Published on Tuesday, March 2, 2010

“No radical change” in online cruise booking predicted


No radical change in the level of direct booking of cruises online is expected in the UK, at least in the near future.
That is the view of Carnival UK chief executive David Dingle giving an overview of the cruise industry.
Providing a market overview as part of the P&O Cruises, Cunard and Ocean Village parent company’s 2010 annual Cruise Report, Dingle said there was a “clear increase” in the amount of information being sourced online by cruise passengers.
But the proportion of direct internet bookings remains low at between four to five per cent.
“For the simpler, lower-cost products such as Ocean Village the share rises – but only to about eight per cent – while for the more expensive brands with more complex propositions, it drops to two to three per cent,” said Dingle.
“It could move up in the future but, significantly, it still remains at low levels in the US where the concept was embraced earlier, so we do not expect any radical change in this pattern any time soon.
“With cruising at least, people still appear to prefer face-to-face transaction.”
The report revealed that Carnival UK brands accounted for more than 579,000 UK passengers last year.
Carnival Corporation chairman and CEO Micky Arison, in an introduction to the report, predicted a doubling in the number of UK cruise passengers to three million in the next decade spurred by an increasing level of shorter duration cruises.
“I believe the biggest change for cruising over the next 10 years will be that it will become just like North America, offering cruises of just about any length and suitable for just about everyone, he said.
“For example, there are very few short cruises in the UK right now but this will change over time because the higher quality ships with their greater range of facilities being built and operated these days will act as interesting destinations in themselves,” said Arison.
The expanded choice of itineraries and cruise styles will help ensure the rapid growth of UK cruisers will continue.
“There has been a pattern in the growth of cruising which has seen the North American market run five-10 years ahead of the UK, so I can see no reason why it should not double in size to match the kind of growth the market has experienced in North America.
“This would mean the British taking three million cruises every year compared with the 1.55 million in 2009.”
*See linked Cruise Report stories. 
by Phil Davies 

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  • Booking online? It's more expensive!

    I agree totally with Daniel Fell's comments. When will we be able to book multiple cabins and request they are next to each other. And booking flights? No option other than economy included in the price - why can't we select the grade of flight we want? It's 2010 for goodness sake. Being able to do these things and more may persuade me to book online - but most TAs will give a better price anyway so why would anybody book online. Warped figures!!! If you ask all those that booked with Travel Agents if they would book online if they got the same price, I guess a lot of them would say yes!

    By Sue Cook, Friday, March 5, 2010

  • Because the industry lacks progression online

    This article has really got my back up. In some ways the cruising industry is moving forward, targeting a younger audience and not just families either. Moving out into more active excursions and a wider selection of destinations. Yet online the industry is still stuck in 1995. You cannot complete a transaction wholly online (with most cruise companies), their advertising exposure online is non-existent in comparison with flights and holidays. and the comment which goes "With cruising at least, people still appear to prefer face-to-face transaction." is laughable. That is because there is no other option. It's a hotel on water, it's no more difficult booking a flight, hotel and car hire online. With the amount of money they throw into flashy sites showing off the ships facilities and levels and suites, what more do people need to know? when Carnival (the largest cruise operator in the world) invests money where it should be invested (progressing their online presence) then I will start listening to their industry chat, until then they can carry on using windows 1995, driving a P reg mondeo and watching Gordon the Gopher on Live and Kicking.

    By Daniel Fell, Tuesday, March 2, 2010

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