Cruise Tourism and its Impact on a Destination using the example of the Caribbean Islands

Bachelor Thesis, 2015
73 Pages, Grade: 1,9


Table of Contents

I. Abstract

III. List of Illustrations

IV. List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction
1.1 Problem
1.2 Aim of the Thesis
1.3 Structure of the Thesis

2 Cruise Tourism
2.1 Definitions
2.2 Historical Overview
2.3 Market and Market Players
2.3.1 Carnival Corporation & plc
2.3.2 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd
2.3.3 Star Cruises Group
2.3.4 MSC Crociere
2.3.5 Cruise Line Associations
2.4 Ports and its Infrastructure
2.5 Route Planning
2.6 Different Concepts
2.6.1 Vessels
2.6.2 Types of Cruises
2.7 Characteristics of the Cruise Tourism Industry
2.8 Trends in the Cruise Tourism Industry

3 Destination Analysis of the Caribbean Islands
3.1 General Information and Aspects
3.1.1 Geography
3.1.2 Historical Overview
3.2 Tourism Development
3.3 Tourism Potential
3.3.1 Primary Offer
3.3.2 Secondary Offer
3.4 Source Markets
3.5 Kind of tourism

4 Cruise Tourism in the Caribbean
4.1 Impacts on the Destination
4.1.1 Economic Impacts
4.1.2 Ecological Impacts
4.1.3 Socio-Cultural Impacts
4.2 Port Relations
4.2.1 Port charges
4.2.2 Ownership/ Investment
4.2.3 Competition between ports
4.2.4 Development into a homeport
4.2.5 Ports as cash cows

5 Case Studies
5.1 Tourism Area Life Cycle
5.2 Dominica
5.2.1 General information
5.2.2 Tourism
5.3 St Maarten
5.3.1 General information
5.3.2 Tourism
5.4 Comparison of Dominica and St Maarten - Measures

6 Recommended Courses of Action
6.1 Targets of a Destination with regards to Cruise Tourism
6.2 Measures to be taken by Destinations

7 Conclusion and Future Prospects

V. Bibliography


This thesis outlines the impacts of cruise tourism on the Caribbean islands and looks closer on the relationship between cruise lines and the ports of call in the Caribbean.

Cruise tourism is one of the fastest growing branches of the tourism industry with the Caribbean islands as the most demanded and frequented region. The Caribbean stands out in the mass of cruise destinations as it offers the stereotyped perception of paradise. However the islands among themselves don’t distinguish much in terms of their primary offer which is mainly composed of sun, sand and sea.

Many islands see the ultimate key to success in cruise tourism and make themselves dependent on the global players of the cruise industry and hereby suppress to take care of other sectors like health and education. Many ports fear to be cut off of the cruise lines’ itineraries if not meeting the passengers’ expectations. What also contributes to this fear is the development of cruise ships into independent destinations themselves offering a large range of services and attractions.

Destinations fight at any price for cruise lines to berth at their ports, sometimes becoming even uneconomic as their expenses exceed their income.

It is clear that cruise lines and ports need to work together in order to gain an advantage from the existence of cruise tourism.

III. List of Illustrations

Figure 1: Growth of number of cruise passengers worldwide

Figure 2: Market share of the shipping companies regarding global ocean cruise passengers 2015

Figure 3: Cruise passenger visits 2011, Caribbean

Figure 4: Share of cruise passengers in Caribbean tourism in 2014

Figure 5: Average passenger expenditure by category

Figure 6: Average per passenger spending at homeports in US$ in 2001

Figure 7: Tourism Area Life Cycle

Figure 8: Total cruise tourism expenditures (US$ Millions) by destination, cruise year 2011/12

Figure 9: Source market of stay over tourists 2013 in Dominica

Figure 10: Development of visitor arrivals in Dominica

Figure 11: Growth of number of tourists in St Maarten

Figure 12: Cruise ship arrivals in St Maarten November 2015

IV. List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1 Introduction

1.1 Problem

With more than 6,000 passengers and on top a crew composed of 2,000 workers, offer- ing six outdoor pools, an ice rink, a jogging track, a casino and much more, the Oasis of the Seas is the largest cruise ship operating in the oceans.1 Cruise ships resemble more and more large land-based resorts, offering every service a holidaymaker can ever wish for.

