SOME 20 years ago, when Star Cruises bought its first two ships, there was great scepticism about the viability of the operation. The doubters were soon proved wrong. Before too long, reporters from around Asia were flown out to Germany to witness the naming of the company's first newbuilding. I still have a model of the Star Leo in my office.
Star and the other big cruise companies (notably, of course, Carnival) have turned the cruise business into a sector that seems to defy the cyclical nature of the rest of shipping.
That seems to have held good during the economic turbulence of the past few years, despite the Costa Concordia sinking and the accompanying very adverse publicity.