The Cruise Lines International Association predicts that the number of cruise passengers this year will increase by less than 2%, to 21.7 million. The Caribbean remains the most popular destination, accounting for 37.3% of itineraries worldwide. The Caribbean, Northern Europe, Asia and Australasia will all see increased ship deployments this year.
Major global cruise lines are increasingly setting their sights on emerging Asian markets, as growth in market demand and improving infrastructure continue to position Asia as a potential top market in the cruise industry. "It would not be an exaggeration to say that the cruise market in Asia is at the top of our list of emerging markets. A major trend of the cruise industry in recent years has been the globalization of destinations and itineraries as cruise lines strive to open new geographic markets and to provide new experiences for first-time cruisers as well as loyal customers," said Christine Duffy, Cruise Lines International Association's president and CEO.
Tourists can choose to visit Ciudad del Este in Paraguay for a different view of the majestic Iguazú Falls, on the border of Brazil and Argentina. The city's less-touristy disposition may be seen as a blessing for people who desire a more personal experience.
Disney Cruise Line says plans for a major redesign of its first cruise ship, the 15-year-old Disney Magic, are in the works. The 1,754-passenger vessel is scheduled to undergo a five-week overhaul in Spain, starting Sept. 7. Upgrades will include an enhancement of the Disney's Oceaneer Club and Disney's Oceaneer Lab play areas, installation of the new family-oriented AquaLab water park and a complete redesign of all cabins.
A measure passed by Congress to end furloughs of air traffic controllers nationwide and the resulting delays in air travel has received praise from ASTA. The association also commended its members for their grass-roots campaign seeking a resolution to the furlough situation.