Cruise tourism accounts for one of the fastest growing branches of the tourism industry with an average annual growth rate of 7.5% since 1980.2

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) estimates that 23 million people worldwide will take a cruise in 2015 with a tendency to rise. The Caribbean is by far the most popular cruise destination making up 36% of all available bed days, followed by the Mediterranean with 20% and Europe without the Mediterranean with a share of 11%.3

Reasons for the popularity are especially the physical features. Being a winter break destination, the Caribbean region comprises a large selection of different islands of which most represent the conception of paradise for many people, offering the typical holiday assets sun, sand, sea.

The concept of the average cruise nowadays resembles remarkably the concept of all inclusive resorts that are totally cut off from the outside world. Just like in the land based resorts there is marginal interaction between the cruise passengers and locals when berthing at a port.

Large crowds of passengers stroll out of the cruise ship, go on a shore excursion, buy goods on a duty-free basis and after a few hours they overindulge once again in the ship-based restaurants, leaving behind an island in desolation.

It is controversially discussed whether cruise destinations derive any benefit from the existence of cruise tourism and whether destinations would be better off without cruise lines.

1.2 Aim of the Thesis

The main purpose of this thesis is to examine the impacts of cruise tourism on the destinations visited; economic, socio-cultural and ecological aspects shall be addressed using the example of the Caribbean islands.

Due to the abundance of ports of call in the Caribbean there is reason to believe that the ports need the cruise ships more than vice versa. With the same primary offer structure the ports are replaceable among themselves pushing on an intra-industrial rivalry between cruise destinations. It shall be examined what a destination needs to do to keep its port on the cruise’s itinerary and what it must do in order not to deteriorate due to the development of cruise tourism on the island.

In this context it will be reviewed how cruise lines develop their itineraries and to which extent destinations are involved, possibly by associations between ports and cruise lines.

The trend goes towards mega liners that are equipped with lots of attractions and enter- tainment onboard so that the question arises whether the cruise vessel or rather the des- tination visited is of primary interest and whether it is conceivable that cruise ships don’t feel obligated to berth at all during a trip so that the ship represents the destination itself.

1.3 Structure of the Thesis

In chapter 2 the cruise tourism industry will be presented by looking at the current cruise market, different concepts and characteristics, as well an overview about the current trends in the global cruise industry is given.

As this paper concentrates on the Caribbean islands, chapter 3 provides a concise destination analysis of this region. Chapter 4 connects the previous two chapters by giving an overview about cruise tourism in the Caribbean, outlining the economic, ecological and socio-cultural impacts of cruising on a destination. Furthermore the chapter examines the port relations in the Caribbean.

Based on the Tourism Area Life Cycle (TALC) model developed by Butler, the two Caribbean destinations Dominica and St Maarten will be delineated in chapter 5. In the following similarities and differences with regards to (cruise) tourism development of these two destinations will be pointed out in order to pronounce recommended courses of action for similar destinations in the Caribbean.

Chapter 6 outlines what objectives a destination can pursue in order to increase its com- petitiveness and position itself on the market as a tourism destination. At the same time measures are presented that facilitate the achievement of those objectives.

This thesis is completed by a summarizing conclusion giving some future prospects in chapter 7.

2 Cruise Tourism

2.1 Definitions

In order to give a definition of cruise tourism some terms need to be elucidated before- hand.

