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Jamberoo Fan

Theme Parks vs Cruise Ships

11 posts in this topic

@CruiseSF we need your input here. I'd say from an interstate perspective, yes.  Having just looked up P&O prices, i can cruise from Sydney to Vanuatu and back again for 2K with $600 on board credit per room. You get 5 islands over 11 days with all your meals included and you can tell the kids to sod off for some quiet time on sea days. Plus you get a shitty amusement park/water park at sea.

Meanwhile, using my October trip for reference. 3 people drove up, got a 7/10 hotel and stayed from the Thursday and left Tuesday, so 5 or so days. our hotel was about 1K, we payed for all our meals, driving up was cheaper than flying but we also had to pay for entertainment. So all up, we probably spent around the same. I even did Cairns with school 7 years ago and with the group discounts for 5 days it cost $1200 plus spending.

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The popularity of cruising has been increasing for a long time. Pretty much since P&O Australia started operations cruising has be gaining popularity. As the cruise lines discover we are a bigger market then everyone assumed they have started sending big more feature pack ships down here, and with that the rate of increase is increasing. Just a few years ago all we had was cruise ships with only limited features but now we have ships with surf simulators, rock climbing, dodgem cars, ice skating and an ifly.  So more people are realising that ships are more of a destination now rather then just a method of travel. 

14 years ago this was the newest ship we got here 

Pacific-Star-Cruise-Ship-1.jpg

 

Whereas now we have some of the newest ships in the world.

ovation.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 

In 14 years the Australian cruise industry has advanced 34 years with the newest ship in 2004 being built in 1984 and now we are regularly getting recently built ships sailing from our shores. This is very much a reason for the huge increase in numbers. 

 

In regards to the parks. Cruise ships may have some effect, but it's no where near the biggest. The travel habits of Australians are changing, with more Australians traveling overseas to holiday rather then staying in the country. This in turn reduced some of the more tradition Australian holiday spots. In general a lot of other travel options are become cheaper and therefore giving people more options. So people who usually travel to the parks once a year are starting to travel elsewhere. 

I was reading an article the other day from back in 2015, which was basically an analysis of Australian travel habits, and it identified both economic and cultural changes. With flights being a lot cheaper then a decade ago and families finding different ways to get work leave being the main factors. 

 

 

There might be a few mistakes in there, it was put together while being distracted and needing to rush a bit. 

Edited by CruiseSF
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On 3/15/2018 at 5:29 PM, Glubbo said:

Are they comparable? Not entirely sure.

Can you link to the source of this, please?

I can't link the source as it was a word of mouth conversation.

Whilst they are completely different services, in that one is about rides while the other is about sea travel, cruise ships are like a floating amusement park/hotel/shopping & dining precinct while theme parks are the same - the main differences of theme parks to cruise ships (apart from theming & not floating) is that you have travel daily to and from them & there is no on-site hotel. These differences don't apply to Sea World though as it has it's own resort.

Cruise ships can also provide something new everytime - you can visit a different location each time. Up until September last year, in the past 5 years, theme parks in Australia haven't provided much new that is attention-grabbing regularly and when put altogether after a few years, makes a notable difference to a person's previous visit. For non-locals, DC Rivals HyperCoaster is the only new attraction in recent Australian history that justifies a new visit just for 1 attraction. Wet 'n' Wild Gold Coast is also losing it's uniqueness due to so many waterslides appearing nationally at places like water parks, local aquatic centres & even cruise ships.

@jjuttp's earlier comparison shows that, for an interstate consumer, they are economically very even already and @CruiseSF's quote below pretty much sums up why I thought cruise ships could be a competitor for theme parks in Australia:

22 hours ago, CruiseSF said:

Just a few years ago all we had was cruise ships with only limited features but now we have ships with surf simulators, rock climbing, dodgem cars, ice skating and an ifly.  So more people are realising that ships are more of a destination now rather then just a method of travel. 

The question that should be asked is are Australians increasingly replacing theme parks (particularly the Gold Coast theme parks) for cruise ship packages mainly because they offer roughly the same services for less cost & more convenience?

Edited by Jamberoo Fan
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I don't see the absolute equivalence here. An annual pass to our parks costs only $200, or $180 for 2 weeks, so if you're going on a trip purely for a theme park it really can be quite cheap.

