Despite economic anxiety following the tragic events of last September, the $20 billion cruise industry has rebounded dramatically.
The International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL), which represents 16 North American cruise
lines, reports why the cruise industry is on track to attract a record 7.4 million North Americans to cruising in 2002. “Over the course of this year, the cruise industry pulled itself together by being responsive to consumers’ needs,” stated Michael Crye, president of the ICCL. “We dropped prices, moved cruise ships closer to home and made an already safe industry even safer. In short, consumer confidence is returning and the industry is rebounding beyond anyone’s expectations of last September.”
The ten reasons cited by the ICCL for the cruise industry’s quick economic recovery.
1. Upon hearing news of the attacks, we established an immediate and continuous dialogue with the cruise industry and government agencies such as the U.S. Coast Guard, INS and DOT.
2. Since cruise ships had approved security plans
in place, we were able to immediately implement the highest level of security.
3. Adjusted cruise ships’ 2001 fall itineraries to other ports, primarily Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Portland, Maine.
4. Incorporated stricter security procedures for passengers and crew including 100% screening of all luggage and carry-ons prior to boarding and 100% positive photo identification check.
5. Participated in travel industry public service campaign featuring President George W. Bush encouraging travel in the U.S.
6. Empowered our key distribution network, the travel agents, by enhancing their cruise sales’ commissions.
7. ICCL participation at the IMO to finalize the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code - a unified security policy updating current U.S. Coast Guard and IMO Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) regulations. If agreed upon by the IMO at the diplomatic conference in December 2002, it will become international law by mid-2003.
8. Competitive pricing implemented by all major cruise lines
9. Continued efforts in place to grow the industry. Renewed commitment to investing billions of dollars in building state-of-the-art ships and consistently upgrading existing fleets. More than 20 ships are slated to enter the fleet between fall 2002 and the end of 2003.
10. Established formal agreements to share security information with the DOD, DOJ, DOS, FBI, INS and U.S. Customs.
“Now, more than ever, people should book a cruise vacation,” stated Richard Fain, chairman of the ICCL. "Prices are extremely affordable and passengers will have peace of mind knowing that cruising is as safe as it's ever been.”