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CLIA Study: Caribbean Remains King of CruisesApril 9, 2007 By: Joe Pike Travel Agent
Notwithstanding the recent soft market, the Caribbean is still number one for cruising
Travel agents polled in a survey by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) once again confirmed what cruise enthusiasts have known for a long time: The Caribbean is the hottest cruise region in the world.
In fact, nearly 80 percent of more than 500 CLIA travel
agents polled named the destination as the most popular cruising ground for
their agencies' customers.
Further cementing the survey findings was the fact that 88
percent of agents reported that the total number of Caribbean cruises sold at
their agencies in 2006 increased over 2005—with 93 percent of respondents
predicting that 2007 sales totals would surpass 2006 levels.
A Strong Future
"It goes without saying that the trend toward
future," Terry Dale, CEO and president of Cruise Lines International
Association told Travel Agent. "More vacationers choose to cruise
each year and the
destination for both cruisers and land-based vacationers. Although the
flows, that does not change the fact that it remains the number-one cruise
destination in guest popularity and number of ships that visit the region's
Customer satisfaction rates also soared, with nearly 90
percent of agencies reporting that their clients were very satisfied or
extremely satisfied. Total satisfaction ratings were 98.5 percent.
The high level of satisfaction comes as no surprise to CLIA
member cruise lines, which have debuted large numbers of their newest and most
cutting-edge ships in the region.
"Hands down, cruise vacationers will find the cruise
industry's most innovative ships in the
Dale said in a news release. "The
is a veritable candy store when it comes to the array of cruise lines and ships
that are available to travelers."
Sixty-four percent of respondents said their clients rated
their chosen cruise lines and ships as the best attribute of Caribbean cruises,
and also cited selling points as the
climate, overall ambiance, ports of call, beaches and shopping. Forty-nine
percent said that a cruise was the perfect way to sample
islands that they wish to visit again by ship or by land. Generally comparable
with capacity deployment, 53 percent of respondents sold western Caribbean
itineraries most often, 34 percent the eastern Caribbean and 9 percent the
Seventy-five percent cited seven-day itineraries as the most
popular cruise length, 13 percent voyages of five days or fewer, and 10 percent
cruises of eight to 10 days.
"When booking cruises to the Caribbean, agents have
price on their side," says Michelle Fee, a member of CLIA's Travel Agency
Advisory Board and CEO of Cruise Planners in
from multiple places now. If you sell
Monday and sell it for that Friday or Saturday. Europe and
the sale. For the
sun and fun, that's it. It's just an easier sale."
88% of agents reported that the total number of
increased over 2005; 93% of respondents predicted that 2007 sales totals would
75% cited seven-day itineraries as the most popular
13% voyages of five days or less
10% cruises of eight to 10 days
Nearly 90% of agencies report that their clients were very
satisfied or extremely satisfied, and total satisfaction ratings were 98.5%
34% Sold eastern
itineraries most often
9% Sold southern
53% Sold western
itineraries most often
Nearly 80% of
more than 500 clia travel agents
polled named the
cruising ground for their agencies' customers