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Throwback Thursday – Floating holiday resorts

In our brand new section ‘Throwback Thursday’ we dive into the rich and long history of Girugten by revisiting or republishing interesting (translated) articles of the past. For this second edition, again an article from 2017 has been chosen to translate and republish. The original article, written by Arlinde Dul was first published in Dutch here, and the translation below was done by Elisa Lanting. Enjoy!

Mister and Misses Jansen always have had the desire to enjoy life to the fullest after their career. In order to meet this desire, they book a cruise vacation. On the day of departure, they expected merely pensioners, but it was the opposite. A new flow of tourists has arrived.

People that go on vacation and make use of all the convenient options on a cruise ship are also called cruise tourists. Cruise tourism is a form of tourism that makes use of a fully inclusive vacation on a ship. This ship has a specific route and, on the way, it makes intermediate stops at different harbours. Cruise ships are thus a mean of transport but aren’t always seen this way by most people: they are seen as floating vacation resorts. These floating vacations are a small but fast-growing sector in the world stage of tourism. Who are those cruise tourists and why are they appealed to making a cruise?

The number of cruise vacations is growing due to the rise in popularity within a bigger group in society. This results in that the average age of the cruise tourists has lowered. In 1995, the average age of the cruise tourists was 65 years, in 2006 this age has lowered to 45 years. The lowering of the average age has three reasons:

  • The growing desire for new experiences and discovering more unknown locations;
  • The increased comfort;
  • A more accessible price.

As mentioned above, the search for new experiences and adventure often is a reason to choose a cruise vacation. These days, cruise vacations in all sorts of kinds: from a cruise of 48 hours to one of a year, from a one-way trip to an all-round trip, or from one hundred passengers to thousands. One of the most important components is probably the variety in choice of the worldwide routes and the uncountable cruise destinations. Also, do not forget the big variety of activities on land. The growth in different destination possibilities and routes makes it for cruise tourists a logical choice to book a new cruise right away after the first one has ended.

Also, the passengers are fond of the comfort that cruise ships have to offer as part of their vacation. Since the existence of cruise ships in the ’70 years, the level of comfort has become very important. The extra offered services on board are a big part of the revenue of the cruise companies. This is the reason to make the services more and more expanded and more exclusive. Surf swimming pools, theatres, cinemas, wave simulators, jogging parcourse, ice-skating lanes, climbing walls and trampolines. In the designs of all these extras, children are also kept in mind. The luxurious comfort with the child friendliness is very appealing, especially for young parents.

Finally, cruise companies provide very cheap deals and that make it possible for more people to afford a cruise vacation. However, these companies must not forget the tourists with a bigger budget and lose them in the new flow of tourists. The ‘ship within a ship’ system has been integrated into a lot of cruise ships to distinguish themselves as luxurious from the budget ships. This strategy entails: providing extra luxurious experiences and activities to people that can afford it. Think about a first- class accommodation with facilities such as a luxurious swimming pool, butler service, spa treatments and a better quality of food service.

In the future, we can expect a continuous increase in cruise tourism. World cruise organization CLIA expected 24 million tourists in 2016, compared to 15 million in 2006 and 1,4 million in 1980. This expectation is based on the innovative character of cruise vacations: more and more destinations, new ship designs, new onboard facilities and a wider range of onshore activities. However, a negative side effect of this growth is the extra emission of CO2, particular matter and sulfur dioxide. This pollution has negative consequences for the cruise routes, the destinations and the surrounding areas. Hence it is of importance to create environmental laws that are focused on the particular form of tourism.

In short, the idea of a few wealthy elder couples enjoying their deserved retirement is a dated image of the cruise tourist. What do you think? Is there a cruise tourist hidden in you?


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