Recession could benefit the cruise industry

A recession could benefit the cruise industry as more people discover its “exceptional” value.

Royal Caribbean Cruises chairman and chief executive officer Richard Fain said the industry is doing better than expected given the state of the economy because in times of recession people look for value.

He said: “They look at the value of a cruise versus a land holiday, and the more they look, the better off we are.”

Fain admitted these are “troubling” times but said cruising will continue to “stand up well”, although he is unhappy at the spate of heavy discounting.

Norwegian Cruise Line is selling four-night cruises from Miami to the Bahamas next month for $99, excluding taxes and port dues, which is $25 a night.

He added: “Discounting will affect our business, but we have the ability to do more and offer more to our guests and that will serve us well in the long term.”

Celebrity Cruises president and chief executive Dan Hanrahan said he was pleased with the rates the cruiseline is getting for 2,850-passenger Celebrity Solstice, which left Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany at the weekend to start sea trials. “Bookings are very good to the third quarter of 2009 and that’s without anyone having set foot on the ship.”

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