Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. – the world’s largest global cruise line – announced a significant increase in bookings from the Middle East for its three global brands – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. From January through July 2010 the guest volume from the Middle East has increased 63 percent compared to the same period last year.
The average duration of cruises taken by regional guests is 9 nights, and the most popular destinations are the Mediterranean and Caribbean, with recent interest in cruises throughout the Middle East.
Lakshmi Durai, Executive Director – Royal Caribbean, Celebrity & Azamara Club Cruises Middle East said: “We’re absolutely thrilled with the tremendous growth of the cruise market in the Middle East and there is still a huge potential.
“With the support of our travel agent partners, targeted marketing and PR initiatives for the introduction of our first ship Brilliance of the Seas to the region in January, we‘ve put a spotlight on the joy of cruising. All Middle East markets performed well, with UAE and Lebanon doubling their guest bookings and new ships like Oasis of the Seas – the biggest cruise ship of the world – and Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice Class, proving to be very popular.”
Celebrity Cruises offers premium cruising and is investing $3.7-billion in building five stylish Solstice Class ships between 2008-2012 which represents the largest five-year investment in premium cruising.
All this reflects the increasing global interest in cruising, with the introduction of new, larger ships and a greater diversity of destinations and on-board activities. According to Cruise Market Watch, the cruising industry carried 17.3 million passengers worldwide in 2009, a figure expected to be surpassed this year.
Buoyed by the addition of the world’s largest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruises has raised its full-year profit forecast. For the year’s second quarter, the company reported an increase of net income to $60.5 million. Full Year 2010 Net Yields are expected to improve approximately 4% – 5% on a Constant Currency basis.