Since the dawn of time, the urge to explore the world through the seas has been imprinted in history. From explorers led by Christopher Columbus and Marco Polo searching for land or spice to their present day counterparts navigating the oceans, the allure of the vast seas has beckoned for ages.
In 1818, the first ship to offer passenger service from England to the United States took 2 months to complete the journey. This improved in 1837 when the first transatlantic journey was accomplished in 15 days onboard a steamship. In 1870, the White Star fleet’s RMS Oceanic refitted its ship with first class cabins midship, adding larger portholes and offering running water and electricity.
At present, the global cruise industry comprises a significant portion of the hospitality industry. In 2003, according to Datamonitor, while the hospitality sector generated US$315 billion, the cruise line sector’s worldwide value was pegged at US$16.2 billion, or roughly 5.2% of the market segment. This sector was also deemed to achieve the strongest growth at 3.8% annually between 2003 and 2008.
With 9/11, cruise travel declined but rebounded in 2004. Figures have shown that this is a market segment that still has to reach its full potential. In 1999 alone, 10.7 million passengers comprised the cruise market. The year 2005 was estimated to have 11.4 million passengers -- an increase of 8.5% annually, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Representing 19 North American cruise lines, CLIA sees seagoing vacations as continuing to grow in popularity.
There are 11 main operators in the cruise ship sector. Of these, the major players are Carnival Cruise Lines, with 47% of the market and the following brands under its flag – Carnival, Holland America, Windstar, Seabourn Cruises, P&O Princess Cruises, Costa Cruises and Cunard Cruise Lines. Recently, it has added AIDA (a German club cruise line) to its fold. Royal Caribbean has about 33% of the market and operates two brands – Royal Caribbean Cruises and Celebrity Cruises. The balance is made up of other operators such as Disney Cruises, Birha Line, Star Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines and Premier Cruises...
Find out why more and more Filipinos are riding the tide of the cruising wave by seeking employment aboard the world's most luxurious cruise liners with F&B World March-April's cover story. Grab your copies now!