While the American cruise industry has had a head start, the European Cruise Council (ECC) claims that Europe recently has become the centre of gravity for the cruise industry of the world with a record of 4 million travellers. The United Kingdom has one of the largest sources of market for European cruises which has a share of 1.3 million passengers for the year 2007 (ETN, 2008). However, with the setting in of global recession, the UK cruise industry has also been hard hit with a fall in travellers overseas as compared to other countries in Europe. Companies which deal with cruise tours have been hard hit with no option but to continue with scheduled tours. Industrialists consider these situations grave, and are of the view that they should shut down supply by cancelling bookings. Others, owners of cruise lines such as Carnival, Seatrade, and MSC Cruises especially, are of the view that companies need to continue in order to survive the meltdown (holidayinsider.com, 2009).
In such hard times, it is critical that companies change their approaches to management and marketing. This is a tricky business when considering the structure and operation of cruise businesses. By and large the cruise ship industry has been one of the fastest growing industries with a brief history of growth stemming from during 1970s in the North America, even though its origin had been European. The style of service delivery, product, management and plans for tours are different from the usual customer service oriented industries. This is because the nature of the cruise industry is perishable; that is once the cruise is underway the value of the room booked ends. Cruise lines depend entirely on their passengers to generate revenue as well as operation. It is highly demand elastic which makes it one of the most volatile industries in the world. Companies,