CLIA: Cruise Industry to Continue Steady Growth in 2018

The MS Disney Wonder becomes the first passenger vessel to transit the Expanded Panama Canal, April 29, 2017. Photo: Panama Canal Authority 

The global cruise industry will continue to see steady growth in 2018 with more two dozen deliveries scheduled in order to keep pace with demand, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said in its annual ‘State of the Cruise Industry’ report released this week.

CLIA is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association.

Current data shows cruise travel is steadily on the rise with a projected 27.2 million passengers expected to set sail in 2018. In 2017, an estimated 25.8 million passengers cruised compared to a confirmed 24.7 million passengers in 2016, representing an increase of 20.5 percent over five years from 2011-2016. To meet ongoing demand, more ships are scheduled to set sail in 2018. CLIA Cruise Lines are scheduled to debut 27 new ocean, river and specialty ships this coming year.

“It is without question that the cruise industry continues on a growth trajectory, gaining in consumer interest and creating a positive impact on the global economy,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “The 2018 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook is a way for us to keep a finger on the pulse of the global cruise industry and its impact on the global economy and identify new travel trends that will influence cruise travel in the future.”

CLIA is also reporting on the global economic impact of the cruise industry in 2016, with cruise industry expenditures generating $126 billion in total output worldwide.

As part of the 2018 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, CLIA has forecasted the top cruise travel trends for the coming year, among them is what CLIA calls ‘transformational cruise travel’ i.e. cultural immersion or adventure tourism, particularly to “chilly” destinations like the Arctic and Antarctic.