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Carnival Sunshine cruise ship underway at sea

Photo: Ivan Cholakov /

Cruise Industry Sets New Passenger Record in 2023

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 867
April 10, 2024

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) released its annual State of the Cruise Industry report, revealing robust growth in the sector still recovering from pandemic impacts. In 2023, the passenger volume reached an record 31.7 million, marking a 7% increase over 2019 levels.

The report paints a promising picture for the industry hit hard by the pandemic, highlighting an 82% intent among consumers to embark on cruise vacations.

CLIA’s projections for cruise capacity from 2024 through 2028 indicate a 10% rise.

Despite the pandemic, the cruising sector managed to generate 90% of its 2019’s economic impact in 2022, despite passenger volumes being only 70% of those in 2019.

The report underscores the significant economic contribution of the cruise industry, which constitutes just 2% of global travel. In 2022 (the latest figures available), the industry generated $138 billion globally, supporting 1.2 million jobs worldwide and contributing $43 billion in wages.

The industry anticipates an even greater economic impact in 2023, with passenger numbers expected to increase by 50% compared to 2022.

Looking at the fleet size, CLIA-member cruise lines expect eight new ships to be delivered in 2024, which will push the ocean-going fleet to more than 300 ships for the first time. Between 2024 and 2028, the industry is set to welcome 35 new ships, representing 112,000 lower berths and an orderbook value of $30.8 billion.

The report also shed light on emerging trends in cruising. Over the past two years, 27% of cruise passengers were first-timers, a 12% increase from the previous year. Cruises have also become a popular choice for multi-generational travel, with over 30% of families cruising with at least two generations and 28% traveling with three to five generations.

Expedition cruises are becoming increasingly popular, with a 71% rise in passenger numbers from 2019 to 2023. Accessible tour excursions are also gaining traction, with 45% of passengers booking an accessible tour on their most recent cruise. Additionally, 73% of cruise travelers credited travel advisors with significantly influencing their decision to cruise.

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