A Little Perspective
There has been a LOT of talk about cruising in recent times. For an industry that was gaining popularity hand over fist with record numbers of people heading off on new adventures, it’s suddenly copping a lot of negativity. Unfortunately the media have, understandably, focused on a handful of ships and passengers where things went awry. But what about the other 28.5 million people who cruised happily in the last year without any problem? Or the hundreds of ships that got their passengers home safe and sound during a major, unprecedented global pandemic without any cases of Covid-19 on board?
There has also been some speculation recently that cruise ships are adept at milking your pennies at every turn – drinks, casinos, photography, excursions. Yes, on some large cruise ships there are multiple ways to rack up a big bill – however, spending all comes down to personal choice in the end and there is always the option to put a cap on your tab.
Not all cruise ships are”floating atms”, however. On all inclusive voyages, you won’t need to dip into your pocket at all. Drinks, excursions, gratuities … all included in an upfront price so you know exactly what you’re spending from the outset. Smaller ships don’t offer casinos or the glittering shopping arcades. It really depends on what experience you want. Some ships offer a fully inclusive rate where you won’t touch your wallet for the duration of your voyage, others will offer “semi inclusive” so that while drinks are included, if you want the top shelf, you’ll pay a nominal extra. Likewise with shore excursions, some will include all excursions, some include a designated excursion with options to pay extra for another excursion if you wish. It’s all about finding the cruise that suits you. An across-the-board generalisation that you’ll end up with a big bill at the end that blows your budget is actually untrue.
Cruise ships also contribute around $5.2 billion to the Australian economy each year, with 18,135 full time jobs supported by the cruise industry. In New Zealand, cruising accounted for $695 million in revenue, with around 12,800 jobs (some seasonal).
That’s a significant contribution to our respective economies that is now at risk, fuelled by media that unfortunately only focus on the negative and don’t always provide a balanced view.
Fortunately, we live in a part of the world that is known for our resilience and our adventurous spirit. We have clients booked for 2020 who are hoping their cruise won’t get cancelled as well as clients planning for 2021 and 2022. With talks coming up between Australia and New Zealand, borders between the two countries may open up sooner than we first thought so this is a great time to either see your own country or head across the ditch.
At Ultimate Cruising, we’ve been having lots of discussions with clients, suppliers and industry colleagues and we’re confident that, once restrictions lift, tourism and the cruise industry will continue to flourish despite this bump in the road. It may not look exactly as we anticipated going into 2020, but could there be a world without travel these days? Absolutely not.