A package tour is an organized trip that is usually composed of several elements of performance such as the accommodation, transportation and attractions that are offered as one package by a tour operator.4

A cruise is a package tour with a minimum number of participants taking place on a ship. The ship represents simultaneously a means of transport and accommodation where the journey has priority as it is a circular trip stopping at several destinations for the means of sightseeing. As the ships offer the same features as a hotel, some even as a resort, the ship can also be seen as an autonomous destination itself.5

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) a visitor is defined as “a traveller taking a trip to a main destination outside his/her usual environment, for less than a year, for any main purpose (business, leisure or other personal purpose) other than to be employed by a resident entity in the country or place visited.”6 The term visi- tor can further be divided up into the term tourist if an overnight stay is included and into same-day visitor (also excursionist). Cruise ship passengers take up a special role because they are tourists on the cruise ship but represent same-day visitors in each des- tination visited as they have only shore leave for a few hours. Here the cruise ship rep- resents the means of transport that carries the passengers from one destination to the other. From a regional point of view, cruise passengers can nevertheless be regarded as tourists as they usually cruise in the region for more than 24 hours.7

Furthermore cruise tourism can be considered as a form of mass tourism. Cohen defines a mass tourist as a tourist that buys a pre-packaged and guided tour that doesn’t involve any decision-making and staying in the “microenvironment of his home country”8. This can also be described as an environmental bubble as cruise ships are customized to the needs and wishes of the passengers. With an average capacity of 2,000-3,000 passengers cruise ships arrive with a large crowd in the ports of call.

2.2 Historical Overview

The beginning of cruise tourism dates back to the middle of the 19th century. Until then the main purpose of ships was the transportation of goods from one place to another. In 1839 Samuel Cunard founded the “British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company”, one year later the first passenger ocean steamer crossed the Atlantic Ocean what initiated the start of regular services between the USA and Europe. The carriage of mail was priority with a comparatively low number of passengers.9

The first cruise to the Mediterranean was operated by the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) in 1849 whereas the “passengers created their own sight- seeing itineraries at various destinations while the liner took on provisions, cargo, and additional passengers”10. Due to political tensions in Europe in the 19th century many people emigrated from Europe to the USA which led to an increase of transatlantic crossings by ship. For this reason larger ships with the main purpose of passenger trans- portation were needed.11

In the beginning of the 20th century more and more large and luxurious ocean steamers were built that were also associated with national prestige. This competition served as a basis for the later touristic usage of ships and represents the transition from the traditional passenger service to a cruise as defined in chapter 2.1.12

In 1957 more than one million passengers crossed the Atlantic Ocean by ship which also indicated the turning point. In October 1958 the first commercial jet from Pan American World Airways started to operate between New York and London on a regu- lar basis so that ocean crossings became much faster.13

With the entrance of air traffic as a means of mass transportation for long-haul flights in the 1960s, shipping companies had to face declining business. The jet liners were more efficient, as they could connect London to New York in eight hours whereas a ship took around four days to cross the ocean.14 It was essential for the shipping companies to recast their profile; on the one hand by opening the doors for the broad mass of people (or “lower classes”) to get more customers on board, on the other hand the offering structure was changed as more and more event and theme cruises were developed as well as the club cruise.15

In the 1980s the cruise industry underwent a construction boom of luxury cruise ships. The following century, many large and small shipping companies merged from which the three largest shipping companies today arose, namely the Carnival Corporation & plc, the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCCL) and the Star Cruises Group. Since 1995 the construction sector of cruise ships is subject to permanent competition as each shipping company strives for the largest and most prestigious vessel in the oceans.16

2.3 Market and Market Players

The cruise tourism industry is the fastest growing branch of the tourism industry. The number of global cruise passengers increased from 4.72 million passengers in 1995 to almost 23 million passengers in 2015, so the number quintupled in 20 years which can also be seen in Figure 1.17

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Growth of number of cruise passengers worldwide Source: Cruise Market Watch (2015)

The US is the major source market with 11.3 million people (51%) taking an ocean cruise in 2014. Ranked second is Germany with only 1.77 million passengers, followed by the UK/Ireland with 1.64 million passengers.18 Moreover the US is also the largest originator of cruises with 4,000 cruises departing from North American ports; the larg- est cruise ports are “Miami, Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, Galveston and New York”.19

In 2013 the cruise industry contributed with US$ 117 billion to the global economic output; the US has the highest share with US$ 44 billion (38%). In total 891,000 jobs are directly dependent on the cruise industry.20

According to the Cruise Industry News21 the ocean cruise fleet comprises 300 ships in 2015, another 42 ships are planned to be put into service until 2022. Furthermore 483,000 berths are expected in 2015, this figure is estimated to increase by a quarter to 612,000 berths in 2022.

