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Le tourisme de croisière : territorialisation, construction des lieux et enjeux de développement

Cruise Tourism in the World: Constancy and Recomposition

Le tourisme de croisière dans le monde : permanences et recompositions
Olivier Dehoorne, Nathalie Petit-Charles et Sopheap Theng
Cet article est une traduction de :
Le tourisme de croisière dans le monde : permanences et recompositions [fr]

Résumés

Le tourisme de croisière est un secteur d’activité en pleine expansion (16 millions de passagers en 2011). De nos jours, la croisière reste encore une affaire essentiellement américaine, dominée par les clientèles nord-américaines, et dont le champ spatial privilégié est la mer des Caraïbes. Les circuits américains de la croisière s’étendent et se diversifient, du canal du Panama aux confins de l’Alaska. Parallèlement, la croisière conforte sa position sur les mers méditerranéenne et baltique et se déploie en Asie orientale, des rivages de la mer de Chine aux grands fleuves. Entre permanences et recompositions, l’industrie de la croisière doit relever plusieurs défis tels que les limites du gigantisme (plus de 6 000 passagers à bord), ses relations avec les territoires d’accueil (les ports d’escales), le renouvellement du produit « croisière ».

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Introduction

1Cruise market is not in crisis. Each year, it shows new and increasing results: more than 16 million international tourists have chosen to cruise in 2011 (Cruise Line International Association [CLIA]). Its annual growth rate has been 7.5% since 1980; it should be recalled that in the early 1970s, when the ‘cruise’ product was in its infancy, just over 100,000 people travelled on such cruise ships. Demand is now very strong in this sector of activity where the consolidation processes initiated since the early 2000s have led to the establishment of an oligopolistic market. Growth prospects explain the intensity of investment, which focuses on the three main groups that dominate this market: Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Star Cruises Group (Dickinson et al., 2008).

2While the origins of cruising date back to the transatlantic crossings between Europe and the American continent at the end of the 19th century, the definition of the ‘cruise’ product became clearer in the 1960s. The history of cruising is marked by these first cruise ships such as Normandy (1935) which linked New York to the European continent in four days and three hours - and ended its journey in the transport of American soldiers on European soil during the Second World War - or the famous Queen Mary (1936) which was transformed into a floating hotel in Long Beach, California (1967). In the aftermath of the war, transatlantic maritime passenger traffic logically ran out of steam as the power of air transport grew. It was in this very unfavourable situation that the liner France was put into service in 1962. The number of passengers fell from one million in 1956 to 132,000 in 1973. At the end of the 1960s, cruise lines began to define the contours of a specific tourist product: the liner was exclusively dedicated to the transport of tourists - more space for immigrants on board - and it proposed its own purchasing methods and specific time limits. The cruise industry recomposes its territorial space, defines its circuits and chooses its ports of call across the different seas of the world; the cruise ship is then conceived as the primary destination of the cruiser (Wood, 2004; Logossah, 2007; Dehoorne et al., 2009).

3Cruise tourism as we know it today is therefore relatively recent. Like all tourism practises, it is gradually becoming more democratic, following the example of Mr. Boyer’s pyramid model: the cruise ship of yesteryear reserved for the wealthy elites is now opening up to mass tourism (Boyer, 1996; Dowling, 2006; Dehoorne, 2009).

4This study proposes to measure the growth of cruise tourism worldwide, from its major emitting home in the United States to the latest innovations and recompositions of the offer at the very edge of the tourism world. The growth of the cruise industry is having an impact on host destinations (ports of call) and the expected spillover effects on their economies appear complex and variable.

Photo 1. Cruise passengers in Saint Lucia

Photo 1. Cruise passengers in Saint Lucia

Source: Dehoorne, O. (2008)

1. Cruise: an essential dimension of international tourism

1.1. The recent improvement in reception capacities

5Cruise lines are marketing 333,764 beds in 2011. Although their accommodation capacity represents only 6% of the world’s tourist hotel beds (OMT), they have an occupancy rate of around 103%. The occupancy rate is calculated on the basis of two passengers per cabin, but many of these cabins are occupied by families of three or four people, depending on commercial offers and family formulas; hence this final occupancy rate of over 100%.

