Susan Bonner (L) and Jennifer Vanderkreeke discuss industry challenges and opportunities at Cruise360 2018.

The global cruise industry is in a transitional phase. Some markets are growing fast while others such as Australia – where growth has regressed from a long-term average of 18% to 5% last year, are slowing down.

And with 109 cruise liners currently on order across the industry, Susan Bonner, VP and Managing Director ANZ, Royal Caribbean Cruises, asked the obvious question at Cruise360 in Sydney last week – “Where are we going to put all these ships?”

Unfortunately there is no easy answer, especially in the key Australian port of Sydney, which is at capacity.

Bonner says the industry has to move faster to ensure there are no issues and that adequate infrastructure is built to accommodation all the new ships, the larger ones costing around $1 billion to build.

Jennifer Vandereeke, VP Australia for Carnival Cruise Line, believes local passenger growth may fall further if a resolution to the berth dearth isn’t found.

“Next time we put out the cruise stats I don’t even know if we’re going to get to 5% growth – there’s nowhere to put a ship,” Vandereeke said.

Bonner told delegates that RCL has 17 new ships scheduled for delivery over the next five years and that the company will need “about another 10 million people” to fill them.

Where will they come from? That’s another big question with no easy answer.

Interesting to note that CLIA is forecasting that global ocean cruise numbers will grow by 12 million over the next decade – up from 28 million in 2018 to 40 million by 2028.

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