The global cruise market appears to be non-transparent and complex with all the differ- ent shipping companies. However the market is dominated by four major shipping com- panies that arose from a phase of merging in the 1990s.22 The leading enterprises are the Carnival Corporation & plc, the RCCL, the Star Cruises Group and MSC Crociere that control together 85% of the ocean cruise market with regards to the number of pas- sengers (see Figure 2). These companies are briefly presented in the following.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2: Market share of the shipping companies regarding global ocean cruise passengers 2015 Source: Own diagram based on Cruise Industry News (2015a)

2.3.1 Carnival Corporation & plc.

Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise company worldwide with a market share of 45%. Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) was founded in 1972, in 1993 the company changed the name of its parent company to Carnival Corporation to differentiate between it and the flagship cruise line Carnival Cruise Line. The American-British company with its headquarters in Southampton (England) and Miami (US) comprises following brands: Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, P&O Cruises, Cunard, AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises.23

The cruise company operates a fleet of 100 vessels with 212,000 lower berths in 2014. Furthermore, 10.6 million passengers were carried that year. Total revenues rose up to US$15.8 billion of which three quarters were earned by ticket revenues (US$11.9 billion) and one quarter accounted for onboard and other revenues.24

2.3.2 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

The Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is the second largest cruise company which was founded in 1968 as an American-Norwegian partnership. RCCL was incorporated in the Republic of Liberia in 1985 and has its headquarters in Miami (US). The company comprises five subsidiaries, namely Royal Caribbean International (RCI), Celebrity Cruises, Pullmantur Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and CDF Croisières de France. In addition they have a 50% joint venture stake in TUI Cruises. These brands operate 43 ships on worldwide itineraries calling on roughly 480 destinations.25 The company counted approximately 112,450 berths in 2014, carrying 5.15 million pas- sengers (36.7 million passenger cruise days). Total revenues amounted to US$8.07 bil- lion in 2014 composed of passenger ticket revenues (73%) as well as onboard and other revenues (27%).26

The fleet has a modern and innovative character and strives to build ever larger cruise ships whereas the four largest ocean cruises regarding gross tonnage and passenger capacity belong all to Royal Caribbean, led by the Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas with a passenger capacity of 5,400.27

2.3.3 Star Cruises Group

The Star Cruises Group was founded in 1993 as an associate of the Genting Group of Malaysia and was incorporated in Bermuda. The Star Cruises with headquarters in Hong Kong is market leader in the Asian Pacific region. Together with Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) that was acquired in the year 2000, Star Cruises is the third largest cruising company and calls on approximately 200 destinations, offering 35,000 berths.28 NCL makes up 90% of the total market share of the Star Cruises Group with regards to passenger transport.29

The Star Cruises Group made total revenue of US$520.4 million in 2012 whereas 65% of total revenue accounts for gaming (US$ 41 million). Ticket revenue (US$124.7 mil- lion) contributed only a quarter and onboard and other revenue amounted to US$ 54.7 million.30

The Star Cruises fleet that comprises 23 vessels is often referred to as floating casinos which is noticeably reflected in the total revenue.31 Furthermore the ship isn’t the main attraction of the trip, often an additional holiday prior to or after the cruise is offered.32

2.3.4 MSC Crociere

The Mediterranean Shipping Company was founded in 1970 and is the largest privately owned company with its headquarters in Geneva and the second largest cargo shipping company. Since 1995 the company also operates in the cruise industry with MSC Cro- ciere as a fully owned subsidiary of MSC that can operate independently of its parent company.33

