Tuesday, September 14, 2004

FULL SPEED AHEAD: Weather-related disruptions aside, the cruise industry continues generating impressive growth following strong performance earlier this year. Member fleets of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) carried 2,604,544 worldwide guests in the second quarter, up 10.8 percent from the same period in 2003. North American passengers grew 14.3 percent during that same period, to 2,255,975 guests in the second quarter of 2004, up from 1,973,591 second-quarter guests a year ago. The 2004 second-quarter passenger figures are fresh stats from CLIA, representing more than 95 percent of the cruise capacity marketed in North America. Besides growing passenger totals, CLIA lines also continued sailing full, posting a 100.7 percent occupancy factor in 2004’s second quarter. How can that be? Some staterooms feature berths for third and fourth passengers, exceeding the standard double occupancy used for numbers crunching. Overall, stats for the first half of 2004 show a 10 percent increase in worldwide passengers to 5,024,465 from 4,567,855 for the same period last year. First-half North American passengers grew 10.6 percent, to 4,327,772, while foreign-sourced passengers climbed 6.5 percent to 696,693 for the same period. For stat-lovers,
other CLIA numbers for the period include: Itineraries of one to five days accounted for a 31.2 percent share of the cruise market; itineraries of six to eight days accounted for 55.8 percent; 9 to 17-day itineraries accounted for 12.6 percent and itineraries of 18 days or longer accounted for .4 percent of the market. The average length of a cruise in the first half was 6.99 days versus 6.97 days for that period in 2003, and first-half occupancy factors totaled 102 percent versus 101.1 percent during the same period.

Monday, September 13, 2004

BEANTOWN TO BERMUDA: Next year, Royal Caribbean International gives prospective cruisers two new vacation options heading either north or south from Boston: Exploration of the Caribbean and Bermuda aboard Jewel of the Seas, or cruising Canada and New England on the newly stretched Enchantment of the Seas. The 2,110-passenger Jewel debuted in Boston on Sept. 11, offering seven- and 10-night Canada / New England itineraries. Next year, from Sept. 12 through Oct. 22, she returns to Boston for five 10-night Caribbean and Bermuda sailings. Calls include Labadee, Hispanola; Tortola, B.V.I.; and Philipsburg, St. Maarten, plus an overnight stop in King's Wharf, Bermuda, giving guests two days to explore ashore. Next year, from Sept. 4 to Sept. 18, Enchantment makes her Boston debut, offering seven-night roundtrip Canada / New England itineraries calling on Martha's Vineyard, Bar Harbor, Portland, Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John's. The ship also sails a five-night cruise on Aug. 30, with calls to Bar Harbor, Portland, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. To book, call (800) 327-600.