Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Sunset of 2009

A year ago we closed our eyes together, remembering our favorite sunset as the year faded away. Together we hoped that there would be brighter tomorrows as we were filled with concerns about the recession.

Close your eyes once again and picture the warm calming glow of the sun as it dips behind the palm trees. The artist completes the final brush strokes on the canvas of 2009 today as this difficult year draws to a close.

The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow ...

"The sun'll come out Tomorrow Bet your bottom dollar That tomorrow There'll be sun!" Pehaps these words from the popular musical "ANNIE" were the inspiration for the cruise lines to continue with shipbuilding projects despite the down economy.

2009 saw the introduction of several new cruise ships including Aida Cruises AIDALuna, AMAWaterways MS Amalyra and MS Amadolce, Carnival Cruises Carnival Dream, Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Equinox, Costa Cruises Costa Pacifica and Costa Luminosa, MSC Cruises MSC Splendida, Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas, Seabourn Cruises Seabourn Odyssey, Silversea Cruises Silver Spirit, and Viking River Cruises Vilking Legend.

The top attention getter among these ships was Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas (shown here arriving in its home port of Fort Lauderdale). At 220,000 gross tons, it is the largest ship afloat for any cruise line. Many of the other ships introduced were also the largest ship amongst their respective fleets. Silversea Cruises Silver Spirit is the smallest cruise ship introduced this year, weighing in at just 36,000 gross tons, (do the math - that's 1/6th the size of Oasis) but it is still the largest in the fleet. Is bigger better? Time will tell.

For more information about these new ships, see the Ships & Itineraries tab for the respective cruise line on my website.

Passengers are Sailing Again...

It looks like the cruise line's bets have paid off. Passengers are saling once again and 2009 saw a dramatic increase in first-time cruisers. The secret is out - cruising is a good value. As I've mentioned before, you don't want to wait to book your next cruise. Cruise line executives have told me that prices will be rising. When you see a good deal that interests you, lock it in with a deposit - you have until final payment to change your mind.

Making Memories ...

Cruise vacations make memories that will last a lifetime. Once again I was fortunate to create some new memories and share them with you. One of the highlights of this year's cruises was our Tulip Time Cruise on AMA Waterways Amalegro. Colorful tulips danced in the wind like ballet dancers on stage. What could be better than a Belgian Waffle topped with fresh strawberries and Belgian Chocolate? My mouth waters as I think about the good eats from our river cruise.

What Lies Ahead in 2010...

Several more cruise ships will be introduced in 2010 including Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas and Norwegian EPIC which will be the attention getters due to their size and innovations. I will continue to bring you the very latest cruise industry information drawing upon various resources such as seminars at sea, personal cruises, and other conferences with industry leaders. It appears that we may have seen the worst of the economic situation and recovery will begin. That could bring the reintroduction of fuel surcharges as prices increase. The sun will come out tomorrow - so get out in the sun and have some fun on a cruise ship.

Let us close the book on this historic year together. Tomorrow, when you awake, open the book on what I hope will be a brighter tomorrow. Happy, Healthy, Propserous New Year to all!!

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