Cruise Operators Go Full Steam Ahead Through the Recession

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The cruise industry hasn't slowed down during the recession; the reasons for this include cruise deals and new luxury cruise ships. This press release looks at the top 5 cruise stories to emerge this year.

Activity at the CruiseLineFans forum has been nonstop this year, with 21,420 members keeping potential cruise line customers up to date with news, cruise deals and independent reviews, Alex Saint from CruiseLineFans comments: "2009 has seen the cruise industry rise to the forefront of the travel industry with the emergence of super-ships such as Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas and Carnival's Dream. Featured spots on Good Morning America, CNBC, National Geographic and the Travel Channel have placed cruise lines, their massive ships, the destinations visited and activities available on board directly in front of the world's collective attention."

The 5 most noticeable news stories to be discussed this year were:

1. Oasis of the Seas: Royal Caribbean's massive floating city, also known as the Oasis of the Seas broke records for the world's largest passenger ship in 2009. The world was captivated for several weeks while she made her transatlantic crossing, had her naming ceremony and set sail on her maiden voyage. Available to CruiseLineFans members were video messages from Captain Wright, special discounted packages from travel agents, and ongoing discussions about how ships of this size and class will change the cruise industry.

2. Disney Dream: 2009 was a "Dreamy" year for cruise ships. Dozens of ships were added to major cruise lines across the varying tiers in the cruise industry. The Disney Dream ,although not sailing until 2010, began taking bookings in November 2009 and has caused quite a stir amongst the Disney faithful and newcomers alike. Equipped with an onboard water-slide that must be seen to be believed, the Disney Dream is filled with activities, gadgets and accommodations that will completely envelop a child and his or her family, while on board. Tying in nicely with CruiseLineFans' Guide to Cruising with Kids, the Disney Dream's release remained quite a popular topic within the community.

3. Down, Down, Down Goes the Economy and Cruise Fares: 2009 saw a great decline in overall cruise fares and packages, despite the premiums seen on Oasis of the Seas and raised prices at the newly dubbed Azamara Club Cruises. Travel agents, cruise specialists and cruise lines were all forced to scramble and put together thousands of unique cruise deals, on board ship credits, free airfare, and even solo cruise discounts of 50-100% in order to keep their customers cruising during the recession. Some CruiseLineFans argue that with this reduction in fares, we have also seen a distinct decline in service from the larger brands, in order to capture the new customer. Other CruiseLineFans note that mid-range and specialty cruise lines are listening to their customers and designing services and itineraries with their opinions in mind.

4. Carnival Dream: Not to be outdone by Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, Carnival Cruise Lines rolled out the Carnival Dream, a totally new class of ship for the cruise lines known as operators of "The Fun Ships". The 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream offers a host of innovations, including Ocean Plaza, an indoor/outdoor café and live music venue; a host of new accommodation categories, including two-bath, five-berth staterooms that appeal to families and cove balcony cabins located closer to the water line. CruiseLineFans covered the Carnival Dream's transatlantic journey and its naming ceremony, plays host to many upcoming Roll Calls for the ship and continually updates its members on the latest Carnival Dream developments and special offers.

5. Royal Caribbean's Loyalty Program: Cruise Communities, Forums and Message Board became the story within a story once Royal Caribbean discontinued portions of its Loyalty Program. Once a program faithfully followed by tens of thousands of CruiseLineFans, the Diamond Club members of the program were lavished with discounts, early boarding, concierge lounge access, Captain's Dinners, free or discounted alcohol along with many other exclusive deals. Royal Caribbean and its most loyal members ran into some murky waters when some were accused of posting favourable messages regarding Royal Caribbean, in exchange for perks.

About CruiseLineFans:
CruiseLineFans is the fastest growing, most friendly and informative cruise travel forum on the Web. CruiseLineFans plays host to forums dedicated to this discussion of popular cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian and many others. Images galleries, polls, roll calls, special cruise deals, cruise and ship reviews, as well as off topic discussion is also available. The forum boasts in excess of 21,000 members, over 37,000 threads, and 1.4 million posts.


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