Crystal Cruises ‘Ticks All The Right Boxes’ For Multi-Generational Families

Crystal Cruises’ ultra-luxurious Five-Star Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will go all-inclusive in 2012.


Crystal Cruises is developing a reputation as the multi-generational family cruise line of choice for well-heeled travellers, a trend observed by Kevin Griffin, Managing Director of The Cruise People – the London based agent specializing in ultra-luxury brands – who has had some interesting large international family group bookings over the last 12-months. And, with the recent introduction of Crystal’s ‘Family Memories’ program, they are offering tremendous value too with benefits such as prepaid gratuities and ship board credits for groups of six or more and a free berth if a group of ten travel together.

“These multi-generational groups can be anywhere between six and 16 family members travelling together, spanning up to three generations from 20s to 60s, and travelling from as far as Israel and Singapore,” says Kevin Griffin. “The casinos onboard the Crystal ships are certainly a draw for the Oriental and Middle East families, as is the specialist cuisine such as kosher-style dining, which is very popular with our Jewish families.”

Crystal Cruises ‘ticks all the boxes’ for these extended families with their exceptional quality and choice of entertainment, spa and fitness facilities, activities and enrichment opportunities offered aboard their two luxury vessels. Crystal Symphony (51,044 ton) and Crystal Serenity (68,700 ton) carry 922 and 1070 passengers respectively, more passengers than Crystal Cruises’ competitor small-ship luxury lines, yet their size is a huge positive in terms of scope for onboard activities.

From elegant afternoon teas and traditional paddle tennis, to discovering a flair for languages at the innovative Creative Learning Institute, joining the exclusive Walk-On-Water WOW? programme or indulging in exotic spa therapies, Crystal Cruises offer their guests a huge range of choices to fill both days and nights. Hence the attraction for the large family groups, spreading across three generations in some cases and with ages ranging from 25 to 65 (and more), as there’s plenty onboard to keep the whole family happy.

Further features of the ships’ size are the guest-to-space and guest-to-staff ratio, among the highest in the industry. The service onboard is flawless and the choice of international cuisine is superb. Kosher-style dining is offered onboard both vessels, “traditional cuisine was a particular highlight for our Jewish family, whilst the sushi from world-class chef Nobu Matsuhisa is a great reason for our Oriental families to book this product,” says Kevin Griffin.

Crystal was the first luxury line to make a significant commitment to attracting families by upgrading children’s onboard facilities and activities. They cater for younger families with a fully supervised program for kids between the ages of 3 and 17, although The Cruise People’s family groups are mostly jet-setting adults.

To date, The Cruise People’s large adult family bookings have typically come from cultures where strong families are traditional. “However there’s no reason that this principal should not be applied to other international families,” says Kevin Griffin, “where clients who live in different countries could use a cruise to get together for family events and celebrations.”

Crystal Family Memories Program

For family or friends travelling together or celebrating an important occasion such as a silver wedding anniversary or big birthday, ‘Crystal Family Memories’ offer even more reason to celebrate. For every six guests who book and pay in full on any 2011 cruise, Crystal Cruises will provide pre-paid gratuities, shipboard credits of US$100 per person and more. And, if the group consists of ten full-fare guests, they will also receive one free berth!

For further details please call Gay Scruton at The Cruise People Ltd in London on 020 7723 2450 or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk


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Ultra-Luxury Cruising

This item appeared in The Cruise Examiner at cybercruises.com on 28.03.11. For further information please feel free to consult The Cruise People’s ultra-luxury page at http://www.cruisepeople.co.uk/luxury.htm or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk.

Barbara Muckerman, chief marketing officer of MSC Yacht Club, that line’s exclusive first-class section on board their newest ships, revealed some rather interesting statistics at Cruise Shipping Miami. First off, there are now 24.2 million millionaires in the world, or at 2.5% of the world’s population, more people than there are Australians. Of these millionaires, only 16% inherited their wealth and the rest worked for their assets. Nearly half of this lot are entrepreneurs. Of this number, 40% live in the US and 10% in Japan, and the top ten also include Germany, China, the UK, France, Canada, Switzerland, Italy and Australia.

While net assets held by high net worth individuals tumbled by 20% with the events of 2009 they regained 19% in 2010. Over that period, the heedless spender was transformed into the cautious consumer by the economic situation and has now become what Barbara Muckerman calls “the mindful consumer.”