The fleet of MSC Crociere comprises 12 ships, mainly operating in the Mediterranean, South America and South Africa. In 2014, 1.67 million passengers were carried by MSC Crociere.34

2.3.5 Cruise Line Associations

Like every industry, the cruise industry also has associations that advocate current mat- ters concerning problems in the cruise sector. The largest global cruise industry associa- tion is CLIA with 63 cruise lines and 13,500 travel agencies being members. CLIAs major targets are “to support policies and practices that foster a safe, secure, healthy and sustainable cruise ship, [...] as well as promote the cruise vacation experience”35.

There are also regional cruise line associations that represent member lines with corresponding itineraries. The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) for example comprises 13 member lines operating roughly 100 cruise ships in Florida, Caribbean and Mexican waters since 1972.36

2.4 Ports and its Infrastructure

It has to be differentiated between a port of call and a homeport. A port of call represents an intermediate stop on a cruise ships’ itinerary, usually a cruise passenger spends less than ten hours in a port of call. In order to be affiliated in the cruise’s itinerary there must be a touristic appeal to the passengers, generated by its natural environment, culture or historic value. But the accessibility and general infra- structure of the port are even more important.

A homeport is a destination from which ships begin or end their journey. As it is the point of (dis-)embarkation, a homeport requires substantial industrial infrastructure (for the provision of supplies and services to a cruise ship), just as a well-developed transport infrastructure for international passengers. It is of advantage for a homeport to be close to relevant ports of call.37 The three largest homeports are all located in Florida, namely Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port Canaveral that all serve the Caribbean.38 The cruise companies have united together with regards to operational tasks in order to take advantage of economies of scale in the state of Florida. Many cruise companies have their headquarters in Miami such as CCL, RCI and NCL turning it into an important hub for cruising.39

Furthermore there are privately owned islands by some cruise companies. RCI owns a private beach on Haiti (Labadee) as well as Coco Cay which are only called by ships belonging to the fleet of Royal Caribbean Cruises. The same applies for most of the large cruise companies such as NCL that owns Great Stirrup Cay.40

Apart from giving the passengers the opportunity to visit the destination, ports have further different functions. Industrial and commercial enterprises are located in the vi- cinity of the ports due to its logistic advantages as well as service centres that are rele- vant for value creation. Usually specialised local port agents are in charge of the provi- sion and support of the ships in the harbour. Furthermore ports need to provide facilities for waste disposal.

With an increasing number of passengers the time and organisation needed to disem- bark rises simultaneously. It can be distinguished between berths at the pier directly where passengers can exit the vessel via a gangway and anchorage in the harbour basin where the passengers have to be brought ashore by tender what is more problematic and more time-consuming.

Moreover it needs to be taken into account that harbour charges are quoted often dependent on the vessel size and are charged for a time slot of 24 hours so that the effective berthing time is irrelevant with regards to the harbour charges.41

2.5 Route Planning

In general it can be distinguished between open and closed itineraries. A closed itinerary corresponds to a circular tour with the same starting and finishing point. On open itiner- aries the cruise finishes in a different port than in the starting port. The open itinerary attracts with a longer travelled distance, as well there is an additional port on the list. However this type requires more organizational effort because more expensive open jaw flights are needed.