I guess cruises do compete with parks as holiday choices, but in the same way cruises compete with EVERY other type of holiday you can think of in the same way. It's no surprise people are picking cruises more often these days, having done the Royal Carribbean South Pacific cruise myself, it's brilliant value for the hospitality you get from staff on board, seeing beautiful parts of the world every few days, as well as all of the on board entertainment, buffet breakfast every morning, restaurant dinner every night, the people you meet (and don't forget the plentiful excuses to drink). If you wanted to experience all of those things on the Gold Coast, you'd be paying quite a bit more, but if you're prioritising the parks over everything else, and make sacrifices in other areas, it'll end up being the cheaper holiday, it's a lot more complicated than just comparing the two holiday choices I think.

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Just for simplicity purposes, using 1 day general admission adult prices, compare prices:

  • Dreamworld + SkyPoint = $85
  • Warner Brothers. Movie World/Wet 'N' Wild Gold Coast/Sea World = $207 ($69 per park)
  • Paradise Country = $25 
  • Australian Outback Spectacular = $100
  • Accommodation for 6 nights* = $1055 ($176 per night)
  • Total Holiday = $1472 (or $245/night) + Travel Costs
On 3/17/2018 at 10:33 AM, AllegroCrab said:

An annual pass to our parks costs only $200, or $180 for 2 weeks, so if you're going on a trip purely for a theme park it really can be quite cheap.

Adjusting for adult annual pass prices:

  • Dreamworld + SkyPoint = $129
  • Warner Brothers. Movie World/Wet 'N' Wild Gold Coast/Sea World/Paradise Country = $199 ($49.75 per park)
  • 1 Australian Outback Spectacular show = $100
  • Accommodation for 6 nights* = $1055 ($176 per night)
  • Total Holiday = $1483 (or $247/night) + Travel Costs

Whilst similar, it's actually more expensive by $2 per night or $11 in total.

DW & SkyPoint don't have a 2 week pass but if the 1 day general admission adult prices were adjusted for only the VRTP 2 week pass, a Gold Coast holiday is cheaper by $9 a night or $64 in total:

  • Dreamworld + SkyPoint = $85
  • Warner Brothers. Movie World/Wet 'N' Wild Gold Coast/Sea World/Paradise Country = $179 ($44.80 per park)
  • 1 Australian Outback Spectacular show = $100
  • Accommodation for 6 nights* = $1055 ($176 per night)
  • Total Holiday = $1419 (or $237/night) + Travel Costs

However, this is a 5 day holiday using a 2 week pass. It's cheaper overall but the full 2 weeks isn't utilized. Utilizing the full 2 weeks:

  • Dreamworld + SkyPoint = $85
  • Warner Brothers. Movie World/Wet 'N' Wild Gold Coast/Sea World/Paradise Country = $179 ($44.80 per park)
  • 1 Australian Outback Spectacular show = $100
  • Accommodation for 16 nights* = $2816 ($176 per night)
  • Total Holiday = $3180 (or $530/night) + Travel Costs

*Average takings per room night occupied in Gold Coast Tourism Area, July 2015 to June 2016.

It is relatively more expensive than a cruise of the same duration.

Travel costs include a 'commuter cost', that is a cost in travelling between your accommodation & the parks, which varies based on how far away you are staying from the parks & a 'destination cost', that is a cost to travel to/from your destination (the Gold Coast). For cruises, your 'destination' is the port of departure.

The average cruise is around the same cost for all but the last Gold Coast trip detailed above but cruises also have no 'commuter cost'. The 'destination cost' is also different for cruises as there are many ports of departure around Australia.

Having more theme parks around Australia is a nice idea (to meet the 'more ports of departure' difference) but the more theme parks, the lower quality they will all initially be compared to what the Gold Coast currently is. Over time (and I mean, a really long time), they will reach Gold Coast-quality then USA-quality.

The crucial difference between theme parks & cruise ships is on-site accommodation & integration of it into the wider facility. Sea World & Paradise Country have on-site accommodation. Sea World's is integrated via the monorail, a souvenir shop and a short footpath to the park. Paradise Country is integrated by short footpaths.

If a 'cruising is better than theme parks' scenario occurs, maybe these things could improve theme parks (in order of priority):

  • Opening new high-profile attractions regularly
  • Building accommodation
  • Adding combined park + accommodation ticketing options
  • Integrate the accommodation into the park - Not with small footpaths through fences so they are effectively still separate from the park (like some currently are) but full integration - maybe have the accommodation inside the park at various locations? Or around the park's edges? Simply, make the accommodation part of the park so there is no 'commuter cost'.
  • Extending park opening hours - maybe even 24/7. At least until midnight. This doesn't mean all the rides have to be open at night (They do need a daily maintenance check at some point anyway). If there is such a low demand for something at night that doesn't justify opening it then clearly close the attraction or area until there is demand (unless there is no demand at all). It could mean different things could be open at night instead such as nightclubs, fireworks/laser shows, cinemas, ten pin bowling, laser tag, dinner shows, golf driving ranges etc. Like Downtown Disney but instead of being outside the park, it's inside & spread around the park so there is a 'day park' & a 'night park' embedded into one & if it is all themed, even better.

