In 2019, the year before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, 30 million people worldwide traveled on cruise ships.
This value was determined by the CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association. In 2010, the number of passengers was 19,1 million, well below this mark. Cruise tourism was a steadily growing business model until the outbreak of the pandemic. Cruises are particularly popular with Americans and Asians. In the international ranking, Americans are way ahead. Asians and German vacationers follow in second and third place.
What is cruise tourism?
Boat trips initially served to transport people from one place to another. That changed when, in the 1840s, the English Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company began providing postal services and passenger transport to the Mediterranean. The German Hapag, the Hamburg-American Packetfahrt-Actien-Geschaft, is considered to be the inventor of luxury cruises. Under its general director Albert Ballin, the luxury ocean ship Augusta Victoria was used for trips to the Mediterranean during the winter months in 1891. A pleasure that only the top ten thousand could afford.
Authors who dealt theoretically with the topic of cruises describe this form of travel as multi-day package tours with ships on the open sea or on inland waters, during which several ports are called. The offerings of the cruise companies include hotel and restaurant services as well as wellness and entertainment programs.
Azamara Quest Restaurant
The size of the Cruise ships varies between "small and fine" and gigantic. The floating hotels navigate seas, large lakes and rivers. The first destinations of cruise tourism were sun destinations such as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. Other goals were added over the years. Cruises to the North and the Baltic Sea are particularly popular with German holidaymakers. And then there are Alaska, the Arctic and the Antarctic, destinations that are increasingly in demand.
Types of cruises
When we think of cruises, we see medium-sized and large ships with many decks and seemingly endless rows of balconies in our mind's eye. But this idea only partially corresponds to the realities. Cruise tourism is wide-ranging. In the following we explain the different forms of boat tourism.
AIDAnova - Terrace of a suite
River cruises are now carried out in many countries around the world. You don't need the wide sea to discover interesting destinations. River cruises lead through enchanting river and lake landscapes. The perspective changes constantly, and the ships stop where it is most beautiful. The advantage is that the capacities of the ships are limited. River cruise ships usually take between 100 and 200 passengers.
Traveling on the high seas
Germany's cruise market is shaped by two major companies: AIDA Cruises and TUI Cruises. Both companies represent different concepts and offer ships of different sizes. The ships are examples of tried and tested patterns in cruising. A distinction is made between special forms of offer, such as expedition cruises, mega cruise ships, trips with coastal ships or luxury cruises.
Expedition cruises convey nature and animal experiences in areas spared from mass tourism. These regions in Europe include, for example, the Azores and Iceland. More distant destinations for the expedition ships are the Amazon, Alaska or the arctic ice landscapes. Expedition cruises are carried out with small, lavishly equipped ships. The equipment includes zodiacs with which remote places are visited.
Expedition cruise ship World Voyager
This term refers to mega cruise lines. This class of ships includes ships like the Symphony of the Seas or the Norwegian Bliss. The first mega-ship, the Oasis of the Seas, entered service in 2009. Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class ships are a new breed of cruise line. The operator concept is based on maximizing capacity and equipment as well as the range of services. These mega-ships have an average of 5.600 passengers on board with double occupancy.
Symphony of the Seas in the Caribbean
Mega cruise ships become their own destinations. Although it fundamentally contradicts the idea of a cruise, many fellow passengers no longer leave their ship on state parliaments. Enjoy onboard entertainment, waterslides, spa specials and more. You will find enough employment and entertainment. Quite a few travelers use the undisturbed access to the Internet.
Cruises near the coast
Coastal ship cruises differ significantly from mega cruise lines. Small, comfortable and inviting coastal ships cruise off the Dalmatian or Turkish coast. Sun decks invite you to relax and watch the coastal landscapes go by. The atmosphere on board is familiar.
Luxury cruises are in the top price segment and offer a world of their own. The trips lead to attractive destinations on luxuriously equipped ships. Guests enjoy the luxury of spacious suites and butler service. High personnel capacities guarantee extraordinary experiences.