There’s no stopping cruise: comment by guest editor Jo Rzymowska

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line UK and Ireland boss Jo RzymowskaIt seems like Christmas has come early in the cruise industry. There’s nothing like a new toy to make everyone excited and there are goose pimples and tingling toes aplenty.

New ships are arriving at a rapid pace and Travel Weekly’s Cruise Month has captured the best of the celebrations in April. We’ve seen Hollywood A-listers, professional muscle men to ensure champagne bottles smash, and record-breaking bookings in response to new ship showcases.

This is all fantastic news, but what happens next? New ships will continue for the rest of this year – in fact, there are 12 in 2008 and a further 13 in 2009. Keeping up is quite a challenge.

The faster the different types of cruise ship come on to the market for sale, the faster the industry is diversifying. Anyone who has previously never considered a cruise has become a prime target for holidaying at sea.

Travel Weekly Cruise Month - April 2008Passengers can learn circus skills, spend a night out at a bowling alley, have a go at surfing, enjoy spa treatments in the privacy of their own room, play croquet on real grass, meet kids’ TV favourites, watch films under the stars or dine in the restaurant of a celebrity chef.

All this and more is available on modern cruise ships and it’s all more than you would expect to be able to sell as part of a typical package deal.

What’s more, most of these activities don’t cost anything extra. Knowing how much consumers love a bargain, I know I’m not the only one excited about the opportunities here.

Look at the Central Park outdoor parkland feature in the next generation of cruise ships coming from Royal Caribbean International, Project Genesis, and you can see how revolutionary cruise ships are becoming. Come on, land resorts, at least give our industry something to worry about.

So I shall raise a glass of champagne to the great prospects for all of us in 2008 and beyond.

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