Cruise tourism is increasingly recognised as a successful and dynamic subsector of the global tourism industry, with the major cruise lines occupying ' the highest ranks of the tourism and leisure sector, as measured by shareholder capital and annual profits' (World Tourism Organization [WTO], 2010, xi). However, while initially characterised by its rapid speed of development, and noted for more than two decades of high growth levels, more recently some markets have experienced demonstrably slower rates of growth. For example, the North American market, acknowledged to be the largest in the world, has lately undergone decline in its share of the global cruise activity in terms of both passenger numbers and spend. While this may be due in part to the economic volatility of key source markets during the second half of the last decade (Cruise Lines International Association [CLIA], 2009), it is clear that operators have for some time been keen to reposition ships in order to offer new destinations to additional geographic markets. At the same time, while recognising that regional markets may be in different stages of their life cycles, the sector has been placing greater emphasis on competitive pricing, sales promotions and onboard revenue maximisation. Not only do these activities illustrate the keenly competitive nature of the cruise business but they also serve as key indicators of market maturity.