April 24, 2024

Over 20 million Cruisers expected in 2015

Cruise industry continues to benefit with newer ships and customer satisfaction.

Some 23 million people are expected to take a cruise this year, Adam M. Goldstein, CLIA chairman and president and COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., said during the Cruise Lines Industry Association’s State of the Industry held in New York City – four percent more than last year.

“In summary, we’re doing well,” Goldstein said, before citing several statistics illustrating the industry’s growth.

Between 2009 and 2014, the number of cruise passengers grew from 17.8 million to 22.1 million. Satisfaction rates among these passengers remains high with 62 percent of passengers being return cruisers, 89 percent saying there were highly satisfied with their cruise vacation, 84 percent saying they would recommend cruising to a friend and 69 percent ranking cruising as a better value than land-based vacations.

Also growing in 2015 are the number of cruise port of calls with nearly 1,000 new ports added to itineraries; and 22 new ocean, river and specialty ships will launch this year for a total investment of more than $4 billion.

During the media briefing, Maria Miller, senior vice president of marketing for Norwegian Cruise Line, detailed several trends CLIA is predicting for 2015.

Confirming the cruise trends Cruise Critic identified in early January, Goldstein said the movement toward larger and larger ships is less important this year. Among the 22 new ships for 2015 are many river and smaller, specialty ships making the industry’s focus in 2015 less on size and more on design and onboard services.

The popularity of specialty cruising, like river, expedition and small-ship ocean cruising, continues to grow as well. According to CLIA research, niche cruising grew an estimated 21 percent annually from 2009 to 2014. Within this segment, river cruising is the fastest growing with 25 percent growth from 2009 to last year.

In 2015, the Caribbean will maintain its spot at the top of the global deployment list, with more than a third of the global cruise ship capacity sailing in the region. But the Mediterranean (20 percent), Asia (6 percent) and Australia (6 percent) are growing as well.

Miller also pointed out the continuing importance of travel agents to the cruise industry. Though agents are slowly losing out to the Internet, seven out of 10 cruise travelers still use a travel agent to plan and book cruise vacations.
– Dori Saltzman, Cruise Critic

About Guest Author