The mindful consumer spends smartly and looks for quality and longevity, wanting authenticity and understated luxury – the word “bling” is heard less and less. At the same time the emphasis has gone from owning creations to experiencing things, with travel being the ultimate experience. The world of cruising now provides a large part of that quintessential luxury market, with ultra-luxury lines having increased their capacity in recent years.

A rather interesting statistic revealed by Muckerman was that, in terms of butler service, Silversea provide 948 suites, Regent 355, Oceania 331 and Crystal 174. Then there are 425 staterooms in NCL’s courtyard villas, 375 Costa Samsara suites, 226 butler suites on Cunard Line and 142 in MSC’s Yacht Club. Effectively, almost 40% of butler suites are now provided in larger ships. At this point her presentation turned into a sales talk for MSC Yacht Club, but Muckerman made enough points to demonstrate that whether the ultra-luxury lines had an exclusive hold on luxury was at least debatable, as private areas, multiple dining choices and special services can also be provided on large ships.

Rick Meadows, the incoming president of Seabourn, then presented some different statistics, showing that there were 4.7 million high net worth households in the United States, 1.9 million in Western Europe, 1.2 million each in Japan and China, 503,000 in the Middle East, 483,000 in the UK, 228,000 in Southeast Asia and 162,000 in Canada. Meadows’ total came to 11 million households compared to Muckerman’s 24 million individuals. Meadows also calculated that cruising had only penetrated 1.2% of that market, compared to say 3% in the United States as a whole.

Meadows further calculated that of $960 billion in luxury purchases, $620 billion was for things but $340 billion was for experiences, with travel and hotel accounting for $270 billion of that. He also pointed out that 11,000 baby boomers will now turn 65 every day for the next nineteen years, which is a way of saying that the market is there for the taking. Build the ships for affluent travellers and they will come seems to be what he is saying.

Sebastian Ahrens, managing director of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, made a different contribution to the debate. In the years beyond 2010 he described the cruise market as having become a mass market phenomenon, but with ultra-luxury forms of travel emerging and becoming a siginificant volume market in their own rite as the affluent baby boom progresses. Tied to this is the advent of an age of “non-ostentation” compared to earlier years, when luxury cruising had often been a means of showing off. Younger people entering the market think differently.

More today is about health, space, experience, authenticity, individuality and sustainability, as well as that most valued of commodities, time. Superficialty, ostentation, excess, noise and status are now giving way to authenticity, enlightenment, conscientiousness, discretion and symbolism. More intelligence will be sought and less sales and hype.

Ahrens outlined Hapag-Lloyd’s new Europa 2 product, to be introduced in 2013. Her cruises will not be as long as offered in the past by earlier Europa’s, but will be offered instead in 7-day segments that can also be taken as 14-day or 21-day vacations, with the ship triangulating on three ports, say Barcelona, Monte Carlo and Valletta in the western Med, or Venice, Athens and Istanbul in the eastern Med, with 7-day sectors offered between pairs of turnaround ports that repeat.

As to the ship itself, in addition to more verandah suites and premium and spa suites, the line will pay more attention to the children of the affluent. While parents will be able to make their own “private arrangements” around their cruise holidays, children will now be attracted by a new brand co-operation with Steiff, the world’s oldest maker of teddy bears, and a new bear, Captain Knopf, will be introduced to take advantage of this.

Not only that, but the bears will be backed by a program of children’s books to back them up. On board, child care will be provided for three different age groups, something quite different from what was offered in previous ships that carried the name Europa.

The Europa 2 will have seven plus one service restaurants, including a sushi bar, and free seating with open timing. Nor will any extra tariff be charged at any of the ship’s restaurants. This will be backed up by authentic culinary events. Entertainment will consist of a mix of production shows, solo artists and theatre and the music and talks on board, as well as the decoration (by Partner Ship Design) will be more contemporary in nature.
In addition, the new ship will concentrate on fitness and wellness and there will be a broad range of interactive services, television, video, music, news, internet and services for information and reservations, all provided in cooperation with Siemens Media4Cruise.

Finally, in the winter time the Europa 2 will not perform world cruises, but shorter voyages in warm waters, for instance the Far East. The present Europa however will continue her program of world cruises for the ultra-luxury market while the Columbus 2, presently sailing as the Insignia, will look after the premium market.

For further information consult The Cruise People’s ultra-luxury page at http://www.cruisepeople.co.uk/luxury.htm or e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk

P&O, Cunard & Princess To Slash UK Agents’ Commission Income

Courtesy of Mark Tré – “The Cruise Examiner” first published on 28.02.11

The UK travel agency community was shocked by the recent announcement by Complete Cruise Solution, Carnival UK’s trade marketing arm for P&O, Cunard and Princess, that it would be cutting UK commissions to 5% in 2012.