6In this context, the cruise industry’s reception capacities are booming. In the early 1980s, the capacity remained below 50,000 beds; in the following decade, this increased from 100,000 beds (1992) to 150,000 beds in 1999. It is from the beginning of the 21st century that the cruise reception capacity is affirmed: more than 200,000 beds marketed in 2003, 250,000 in 2006 and more than 300,000 in 2010 (see Figure 1).

7In the space of a decade, from 2000 to 2011, 143 new cruise ships have sailed the seas and oceans, bringing the number to 211 units for 325,400 beds sold in 2011. In 2012 alone, 14 ships, for a total of around 18,000 beds, were put into service. Naturally, this favourable situation was accompanied by a race to gigantism, which resulted in an increase in ship capacity: companies commissioned mega ocean liners of 220,000 tonnes that marketed up to 6,600 beds (Grenier, 2008; Charlier, 2009). As a result, capacity increased from 2,500 passengers on board (such as the Grand Princess) to 3,360 passengers (Carnival Destinity) and stabilized at around 6,000 beds (Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas) (Dehoorne, 2009).

8Once the gigantism reached (with this cap of 6,000 beds) it was then possible to adapt the ‘cruise’ product to the benefit of new customer segments. The economies of scale achieved on such boats contribute to the democratization of cruises and the occasional development of mass cruises: 10,000, 12,000 people disembark on the same day, in the same time slots, during a stopover on a small Caribbean island (such as Key-West or at the town of Castries on the island of Saint Lucia). This massive phenomenon, concentrated within a short period of time, requires a reconsideration of the construction of reception areas and of the types of consumption that logically evolve in a uniform and standardized way.

Figure 1. The evolution of cruise lines’ accommodation capacities (1981–2014)

Figure 1. The evolution of cruise lines’ accommodation capacities (1981–2014)

1.2. The growing appeal of cruises

9The cruise industry carried 225 million cumulative cruise passengers (including 188 million North Americans) in the space of twenty-two years (1980–2012). In 2011 alone, there were 16.4 million cruise passengers (see Figure 2). As illustrated by the curve in the number of cruise passengers transported since 1990, this sector of activity has been booming since the end of the 20th century. During the decade 1990–2000, the total number of cruise passengers on board annually increased by 80% to 7,214,000 in 2000. In the following decade 2000–2010, its growth was 106%, with an annual result slightly below 15 million in 2010.

10This sector of activity is not affected by the economic recession: the 13 million cruise passengers in 2008 became 16.4 million in 2011. Political crises and tensions seem to be more conducive to cruise tourism, which in the current context offers a safe and reassuring environment. Thus, it should be noted that the turpitude that marked the beginning of this millennium, with the attack in New York (2001) and its multiple impacts and repercussions on tourist destinations, rather reinforced the reputation of the cruise industry, whose number of passengers transported increased by 19.5% during this pivotal period 2000–2002.

Figure 2. The affirmation of cruise tourism (1990–2012)

Figure 2. The affirmation of cruise tourism (1990–2012)

2. The spatial logics of cruising

11Cruises, for the most part, remain concentrated in a few privileged regions such as the Caribbean and Mediterranean basins, main receiving areas, and the United States, the emitting home that dominates the global activity (Grenier, 2008; Dehoorne et al., 2009; Fournier, 2011). Beyond this constancy on which the cruise industry relies, the potentialities of the new emitting markets are considerable and spatial recompositions are taking place on the peripheries of the world by renewing and diversifying the cruise offer.

2.1. The essential weight of North America

12The weight of North American customers (United States and Canada) is fundamental to the cruise industry. These customers represent 69% of passengers boarding in 2011. In a context of global growth in the cruise market, their relative share tended to decline from 91% in 2000 (for 7,214 million individuals) to 83.9% in 2006 (12.01 million individuals) and 72.8% in 2010 (with 14.82 million individuals). This relative decline should not be interpreted as a decline in activity in the North American market; on the contrary, it remains on the rise with a doubling of the total annual number of cruise passengers between 2000 and 2010. The weight of North American customers remains essential to the vitality of a cruise industry that spreads simultaneously in all countries home for tourists, from Europe to the shores of the China Sea.

