Why Are Luxury Holiday Cruises Becoming So Popular With Vacationers?

In this era of faster everything, including faster and larger commercial airliners where passengers are packed in like sardines, one thing seems to remain constant. That is the wonderful, leisurely world of cruising. For many years the airline industry has experienced numerous setbacks, while the cruise industry has been growing by leaps and bounds. There are many reasons why you should consider becoming a part of this amazing phenomenon. Here are some of them.

According to recent research from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), ninety-five percent of cruisers give top marks to their cruising experience and more than seventy-five percent plan to cruise again within three years.

Contrary to what some people think, cruises are very affordable. With most vacations you end up paying for air flights, hotels or resorts, restaurants, entertainment, and sometimes car rentals. If you add all these costs up, cruises can be a real bargain. When you book a cruise, in most cases you pay for the airfare and cruise. However, if you live close enough to your cruise ship departure port, you may be able to drive there much cheaper than you can fly. Even if you have to fly to the departure port you can always get a flight and cruise package deal which is usually less expensive than purchasing your flight and cruise separately.

When you book a luxury cruise vacation, well over 85% of your holiday is prepaid and that includes all meals, night clubs, stage shows, movies, and entertainment, as well as numerous other activities and amenities. In addition, most ships have onboard activities such as golf, rock climbing, dancing, swimming, scuba diving lessons which can lead to certification, Pilates, yoga, and fitness trainers. You can also pamper yourself with wonderful spas and body massages.

Another way to save big bucks on a cruise is to book an inside cabin. If you do not need to have a cabin with a balcony or ocean view, then you will save a lot of money. You have use of all the shared amenities that your fellow passengers have, but it’s costing you a lot less.

You can also save a bundle on repositioning cruises. A repositioning cruise is made possible at certain times of the year, usually in the spring and fall, when cruise lines relocate their ships from one part of the world to another.

There is a large variety of luxury cruise vacations to choose from, ranging from three day mini cruises to several month long cruises as well as an amazing around the world cruise odyssey.

When you cruise, you are traveling in the lap of luxury in a floating five-star hotel. You will be pampered and feel you are living the life of a king or queen, not just for a day, but for the entire length of the cruise. Gourmet dining, impeccable service and elegant surroundings are only a few of the superlatives that are used to describe cruising.

If you like delicious food you will absolutely love gourmet meals and scrumptious desserts created by great chefs and served in a variety of restaurants. There are always wonderful buffets available throughout the day and even midnight buffets. A number of themed lounges are located throughout the cruise ships for your convenience.

Love seeing Broadway style shows and theater performances without having to make reservations or pay outlandish prices for tickets? Then taking a luxury cruise is the answer. So many things are included on cruises which make them such a great value for your travel and entertainment dollar.

From children to great grandparents, there is always something to interest everyone on a cruise. You have the option to be as active as you like or you can just relax and experience magnificent sunrises and breathtaking sunsets while watching the world go by. So many wonderful, precious memories and experiences will stay with you a lifetime when you take a luxury cruise.

Want to party around the clock? Not a problem. Whether you are with a partner or single, it’s always party time. You don’t even have to plan or clean up after the party, just have a lot of fun!

Businesses from around the world book conferences and seminars, team building get-togethers, new product launches and employee reward vacations on cruise ships. Cruise lines do not charge extra for conference room facilities and use of audio and video equipment.

Group cruises are not only for companies and business people. Family reunions, honeymoons and weddings, sports groups and clubs, charities and fund raisers are only some of the many kinds of groups that have their events on cruises.

On cruises there is no hassle of having to pack and unpack again and again every time you travel to a new destination. Another bonus is that there is no limit on the amount of luggage you can bring on a cruise.

People with disabilities should have no problem getting around on a cruise ship. Cruise lines have made onboard accessibility a non-issue as their ships are equipped with ramps, elevators and easily accessible cabins and state rooms.

Modern cruise ships have dramatically reduced the problem of seasickness. Today’s larger ships slice through the waves instead of riding on top of them. Also, new innovative technologies like stabilizers and counterbalancing systems have greatly reduced the pitch and roll of cruise ships, all but neutralizing any problem of seasickness.

Cruising is also one of the safest forms of travel. The cruise industry has an exceptional safety record. And as far as assaults and robberies are concerned, they are over a hundred times less likely to occur on a cruise ship than in your own home town.

A physician and medical staff are never more than a few minutes away on a cruise ship should any passenger need to see doctor. Most common passenger ailments and minor mishaps occur less on a cruise ship than on shore.

Hawaiian Cruise Industry – What’s Going On?

