Shiny new ships not the only way

//Shiny new ships not the only way

The four panellists at the World Travel Market’s Cruise Forum in London were keen to show off their shiny new ships to a packed audience today – although as they had to admit, none is actually exhibiting at the country’s biggest travel trade show.
Royal Caribbean’s Jo Rzymowska is about to fly to Fort Lauderdale for the launch of the biggest cruise ship in the world, Oasis of the Seas. Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Stephen Parker can hardly wait for the arrival of Norwegian Epic next June.
Andy Magowan of Yachts of Seabourn has seen Seabourn Odyssey launched this year and is about to welcome sister ship Seabourn Sojourn to his fleet in 2010. And MSC’s Peter Pate claims to have the most modern cruise fleet in the world, which will be augmented by MSC Magnifica next year.
All were confident that by investing in new ships their companies would ride out the recession, although Jane Archer, who was chairing the event, pointed out that there new building will almost grind to a halt in 2012.
None of them would say whether the trend will continue to be for ever-bigger ships – possibly because the decisions on investing billions of dollars in new hardware is taken by company presidents and CEOs in America rather than in the UK.
But they were all certain that what today’s cruise passengers demand and expect was relaxed, informal cruising, multiple-choice dining options, family facilities for multi-generational groups, and top-line entertainment. Peter even suggested that the day may soon come when Elton John would perform on a cruise ship, to which Stephen quickly pointed out that the Rocket Man would indeed be appearing on Epic, albeit an impersonator from the Legends in Concert show. And Jo missed an opportunity to point out that Rihanna (OK, she’s not Elton John, but she’s had more number one hits than he has this century) will be performing a show on Oasis next week.
It took Bill Gibbons, director of the UK’s Passenger Shipping Association, to point out that there are still some passengers who prefer traditional cruising, and that many of the 40 brands which are members of the organisation operate older ships quite happily. “There is a cruise for everybody,” he said, no doubt referring to operators like Fred Olsen, Saga and Thomson Cruises, whose ships are not exactly in the first flush of youth.
There was a flash of refreshing honesty from Andy, responding to an audience member who said shore excursions were over-priced, predictable, and boring. “That’s a good observation,” he said. So what are Seabourn doing to bring new sparkle to their offerings? Looking at providing limousine transfers to “personalised experiences” apparently. Well they are an ultra-luxury line.

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:36+00:00 10 November 2009|Cruise News|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. Traveler 24 November 2009 at 2:47 am - Reply

    Bigger is not always better, contrary to some people’s belief. I think you miss out on the experience when you get on the mega-ships… love Seabourn. The ultra luxury lines have the most appeal to me, nice technology and benefits without the mammoth size. There are other lines as well… you can see the ultra luxury lines here:

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