Cruise Industry Shows No Signs of Slowing Down


The cruise industry shows no signs of slowing down with nearly 24 million passengers expected to sail in 2016, a dramatic increase from 15 million just 10 years prior (2006), or even 1.4 million when Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) began tracking passengers in 1980.

CLIA released its 2016 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook yesterday, revealing that global cruise travel is continuing to grow and evolve at a record pace.

CLIA member cruise lines are scheduled to debut 27 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2016 for a total investment of more than US$6.5 billion in new ocean vessels alone. Travel agents are also experiencing a higher demand for cruise travel. Eight out of 10 CLIA member agents stated they are expecting an increase in cruise sales in 2016 over last year.

“In an effort to make cruising the best overall vacation experience available, the industry is continuing to evolve to ensure there truly is a cruise for every travel style and budget,” said Cindy D’Aoust, CLIA’s Acting CEO. “By creating unique ships, new experiences and access to destinations around the world, the evolution, appeal and value of cruise travel continues to drive the overall growth of the industry.”

Cruising also generates a substantial positive economic impact globally. Cruise industry expenditures generated US$119.9 billion in total output worldwide, supporting 939,232 full-time equivalent employees who earned US$39.3 billion in income in 2014.

Following are trends showcasing how the cruise industry has transformed to meet today’s travellers’ styles and preferences:

  • Rise of the River Cruise – River cruises are growing in popularity, introducing the value and unique travel experience to new cruise travellers. CLIA members currently deploy 170 river cruise ships with 18 new river cruise ships on order for 2016, an increase of more than 10%.
  • More Ships, More Options – In 2015, there are a total of 471 cruise ships with an additional 27 new ocean, river and specialty ships scheduled to debut in 2016.
  • On the Map – Five years ago, cruise travel was almost unheard of in Asia. Today, the region is the fastest growing in the cruise industry. Between 2012 and 2014, passenger volume grew from 775,000 to nearly 1.4 million passengers, a 34% compound annual growth rate.
  • Cruise Specialists – The cruise industry continues to leverage the expertise of cruise specialists to help guide travel decisions. Today, there are more than 30,000 CLIA-member travel agents globally compared to 12,000 travel agents in 2010.
  • Connectivity and Cruising – The cruise industry has made consumers’ desire to stay connected while travelling a priority. Most of today’s cruises offer a myriad of Wi-Fi, onboard texting and data options.
  • Cruise Voluntourism – More “voluntourism” cruises are available in 2016 with several ships including excursions to help areas of need around the world.