More travelers exploring the
convenience of short cruises
Convenience and speed have long
been the watchwords of American lifestyle. Time is a precious,
non-renewable commodity and businesses that offer consumers a
product that can enhance their enjoyment of life with a minimum
investment of time are sure to find a ready audience.
The cruise industry has been
enjoying enviable growth as cruise lines tailor their vacation
offerings to give the American public what they want. Particularly
popular lately are "short" cruises, excursions of five
days or fewer.
Cruise Lines International
Association, the industry's professional group, anticipates nearly 6
million Americans and Canadians will take a cruise in 1999, an
increase of 8 percent over last year and nearly double the number of
a decade ago. Of these travelers, close to 2 million are expected to
book a short cruise.
"Short cruises are
exceptionally popular because they fit into the most hectic
schedules and offer real stress reduction with a variety of
activities that allow cruisers to relax and recharge in a limited
amount of time," said James G. Godsman, president of CLIA.
CLIA also reports that more cruises
tour the Caribbean/Bahamas area than any place in the world, and the
proximity of these islands to Florida allows Floridians to squeeze
more cruises into hectic schedules than residents of any other state
in the union.
The choice of a short cruise over a
week-long excursion is not strictly a matter of scheduling, however.
Travel agent Theresa Sweat of Bayside Travel in Ponte Vedra Beach
said that for a lot of her clients, short cruises complement not
only their calendars, but their desires, as well.
"Seven days is a long time on
a boat," Sweat said. "A lot of people don't want to spend
a whole week on a boat. A three- or four-day cruise lets you take
advantage of a long weekend. You don't have to take a whole week off
work. You can take off a Friday, a Monday, and basically have a
To continue its pattern of growth,
the cruise industry hopes to attract new cruise passengers as well
as repeat customers. Short cruises are a valuable tool, said Linda
Coffman. Coffman maintains a Web site for About.com, that
provides information, links, and forums for those interested in
taking a cruise.
"They (short cruises) have
always been popular with first time passengers--those who want to
get their feet wet and determine if they can go to sea without
getting sick," Coffman said. "And with their lower fares,
short cruises are less likely to bust the family vacation
While prices vary widely depending
on the luxury and location of the ship and the particular cabin,
average accommodations on a cruise begin at about $100 per night.
Consequently, a short cruise can cost roughly half the cost of a
Rita Mace Walston is a
correspondent with The Business Journal.
1999 American City Business Journals Inc.
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