Hawaii is such a popular tropical holiday destination, it has everything, palm trees beautiful beaches, waves, laid back lifestyle and so much more so what’s wrong with the Hawaiian cruise industry and where is it headed? The big news is that NCL have now reported that a second of their 3 ships offering Hawaiian cruises, the “pride of aloha” will be relocated to the more lucrative European Market by summer 2008.

Possible changes to the PVSA (Passenger Vessel Services Act) could force international cruise lines out of Hawaii. We will try and explain all of the latest development in the Hawaiian cruise industry in an easy to understand format. Changes to PVSA (Passenger Vessel Services Act) US Customs and Border Protection have put forward a proposal to amend the PVSA (Passenger Vessel Services Act), which will have a huge impact International cruise ships operating Hawaiian cruises (which is the majority!). Currently the PVSA forces all foreign-flagged ships taking passengers from one US destination to another to make at least one stop at an international port. Because the Hawaiian Island ports are all part of the US it means that international cruise ships must make a necessary stop an international port, which generally is at Ensenada Mexico. The proposed changes to the PVSA will now force foreign flagged cruise ships to dock at an international port for at least 48 hours and that the time spent at the international port is at least 50 percent of the cruise. This has a huge impact on the Hawaiian cruise industry because the international cruise lines would struggle to take passengers to all the popular Hawaiian Ports. Popular Hawaiian cruise lines such as royal Caribbean cruises, princess cruises and carnival cruises would almost be forced out of the market.

Why don’t International Cruise Lines just extend their cruise? Currently the
most popular Hawaiian cruises are around 10 days, which is enough time for international cruise ships to make the necessary international stop and see all of the ports in the Hawaiian Islands. With the changes to the PVSA the international ships would need to adopt at least a 14 day cruise to operate a dedicated circle Hawaiian cruise Itinerary and the forced international stop (being at least 50% of the time of the cruise). Now the problem with that is the Hawaiian Cruise market is most popular with short term cruisers looking to take a week or so off. The market for longer cruises in Hawaii is not big enough to warrant the cruise lines to extend their cruises and the extra operating costs would not be worth it.

I hear what you saying; why not take the NCLA 7 day cruise? NCLA are one of the only cruise lines to offer such a short cruise because they are the only US-flagged ship operating a dedicated Hawaiian Cruise and therefore able to travel within the US without the restrictions set upon the foreign flagged ships.The problem is by summer 2008 they will have withdrawn 2 of their 3 ships servicing Hawaiian cruises.

Why is NCLA relocating their ships? Because they operate a US flagged ship, their operating costs are much higher. Firstly they are subject to US labor laws and forced to employ US citizens, which demand a much higher wage then citizens of developing countries. Secondly they are forbidden under US law to operate an onboard casinos and are forced to charge sales taxes for all product sold therefore reducing revenue and profit margins. So really NCLA must work harder to make more. These effects flow on to the consumer either through the price of cruise tickets, goods onboard or through downgraded services and features. You will find that NCL’s international ships have many more features, staff and services due to their lower operating costs. NCLA just can’t afford to offer everything due to the increased operating costs forced upon them by the US Government. In summary there are more lucrative markets for NCL to operate in, without the US Law restrictions, therefore increasing their profit margins. Operating costs and lack luster bookings are forcing NCL to tap into these other more lucrative markets.

What will we see in the near future? If the changes to the PVSA pass I think in the near future international cruise lines may remove dedicated Hawaiian cruise itineraries from their cruise offerings, instead opting to only pass through Hawaii for 2-3 days on other cruise routes. With NCL only operating one ship in the Hawaiian Islands and international cruise operators possibly removing Hawaii as a dedicated cruise destination it may appear that there is a whole in the market. But I highly doubt that any other cruise lines will be rushing to fill it by operating a US-flagged ship for a Hawaiian Cruise. Operating costs are just too high and US laws very strict. There are just too many other more lucrative markets for the cruise lines at the moment. Many of the international cruise lines would not be willing to downgrade their services to make a Hawaiian Cruise work because they would not want lower their image.

Bookings are down on NCL Hawaiian cruises, because they are unable to provide the upgraded features and services seen on many of its fleet. The Pride of Aloha was recently skipped on the new NCL Freestyle 2.0 upgrade, as it was seen unworthy. Although travelers want to see Hawaii, at the same time, they are going on a cruise as well, and a lot of time is spent at sea. When they see all the other tropical island cruise possibilities in the world and the features on some of the ships out there compared to NCL, other cruises may seem more inviting.

There would need to be some sort of allowance or change in US Laws to re-energize the Hawaiian Cruise Industry, because there are just too many restrictions in place forcing many cruise lines to boycott the area. Hopefully in the future there may be some sort of exceptions for cruises in the Hawaiian region but that’s all in the US Governments hands. It seems a shame that such a beautiful part of the world, which is popular with tourists can’t have a successful cruise industry.