Griffith Business School (GBS) students will take to the high seas next year aboard a luxury cruise liner for a 12-day South Pacific experience to study first-hand key aspects of the booming cruise industry.

Cruise Industry Experience (3008HSL) is the latest innovative experiential course from Griffith’s Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management (HSL) and is co-convened by Professor David Weaver and Associate Professor Laura Lawton.

According to Professor Weaver, the course will be among the first of its kind for an Australian university by delivering most of the lectures and seminars on board a cruise ship during a 12-day South Pacific cruise.

“This is really exciting because the students get to experience the cruise industry directly as a consumer, and at the same time they also get vital exposure to the production of the contemporary cruise experience,” said Professor Weaver.

He is expecting 24 students to sign up for the Cruise Industry Experience course, which will provide real-time exposure and insight into industry structure and trends, as well as supply chains, ship operations, revenue generation strategies, market segmentation, marketing, the passenger experience and risk management.

“The economic, environmental and sociocultural sustainability of the industry will also be assessed from diverse stakeholder perspectives,” said Professor Weaver.

Course open to all Griffith students

“For our HSL majors it’s an optional core course, but can be taken as an elective by other Griffith Business School and Griffith students.”

Students will have twin-share accommodation aboard Royal Caribbean’s MS Voyager of the Seas, which will depart Sydney on January 31 for a 12-day cruise that will stop at Noumea and Lifou in New Caledonia, Lautoka and Suva in Fiji and Mystery Island in Vanuatu.

“We chose Royal Caribbean because it is the second-biggest cruise operator in the world and has a reputation for producing the most innovative and largest ships,” said Professor Weaver.

Lectures at sea

Morning and afternoon lectures will be held during the six days at sea, while students will be encouraged to undertake on-shore excursions at each port of call to examine first-hand the impact on local communities of cruise ship tourism.

“Some students will take the history route while some will take an island tour to explore what each island has to offer,” said Professor Weaver.

“This is real-time learning. We want the students to explore as many aspects of the industry as possible, including the effects on local communities as passengers are encouraged to stay in the cruise bubble as they go onshore.

“We’d like our students to examine for themselves how this is played out at the local level. In the evenings, we will catch up with the students for a one-hour seminar to discuss their findings.”

Recent figures released by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) indicate that 24 million passengers are expected to take a leisure cruise globally in 2016, up from 15 million 10 years ago. Since a typical cruise includes five stops, this results in over 100 million visits by passengers to ports-of-call.

World’s most enthusiastic cruisers

The latest statistics from the CLIA reveal that a record 1.058 million Australians took an ocean cruise (PDF 1.3mb) in 2015, up 15 per cent compared to the previous year. On a per capita basis, Australians are the world’s most enthusiastic cruisers, and South-East Queensland is a focus of interest given plans to expand Brisbane’s home port facilities and aspirations to make the Gold Coast a port-of-call.

Professor Weaver said the growth in the cruise industry provided a solid foundation for the Cruise Industry Experience course to become a popular subject for Griffith’s tourism degrees, the Bachelor of International Tourism and Hotel Management and the Bachelor of Tourism (Tourism Management).

The course is open to all Griffith students as a free-choice elective course and to exchange and study abroad students as a Griffith Global Mobility short-term course.

The cruise component of the subject will cost $1864 and financial aid through the OS Help loan and Griffith University Incentive Scheme Travel Grant is available to eligible students.

Registrations for the course are required before August 23, 2016.

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Download:Cruise industry Source Market Report -Ocean Cruise PassengersAustralia 2015 (PDF 1.3MB)