THIS WEEK’S STORY

Cunard, P&O and Princess Cut UK Commissions

Complete Cruise Solution, Carnival UK’s trade marketing arm for P&O, Cunard and Princess, has announced that it will drop travel agents commission to 5% in 2012, in an effort to stop rebating of commission by travel agents, a disease that is particularly pervasive in the UK. This is a drop from the standard 10% or the 12.5% to 15% that high volume producers now earn.

Although it is early to get a reaction, agents have so far been reacting mostly in a negative manner. Apparently 70% of agents who belong to Advantage Travel Centres, a consortium of independent agents, disagree with this move by Carnival UK, and John McEwen, Advantage chief executive has been quoted in Travel Trade Gazette as saying “I would have thought that bringing it down to 10%, not 5%, would be more reasonable.”

The industry-accepted norm for commission is 10%, although more recently, some lines have been paying 9% on telephone bookings and 10% on on-line bookings. The only area where 5% has been remotely acceptable to the trade, and then only grudgingly, has been in last-minute bookings, which Carnival UK now say account for 25% of their trade (itself an interesting measure).

The problem has been created by marketing funds and overrides, and possibly low net rates given to high volume agents and operators, against which smaller agents cannot compete. As often as not, these extra funds are used to give 10% off the cruise line price, which leaves any agent earning only 10% totally unable to compete.

But Carnival UK CEO David Dingle, in an interview with “Travel Weekly,”was  quoted variously as saying “some overrides will still be paid,” “some overrides may be paid, not on volume, but on booking behaviour” and also “marketing funds support will, in size and control, discourage rebating.”

But others retort that maintaining overrides will just perpetuate the unfairness that has existed in the UK market, where high volume producers can undercut small agents by chopping the cruise fare through rebating from their higher commission.

CCS does not seem to appreciate that many cruise agents actually manage to achieve net returns of between 9.8% and 12.5% and that not all agents rebate from commission. This seems to have been overlooked, so much so that the professionals who sell on service are being punished because of the non-professionals who sell purely on price and try to live on a meagre 4%.

In order to “level the playing field,” Carnival UK has also volunteered to remove its 5% on line booking reduction (what agent could compete with that when they are only paid 5% commission?) and to add credit card fees to on line bookings as well.

How completely different all this is to North America. Below is a summary of what the Cruise Examiner wrote almost three years ago (May 25, 2008).

At Issue: Who Should Set Cruise Fares?

In North America, the lines frown upon rebating as they consider it diminishes the value of the cruise product, but in the UK the practice has become widespread. Most of the public who know accept the fact that the travel agent’s usual remuneration is a commission of 10%, although they may earn more based on productivity.

Rebating has also become a bone of contention with some UK-based lines. In this regard, while North American-based lines can come down hard on agents who rebate, UK lines claim that different competition laws mean that they cannot set the price that an agent charges the public. And where in North America almost 50,000 travel agents compete for business, in the UK there are several large groupings that include not only the multiples but also consortia and call centres.

Many years ago now in North America, Carnival and Royal Caribbean introduced hard policies that made it difficult for agents to rebate. The “Los Angeles Times” summarised these developments on September 12, 2004, reporting that “two of the major cruise lines, Carnival and Royal Caribbean-Celebrity, last month acted to take at least some of the confusion out of their pricing. Both now restrict travel agents from advertising rebated pricing. Royal Caribbean/Celebrity took the action one step further. It not only doesn’t allow advertising of rebates, but it also forbids the practice of rebating altogether.”

The cruise lines contended that the market can look after cruise pricing and that if enough consumers did not buy then cruise prices will drop anyway without agents having to rebate. One particular agent, CruiseShipCenters of Vancouver, now part of Expedia, was made an example of when it was put on “stop sell” by Royal Caribbean for crossing the line.

Many UK agents complain that they are being priced out of the market by the preferential deals given to larger agents. Carnival UK commercial director at that time, Peter Shanks, contended that UK law prevented lines from dictating the price at which agents could sell their cruises, and added that those with volume would always get preferential terms.

Also at the time, Reg Holmes, director of The Travel Desk in Worthing, wrote to the UK’s “Travel Trade Gazette” saying that, “Complete Cruise Solution is obsessed by volumes, not margins, and frustrates us at every turn.” He mentioned two regular clients who sought competitive quotations, stating that “in each case they had been quoted about 8% less than the net we would have paid to P&O.” Holmes went on to add that when he called their marketing department, “they said that these big agencies get very high overrides, which they had chosen to use to subsidise selling prices, and that if I raised my sales I could earn these too.”

