US cruise demand pick-up unlikely to impact capacity allocated to Australia

Issues & Trends – February 2013

US cruise demand pick-up unlikely to impact capacity allocated to Australia

THERE has been a marked pick-up in the American cruise market, US-based president and chief executive of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Christine Duffy has told a press conference in Sydney.

Inevitably this raises the question: will the steady escalation in cruise capacity making its way to Australian waters for the summer (“wave”) cruise season of recent years now go into reverse to meet increased US demand?

Probably not if the comments of Royal Caribbean International executive vice president, global sales and marketing Lisa Bauer are any guide to wider industry sentiment.

Visiting Sydney just days after Duffy, Bauer told travelBulletin that her line’s commitment to Australia is strategic rather than opportunistically linked to short term factors (such as the strength of the Australian dollar or the weakness of other markets).

She said this was based on two factors – the ability to tap into growing Australian demand for cruising by home-porting ships here and the attractiveness of Australia as a destination in international markets where “Australia is on people’s bucket lists”.

Bauer, who spent time during her visit to Australia meeting with RCI’s travel agent advisory board, added that Australia is also a “winner solution” for accessing the China market.

“I would not see US demand impacting on our commitment to Australia,” she said.

At her press conference Duffy told journalists that North American cruise booking lead times are reducing and agents are “quite bullish” about prospects for 2013 compared to 2012, but she was unable to comment on commercial decisions that individual cruise lines might make about capacity allocation.

Duffy, who was here to spruik the formation of CLIA Australasia (page 14), said the global cruise industry last year broke through the 20 million passenger mark.

She said CLIA has established a new website “Cruise Forward” to highlight the industry’s economic impact including job creation, its responsible approach to environmental issues and its corporate philanthropy.

She said CLIA has launched “Cruise Industry TV” on YouTube providing a range of visual information on cruising including tips for prospective cruisers from industry experts and cruise passengers with information they would like to share.


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