The global cruise industry is adding extra capacity as it prepares to meet a 2% rise in passenger numbers this year.
According to the latest data from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s cruise company handled 21.3 million passengers in 2013. But this is expected to increase to 21.7m in 2014, as more new ships enter the global fleet.
The US remains by far the world’s biggest cruise market, accounting for 11.0m passengers in 2013, or 52% of the global total. The UK & Ireland was a distant second, with 1.7m passengers (8%), followed by Germany (1.6m, 8%) and Italy (860,000, 4%). Australia was the world’s fifth biggest cruise market, with its 760,000 passengers accounting for a 4% share of the global market. But it is also the fastest growing of the world’s top 10 cruise markets, having seen a 130% jump in passenger numbers over the past five years.
No Asian country made it into the top 10 cruise markets.
In terms of ship deployments, the Caribbean remains the world’s biggest cruise destination, accounting for 37% of all global itineraries in 2013, followed by the Mediterranean (19%), Northern Europe (11%), Australia/New Zealand (6%), Alaska (5%), Asia (4%) and South America (3%).
But once again, the strongest growth is being experienced in the Asia Pacific region. Asia is expected to see a 32% jump in ship deployments in 2014, while Australia/New Zealand will rise 22%.
“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’s president & CEO.
The global cruise fleet of CLIA member cruise lines will rise from 393 ships in 2013 to 410 this year. New ship launches in 2014 will include Royal Caribbean’s huge, 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas, Norwegian Cruise Lines’ 3,969-passenger Norwegian Getaway and Costa’s 3,700-passenger Costa Diadema.
There will also be several new additions to the fleet of the fast-growing river cruise sector, including two new boats for AMA Waterways and three new vessels for Avalon Waterways.
Following the 16 new ship launches planned for this year, a further 20 cruise ships are scheduled to enter service between 2015 and 2018.