More choices in food, activities, itineraries and luxury are some of the trends shaping the cruise industry for 2008. But the big unknown is what will happen with prices.
Cruise Lines International Association estimates that 12.6 million people cruised worldwide in 2007 on the 24 cruise lines CLIA represents. That’s a 4.6 percent increase over 2006. CLIA believes demand will hold, with a projected 12.8 million passengers for 2008 despite the weakening economy.
But consumers with flexible vacation plans may be in for some deals. “The more uncertainty there is in the marketplace, the more deals there will be later in the year,” said Heidi Allison Shane, spokeswoman for Cruise Compete.com. ”When the cruise lines go out with high prices and they don’t sell out, the bigger the discounts later on.” The softest markets, she predicted, will be in mega-ships sailing to the Caribbean and Bermuda.