Much has been made of the term BRIC, representing the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China, and cruising development has also been taking place in these markets, most particularly in Brazil.
It is a little-known fact that the Brazilian cruising market is the equal of the burgeoning Spanish market. In 2008-09, for example, 520,000 cruisers left from Brazilian ports, including 445,000 Brazilians. This compares to a Spanish market count of 497,000 in 2008. During the 2009-10 season, 18 ships will be operating in the Brazilian market, offering over 900,000 berths.
As well as Costa and MSC, Pullmantur, and Louis send ships to Brazil during the Mediterranean winter to join other ships cruising for Holland America, Oceania, Princess and Royal Caribbean and the more upmarket ships of Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas and Silversea Cruises. Royal Caribbean bases both Splendour of the Seas and Vision of the Seas at Santos during the Brazilian season, which now lasts from October to May, while other ships come and go on cruises to and from Argentina, Chile and Florida.
In Russia, one might have expected to have cruise ships sailing from ports such as St Petersburg, Odessa and Vladivostok, but while more Russians have gone cruising, there is still no real Russian cruising fleet other than on its rivers. This is slightly surprising in a way as at one time the Soviet Union could boast the largest cruise fleet in the world, although much of it was admittedly aimed at raising much-needed hard currency in the west.
In India, Louis Cruise Lines last week announced that it will base its 1,200-berth Aquamarine in India starting this December, after her 2009 Aegean season. Based in Cochin, she will operate 3-night cruises Cochin-Maldives-Cochin and Cochin-Colombo-Cochin and well as 1-night cruises to nowhere.
Indian Ocean Cruise Line left the market last year and its 250-berth Ocean Odyssey, which operated between Goa and Cochin, has since been scrapped.
Star Cruises had also been active in the Indian market and has operated Superstar Libra on short cruises from Mumbai to Goa in the past, while the newest addition is Aida, which will be turning some cruises at Cochin, as early as next month with AidaCara.
In China, the growth has started, but the market is still a long way from being as developed as Brazil, or even Australia. Carnival Group member Costa Cruises was the first to enter the Chinese market in 2006 with its 1,000-berth Costa Allegra, adding the 1,697-berth Costa Classica just this April. Next June, Costa Classica‘s sister ship Costa Romantica will replace Costa Allegra, thus more than trebling the number of berths Costa operate in the Chinese market in not much more than one year.
Cruises leave Shanghai for Japan and Korea and from January 2010 from Hong Kong for Taiwan. Costa conducted three trial cruises to Taiwanese ports this spring. Other than Costa, a number of western companies are also active in river cruising on the Yangtse River, but these are primarily aimed at incoming travellers.
News from Elsewhere
Meanwhile, the Alaska Cruise Association, representing Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and Silversea Cruises, finally announced on Thursday that it was going to sue the State of Alaska over the subject of the Alaska head tax, or at least $46 of this $50 levy, claiming it is unconstitutional.
No longer able to make money on the Alaska route, Holland America, NCL, Princess and Royal Caribbean will reduce capacity to Alaska in 2010 by a total of 140,000 berths.
Meanwhile Crystal Cruises will return to Alaska in 2011, with Crystal Symphony operating cruises from San Francisco, while Disney Cruise Line, on its first Alaska season, will introduce Disney Wonder from Vancouver. Both these lines tend to be higher priced than the usual mass market lines.
(Source: By Mark Tré – Cybercruises.com)