13The dominance of the North American market can be explained by several factors. First of all, let us recall the age of the first cruises organized in the northern Caribbean (Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Cuba…) from New York, whose interest intensified during the Prohibition (the Volstead Act, 1919–1933) - the cruise then appearing as a space of freedom to consume alcohol in international waters. At the same time, the first regional circuits were also being structured in the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas.

14The cruise industry’s major positioning on the North American market began to take shape in the 1960s. Its privileged navigation area was the Caribbean Sea. At this time entrepreneurs decided to invest in this nascent market to build a real commercial product. The companies Norwegian Caribbean Lines, Princess Cruise and then Caribbean Royal Cruise Line were positioning themselves on Florida and the Caribbean region from which they were developing a tailor-made offer for North American customers. Modernized ships, with a unique class, offer cruises at reasonable prices where the relaxed atmosphere breaks with the stilted atmosphere of pre-war cruises. The full economic growth of the time and the growing access of these privileged generations to leisure and retirement (the famous baby boomers) made the cruise part of the North American tourist offer. All the infrastructure was within reach: air links connected the ports of departure to the cities where customers came from, imposing hotel infrastructure made it possible to group cruise passengers together the day before their departure in the major ports. It was then as easy to buy a cruise as to go away for a weekend. The cruise could offer the sun of the Caribbean in the heart of the northern winter.

15The foundations of the cruise were laid and the accessibility of the product was facilitated by its media coverage, for example with the television series ‘The Love Boat’ in 1970. This series was a remarkable promotional operation that showcased life on a cruise ship popularizing its uses and practices. Now, 6.4% of Americans who go on holiday choose to cruise.

Table 1. Cruise penetration rates by countries in 2010

Total passengers (rang)

Countries

Population 2010 (millions)

Cruise passengers (millions)

Penetration rate (%)

Penetration (Rank)

1

United States

309.30

10090

3.26 %

1

2

United Kingdom

2 62.04

1.560

2.51 %

2

3

Germany

81.80

1.220

1.49%

5

4

Italy

60.47

0.889

1.47

6

5

Canada

34.30

0.691

2.01%

4

6

Spain

46.15

0.645

1.40%

7

7

Australia

22.22

0.466

2.10%

3

8

France

65.82

0.387

0.59%

13

9

Austria

8.39

0.093

1.11%

11

10

Switzerland

7.78

0.091

1.17%

10

11

Netherland

16.65

0.076

0.46%

15

12

Norway

4.95

0.065

1.31%

8

13

Sweden

9.42

0.061

0.65%

12

14

Ireland

4.47

0.058

1.30%

9

15

Belgium

10.83

0.047

0.43%

16

16

Portugal

10.63

0.041

0.39%

17

17

Denmark

5.56

0.026

0.47%

14

18

Finland

5.38

0.016

0.30%

18

19

Luxembourg

0.50

0.003

0.06%

19

20

Rest of Europe

0.171

-

Total

North America/Europe/Australia

766.76

16.52

2.25%

Source: CLIA

16The total number of cruise passengers from other regions of the world, from Europe to Asia, has not exceeded 40 million people in the last 22 years. But the growth of European markets, mainly in Europe and East Asia, has recently contributed to the wide spread of cruises throughout the world. The cruise growth rates in the rest of the world is faster than that of the North American market (the latest annual growth is of 4.5% in the North American market compared with 10.4% for the rest of the world; see Table 1).

17In 2011, 6.2 million Europeans opted for cruises. They now represent 30% of all cruise passengers on board worldwide (compared to 23% in 2006). European cruise ports loaded 5.6 million passengers (not exclusively European). For its part, the booming Asian market has a total of 1.7 million cruise passengers on board, representing 10.4% of world activity and aiming to reach 7 million cruise passengers by 2020 (Asia Cruise Association).

