Eastward ho!

Sailing and shopping, the perfect mix

EVERY New Year, cruise lines brace themselves for “wave season”—the first three months of the year, in which nearly a third of all holidays at sea are booked. They will do well to improve on their 2015 results. On December 18th Carnival, the world’s largest operator, with more than 40% of a global market worth nearly $40 billion a year, announced a record $2.1 billion in full-year earnings, 40% up on 2014, thanks to buoyant demand and cheap fuel oil. Along with Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), the trio now control around 80% of the industry.

Amid worries that demand for cruises may be peaking in some rich countries, the big three are now piling into the biggest potential market of all, China. Although Carnival based its first ship—the Costa Allegra—at a mainland Chinese port back in 2006, only in the past year have the big three got serious about moving capacity there from America and Europe.

In 2016 Carnival plans to increase the number of its ships in China from four to six. In October it announced the launch...



via Business Feeds

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