The process of route planning is composed of two steps. First the ports are selected and in the second step a sequence is determined. The overall aim is to find an itinerary where costs, time and the route are minimized in order to have the highest economic benefit. Finding the optimum sequence corresponds to the Travelling-Salesman- Problem.42

While a few destinations have acquired “must-see” status like St Maarten, many islands in the Caribbean need to compete with each other as they offer the same features , which are mostly sun, sand and sea. If a cruise line decides to substitute one island for another on its itinerary, nobody apart from the destination would care as long as the new destination offered the same attractions. Many researchers claim that the cruise lines sell the itinerary, so to say the superior region and not the individual port-destinations so that they are quite flexible from the customer’s point of view to change the ports of call.43

Usually ships berth at one port a day and use the night to travel to the next destination. The Nachtrand44 describes the distance that a cruise ship covers between two ports without being inefficient and amounts on average to 390km. This determinant influences the sequence of ports a lot and affects also the laytime in a port, so it can happen that the quayage is not exhausted to the last minute.45

Further external influences are among others geographic conditions (e.g. tides), opening hours of port authorities and bridges or other barriers (e.g. watergates) and seasonality.46

2.6 Different Concepts

Cruise companies can adopt different strategies by either specializing in one particular type of ship47 or by offering different types of cruises48 in their portfolio.

2.6.1 Vessels

Classic cruise ships are furnished in a luxurious and comfortable style, the destinations visited are of primary concern, just as the component of relaxation. The fleets of Cunard Lines, Crystal Cruises as well as Holland America Line comprise solely classic cruise vessels.

The mega liners resemble floating resorts; the two largest vessels (Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas) can accommodate at most 6,360 people49 but already a passenger capacity of 2,000 characterizes a mega liner. The cabins are standardized as the capacity of the cruise ships keeps growing and target the mass market. Here economies of scale apply which means lower average costs per passenger with an increasing number of passengers onboard. CCL, RCI and Costa Crociere are representatives of mega liners.

Niche suppliers orientate their whole marketing activities towards a small and special- ized customer segment. Usually smaller vessels (less than 1,000 passengers) serve as a basis for the exclusive journeys; often yachting and expedition cruises are offered. High levels of quality are expected which then leads to high ticket prices. The cruise compa- nies Sea Cloud Cruises, Windstar Cruises and Silversea Cruises offer niche cruises.

2.6.2 Types of Cruises

The major types of cruises that are offered in the cruise market are the classic cruise and the club cruise. The Classic Cruise is the most popular cruise and is perceived as the typical cruise where the journey lies in the focus. This type of cruise provides high qual- ity and service and has often a devoted customer base. The luxury cruise is its most common form where most people seek for recreation, the travel time averages 14 days. The key target groups are seniors and the generation of baby boomers (people born in the post war period of World War II), but the image of cruises only for elderly people is changing.

Club Cruises become more and more fashionable; here the cruise ship represents the destination itself as lots of commercial entertainment programs and sporting facilities are offered. Families, active and younger people are addressed as a target group, so there is a relaxed atmosphere on board. Mostly warm water destinations are operated, the average length of a club cruise amounts to seven days. A club cruise resembles to a great extent the club holidays that are offered in beach resorts ashore.

2.7 Characteristics of the Cruise Tourism Industry

The characteristics of the cruise industry are outlined in the following.

The industry structure is oligopolistic with a few large suppliers dominating the market as described in chapter 2.3. It is difficult to enter the cruise market because high initial capital is required and economies of scale are prevalent. In oligopolies, two strategies can be applied, either cooperation (cruise associations like CLIA) or competition (prod- uct differentiation and marketing strategy).50

According to the FCCA, demand for cruising keeps exceeding supply with an annual occupancy percentage of more than 100% in 2014. Normal capacity is based on two passengers per cabin, whereas many cabins can accommodate even three to four persons so that the actual occupancy rate might be even higher51. This strengthens the assump- tion that the cruise industry is supply driven, ships are being built and due to the will- ingness of people to go on a cruise, the ships are easily filled with customers, also due to successful marketing and discounting strategies.52 By providing new cruise vessels and offering Last Minute sales cruise companies follow supply push strategies.53

According to Brida and Zapata, “a cruise ship represents all four faces of the tourism industry: transportation, accommodation (including food and beverages), attractions and tour operators”54 which makes them comparable to the resorts ashore. Hence cruise ships might represent direct rivals to land based resorts and take away their guests.