The last 2 dot points are the main things that will bring a cruise ship's strengths into a theme park and are only necessary to implement if theme park operators want to bring back the interstate market to theme parks if that market is leaving theme parks for cruise ships because they offer roughly the same services for less cost & more convenience. If interstate markets aren't a concern, then focusing on locals is the way to go and that's probably been the case for most of the past decade in the Gold Coast. Locals bring in revenue through upcharge attractions, franchised stores, carnival games, annual passes the cost of general admission tickets, specialized night events etc. However, the theme park's overall quality in the eyes of interstate visitors drops as a result.  International visitors, well, given they are rarely in Australia, if the theme parks are value for money then they'll purchase a ticket. But clearly, high-profile attractions & Australian experiences is what they want.

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I don't think it's specific to cruises, but just a general reaction to the overall reduction in price of international travel including cruising.

I would suggest in years gone by it's been a case of the only affordable option was a local domestic holiday. However now, for similar cost you can take a cruise or travel internationally. So whilst people will still come visit the gold coast once, there would be a lot less repeat business.

We have the same problem in WA where it's regularly far cheaper to fly to Bali for a week, than to take a long weekend down south in Margaret River. Hell i've seen holiday packages to Bali in 5* accommodation for a week inc flights for less than just the return flights to Broome.

Another thing not really taken into consideration in most of the figures mentioned in other postings is the actual cost of living whilst on holiday. This is especially prevalent when comparing to cruises or most Asian destinations. On your Gold Coast holiday you could easily add a couple of thousand for food and activities - 3 meals a day plus snacks, also the various attractions (Ripley's, Q1 skydeck etc), not to mention any tours you do.

With cruising it's typically all inclusive of food / activities etc - sure there's up charge options for on shore tours and restaurants, but you could have just as good a time without buying them. With Asian destinations the cost of food and activities is generally significantly cheaper. You can get a 3 course meal with drinks for $10, you can hire a driver/tour guide for the day for $100.

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@elemist, if it isn't just due to a 'cruise ship packages offer roughly the same services for less cost & more convenience' factor but the overall lowering of international travel prices factor, then I'd say the theme park industry in Australia would be slowing down (in terms of unique attraction development) in my opinion as like you say:

On 3/23/2018 at 12:26 PM, elemist said:

So whilst people will still come visit the gold coast once, there would be a lot less repeat business.

Theme parks build new attractions to give people a new reason to visit. If it's guaranteed that interstate visitors aren't going to return regardless of what they build then the long-term focus would be more on locals (who will repeat visit) and international visitors (who, even if they only visit Australia once in their lives, are visiting in consistent numbers. Losing consistent international visitation would mean a theme park's value for money would have dramatically plummeted).

And like I said earlier, focusing on locals & international visitors should mean the theme park industry's attraction development would slow (in terms of uniqueness) reducing the overall quality & 'need to visit' wanted by potential interstate visitors. Things like Fright Nights, cheap annual passes, Long Shot, Domino's Pizza & upcharge attractions become more prevalent to target local visitation while rare but massive investments in attractions like DC Rivals HyperCoaster & Dreamworld Corroboree are there to target international visitation.

This would all be until travelling internationally is more expensive than domestic travel again.

Regarding adding the 'cost of living on holiday' into, at least, the figures I posted previously, I didn't take into account non-theme park attractions such as tours & Ripley's because I wanted to focus on purely a theme park-only holiday. However, SkyPoint (Q1) is taken into account as it forms part of DW's ticketing options. Regarding food, I believe food is not included for some cruise ship packages (hence why I didn't compare food prices) but if it is for all, then that's another point of difference in favour of cruise ship packages (except AOS who has dinner included also). Cruise ships & theme parks both have upcharge attractions hence why I didn't compare the cost of those as well.

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Maybe this topic's title is becoming literal?:

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

Quote

Cruise ships lure passengers with roller-coasters, sky-diving simulations and robot bartenders

roller coaster on cruise ship

PHOTO: Carnival Cruise Line is unveiling a world-first roller-coaster at sea. (Carnival Cruise Line)

It's a battle on the high seas, without a navy vessel in sight.