18Overall, the current penetration rates of cruise ships in the various national markets highlight their potential and growth prospects, both in North America (where the penetration rates in the United States and Canada are only of 3.26% and of 2.01% respectively), Europe (with a rate of 1.49% in Germany) and the rest of the world.

2.2. The spread of cruises: from historical basins to the edges of the tourist world

19In 2011, cruise passengers booked a total of 107.5 million tourists' nights. The main destination is the Caribbean with 36.2 million overnight stays in 2011 (33.7% of total overnight stays). Adding the Bahamian sector (6.5 million overnight stays), the Caribbean space accounts for almost 40% of activity (see Figure 3). The strengthening of this global leadership over the past decade is logically explained by the immediate proximity of the North American tourists’ nest territory. Regional cruise activity extends through its Mesoamerican variations (2.5% of overnight stays are concentrated on trans-Panamanian offers), on the Pacific coast of Mexico (3.27% of overnight stays) and up to Alaska (6.18% of overnight stays).

20In the Caribbean region, cruise tourism is gradually tending to equal long stay tourism; as Logossah (2007: 19) noted, within ‘13 of the 34 Caribbean countries, cruise flow exceeds that of long-stay tourism in 2004’. Several destinations have specialized in cruise tourism such as the Mexican island of Cozumel, Saint Martin, the Bahamas, etc. In practice, this specialization is not very compatible with long stay tourism because of the one-off impacts caused by these influxes of cruise passengers on a few well-known points in the destination. These flows of thousands of visitors cause various nuisances for tourists (as for other resident populations). Host territories must therefore make strategic choices (Bresson et al., 2007): 1/ either for the exclusive benefit of cruises such as the Cayman Islands and Saint-Martin (playing for example the card of a duty-free trade), 2/ or by adopting a judicious sharing of the space where interference between cruise tourists and holiday tourists is limited (as in the island of Dominica) and, ultimate position, 3/it may be decided to limit the island’s accessibility to cruises in order to favour a more lucrative, quality stay tourism, following the example of Saint-Barthélemy’s political choice.

Figure 3. Cruise tourism in the world (in 2010)

Figure 3. Cruise tourism in the world (in 2010)

21While cruises remain above all an American business, with more than 55% of the total world overnight stays, their hegemony is inevitably diminishing in the face of the globalization of cruise territories. The second cruise space territory is Europe with its two seas, the Mediterranean (21.99 million overnight stays, or 20.44% of the world total) and the Baltic Sea. Scandinavian and European cruises on major rivers account for 8% of the world overnight stays.

22In the Pacific, the Hawaiian archipelago accounts for 2.19 million of the world’s cruise overnight stays and the South Pacific, from Australia and New Zealand to the Polynesian archipelagos, accounts for 2.9 million overnight stays. Finally, it is important to highlight the emergence of cruises in Asia, from the shores of the China Sea to the major rivers (the Yangtze, the Mekong and its tributaries to the Angkor site, etc.). The routes are structured in North-East Asia, from the Chinese ports of Shanghai and Tianjin to South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, and in South-East Asia, from the Hong Kong-Singapore axis with extensions to Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Burma. Reception facilities are still deficient, but 80 potential ports of call are under construction in the region (ACA).

2.3. Diversification of cruise territories

23The situation in Alaska illustrates the extension of cruise territories to areas that were still considered hostile in the past, and of little interest to tourism in general and cruises in particular. Now curiosity as well as the attractiveness of these less altered natural landscapes and these ultimate paradises destined to ‘disappear as a result of global warming’ …, constitute all arguments recovered on a commercial level to consolidate the interest of this new cruise destination.

24Cruising in Alaska means disembarking 4.8 million passengers in 2011 (or 22% of the total number of cruise passengers disembarked in US ports). The individual expenditures of these day-trippers average US$104 and the economic impact of the cruise industry is considerable for a territory like Alaska: it generates US$1.02 billion in direct spending (US$44.4 billion for the United States as a whole) and supports 22,493 full-time and temporary jobs in 2011 for a total of US$962 million in wages (CLIA, 2011).

