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Publication Title | EXPLORING CRUISE PASSENGERS DEMOGRAPHICS, EXPERIENCE AND SATISFACTION WITH CRUISING THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN

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International Journal of Tourism & Hospitality Reviews Vol 1 (1), November 2014, ISBN 978-81-925781-0-1, pg 33-43

EXPLORING CRUISE PASSENGERS’ DEMOGRAPHICS, EXPERIENCE AND SATISFACTION WITH CRUISING THE WESTERN CARIBBEAN

David Mc.A Baker, PhD.

Associate Professor of Hospitality Management, Department of Business Administration Tennessee State University, Avon Williams Campus

College of Business, Suite J-405 330 10th Avenue North Nashville, TN 37203-3401 dmbaker@tnstate.edu

Abstract

Each year millions of people vacation aboard cruise ships, some carrying thousands of passengers and crew members. These ships are small, floating cities that offer many options for food and entertainment and calling at various ports in the Caribbean. This study aims to explore cruise passengers experience and their satisfaction. Exploratory factor analysis was performed and revealed that the "environment factor" had the most influence on cruise passengers’ experience. Subsequently, a multiple regression was conducted to identify variables that affect passengers’ satisfaction; clean unpolluted environments and sun-sea-sand continue to be the top variables affecting tourists’ satisfaction in the Caribbean. Based on these findings recommendations are made to the cruise companies and Caribbean governments in order to have more effective marketing campaigns and to retain and/or attract cruise passengers through the offering of positive means in the cruise experience.

Key words: Caribbean cruise, demographics, experience, satisfaction, cruise passengers

INTRODUCTION

The cruise industry is the fastest-growing category in the leisure travel market. Since 1980, the industry has experiencedanaverageannualpassengergrowthrateofapproximately7.2%perannum. Arecordofjustabout20 million passengers in the world cruised in 2011, with 11.6 million North American guests. Coupled with an annual occupancy percentage that exceeded 103% in 2011, this annual passenger growth for 2011 shows an industry where demand continues to surpass supply, even in trying economic environments. In 2011 alone, 12 new ships debuted from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member lines, with guest capacities ranging from 162 to 3,652 passengers sailing the world‟s waters for the first time. According to the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), the industry‟s growth is headlined by the Caribbean, which continues to rank as the dominant cruise destination, accounting for 39.8% of all itineraries in 2011, versus 41.3% in 2010, 37.02% in 2009, 37.25% in 2008, 41.02% in 2007 and 46.69% in 2006. Passenger numbers continue to remain consistent and high for the Caribbean, despite other rising cruise destinations. Carnival Cruise Lines is the largest cruise line in the world based on passengers carried (3.8 million in 2009), and is the flagship brand of Carnival Corporation & plc. A total of six new ships will be added this year 2013 with a gain in passenger capacity of 14,074 including the 3,600 passenger Royal Princess, the 4,010 passenger Norwegian Breakaway, 2,192-guest AIDAstella and 3,502 berth MSC Preziosa. Looking out further, 13 more new cruise ships will add 39,297 lower berths or 8.9% to passenger capacity by the end of 2015 and is expected to generate $3.2 billion more in annual revenue for the cruise industry. The worldwide cruise passenger market can be seen in Table 1.

Despite the increasing research interest on cruising, there is rather limited research on cruise visitors‟ experience in Caribbean ports of call. To address past research negligence, this study attempts to provide a better understanding about cruise passengers experience and satisfaction. There are about 32 islands in the Caribbean that are populated. Many of them have developed their infrastructure and service sectors. The main cities where the cruise ports are located offer a wide range of tourist attractions, shopping, entertainment, restaurants and bars. The Caribbean also builds its distinctive image and identity on its sun, sea, sand. The history of the region dates back to the middle of the 15th century and its known for its rich cultural history. The region has a wide diversity of resources that are suitable for tourism, each at varying degrees of development or attractiveness. Tourism products in the cities range from cultural heritage attractions, urban visitor resources and recreational and health resources. In terms of its architecture, the Caribbean has retained a number of historic buildings and areas that represents its past, duty-free shopping, dining and entertainment in the Caribbean are also emerging to become a price competitive shopping

www.giapjournals.org/ijthr.html Page 33

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