Following great success in the cruise market in the domestic US market, Carnival Cruise Lines has decided to extend its global expansion into the two markets with most similar culture and languages – the UK and Australia.
Its latest ship, Carnival Breeze will be at port in Barcelona, but Carnival are expecting the majority of its passengers to be Brits taking advantage of low cost flights to the sun to start their cruise. Next year, the newly refitted Carnival Sunshine will take over from Breeze and Carnival Legend will be at port in Dover
In Australia, the 2680 passenger Carnival Spirit will be in port at Sydney from October, initially offering eight sailings, but rising to 41 by 2014.
The challenge is now on to persuade UK and Australian holiday makers to give cruising a try.
The president and C.E.O., Gerry Cahill says the key to growth in these markets has to be with those new to cruising:
“Our business model is to grow the market. A lot of the cruise industry has done a poor job in promoting new to cruise. Too many have relied on past passengers. There have only been two or three lines that are trying to attract first time cruisers.”
Once people see the facilities on board the new Fun Ships, I’m sure they won’t take much persuading. For those new to cruising, the on board Water Works aqua park with its 300 ft corkscrew waterslide will seem unbelievable. A crazy golf course, 3D Thrill Theater offering real-life films such as roller coasters and flight simulators and a basket ball court are just some of the entertainment. Comedy shows, musical theatre, and plenty of different eating areas just add to the enjoyment.
Breeze is one of the first ships to have its own stand alone sushi restaurant decorated with bonsai trees, and Erni Vales graffiti art. Other restaurant areas include a Mexican, with fried chicken and jerk bacon and carne y huevos, Fat Jimmys, an open air bbq area.
There are plenty of bars around the ship with favourites being the Red Frog Rum Bar and the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar on the edges of the pool deck. Blue Iguana also has a ‘cantina’ serving burritos, tacos and tortillas.
Despite insisting that they are staying in the English speaking markets to avoid diluting their product through diversity, Carnival has made concessions with tea and coffee making facilities on Breeze and a traditional Aussie BBQ on Spirit!