Johannesburg, February 20th, 2015. 2014 was a good year for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. The company was recently moved on to S&P 500 Index which ranks the top 500 shares traded in the US. This on the back of its billion dollar investments in groundbreaking new ships – Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas – and Oasis of the Seas coming in 2016.
These ships are the top of their class, possessing unique technology and entertainment features as well as everything else expected of best of breed cruise lines. The company’s performance bespeaks a confidence in the global cruise sector which generated worldwide revenues of $37.1 billion US Dollars  in 2014, and which looks to continue growing at the average annual rate of 4% until 2020.
Cruises International, South Africa’s largest cruise operator representing nine of the world’s premier cruise lines, is similarly bullish about the cruising outlook for 2015, with the all-inclusive nature of luxury cruising packages acting as a major hedge against the weakness of the rand. Having sent over 15,000 South Africans on cruises in various parts of the world in 2014, Cruises International is optimistic about being able to sharply increase that number in 2015.
While many South Africans have only experienced cruising in local and neighbouring waters, there is an expectation that those who have bitten by the cruising bug will venture further afield in 2015. Although Europe is a favourite destination for those taking cruising holidays, the Caribbean and the Far East have also become extremely popular.
According to Cruises International’s Managing Director George Argyropoulos one of the great attractions of cruising – apart from experiencing and exploring exotic waters and destinations – is the convenience of all-inclusive costs, one air ticket, multiple destinations and a single cabin into which you only have to unpack once. “Add to this the incredible dining, entertainment and other activities available on board, and cruising has some enormous advantages over land-based holidays, especially in times of local currency weakness,” said Argyropoulos “The bottom line is that the convenience of visiting several destinations for one price and under one roof cannot be underestimated.”
Currently, South African represent just a tiny fraction of the growing international cruising passenger market, which runs well above 20 million travellers a year, most of them coming from the US. With more than 13 million bed nights sold in South Africa by hotels in 2014, the potential for growth in the cruising market is enormous .
Cruise lines represented by Cruises International includes stalwart such as: Oceania Cruises, Seabourn Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Seadream Yachts, AMW Waterways River Cruises, Windstar, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Celebrity Cruises.
Some of the major 2014 cruising trends which are expected to influence and spark 2015 include:
· Improved technology to lower the cost of on-board communications and enable more efficient passenger servicing
· The growth of multi-generational and celebration travel as well travel by social and affinity groups
· More all-inclusive options and packages in accommodation, services and amenities
· Active activations at sea which include soft and extreme adventure excursions, longer stays in ports for added sight-seeing and high- energy on-board facilities
· The rise of exotic destinations and the introduction of a wide variety of destinations featuring all parts of the world, not only the traditional cruising regions
“With our cruise lines ensuring availability of ships in 2015 in some of the world’s most popular ports and cruise destinations, as well as the breadth of cruises that we can offer, ranging from liners to ultra luxury yachts and river cruising, we expect a really good response from South African consumers and an excellent year for cruising,” Argyropoulos concluded.
 http://www.statista.com/statistics/204572/revenue-of-the-cruise-line-industry-worldwide-since-2008/  Long-term Prospects: Tourism 2020 Vision". World Tourism. 2004.
Issued on behalf of: Cruises International
Client contact: Doug Cairns
Tel. No.: 011 327 0327