What Is a Cruise Destination?
This is a relatively complex question to answer. Davidson and Maitland (1997) present a model that describes the interplay between a “generating region,” the place that the tourist will come from, and “destination regions,” the places tourists will go to, linked by a “transit region,” the place where the tourist spends time before arriving at the destination. In this version of a tourist system, potential tourists within a generating region are subject to a variety of “push” factors, such as disposable income, leisure time, motivation, ambition, and the presence of demographic change. Information is channeled back to the generating region from the destination region, developing “local” perceptions and stimulating further visits.
For the cruise industry, noting the significant changes in recent years in terms of the construction of larger vessels with enhanced facilities, the key destination can be interpreted as being the ship itself. Indeed, the ship has a significant place in the cruise tourism system, as can be seen in the following modified model (Figure -The cruise tourism system).
This reworked version of the tourism system suggests that the ship plays a pivotal role in the relationship between the generating region and the ultimate tour destination regions. In a sense, over the duration of a cruise, it becomes a center for interpretation, a safe and familiar zone from which it is possible to choose whether to select, sample, and engage with situated experiences. Some passengers prefer to stay on board during a port day, rejecting the attractions ashore in favor of the shipboard experiences. Information travels from the destination region to the ship and then from the ship to the generating region. Of course, this can be further developed when considering that some cruise companies have experimented with selling cruises to nowhere