Asian cruise boom continues

A cruise ship in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour
A cruise ship in Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour

The Asian cruise industry is booming, with strong double-digit growth in terms of passenger traffic and fleet capacity.

According to findings of a recent study by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), 26 cruise brands will operate 52 ships in Asia next year, including nine year-round deployments.

In 2013, a total of 802 intra-Asian cruises were operated, but this will rise to 981 in 2015. This will translate into a potential 650,000 extra passengers on intra-regional cruises, with capacity rising from 1.4 million passengers in 2013 to 2.05 million next year.

On top of that, a further 115,360 passengers could transit through Asia on longer voyages, up from 73,616 in 2013, at an annual growth rate of 25%.

“It is insightful to see where the growth is occurring,” said Dr Zinan Liu, chair of CLIA North Asia. “The project reveals that days deployed in East Asia are growing 20.5% annually and in Southeast Asia 10%. Deployment in South Asian destinations, which account for just 6% of the total, is growing at 34% per annum.

“Cruise lines in Tier 1, Star Cruises, Costa Crociere and Royal Caribbean, have over 100 sailings in 2015 and about 25% each of total passenger capacity in Asia,” Dr Liu noted. “In Tier 2, Princess Cruises and Celebrity operate 25 or more cruises and voyages. The eight brands in Tier 3 operate nine or more annually, and Tier 4 offer eight sailings or less.”

CLIA also revealed that Asia is dominated by short duration cruises, with cruises of less than one week accounting for 81% of the total offered in 2015. The two- to four-night segment is largest, with 425 cruises next year. The four- to six-night duration is growing fastest however, up from 263 to 367 cruises in two years.

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