The annual State of the Cruise Industry Report from Cruise Lines International Association predicts strong growth for the industry in 2015.
A record 23 million pax are expected to sail this year, and 61% of North American CLIA-certified travel agents surveyed report an increase in 2015 travel bookings over this time last year. There’s more for cruisers to choose from as well, with CLIA member lines scheduled to debut 22 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2015, representing an investment of more than $4 billion.
“From new ports around the globe to the investment by CLIA’s member cruise lines in new, innovative ships, it’s an exciting time for the cruise industry and cruise passengers,” said Adam Goldstein, CLIA Chairman and President & COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “This year will prove to be another step forward for the entire industry as our members continue to strive to make cruising the best overall vacation experience.”
Using several research studies, CLIA identified seven 2015 cruise industry trends:
1. Travellers Will Continue To Set Sail – Cruise travellers intend to continue to set sail and are highly satisfied with prior cruise experiences. Research reveals that 62% are return cruisers and 69% ranked cruising as a better value than a land-based vacation. Overall, CLIA member ocean passenger volume is projected to increase to 23 million in 2015, a 4% increase over 2014 estimates of 22.1 million.
2. Size Doesn’t Matter – 5 years ago, the largest cruise ship in the world was introduced with a 6,300 passenger capacity. Among the 22 new ocean, river and specialty cruise ships scheduled for debut this year, the focus is less on size and more on unique design and amenities.
3. Specialty Cruises Continue To Thrive – CLIA’s specialty segments - from yachts to river cruisers - continue to experience double digit passenger growth. In fact, specialty cruises grew by 21% annually from 2009 to 2014.
4. Caribbean Continues To Be Queen – The Caribbean remains the queen of the cruise industry with more than 1/3 of the global deployment capacity market share in 2015. The Mediterranean continues to grow as a destination, as well as other regions including Asia and Australia.
5. Oh, The New Places We Will Go – The cruise industry is seeing an increase in pax seeking global experiences. As a result, cruising has made the world more accessible than ever. CLIA’s member cruise lines offer nearly 1,000 ports around the globe.
6. Travel Agents Are Key To Cruise Travel – While the Internet and mobile devices have overtaken how consumers make purchases, travel agents continue to be the most popular and best way to book a cruise. In fact, 7 out of 10 cruise travellers use a travel agent to plan and book cruise vacations.
7. Passengers Are At The Helm – When it comes to travel, consumers are in control more than ever before. The cruise industry is responding with key innovations to meet the needs of today’s pax, such as bow-to-stern Wi-Fi and phone connectivity, multigenerational appeal, themed cruises and “foodcations.”