The growth of Cruise

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    The growth of the cruise industry has been remarkable over the last ten years. Their floating hotels vary in size and luxury, but the number of passengers continues to grow and the market changes with ships increasingly catering to families. It is expected that in 2012 over 20 million people will take cruise holidays. In 2011 UK grew its cruise tour visitor numbers by 2.6%.Part of the regeneration for many areas now is the addition of a cruise berth, and the Tourism Society recently published a case study showing the development of the cruise terminal in Liverpool as a part of the waterfront regeneration there (see the Liverpool Hilton, Hilton Indigo, Days Inn Liverpool and other pieces we have published on the regeneration of Liverpool as a destination). The case study formed a part of their focus on Cruise in the Summer issue of their journal ‘Tourism’. This terminal is now being approved by HMG as a strating point for curises not just a brief stop in a voyage, potentially generating more stays at liverpool’s hotels.

    Cruise has traditionally been characterised as ‘for the newly-wed the overfed or the nearly dead’ but the growth in the market across demographics is reflected in the addition of climbing walls, flow riders and the development of luxury spa facilities on the ships. The growing diversity of the audience for cruise is partly down to the real term decrease in the cost of cruising, the key to which is the increasing size of the vessels being used. The scale of the ships leads to a need to design berthing facilities that will cope with them and enable shore excursions to take the passengers from their often 2,000 plus cabins.

    Liverpool’s terminal is shared with the Isle of Man ferries, and the arrival of the liners attracts large audiences to the quayside as well as vendors and other attractions, bring crowds to the waterfront and helping regeneration as well as putting millions into the local Liverpool economy. It is estimated that passenger spend in 2012 will add £2.7 million into the Liverpool economy, up from 1.5 million in the first year of operation in 2008.

    Liverpool has a historic and continuing association with the sea. As a small boy in Liverpool I was the proud possessor of a funnel recognition book so I could identify which shipping line the steamers belonged too. The growth of containerisation took many of the smaller ships out of business and the air charter removed many a passenger liner. it is a delight to see large scale return of liners to the Mersey and other seaports. The growth potential is large and these floating hotels provide thriving business for many design practices, although regrettably our own ship building industry has been allowed to decline so that it is no longer capable of building one of these Leviathans.

    ©Patrick Goff
    Words & Pictures 2012

    Daniel Fountain / 22.05.2012

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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