BOOM time cruise lines have promised to protect the environment and declare a ‘No Go’ policy to endangered zones.
When the damage risks become too threatening, the Antarctic and Arctic regions will be removed from the destination list.
This gently, gently and downscaled approach was revealed at today’s World Travel Market Wise up! Cruise Panel session at ExCeL London.
“We take the environment extremely seriously,” said Francis Riley, General Manager NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line) UK. “And long term this cruising is going to come under pressure.
“Anybody thinking of going should do so as soon as they can.
“On our ship on the Antarctic we have an environmental officer on board. In addition, the Marco Polo, which carries just over 800 passengers, is restricted to 500 to be taken into Antarctica.
“When we do go ashore there are people following our guests to make absolutely sure nothing is left on the islands or on the shore.”
He was backed by Iain Cottam, UK Managing Director Hurtigruten, during the debate, staged in association with the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA), PSARA and Seatrade.
“We appreciate the ecology concerns here and it is very close to our thinking about how we can responsibly supply products in these very delicate areas,” said Cottam.
“What seems to be happening is that the more media attention given the more rising demand.
“We can’t stop people wanting to travel but it is how we offer the products in these regions. We will act very carefully and abide within the guidelines set out by firm regulations. That is the responsible part to which cruising needs to pay more attention.”
William Gibbons, Director of PSA, revealed how massively the cruising sector is growing.
By 2010 the luxury market will have expanded enormously and the baby boomers generation is expected to add to the cruising population.
There are 38 brands from which clients can chose and this year 1.2million British passengers took to the seas. That is projected to hit 1.5million by 2008 and there will be 30 new vessels added to the diverse cruising fleet by 2009.
The range of facilities available goes from a boxing ring to an ice rink, from wall climbing to water parks and ten-pin bowling alley.
As Jo Rzymowska, Sales & Marketing Director, UK and Ireland, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines A/S said: “Just wait…you ain’t seen nothing yet!”
Other members of the panel were Giles Hawke, Head of Sales, Complete Cruise Solution, and Graham Sadler, Managing Director, Regent Seven Seas Cruises.