Will draconian new fuel regulations in 2015 change the cruise industry's business model forever?
A 300 page worldwide analysis
Negotiations with regulatory authorities continue and hopes of technological solutions remain but cruise companies are still planning for the worst when new regulations designed to curb ship emissions are ramped up in 2015: a potential doubling of their fuel cost which - if passed on to their passengers - could end the longest sustained growth in demand enjoyed by any tourism sector.
The only alternative - as described in post-apocalyptic terms by one leading cruise executive - is simply for the companies "to get used to lower profits."
The $64 billion question
The second half of this decade will see the perfect storm develop for the cruise sector, with the economies in its leading source markets - North America and Europe - forecast to remain in the doldrums while fuel and other environment-based regulations add tens of millions of dollars to the annual cost base of the major cruise companies.
How the industry should respond to this - arguably the greatest challenge in its 45-year history - is literally the $64 billion question today.
Which is why it is at the core of this, the latest major research report on the cruise industry, authored by Tony Peisley and published by Seatrade.