CLIA: International Cruise Industry to See Positive Growth This Year

As the cruise line industry continues to strengthen its global presence and with the economy in an ongoing recovery mode, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and its cruise line members are looking forward to a positive year of growth with a 2014 passenger forecast of 21.7 million worldwide guests on CLIA’s 63 member lines, according to data released in the association’s annual State of the Cruise Industry findings last week.

International Cruise Industry to See Positive Growth this Year

To meet demand, these member lines will introduce 24 new ships in 2014-2015 adding a total passenger capacity of 37,546, representing a capital investment of approximately $8 billion in ocean going and river cruise categories.

“The global cruise industry is at an exciting juncture with strong consumer interest in cruising and significant cruise line investment in a diversity of exciting ships that travel to the most exotic locations in the world and offer one-of-a-kind vacation experiences,” said Christine Duffy, CLIA President & CEO.

Industry Growth

CLIA 2013 global passenger numbers are estimated at 21.3 million, with a 2014 forecast expected to reach 21.7 million passengers. North America is the world’s biggest cruise market (55.1 percent passenger source share) – with significant growth of internationally sourced passengers – especially Europeans at 6.4 million.

Cruise Ship Deployment

The leading cruise destination in terms of ship deployments remains the Caribbean, accounting for 37.3% of all global itineraries followed by the Mediterranean (18.9%), Northern Europe (11.1%), Australia/New Zealand (5.9%), Alaska (4.5%), Asia (4.4%) and South America 3.3%).

In 2014, markets experiencing increased ship deployments include the Caribbean (+12%), Northern Europe (+5.2%), Asia (+31.6%) and Australasia at +22%.

New Ships

Globally, the 2014 CLIA fleet is comprised of 410 ships, up from 393 ships last year, and includes a wide variety of vessels – from large- and mid-sized to small and intimate. The fleet covers all line categories: contemporary, premium, niche and destination focused, river cruises, expedition and adventure. Additionally, in 2014 and 2015, CLIA lines will introduce 24 new ships, representing a total capital investment of approximately $8 billion. Twelve additional new CLIA global and regional ships (Confirmed Orders and Options) for 2016 to 2018 represent an additional 33,192 passenger capacity and an investment estimated at $7.9 billion in ship development.

Cruise Industry Trends

Top 2014 cruise trends identified by CLIA, its member lines and travel agents include:

  • Improved technology to lower the cost of onboard communications and provide more efficient passenger servicing
  • First-time passenger growth coming from younger generation travelers – especially Millennials
  • More luxury cruising (luxury category ships, onboard upgrades) stimulated by an improving economy and increased consumer confidence
  • Growth of multigenerational and celebration travel as well as social/affinity groups
  • More all-inclusive options and packaging in accommodations, services and amenities
  • Active vacations at sea with extreme and soft-adventure excursions, longer stays in ports for added sightseeing and high-energy onboard facilities
  • Exotic locations driving new itinerary competition and cruise ship deployment
  • Hot destinations for 2014 according to CLIA cruise line members include: Trans Pacific, World Cruises, U.S. Rivers, South America, Antarctic, Middle East, Canada/New England, Africa and Exotic Rivers

CLIA Globalization

After its first successful year as a global association, CLIA, serving as the voice and advocate of the worldwide cruise industry, has increased its presence in Europe with additional associations established in German and Spain, with Italy to follow later in 2014.

“The primary objective then and now is to support a ‘One Industry, One Voice’ approach to policy development, advocacy, communication, issues management and industry promotional activities,” said CLIA President & CEO Christine Duffy. “CLIA global lines continue to bring to market an exciting offering of vessels that are stimulating an impressive interest in cruising as well as securing the cruise industry as one of the most in-demand sectors of the vacation market worldwide.”

New for 2014 is the formation of a CLIA Global Ports Committee comprised of itinerary planning and port development executives of the cruise lines and chaired by Giora Israel, Senior Vice President of Ports and Destination Development for Carnival Corporation. The committee will focus on creating opportunities to develop dialogue with port operators, port authorities, government, and port-related service providers on issues of mutual interest.

“Ports are making major commitments to the success of the cruise industry with significant capital improvement in modernizing existing ports and building new ones that are technologically and environmentally advanced, while also being very cruise and passenger friendly,” said Duffy. “This committee will help to more fully integrate port development and operations with the larger picture of the cruise industry.”

CLIA, January 20, 2014; Image: MEYER WERFT