As there is such a huge offer onboard, many passengers even decide to stay on the vessel during the berth. New entertainment concepts include “surf pools, planetariums, ondeck LED movie screens, golf simulators, water parks, demonstration kitchens, multiroom villas with private pools and in-suite Jacuzzis, ice-skating rinks, rock-climbing walls, bungee trampolines, etc”55. These onboard amenities aren’t included in the allinclusive package anymore but have become a substantive component of the cruise lines’ income. Usually 20-30% of total revenues of the cruise line accounts for onboard revenues. (see Total revenues of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and Carnival Corporation & plc.). Furthermore cruise ships sail at night and berth during the day so that passengers can do activities ashore. Usually the ships stay for 8-10 hours in a port. This way cruise lines ensure that the passengers take their meals on the cruise and don’t have too much time to spend money in the ports what would be lost profit for the cruise line.

Cruise ships are also characterized by their large size, the trend goes towards ever larger ships that represent small cities themselves already, producing waste in a similar dimen- sion.56

Cruise tourism is a good example of globalization. Cruises call at a large number of ports all over the world, connecting different countries in just one cruise. Moreover passengers come from around the globe and the crew is composed of many different nationalities. But also the cruise companies act as global players.57

In the cruise industry it is common use that cruise ships are registered in another state than the state with the owner’s legal seat which is called sailing under the Flag of Con- venience (FAO). The principal aim is to minimize costs. The most popular states for this practice are Panama, Liberia and the Bahamas. These countries aren’t subject to strict regulations like in the United States, besides the registration fees and tonnage tax- es are significantly low and no taxes on income and profits from ocean-based activities are raised which illustrates a comparative advantage to those cruise lines registered in countries like the United States.58 “Ship construction, ownership, management, opera- tions and crewing sources no longer need to be unified and regulated under the national umbrella of a primary registry”59, so that these sectors face strong competition among the countries. One of the most attractive incentives to sail under FAO is the crew sourc- ing. The workforce onboard isn’t subject to international regulatory and can be recruited worldwide. US labour laws don’t apply for cruise lines that mainly operate in the US but are registered in Panama for example which means that the seafarers have no claim for minimum wages nor are their working hours limited by law.60

2.8 Trends in the Cruise Tourism Industry

The US is the major source market with 11.8 million people (51%) taking an ocean cruise in 2013.61 With an annual growth rate of 10-12%, cruise tourism is the fastest growing segment in tourism in the US.62

Cruise tourism was often associated with senior citizens being the main target market. The demographic transformation along with the aging of the global population therefore seems to be beneficial for the cruise industry. However passengers are getting noticeably younger as the cruise product is more diversified to attract new customers and is now more designed for the broad mass of people.63

Furthermore it was noticed that the disposable income of cruise passengers has decreased over the years but in the meantime cruises became also more affordable.64

Besides, most cruise lines turn away from the all inclusive concept that was prevalent in the 20th century. As mentioned before the income generated on board by the sale of products or provision of services and entertainment accounts for a quarter of a cruise line’s overall income and is therefore a lucrative source of income.65 Due to the large range of offers onboard, people tend to stay on the ship and don’t disembark at all ports any more. Therefore the question arises whether the cruise destination or rather the cruise ship is of primary interest. Furthermore many cruise lines possess their own private islands where only the company based cruise ships are allowed to berth. These offer a fully artificial experience to the passengers.66

Besides, the capacity is still increasing which is the result of the increasing size of the vessels and the number of berths.67

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the contribution of the tourism industry in 2013 increased to 9.5% of the global GDP with US$7 trillion, being the fastest growing sector. 266 million people are employed in the tourism industry what accounts for 1 in 11 jobs worldwide. Long haul travel is becoming more popular and there is in total a greater share of international tourism demand in the European market. Also the average expenditure per person and length of stay is rising.68 These trends also have an impact on the cruise industry.

