This text is one in a series entitled The International Political Economy of New Regionalisms, and must be judged in that light. The content is essentially a macro-economic study of the influence of the cruise business on global economies, and it deals in particular with ways in which leading cruise lines, operating under flags of convenience, maximise profits by exploiting their economic strengths, both in negotiations with developing countries' ports of call and in recruiting staff from the international labour market. However, the text also includes some useful insights into the sociology of shipboard labour, and the passenger-seafarer interface. In doing so, it reveals the rich vein of research material now becoming available through the explosion in on-line chat sites aimed at the cruising market.
Disappointingly, it has little to say about the micro-economics of the sector, and any detail of operational costs, route planning or other such issues must await a further text. The subject matter is confined to ocean cruising, at the expense of short-sea voyages or river cruising, neither of which, for some reason, seem to receive the attention they deserve from academic researchers.
The convoluted language does not always make for easy reading, and the book is best directed towards students working at more advanced levels, although much of the content could usefully be adopted by lecturers teaching elements of many tourism business syllabuses ranging from business operations to human resource management. The reality of life on board ship on occasion makes grim reading, offering an insight into the dark side of passenger ship operations with which all teachers of tourism should become familiar. The lack of texts relating to passenger ship operations makes this alone a good enough reason to welcome this book as a valuable addition to any academic tourism library.
Reviewer: Chris Holloway FTS , Former Professor of Tourism Management, UWE
Credits: Christine B N Chin
Publisher: Ashgate, 2008