Key points:

  • The world's first rollercoaster at sea will be unveiled on a cruise ship in 2020
  • Modern cruises have features such as robot bartenders and sky-diving simulations
  • Industry predictions flag "instagrammable cruise travel" as a top trend in 2019

In what has been dubbed a "fun arms race", cruise ship companies are one-upping each other with theme-park like attractions — everything from 10-storey waterslides to sky-diving simulations.

The latest instalment appears to be the first roller-coaster at sea, unveiled by Carnival Cruise Line.

In an apparent challenge to the idea of a slow-travel style for older clientele, the roller-coaster has been described by the cruise company as "a heart-pounding rush of adrenaline offering nearly 800 feet (243 metres) of exhilarating twists, turns and drops with riders reaching speeds of nearly 40 miles per hour (65kph)".

Cruise passengers take part in a go-kart race on the open water at night.

PHOTO: Cruise passengers take part in a go-kart race on the open water. (Supplied: Norwegian Cruise Line)

Set to debut in 2020, the on-broad roller-coaster will be built on its largest ship — the Mardis Gras — which is due to be based in Florida in the US. The name refers to the first Carnival ship fleet that entered service in 1972.

The thrill-seekers will get 360-degree views as they circle the ship in two-person motorcycle-style vehicles.

Cruise-goers willing to mix motion and seasickness will also get to choose their own speed.

A man in a sky-diving simulation.

PHOTO: One cruise ship offers sky-diving simulations. (Supplied: Royal Caribbean Cruises)

According to the Cruise Line History website, in the 1960s and 1970s cruise ships faced dwindling passenger numbers and began to undergo something of a renaissance.

"Rather than serving as a more comfortable means of transport, [cruise] lines started to market the ships as destinations in themselves," the website says.

Today, that seems to have reached new heights.

'The ultimate playground at sea'

 

The gimmicks and activities offered by modern cruise ships are more reminiscent of amusement parks or sports centres, with cruising companies embracing the wild and wacky in a bid to distinguish themselves.

One vessel owned by the Norwegian Cruise Line features a two-storey go-kart track, while a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship has a "bionic bar", where cocktails are shaken by robot bartenders.

In a press release, Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy described the cruise ship as "the ultimate playground at sea for fun seekers of all ages".

"We are so thrilled to introduce this one-of-a-kind, game-changing, exhilarating attraction," she said of the rollercoaster.

The Symphony of the Seas ship features a waterslide with a piranha entrance.

PHOTO: The Symphony of the Seas ship features a waterslide with an entrance shaped like a deep-sea fish. (Supplied: Royal Caribbean Cruises)

Cruise ships aren't just about travel, but a chance "to push the boundaries of innovation", according to Susan Bonner, vice-president and managing director at Royal Caribbean Cruises for Australia and New Zealand.

Listing attractions like virtual reality bungee jumping, escape rooms and ice-skating rinks, Ms Bonner said the cruise company was "constantly redefining how to holiday" with "adventures that appeal to every generation".

But "taking adventure to the next level" doesn't come cheap — one of their vessels has undergone a multi-million-dollar upgrade and is due to hit the seas in February next year.

It's not all about technology, either — some cruises are spruiking star power, with the likes of Oprah and David Hasselhoff making appearances on the vacation ships.

The Cruise Lines International Association last week released a list of cruise travel trend predictions for 2019 — top of the list was "instagrammable cruise travel", with passengers sharing their photos and experiences on social media.

"On an average day, there can be close to 351 million posts with the tag #travel," CLIA said in a press release.

A man surfing on a simulated wave on a cruise ship.

PHOTO: Some cruise ships, like the Ovation of the Seas, bring the surf on board. (Supplied: Royal Caribbean Cruises)

Close behind that was "restorative travel", with cruise liners offering spa treatments, fitness regimes, and onboard oxygen bars.

Other trends cited marketing to Gen Z, "mindful travellers", working nomads who use on-board Wi-Fi to blend work and travel, and passengers who are focused on ticking things off their bucket list — such as climbing mountains or mastering a cuisine — rather than simply sight-seeing.

With all the bells and whistles, the cruise industry projects an estimated 30 million passengers on ships in 2019, up by 6 per cent on this year, which saw 28.2 million travellers.

Now, the question we all have to ask: Is this world-first rollercoaster better than MDMC😜

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