This situation differs completely from that in the United States, where the same Carnival has openly stated that one of the reasons for trying to stop rebates was to allow smaller agents to be able to compete with larger ones based on service. Indeed, Carnival (and Royal Caribbean) want all those who sell their product to have a “level playing field.” In the UK it seems that that level playing field means 5% commissions rather than the standard 10%.

We also said three years ago that “there may come a time when a standard scale of commissions will arrive in the UK, as well as elsewhere in Europe, as they have in North America. Such price stability would allow the public to investigate the right cruise and itinerary rather than worrying about whether they had received the best ‘deal.’ There are always exceptions such as group fares, senior citizens fares, on board credits and so on, but Royal Caribbean’s policy in North America is quite explicit. It states that ‘no agencies can advertise, market or sell below our published or contracted pricing programs.’ ”

While that time seems now to have come for a standard scale of commission in the UK no one expected it would be 5% and all of Carnival UK’s competitors continue to offer the normal range of 10% to 15%. This is not what happened in North America and one wonders where this will leave Carnival UK in the long run. Many agents say they will switch-sell and one even said last week that he had driven all his Carnival UK brochures to the recycling centre!

– end –

From the above, clients of The Cruise People will understand that we will not be in a position to grant a 5% loyalty reduction to repeat clients of Cunard Line. Unfortunately, Cunard Line has been affected by policies brought about to prevent the rampant rebating that has prevailed in the P&O mass market in the UK. Although Cunard is a far superior brand it is now marketed by the same people that are responsible for P&O and Princess.

It is worth noting however that none of the other cruise lines have shown any evidence at all of following suit.

The Cruise People’s cruise page is at http://www.cruisepeople.co.uk/cruises.htm or you can e-mail cruise@cruisepeople.co.uk. Please note that we have removed P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises from  our web site – although we do retain Cunard Line for old time’s sake.

Cruise Ship Flags of Registry

The merchant ensign of the Bahamas

 

At one time, passenger ships were registered in their country of operation, but those days are long gone. As far back as 1922, William Harriman registered the ex-German Reliance and Resolute under the flag of Panama and, among other things, operated world cruises with them. The chief reason for doing this was to avoid Prohibition as these two ships were at the time American-owned.

In 1948, Edward Stettinius, former Secretary of State under President Franklin D Roosevelt, founded the Liberian registry. Later followed others such as the Bahamian and Bermudian registers and more recently, Malta and Portugal. Meanwhile, a number of countries, particularly Italy and the Netherlands, have seen cruise ships return to their native registries. To-day, for something a little different, we have a look at cruise ship flags if registry.

The Bahamian Flag: Almost a Cruise Ship Registry of Default

By far the most popular flag for cruise ships to-day, and one that has gained from both Liberia and Panama in recent years, is that of the Bahamas, formed just over thirty years ago and now numbering 59 major cruise ships under its flag.

The large carriers are present, but most notably Royal Caribbean International, whose 22 ships are all now under Bahamian flag, a flag that so closely resembles that of Denmark that it is a wonder that that country did not sue the Bahamians when it was first introduced.

Following Royal Caribbean International, which operates about a third of the Bahamian-registered cruise ship fleet, comes Norwegian Cruise Line, with ten Bahamian-flag ships. The one exception is the US-flag Pride of America. Also registered in the Bahamas are six ships from Carnival Cruise Lines and five from Seabourn, numbering 11 ships from Carnival Corp & PLC brands.

Apart from these major participants, who account for over 80% of the Bahamian-registered cruise fleet, there are Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, with four ships, Regent Seven Seas with three, and a number of other one-or-two-ship companies.Cruise Ship Flags of Registry

The Panamanian Flag: The Traditional Flag of Convenience

There was a time when many cruise ships flew the Panamanian flag at the stern but today the Bahamian flag has taken first place. This now leaves two major Panamanian-flag cruise ship operators, Carnival Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises.

Carnival Cruise Lines started under Panamanian flag, with its Mardi Gras in 1972, and has remained largely loyal. While it did go into a mix of Panamanian and Liberian-flag ships, in more recent years the Bahamian flag has displaced that of Liberia. Even to-day, Carnival’s most modern ships, 17 of them, fly the Panamanian flag, while half a dozen of its older ships use the Bahamian.

