wrong soon after the construction started, and the parties went into arbitration literally from the beginning.
While in arbitration, the building continued, and Pearl Seas Cruises was obligated to pay, according to the contract terms. Pearl Seas alleges that the yard did not build according to specifications. Irving Shipbuilding, on the other hand, said in a prepared statement that it built the ship to the owner’s design and in accordance with the parties’ shipbuilding contract
Disney Cruise Line created the blue print for family cruising, according to Karl Holz, president of the cruise brand. He said the product is based on the story-telling legacy of Walt Disney and world-class entertainment. Having launched in 1998, with one ship, adding a second one in 1999, it has taken 11 years before Disney took the step to grow. Today, on an estimated revenue basis (Disney does not break out numbers for the cruise line), Cruise Industry News estimates that Disney Cruise Line represents approximately a 1.3 percent share of company-wide revenues.
And there is more: Chinese outbound travel is expected to be up 19 percent for 2011; Australia is seeing its ‘biggest cruise summer’ ever and expectations are that it will reach the million-passenger mark already by 2015/2016 instead the previous forecast of 2020.
For the full reports, please read the Sept, 16, 2011 edition of Cruise Industry News, the Newsletter, click here to subscribe