25The diffusion of the cruise space territory is part of a renewed offer that favours more affluent customer segments, from high-end cruises to luxury cruises. Thus, the Paul Gauguin Cruises company deploys its offer in the South Pacific, between Tahiti and French Polynesia, on board low-capacity vessels (332 passengers for 217 crew members). The Hurtigruten company, with 120 years of experience in the Baltic Sea, is expanding its cruises in the North Sea to Greenland and Antarctica. Finally, the opening of the Shanghai cruise terminal in 2006 and Costa’s investment in Chinese markets in 2010 resulted in 300,000 people embarking on cruises in the China Sea - remember the considerable potential of the Chinese market, which provided 57 million international tourists in 2010.

26River cruises are the most promising segment at the moment, with annual growth of more than 10% over the past five years. The development of cruises on the world’s major rivers is supervised by a few major shipowners such as Avalon Waterway (with 45 itineraries from the Danube to the Mekong via the Nile), Uniworld Boutique River Cruises (more than 40 destinations from Russia to Southeast Asia) and the American Cruise Line (mainly on the Mississippi).

3. The challenges of cruising

27The cruise industry is expanding rapidly and its potential is considerable, both in terms of access to new customers and selective deployment around the world - in stable, secure territories. Nevertheless, some limitations must be highlighted, such as the ability to manage gigantism, relations with host territories and the innovation prospects of a product - certainly very profitable in the current system - but too standardized.

3.1. The limits of gigantism

28Economy of scale and mass production explain the gigantic undertaking in which cruise lines have embarked, with mega cruise ships capable of carrying 5,400, 6,000 cruise passengers and crew members ranging from 1,000 to 2,100 people, depending on the companies and the ships’ capacities. The largest ships, such as the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, have up to 8,400 people on board!

29This gigantic size is not without involving ports of call forced to undertake new works, from the construction of larger quays to the dredging of picturesque port sites, for the exclusive use of cruises. These ships also raise social and environmental concerns. It should be recalled that, not surprisingly, its vessels sail the seas and oceans under the flags of the Bahamas and Panama and, secondarily, they can be registered in Bermuda, Italy and Malta. We could approach the working conditions and rhythms of a silent, almost invisible workforce from all over the world who work and live on ‘factory boats’. But the emphasis should be placed on aspects of life on board these liners that are ignored - or unmentioned - where gigantism simply requires the setting up of a rigorous organization (during excursions or the services of the various meals) that goes against the spirit of ‘freedom’, of carelessness of a holidaymaker who is then attached to a group (for example on the basis of his nationality) and must follow the programme.

30In addition to these modest repeated constraints, there are the unavoidable unforeseen circumstances of living in society in confined spaces, high density: alcoholism, tension, sexual assault, theft. These high densities of individuals with recognized purchasing power also attracts malicious spirits during land-based stopovers, who see holidaymaker as easy, disoriented prey, lending themselves perfectly to various types of theft - hence the increased security of stopovers that leads cruise passengers to move from one closed space (maritime) to another (land) (Jaakson, 2004).

31From a health point of view, high densities of individuals, wandering from air conditioning places to outdoor swimming pools, in a boat containing large stocks of water - subject to temperature variations - live in an environment that has the characteristics of an ‘ideal incubator’. In this overcrowded, confined space, disinfection is not possible at sea. The Legionella virus benefits from a favourable environment, between swimming pools and multiple pipelines (Klein, 2010). Sick passengers can be quarantined, but contagions, including gastroenteritis epidemics, are quite common (Miller, 2000; Cramer, 2003).

32On the environmental level, gigantism also results in double impacts (Butt, 2007; Jones, 2007). For a ship with 3,000 passengers, this means 800,000 litres of black water (from toilets), 4 million litres of grey water (showers, sinks, laundries), 90,000 litres of bilge water (mixture of fluids - hydrocarbons, lubricants, degreasers … - from motor vehicles), 40 tonnes of non-hazardous solid waste (plastics, glass, food waste…) and 1 to 2 tonnes of hazardous solid waste (cf. Robin Hood Association website). Non-immersible waste may be incinerated on board. These environmental challenges are not insoluble, their management in a ‘green growth of cruises’ is possible, but there is a direct cost that must be taken into account by the companies … the integration of this parameter can only impact the cost of the product ‘mass cruises’ as it is conceived in the gigantic current situation.

