This morning two news articles caught my eye.  The first one from an Australian newspaper – "Cruising Boom: 20 Million Take to the Sea" – and the second one from one of my favorite newspapers, the LA Times – "Cruise Industry Rebounding from Ship Accident, Woes in Europe."

These headlines seem incongruous given the fact that the Costa Concordia remains capsized on its side as a continuing reminder of the deadly cruise disaster (image today).    

The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) does a very good job promoting statistics showing the growth of the cruise industry via press releases. Today we are learning that some 20,000,000 people took a cruise last year – a record year for cruising.  According to the Sydney Morning Herald:

Costa Concordia - Giglio"A record 20 million people took a cruise last year, an increase of almost 2 million, according to the latest industry figures. While North America (11.5 million) and Europe (6.2 million) are the main markets, the Australian cruising market grew by 30 per cent, to more than 500,000 passengers." 

That’s good news for the cruise industry and travel agents who make a living selling cruises. But last year, of course, was pre Costa Concordia disaster.  What are the prospects for the cruise industry post Costa Concordia?

According to the LA Times, the future of the $37 billion industry looks bright.

A survey of 300 travel agents in North America in July found that 64% expected bookings in 2012 to surpass last year’s numbers.  And plenty of new cruise ships are coming on line with 19 ships being added or slated to come on line in 2012 and 2013 (a rather surprising number to me – is this right?) 

The newspaper interviewed Stewart Chiron, owner of CruiseGuy.com, who I bump heads with regularly on Twitter, saying "the impact of the Concordia on North America was almost nonexistent."  That is a hard concept to wrap my head around – 32 dead including Americans with no effect on U.S. cruise sales? In my view, if this is true it reflects that Carnival (which has over 100 cruise ships) and the cruise industry can weather almost any storm provided that they remain immune from paying U.S. corporate taxes. 

The newspaper concludes that cruise reservations are rising, and the drop in European bookings are offset by strong U.S. cruise ticket sales. The bottom line according to Times? The Costa Concordia disaster had only a short-term effect.

It seems to me that the LA Times article may be a tad optimistic, but who am I to rain on the cruise industry’s good news? I was disappointed to see that the Times interviewed mostly just a cruise CEO, a travel agent and a cruise specialist without including an in depth analysis of the cruise lines’ financial status.      

It’s kind of like writing an article about the prospects of a professional football team and then interviewing only the team’s owner, players and cheerleaders.   

 

Photo credit: Giglio News

2 Responses to Finally, Good News for Cruise Industry?

People seem to forget news so quickly, since we’re inundated with new headlines constantly. Since the disaster, I’ve noticed people do seem to pay a little more attention at the cruise safety drills, but no one said one accident would stop them from cruising. Maybe the LA Times’ optimism is correct…

I agree. Whether it is some drunk going overboard, the stupid captain of the Concordia, power outages, or whatever, stuff happens. This is the real world and it isn’t perfect and never will be. Disasters can happen on the freeway. My car can break down in the middle of the desert, or in a blizzard. Some crazed nut may shoot up some place I live. Some terrorists may do something evil. All of those are beyond my control as long as I exercise common sense.

We spent 90 days on cruise ships earlier this year, and will do about the same in 13 and 14 (already booked). We had our cabin toilet not work for a couple hours on the last cruise. Big deal. We went down to another area where they worked. An inconvenience, yes, but not compared to losing power at home for much longer on a desert hot day. We also did pirate drills as well as regular safety drills. No pirates appeared, despite some friends hoping Johnny Depp would show up. Oh well.

I realize that these things bring you business as an attorney, but I just do not worry about them. Life is too short to be spent in worry over things you can’t control. I can control whether we cruise or not, and we continue to do so, and will as long as we have the health and money to do so (we’re 70).

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