The Success Of Cruise Ships

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Looking at today’s mega fleets with their mammoth ships that hold 4,000 or more passengers, it is easy to forget how far the industry has come in these past twenty-five years. While cruise ships are now situated around the globe in ports ranging from Europe to Australia, the Americas to Asia, and drawing passengers from the local populaces, it was not always that way. In the 1980s, while most observers believed the industry had the potential for rapid growth, cruising struggled to cast off misconceptions and widen its appeal to the mass market. It was still largely a North American-focused business. Pleasure Cruising’s Heritage The concept of pleasure cruising, as opposed to point-to-point transportation by sea, dates back more than…show more content…
The industry, however, got past its fears of new construction and by the early 1980s a second generation of cruise ships was being built. This group began with HAPAG’s 30,000 gross ton mv Europa launched in 1981 followed by Carnival Cruise Lines’ 35,265 gross ton mv Tropicale, Home Lines’ 35,143 gross ton mv Atlantic and Royal Caribbean’s 37,584 gross ton mv Song of America. Yet while the second generation of cruise ships had gotten larger and carried over 1,000 passengers, they remained mostly focused on the Caribbean. There were few exceptions to what was considered the optimal size for a cruise ship, one being the ss Norway. While she was a converted liner as opposed to be new build, at 70,000 gross ton and able to carry 2,000 passengers, she tantalized the industry with the potential for big ships. It would take eight years, but in 1988 Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines responded by introducing the 73,192 gross ton mv Sovereign of the Seas, with a capacity of 2,282, the first new build of this size since the rms Queen Elizabeth 2 in 1968. The industry however was struggling to propel its growth and overcome self-inflicted problems including overcapacity. In 1980, there were only about thirty cruise lines and seventy-five ships with just around 40,000 berths worldwide. Nevertheless, as the decade progressed the industry’s growth started to accelerate so that by 1990 thirty-six companies operated 100
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