With a market share of 36% the Caribbean is the major cruise market whereas the Medi- terranean market is increasing significantly. Both markets complement each other as the Caribbean puts its emphasis on the winter months and the Mediterranean reaches its full capacity in the summer months. Moreover niche markets have evolved that focus on special themes.69 The Caribbean as a cruise destination is outlined in the following chapter.


1 see Cruisedeckplans (2015).

2 see CLIA (2013).

3 see CLIA (2015b), p. 28.

4 see Pompl (1997), p. 32.

5 see Schäfer (1998), pp. 7-10.

6 UNWTO (2010), pp. 9-10.

7 see n.a. (2005), p. 2.

8 Cohen (1972) cited in Diedrich (2010), p. 236.

9 see Schulz & Auer (2010), p. 22.

10 The Ocean Conservancy (2002), p. 6.

11 see Schulz & Auer (2010), pp. 22-23.

12 see Schulz & Auer (2010), p. 23.

13 see The Ocean Conservancy (2002), p. 6.

14 see Rodrigue & Notteboom (2013), p. 32.

15 see Pompl (1997), p. 288.

16 see Schulz & Auer (2010), pp. 31-33.

17 see Cruise Market Watch (2015).

18 see CLIA (2015c).

19 BREA (2014), pp. 8-9.

20 see CLIA (2015b), p. 13.

21 see Cruise Industry News (2015a).

22 see Schulz & Auer (2010), pp. 44-45.

23 see Carnival Corporation & plc (2015b).

24 see Carnival Corporation & plc (2015a), p. 52.

25 see Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (2015), p. 20.

26 see ebd., p. 49.

27 see Cruise Critic (2015).

28 see Cruise Industry News (2013).

29 see Cruise Industry News (2015a).

30 see Cruise Industry News (2013).

31 see Genting Group (2015).

32 see Schulz & Auer (2010), p. 48.

33 see ebd.

34 see MSC Cruises (2015).

35 CLIA (2015a).

36 see Chin (2008), p. 78.

37 see Thomas (2015), pp. 4-5.

38 see Cruise Market Watch (2013).

39 see Schulz & Auer (2010), p. 102.

40 see Cruise Critic (2014).

41 see Schulz & Auer (2010), pp. 103-105.

42 see Schäfer (1998), p. 77 and Schulz & Auer (2010), pp. 95-97.

43 see Rodrigue & Notteboom (2013), p. 31.

44 Hours outside the port x efficient average speed

45 see Schäfer (1998), pp. 116-118 and Schulz & Auer (2010), p. 104.

46 see Schäfer (1998), p. 141.

47 see Schulz & Auer (2010), pp. 82-84.

48 see ebd., pp. 79-81.

49 see Cruise Critic (2015).

50 see Brida & Zapata (2010), p. 214.

51 see Rodrigue & Notteboom (2013), p. 33.

52 See FCCA (2015), p. 1.

53 see Rodrigue & Notteboom, 2013, p. 41.

54 Brida & Zapata (2010), p. 215.

55 Rodrigue & Notteboom (2013), p. 33.

56 see Klein (2010).

57 see Wind Rose Network (2015).

58 see Chin (2008), pp. 36-38.

59 Chin (2008), p. 9.

60 see Dowling (2006), pp. 401.

61 see BREA (2014), pp. 8.

62 see Schulz & Auer (2010), p. 59.

63 see Rodrigue & Notteboom (2013), p. 33.

64 see Klein (2005), p. 91.

65 see Robertson (2008).

66 see Cruise Critic (2014).

67 see n.a. (2005), p. 12.

68 See WTTC (2014).

69 see Rodrigue & Notteboom (2013), p. 32.

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Cruise Tourism and its Impact on a Destination using the example of the Caribbean Islands
University of Applied Sciences Saarbrücken  (Wirtschaftswissenschaften)
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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1181 KB
Kreuzfahrt Tourismus, Cruise Tourism, Karibik, Caribbean Islands, Impact
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Lena Quandt (Author), 2015, Cruise Tourism and its Impact on a Destination using the example of the Caribbean Islands, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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