April 13, 2010
-- The last several years have been critical ones for the continuing growth of the cruise line industry. Dramatic discounts and a slowing in the construction of new ships paralleled the global economic downturn. With the advent of Royal Caribbean’ Oasis of the Seas in 2009, it would appear cruise line executives can see the light at the end of the financial tunnel. The expected arrivals of Disney Cruise Line’s Dream (http://www.cruiselinefans.com/
roll-call/) and NCL’s Epic, as well the Oasis’ sister ship, the Allure, not only display a positive momentum shift in the economic health of the cruise lines themselves, but signal a “tipping point” in the industry overall and will change the game permanently.
The cruise travel industry has gone through several distinct phases of rebirth and it would appear that we are on the verge of the delivery of a new age in cruise vacation experiences (http://www.cruiselinefans.com/cruise-reports/
). The trio of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, Norwegian’s Epic and the Disney Dream, as well as the forthcoming Allure of the Seas and Carnival’s Magic (expected 2012), represent an unprecedented level of media coverage, technological advancements and onboard passenger experiences.
Media: If you haven’t heard of the Oasis of the Seas yet, you’ve been living in a cave for the last year. Royal Caribbean hit every possible channel of distribution when debuting Oasis including appearances on Good Morning America, posts on Facebook and Twitter (http://twitter.com/CruiseLineFans
), and a website devoted simply to the Oasis of the Seas, as well as massive amounts of coverage and travel agent and passenger reviews and reports on sites like CruiseLineFans.com.
Technology: Major technological developments in the cruise industry, especially aboard these new mega-ships are central to not only the ship’s operations, but now the passengers’ onboard experiences. Virtual portholes in every stateroom will display a digital image from the perimeter of the ship’s hull, allowing every passenger a perfect view. Disney’s range of popular characters will also make visits to the cabins via these virtual portholes. However, it’s the live interactions with guests that these characters engage in throughout the ship, that make a real impression on passengers, children and adults alike and make Disney a perfect choice for a family cruise (http://www.cruiselinefans.com/family-cruising/
). During the day, a child will have interacted with a digital Disney character in a Kid’s club and then later that evening, while seated at dinner, be visited by the same character, who will recall his or her name and the previous discussions. Disney’
s team of Imagineers will be responsible for creating such an amazing technological experience on board a cruise ship.
Onboard Experience: Now known for its Freestyle dining and entertainment format, Norwegian Cruise Lines is not going to be left off the list of major innovators in 2010. Solo or single cruiser (http://www.cruiselinefans.com/
passengers can pay single fares with NCL and receive access to the exclusive Studio Lounges. The Epic will be home to the largest spa at sea, 20 different dining options and an endless array of entertainment options for all ages, including the Blue Man Group and the Cirque Dream and Dinner shows.
These new ships and those to follow in 2011 and 2012 represent a new age in the cruise industry (http://www.cruiselinefans.com/
, in which the ship has become the destination itself for many passengers. In recent months, we have seen an increase in fares at several of the major cruise lines, indicating a distinct recovery in demand for cruise vacations. With more options, ships, and cabin styles to choose from than ever before, today’s cruisers can expect to have any and all of their vacation and travel expectations met and exceeded.
Alex Saint, CEO of CruiseLineFans.com said, “Bigger and better seems to be the trend and based upon the cruise reviews received, most cruise travelers are ecstatic about ships like the Oasis of the Seas.”
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