3.2. The cruise destination and its relationship with ports of call

33As soon as the Carnival Cruise Line launched the concept of a ‘fun ship’ (in 1972), the idea was raised that the ship was placed at the centre of the ‘cruise’ product. The liners with their many attractions on board became ‘tourist destinations in themselves, relegating the territories they have replaced in the background’ (Logossah, 2007: 27). The ‘Destination’ liner is a floating tourist complex, with all the desired amenities (swimming pools, spa, beauty salons, entertainment halls, night clubs, casinos, shopping centres, jogging tracks, mini-golf…), secure, among one’s peers… Weaver (2006) analyses the ‘disneylandisation’ of the cruise, with the staging of these festive, normed atmospheres. The attractions and excursions offered on land during stopovers must be reconsidered in the light of the offer on board the liner. The interest of stopovers becomes very secondary, the time spent by the cruise passenger outside the ship is reduced … as well as the amount of his/her expenses ashore while consumption on board increases and diversifies. At the end of the cruise, the amount of the various consumption made by the cruise line corresponds at least to 30% of the price of the passenger’s entry ticket that must be paid when leaving the ship.

34The current logic of the cruise industry, which places the liner at the heart of the project, allows it to maximize its gains at the expense of land destinations (ports of call) that are treated as poor relatives (Wilkinson, 1999; Weaver, 2005; Chin, 2008). These financial realities are leading the authorities of host countries to reconsider their position with regard to cruises. The debate focuses on the extent of the specific adjustments to be made in the light of economic realities.

35Secondly, the argument that a cruise passenger who disembarks is potentially a tourist for the destination is more of a tourist propaganda. We must distinguish between situations. When we address a tourist accustomed to be standardized, mass consumption, who evolves in urban culture and shares his leisure time between shopping centres and major sporting and festive events, he will return to the destination that offers significant tourist conurbations (such as Cancun, Montego Bay, Punta Cana…), a mass tourism in tourist urban areas. On the other hand, many ports of call that are too isolated, insufficiently urbanized, too imbued with otherness, are not in line with its tourist profile. They are appreciated for a short stopover, from the balcony of a liner or a space reserved for the dockside, between exoticism and voyeurism - to approach poverty for the duration of a photograph, without being too close to it or for too long. For many destinations, cruise tourism is not synonymous with holiday tourism; consumption patterns, relationships to the place, time periods, satisfaction criteria are not compatible.

36The dilemma arises for host territories that must make public investments amounting to tens of millions of dollars and for which they can expect between $750,000 and $1 million in annual revenues. To host the cruise, the public authority must therefore invest at a loss, which is the condition for maintaining the activity of the port of call with a view to generating direct and indirect financial benefits for its entire economic fabric. These are the terms used in the negotiations between cruise lines (concerned to maximize their profits with quasi ‘captive’ customers) and host territories, competing with each other, confronted with their respective economic imperatives, with exclusive investments to be made. This is how the cruise industry defines the type of partnership that can be granted to ports of call tending to become only postcard landscapes, with their exotic, more or less singular, interchangeable touch (Dehoorne et al., 2009).

3.3. Towards the renewal of the cruise

37The cruise industry has experimented and developed mass production in the Caribbean with North American consumers (Hall et al., 1990; Wood, 2000; Weaver, 2005). The product ‘Caribbean cruise’ embodies this golden age of Fordism applied to the cruise industry. The product is standardized, the tool optimized, economies of scale are achieved through mega passenger ships that increase productivity. The market is stabilizing in the Caribbean and the prospects for growth in the penetration rate of the North American market are interesting. The product remains quite attractive to inexperienced customers, but it shows some signs of obsolescence among more sophisticated customers. The cruise industry, with its massive practices and consumption, is extending its influence over Europe and East Asia.

