Smooth sailing ahead for cruising

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  • Holland America's Maasdam tied up at a Caribbean port. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Holland America's Maasdam tied up at a Caribbean port. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Shore activities are often just a short walk away from the docked ship. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Shore activities are often just a short walk away from the docked ship. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Nothing's more relaxing that watching the waves.  Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Nothing's more relaxing that watching the waves. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Still life, cruise deck style Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Still life, cruise deck style Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Getting some time in the tropical sun. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Getting some time in the tropical sun. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Once under way, it's time for pure relaxation.  Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Once under way, it's time for pure relaxation. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Pool deck area is always popular.  Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Pool deck area is always popular. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Exercise sessions are well attended aboard the ms Maasdam  Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Exercise sessions are well attended aboard the ms Maasdam Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • A brilliant macaw image Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com A brilliant macaw image Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Even the most ramshackle souvenir stand can be whimsical and colorful. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Even the most ramshackle souvenir stand can be whimsical and colorful. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Cruise liners are the economic life blood for many Caribbean ports. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Cruise liners are the economic life blood for many Caribbean ports. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • There's always something new to try when ashore. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com There's always something new to try when ashore. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Once ashore, sand, surf and tropical breezes await. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Once ashore, sand, surf and tropical breezes await. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • A Caribbean beach is like the brochures promise. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com A Caribbean beach is like the brochures promise. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Relaxing on deck is part of the cruise experience. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Relaxing on deck is part of the cruise experience. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • After dinner, passengers enjoy the lively variety shows. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com After dinner, passengers enjoy the lively variety shows. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Fast-moving production numbers are always popular aboard the ms Maasdam. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Fast-moving production numbers are always popular aboard the ms Maasdam. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • It's Show Time almost nightly in the Rembrandt Lounge Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com It's Show Time almost nightly in the Rembrandt Lounge Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • There's always room for an after-dinner sweet. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com There's always room for an after-dinner sweet. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Many passenger like to get dressed up for dinner aboard the ms Maasdam. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Many passenger like to get dressed up for dinner aboard the ms Maasdam. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • The Rotterdam Dining Room is a favorite for dinner.  Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com The Rotterdam Dining Room is a favorite for dinner. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • Pastry chefs are among the galley stars. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com Pastry chefs are among the galley stars. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com
  • For youngsters, the buffet is a favorite. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com For youngsters, the buffet is a favorite. Ron Mesaros / www.ronmesaros.com

Ft. Lauderdale, April 4, 2013  – The Carnival Cruise ship Triumph is back in the news with near hurricane winds tearing the ship free of its mooring where it is being repaired following the “cruise from hell”.

Despite that awful recent incident plus sluggish world economies, the international cruise industry is moving ahead full steam. In fact, cruising remains the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry. And to accommodate expected bookings, over the coming months some will put into service newer—and bigger – ships.

Norwegian Cruise Line for one will debut its Norwegian Breakaway in May.  It  will accommodate 4,000 passengers and be home ported in New York City initially sailing to Bermuda. Then coming along behind it will be its sister ship Norwegian Getaway, It will go into service in February 1, 2014 making seven day sailings out of Miami. Norwegian paid nearly $1.6 billion for the two vessels.

Then Norwegian will spend about $910 million for the Norwegian Breakaway Plus for delivery in 2017. It’ll carry 4,200 passengers and be the largest liner in  the company’s fleet. And just to make sure it doesn’t run out of capacity, Norwegian has an option to order another Breakaway Plus liner for 2017 delivery.

Carnival Cruise Lines has just spent $155 million to redesign and refit an older ship to create a new one.  Rather than wait for a new ship to be built, it sent the Carnival Destiny into dry dock and 49 days later, it came out to be renamed Carnival Sunshine. It has  added decks, more cabins and accommodates 3,006 passengers (based on double occupancy) compared with 2,642 for its predecessor.

When it comes to bookings, you’d never guess anyone was short of cash.

Evidence of that was clearly seen when Costa Cruises sent its Costa Deliziosa in January on a 100-day round-the-world cruise. When the company announced the tour,  it was totally sold out within four days.  Fares began at $12,000 per person and went up to $30,000 per person for a Grand Suite.

Now obviously confident of the future, despite the disastrous sinking of its Costa Concordia last year, the line has ordered a new liner to carry 4,947 passengers. Named the Costa Diadima, it’s to cost more than $700 million.  Delivery is set for October 2014.

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) based in Ft. Lauderdale reported that an estimated 17.2 million travelers cruised in 2012 up 5% from 16.3 million or in 2011. And the organization that represents 26 cruise lines estimates that this year, sluggish global economies or not, there will be a 2 percent increase to 17.6 million.

While residents of North America have always made up the majority of cruise passengers, CLIA says that the number of “international passengers is growing dramatically” and is forecasting 20.9 million passengers globally in 2013.

While clearly going after younger travelers, at the same time cruise lines aren’t forgetting their traditional passengers who are older, probably retired and may be taking their grandchildren along for a vacation of a lifetime. Well established in this so-called “mid market” is the 135-year old Holland America Line with its home office in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Among the most popular of all these destinations are those visited on the line’s 7–14 day Caribbean cruises. Mainly sailing out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, eight of the line’s ships ply the blue waters calling at ports throughout the southern, western and eastern Caribbean.

White coral sand beaches, tropical forests, towns reflecting their recent European colonial heritage, duty free and tax free shopping and a simple, laid back life style, are among the attractions when passengers go ashore at such ports as Tortola, British Virgin Islands, St. Lucia, Barbados,  St. Maarten and an all day visit to HAL’s own private Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas.

On a  typical southern Caribbean sailing, the ms Maasdam was at full capacity with 1,258 passengers aboard. For 14 days, these holiday-makers enjoyed what seemed to be non-stop dining, evening entertainment in the ship’s show lounge, lectures, games, time in the casino, pampering in the spa, working out in the fitness center or sunning or swimming at the pools.And then, of course, were the days ashore to shop or tour.

Often as the ms Maasdam cruised the Caribbean it was often being joined in port by two or three other cruise ships, each with its own full complement of passengers on holiday. There was clearly no sign of economic hard times, unless, of course, your luck wasn’t too good in the shipboard casino.

_________________________________

Photography by Ron Mesaros / www.RONMESAROS.com

 

Ron Mesaros

As a photojournalist, Ron Mesaros always see things in a special way. Whether photographing someone famous or infamous, a far way place or in his own backyard of Southern California, he delivers the images that tell a distinctive story.


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Norman Sklarewitz

As a freelance journalist, Norman Sklarewitz brings to his work for the Washington Times' Communities a professional background that began as a police reporter for Chicago's City News Bureau and went on to include the position of  Far East Correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. As such  he reported on major political, economic and social events of international significance from throughout Asia including the Vietnam War. Subsequently, he joined U.S. News & World Report as Los Angeles Bureau Chief. 

Since he moved on to freelance, he's published thousands of articles on a wide variety of topics for consumer, trade, airline inflights, special interest and corporate magazines and for newspaper travel sections.  These outlets also include periodicals published in Asia and Europe.

He is a graduate of Indiana University and holds a master's degree from the University of Southern California. He served three years in the U.S. Army during World War II, two years (1944-45) of which were in the European Theater of Operations where he was a military correspondent. He resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Esther.

 

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