Presidents of the biggest cruise lines in the world noted Tuesday in Miami the sheer vitality of this tourism sector, with an "infinitesimal" rate of accidents, planned investment of $8.3 billion and 24 new ships being launched over the next two years.
The exposition phase of the 2014 Cruise Shipping Miami event opened its doors Tuesday with a roundtable discussion about the global state of the industry.
The chief executives of the world's four leading cruise lines - Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises - met in a crowded conference room at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
"In the past few years, we have experienced demand growth less than capacity growth," Carnival CEO Arnold Donald said. "The opportunity for all of us is to attract the new cruiser."
The industry is "sexy," MSC Cruises' executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago insisted.
The sector is projected to grow this year close to 5 percent.
Not a single negative aspect, neither the global economic and financial crisis nor hot spots of geopolitical instability, seems to debilitate the industry's good health. No, not even the accidents that occurred over the past few years, like the wreck of the Costa Concordia, the blaze aboard the Carnival Triumph or the outbreaks of illness on other cruise ships.
"A thousand incidents have affected the industry over the past six years but we've been able to persevere through all these events and grow the industry through it all," Norwegian Cruise Line boss Kevin Sheehan said.
Previously, Christine Duffy, CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association, said the sector has grown over the past five years by 50 percent and has created 775,000 jobs worldwide.
This year the industry expects to welcome 400,000 more passengers aboard than in 2013, according to Duffy.