By: Johanna Jainchill
July 20, 2010
What a difference two years makes.
In September 2008, Celebrity Cruises pulled the Celebrity Millennium out of Australia, opting to move it to San Juan and repositioning the Celebrity Century from San Juan to Baltimore.
Shortly after, Celebrity’s sister line Royal Caribbean International canceled the Radiance of the Seas’ scheduled season in South America in 2009-2010 and said it would keep the ship in San Diego, on Mexican Riviera itineraries.
That decision came only days after Carnival Cruise Lines said that the Carnival Liberty would remain in Miami to operate year-round Caribbean cruises, forgoing its scheduled Mediterranean operations in summer 2009.
Now, a reverse trend is in motion.
Celebrity said yesterday it was canceling its Baltimore departures and returning to Australia and New Zealand next year, adding to what will be a blockbuster cruise season Down Under, with an expected growth of 20% in cruise ships.
Royal Caribbean pulled the Mariner from the Mexican Riviera in favor of a move to the Mediterranean beginning in January, and Carnival will return to Europe next year after a two-year hiatus with what will be its newest ship, the 3,690-passenger Carnival Magic, sailing the Mediterranean from Barcelona.
The trend could be of concern for U.S. homeports, but they are used to cruise ships coming in waves depending on the state of the U.S. economy and world affairs.
After the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and following the economic meltdown in 2008, cruise ships began moving to U.S. homeports so Americans could embark close to home.
With consumer confidence on the rise and overseas economies like Australia not having suffered as much as the U.S., cruise lines are once again setting their sights on exotic destinations and the higher fares they command.