This week, I attended an annual trade show where tens of thousands of members of the cruise industry meet in Miami Beach to discuss trends in the world of cruising. The executives present a “state of the cruise industry” speech. The CEOs of Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), and MSC Cruises discussed building bigger ships and expanding into new markets such as Cuba and China.
The CEO of NCL remarked that “Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Lebanon could be more lucrative than Cuba.” The convention audience politely applauded and the other cruise executives smiled.
I’m really excited to introduce a our newest columnist, Stuart Gustafson. His weekly feature, “Should I Cross That Line?” dovetails with his area of expertise: international travel. Gustafson spent his career in corporate sales at HP and today is an acclaimed novelist and sought-after public speaker. I can’t wait to see where he takes us next .
It’s the dead of winter. I bet you’re tired of the weather by now, and the prospect of six more weeks of cold. I know I am.
If you’re one of the 303 million Americans who won’t take a cruise this year, you might want to reconsider your vacation plans. This may be the time to head out to sea.
The reason has little to do with cruise prices, which are rapidly sinking. The average cabin for two costs just $143 per night, according to Priceline. That’s down 13 percent from last month and a four-year low.
It isn’t even the barrage of bad publicity from a series of embarrassing mishaps, including last year’s sinking of the Costa Concordia and Carnival’s infamous “poop” cruise earlier this year, which some say is pushing prices downward as cruise lines vie for your business.
The real sea change has gone practically unnoticed, as the industry is finally getting its act together in many small ways. Continue reading…