38Companies diversify their offers by targeting different customer segments, such as the Princess Cruises group, which has 16 ships from which it markets 115 different routes through a network of 350 destinations around the world. Its cruises last between 7 and 107 days, going as far as a round-the-world trip with the crossing of all oceans and a visit to the five continents (from the Caribbean to Senegal, via the Panama Canal, Patagonia and Hawaii…).

39Alongside mass tourism, cruise offers are being restructured, far from gigantism by focusing on specific customer segments such as Disney Cruise Line’s Dream (2,500 passengers, put into operation in 2011). Shipowners are targeting higher-end customer segments through renewed offers, from high-end to luxury, with suitable vessels such as the Oceania Cruises’ Marina (1,250 passengers, put into service 2011), the Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ River Victoria and the Avalon Waterways’ Panorama (operational in 2011, whose capacity does not exceed 200 beds).

40The cruise industry is becoming global, it organizes consumption on the basis of mass production and is engaged in a gradual differentiation of its offer, in particular by proposing superior quality standards. The diversification of the offer, the redefinition of the spatial fields of cruises with its specializations are not innovation. Rather, it is a question of redesigning and redesigning the same ‘cruise’ product. The variety displayed is more the result of a supply strategy that aims to win new market shares in a competitive context; the foundations of cruises are anchored in the foundation of mass production.

Photo 2. The Baoshan cruise terminal, Shanghai (under construction), at the confluence of the Huangpu and Yangtze rivers

Photo 2. The Baoshan cruise terminal, Shanghai (under construction), at the confluence of the Huangpu and Yangtze rivers

Source: Google Earth, 2011

Conclusion

41Far from an exclusive appearance of gigantism associated with massive practices, the cruise product is being recomposed and deployed selectively throughout the space by diversifying the targeted customer segments. This young industry is a booming sector. It is helping to define the new contours of our tourist okoumen in these times of political and economic instability. Safety, pleasure and controlled otherness remains the key words for the cruise success and beyond international tourism.

42The liner has become a real ‘floating resort village’ that travels across a postcard landscape where the proposed stopovers are secondary. Feedback from experience in the Caribbean highlights the economic and commercial logics of the cruise industry that escape the host territories (Klein, 2006; Petit-Charles, 2010, 2012) unable to negotiate economic conditions likely to support their development.

43Mass cruising contributes to the saturation of the place - with a multiplication of nuisances during peak periods -, to an environmental degradation in ecological terms, but also in quality of life which leads to a depreciation of the destination and, subsequently, to its impoverishment - devaluation of the offer, trivialization of products…

44The cruise line industry builds and guides the offer. It measures the flows of potential cruise passengers - its customers, consumers - according to the possibility of maximizing its profits, on the basis of which it selects the ‘qualities’ and degrees of attractiveness of the host territories - the cruise industry is not a charitable business at the service of territorial development.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Photo 1. Cruise passengers in Saint Lucia
Crédits Source: Dehoorne, O. (2008)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/31249/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 128k
Titre Figure 1. The evolution of cruise lines’ accommodation capacities (1981–2014)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/31249/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 38k
Titre Figure 2. The affirmation of cruise tourism (1990–2012)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/31249/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 36k
Titre Figure 3. Cruise tourism in the world (in 2010)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/31249/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 112k
Titre Photo 2. The Baoshan cruise terminal, Shanghai (under construction), at the confluence of the Huangpu and Yangtze rivers
Crédits Source: Google Earth, 2011
URL http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/docannexe/image/31249/img-5.png
Fichier image/png, 1,9M
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Référence électronique

Olivier Dehoorne, Nathalie Petit-Charles et Sopheap Theng, « Cruise Tourism in the World: Constancy and Recomposition »Études caribéennes [En ligne], 18 | Avril 2011, mis en ligne le 15 avril 2011, consulté le 19 mai 2024. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/etudescaribeennes/31249 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/etudescaribeennes.31249

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Auteurs

Olivier Dehoorne

Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, dehoorneo@gmail.com

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Nathalie Petit-Charles

Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, nathaly.pc@gmail.com

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Sopheap Theng

Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, sopheaptheng@gmail.com

Articles du même auteur

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Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC BY-NC 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

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