A survey commissioned by Canadian-based company Allianz Global Assistance has found an increasing number of cruise ships passengers, particularly those visiting the Caribbean, are opting to stay onboard the ship for virtually the entire cruise.
It found that while cruises are seen as one of the safest holidays, global security concerns could be having a trickle-down effect on the ports of call, with safety concerns being cited as the top reason for cruisers not disembarking.
“Caribbean ports used to be as quiet as the onboard library. Now, more than one-third of travellers say they would prefer to stay onboard the ship for most, if not all, of their cruise,” according to the online publication Travelweek, which published details of the study.
In addition, it said savvier and “a bit skittish” passengers were also bypassing cruise company-organized shore excursions which “have long been a lucrative revenue stream for cruise lines”, forcing the cruise liners to “up their game, particularly in the Caribbean”.
The survey also found that some passengers were not interested in the destination, while others feared not returning to the ship on time.
It also revealed that close to one out of ten passengers did not want “to see their inclusive food and drink deals on the ship go to waste”; just over eight per cent stayed on the ship because they had not pre-booked a shore excursion, seven per cent said they had already visited the destination, and five per cent did not want to be out of touch – citing the lack of Internet/mobile connectivity in port for their desire to stay on the ship.
The article also made reference to the Cruise Jamaica initiative, which has the goal of increasing that country’s cruise ship calls, and new developments at the country’s cruise ports, hotels and attractions.
“Right now, Jamaica gets about seven per cent of the Caribbean’s cruise arrivals, but it wants 10 per cent. Last year, Jamaica saw 518 port calls and 1.6 million cruise passengers. Jamaica is projecting to achieve two million cruise passengers by the end of 2017,” said Travelweek.
According to Philip Rose, the Jamaica Tourist Board’s director in Canada, “all cruisers will find what they are looking for in Jamaica”, from thrill seekers to culinary enthusiasts to culture junkies.
“With more tours and attractions than any other Caribbean island, Jamaica offers something for all visitors,” he said.
Travelweek noted that mega cruise destinations such as Jamaica and the Bahamas “will also have to start looking over their shoulder at Cuba, even though the competition is barely a blip in the early days of Cuba opening up to American visitors.”