I recently had the privilege of attending the Seatrade 2017 Expo at Port Everglades in South Florida. The world’s premier convention for the cruise industry, Seatrade draws the major cruise lines’ CEOs, port of call representatives, and vendors who service the cruise industry in everything from deck flooring to uniforms.
By far the biggest and most exciting topic at Seatrade 2017 is the exploding growth of the cruise industry in Asia. Southeast Asia seeks to become one of the world’s primary cruise destinations, eclipsing both Europe and the Caribbean. For some perspective, Southeast Asia has more than 25,000 islands, compared with the Caribbean’s 7,000 or so and some 6,000 in Greece–only 227 of which are inhabited. Currently, some of the most popular ports in Asia are Langkawi, Phuket, Halong Bay, and Bali.
Ports in both China and India continue to grow as must-visit cruise ship destinations, spurred by the growing demand from Southeast Asia’s increasingly affluent middle class. Many commentators predict that China’s middle class will more than double to 400 million by the end of this decade. With more ships and more ports, those potential passengers will no longer need to fly to Miami or Barcelona to enjoy a cruise.
According to the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), Asia will become the second largest cruise region–with more than 3.8 million passengers. Singapore, for example, enjoyed a 16% increase in passengers from 2015-2016, and Seabourn, the luxury cruise line owned and operated by Carnival, is investing heavily in Asia, christening its largest and newest ship the, Seabourn Encore, this year. Royal Caribbean has likewise announced that it has increased its Southeast Asian capacity by over 30% in 2017.
One of the primary obstacles to the continued growth of the Asian cruise market is the lack of infrastructure in many of the ports, including some that are unable to accommodate the trend toward mega cruise ships–those with the capacities to bring in more than 6,000 passengers and crew.
For example, Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest ship, the Ovation of the Seas, can carry 4,905 guests, while Genting Hong Kong’s new Genting Dreams, launched last November, has a 3,400-passenger capacity. Princess Cruises’ newest ship, the Majestic Princess, has a capacity of 3,560 passengers.
The port improvements needed in Asia include dredging, berth extensions and upgrades to meet the cruise lines’ operational requirements, and proper cruise terminals to handle thousands of passengers at one time. Until then, Miami and Port Everglades will continue to be the major home ports, as they can service a combined dozen ships simultaneously and tens of thousands of passengers and crew on the same day.
Contacting an Experienced Cruise Ship Injury Lawyer
Our maritime accident and injury law firm in Miami is dedicated to holding cruise lines accountable for injuries sustained by passengers. If you or anyone you know has been hurt on a cruise, it is very important to consult with an experienced cruise ship accident attorney quickly. Most cruise lines require that claims be submitted in writing within 180 days of the incident and that suits be filed in the Federal Court in Miami, no matter where in the world the accident may have occurred, and regardless of where the claimant is from.
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