The other Panamian-flag operator is MSC Cruises of Naples, a line that at one time did contemplate the Italian flag, but has not made the move so far, MSC is of course part of the Mediterranean Shipping Company of Geneva, one of the world’s largest container lines, which keeps the majority of its fleet registered in Panama.

The Bermudian Flag: Weddings At Sea

Bermuda has offered an offshore registry for British-owned ships since 1974 and its flag is the British red ensign. For many years, this ensign carried the Bermuda coat of arms in the fly, as does the Bermudian flag, but now the merchant flag that is used is the “undefaced UK Red Ensign.” This meant that when P&O transferred its ships’ registries from London to Hamilton, Bermuda, it did not even have to buy new flags for its ships!

The Bermudian cruise ship fleet almost all comes from this one source, what was once P&O Princess Cruises but is now part of Carnival Corp & PLC. The Bermudian-flag fleet thus numbers 15 ships from Princess Cruises and seven from P&O, forming a flag where Carnival Corp & PLC now has more presence than that of Panama.

Whilst a good part of this fleet was once registered in London, one of the interesting marketing gimmicks that the Bermudian flag allows is that P&O and Princess can now, unlike under the British flag, allow masters to perform marriages on board. While the Bermudian flag is British, its registry has different legislation. This is, of course, a new source of onboard revenue for P&O.

In addition, UK-based Voyages of Discovery keeps its Discovery, a former Princess Cruises vessel, flagged in Bermuda.

The Italian Flag: A European Flag

It is now some time since Costa Cruises returned to the Italian flag from the Panamanian, but with 14 ships registered there it is a significant influence. In fact, when one adds the eight ships operated by German subsidiary brand Aida Cruises, we have a total of 22 ships, an equally important fleet to that operated by sister brands P&O and Princess under Bermudian flag, and yet a third sphere of influence for Carnival Corp & PLC.

It is somewhat ironic that Costa Cruises now controls Aida Cruises as it brings the most important German cruise brand under Italian flag. It has not been German at any rate since the first Aida, as when P&O took an interest in Aida Cruises the ships went to British flag for a while. What is even more ironic, however, is that in order to travel on one of these Italian-flag Aida ships one must be able to speak German!

The end result of this is that the German flag retains only one important cruise ship, Peter Deilmann’s Deutschland, with the balance of the German fleet being registered in the Bahamas (Hapag-Lloyd) or Malta (TUI Cruises).

While MSC Cruises, whose ships remain registered in Panama, is still missing, there is one rather interesting addition to the Italian cruise fleet, in that Plantours & Partners, now owned by Venice-based Ligabue, transferred its Vistamar from Spanish to Italian registry some time back.

The Maltese Flag: Four Royal Caribbean Brands plus Louis

The Maltese flag, a fairly recent one for cruise ships, has been taken up in a big way by Royal Caribbean Cruises. Although its main brand, Royal Caribbean International, uses the Bahamian flag, four of its other brands, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, Pullmantur and TUI Cruises, are now the mainstay of the Maltese registry. Pullmantur only in recent times moved its seven-ship fleet from the Bahamas to Malta, lifting the number of Maltese-flag cruise ships to 19 in the process.

These brands are followed by Louis Cruises, who intend to add more ships to the Maltese flag in the very near future when they are transferred away from the now-very-expensive Greek flag.
P&O Cruises Australia also keep Pacific Sun registered in Malta.

The Netherlands Flag: Holland America Line

For many years, Holland America Line left the flag of its home country the Netherlands for Panama and the Bahamas, but to-day its whole fleet of 15 ships has been returned to its land of origin and registered in Holland. While there was talk at one time before they went out of business of Royal Olympic transferring its ships to Dutch flag, the basis of the Dutch cruise fleet remains Holland America Line, yet a fourth Carnival sphere of influence. Not only that, but its Eurodam was named by Queen Beatrix in 2008 and Nieuw Amsterdam was named by Princess Maxima last year (With Queen Elizabeth II having christened the new Queen Elizabeth last year, Micky Arison seems to meet a lot of Queens these days) .

Lesser Cruise Ship Flags: Portugal, the UK, the Marshall Islands, Japan and the US

One flag that has come almost out of nowhere in recent years is that of Portugal, through its offshore registry in Madeira. In addition to the five-ship fleet of Lisbon-based Classic International Cruises, as of last year it also counts among its number the four-ship fleet of Iberocruceros, yet another brand of Carnival Corp & PLC, which now gives Portugal a fleet of nine cruise ships.

