New Cruise Line Industry Developments
Now that cruise lines have gotten millions hooked on the pleasures of cruising, they're looking for ways to hook millions more. According to Art Rodney, president of Disney Cruise Lines, over 90 percent of Americans who can afford to take a cruise have not.
Cruise lines are finding that for many potential cruisers, shipboard pampering is not enough. Many people also want to spend their vacations experiencing foreign cultures or learning new hobbies. To appeal to these people, cruise lines are adding special-interest cruises to their repertoires, focusing on everything from gardening to jazz to oil painting. Silversea began a new program in 1996 that offers passengers an opportunity to learn more about geography, culture, oceanography, photography, and nature from National Geographic Society photographers and journalists. In addition to onboard lectures, there are also shore excursions hosted by National Geographic experts. The '90s are also bringing a returned focus on destinations. Cruises to Europe, the Amazon, Africa, and Asia are growing in popularity.
Along with the boom of the cruise industry there have been a number of company shake-ups, mergers, and rising competition. As with any maturing and expanding business market, larger cruise lines have swallowed up smaller companies in a number of cases. One of the biggest recent mergers was the purchase of Celebrity Cruises by Royal Caribbean, which has resulted in the creation of one of the largest cruise companies in the world.
Since 2000, major cruise lines have launched 81 new cruise ships. The industry shows no signs of slowing and we should see a steady introduction of new cruise ships over the next five years.
Another recent development in the cruise industry has been the divergence between companies building larger and larger ships versus those catering to customers who want a more intimate experience. Companies like Royal Caribbean have been busy building "megaliners" capable of carrying up to 3,000 passengers. These vessels continue to add more and more amenities, such as virtual reality gaming rooms, ice-skating rinks, and multi-story shopping centers, as well as special services, including bookings of onboard wedding ceremonies. America World City will also have four 400-passenger catamarans that will dock inside the ship's hull, enabling passengers to shuttle to any port where the ship is too large to dock. Westin's megaliner will include a number of features to make it attractive to conventioneers, including rooms equipped with dataports and other business amenities, a global business center for executive training, and 100,000 square feet of meeting and exhibit space. Other features will include a Broadway-style theater, restaurants, nightclubs, a museum and planetarium, a sports complex, six swimming pools, shops and boutiques, a TV studio, and a casino.
For a growing number of people, however, sailing on huge ships where it's possible to spend an entire day without even seeing the ocean, and where thousands of passengers pass by in a blur, is not the kind of experience they are seeking. This fact has created a growing market for smaller cruise lines that operate everything from 200-passenger cruise ships to yachts and sailboats that carry only 10 to 30 travelers at a time. Companies like Seabourn Cruise Line operate small luxury vessels that sail to exotic locations such as Asia and South America.
The tremendous growth in the cruise industry is opening up jobs in both large and small companies. In the last five years over 74,000 new cruise industry jobs have been added. So there has never been a better time to be looking for a cruise line job. We recommend that you read through the free resources we provide on JobMonkey and then if you decide that you are serious about getting a cruise ship job, you should consider a membership to Cruise Job Finder.