A net loser over recent years, however, is the UK, which until recent times numbered the whole of the P&O fleet plus most of its sister Princess Cruises ships, under its flag, Now, however, it is left with the three Cunard Queens and one small Princess, Hebridean Princess, that the Queen has in fact chartered twice, plus three other cruise ships.

Ironically, the three other UK-flag ships are the three ex-Sitmar ships that now form part of P&O Cruises Australia. So now we have P&O’s UK-flag ships sailing from Australia while the UK is served by its Bermudian-flag ships! The fourth P&O Cruises Australia ship is flagged in Malta. The three Cunard ships and three P&O Australia ships nevertheless form another sphere of influence for Carnival Corp & PLC once again!

The Marshall Islands is new to cruise ships, but the four ships of Oceania Cruises now call those Pacific islands home. Elsewhere, Japan also counts four cruise ships from its Mitsui OSK, NYK and Venus brands the United States continues to see Pride of America, the remaining rump of what was once a three-ship fleet, under its flag.

The Traditional Old Flags: Norway and Greece

It is somewhat surprising that the Norwegian flag has totally disappeared from cruise ships, where even a few years ago Fred Olsen Cruise Lines still used it. Even with an open registry that allows offshore Norwegian shipowners to avoid heavy Norwegian taxes, the Norwegian flag has been relegated to coastal status with the Hurtigruten fleet, which is not counted here.
Names such as Norwegian America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Flagship Cruises and Royal Viking Line have all disappeared, being bought out over the years by British, Malaysian and American investors. Important Norwegian ownership does remain, however, as in addition to Fred Olsen, Anders Wilhelmsen, along with the Pritzker and Ofer families, remains a major shareholder in Royal Caribbean Cruises.

It appears that the Greek flag too is about to disappear from cruise ships, with the only major operator still flying it, Louis Hellenic Cruises, applying to leave the flag because of huge pension costs now being demanded by local seamen’s unions and potenitally an austerity-driven Greek government. None of the old Greek names is left, among them Chandris, Efthymiades, Epirotiki, Goulandris, Kavounides, Nomikos and Typaldos, all now long gone from the scene.

Two and a half years ago, on September 6, 2008, The Cruise Examiner wrote in “A Return to Greek-flag Cruise Ships” about Louis Cruises placing eight of its ships under Greek flag. Then, on August 30, 2010, we wrote a news item headed “Greece Gives up Cruising Monopoly From its Ports.” Now, only a few months later, we find that Louis is contemplating giving up the Greek flag in protest against these demands for onerous pension fund contributions and has applied to have the Louis Cristal and Louis Calypso moved to Malta, where a number of its other ships such as Louis Majesty is already registered. Louis Emerald may also follow.

The savings from switching from Greek to Maltese flag is reported to be in the order of Euros 300,000 per ship per month and the move has more or less been brought about because vessels flying other European flags will now be able to compete with the Greek flag, thus offering Louis Cruises no protection. Louis, meanwhile, would still employ Greek masters, senior officers and senior engineers even under the Maltese flag.

If this happens it will be a sad day for Greece and the first time in many years that no important cruise ship will have flown the Greek flag, long so emblematic of professional seafarers.

Liberian Flag is Dead for Cruise Ships

For many years, the flag of Liberia, one that somewhat resembles that of the United States, was popular with American owners. Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity all used to operate some of their fleet under Liberian flag but since the dictatorship of Charles Taylor, who was removed from power in 2003 and has just been tried for war crimes, all cruise ships left the Liberian flag.

Along with Panama, Liberia used to be the other chief flag of convenience but we have now seen new ones arrive such as Malta and the Marshall Islands. Indeed, the Marshall Islands programme was originally administered by the same people that operated the Liberian register.
Meanwhile, Taylor’s trial was recently completed and a verdict is now awaited. Most people forget that it was President George W Bush who was responsible for removing this dictator. Although Liberia is now led by Africa’s first elected woman president and it retains a high number of cargo ships under its flag, it is very unlikely to be seen flying over cruise ships again, at least in the near future.

All in all, with cruise ships flags of registry seem to be a very fluid subject, but it is interesting that individual fleet policies are much more homogeneous now than they were a few years ago, when different parts of each fleet were registered under various different flags. Carnival Cruise Lines seems to be the only brand that still operates a two-registry policy.

Welcome to The Cruise People’s new blog

The Cruise People of London are pleased to welcome you to our newly-created blog. We hope you find our comments and information to be of interest.