International Cruise Industry to See Positive Growth in 2014 -CLIA

Mike Schuler
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January 17, 2014

The float out of the Norwegian Getaway at the Meyer Werft shipyard in November 2013. The ship was delivered to Norwegian Cruise Lines in January 2014. Image courtesy Meyer Werft

The international cruise ship industry is expected to see positive growth in 2014 as the global economy continues to recover, according to data released today by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) in their annual State of the Cruise Industry report.

CLIA, now the world’s largest cruise industry association following the merger of nine separate industry associations in late 2012, says its cruise line members are looking forward to a positive year of growth in 2014 with forecasts calling for 21.7 million global passengers on CLIA’s 63 member lines, up slightly from the estimated 21.3 million to estimated in 2013.

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

The report notes that North America continues to be the world’s biggest cruise market with 55.1 percent passenger source share, with significant growth of internationally sourced passengers, especially Europeans at 6.4 million.

“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.

CLIA notes that a key factor in the cruise industry’s growth is its travel agent partners, comprised of 13,500 global travel agency members who reach over 50,000 agent members.

“Travel agents are the primary distribution channel for cruise sales and remain critically important to the cruise lines – with a majority of cruise bookings made by travel agents,” said Duffy.

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 at 18.9%, Northern Europe at 11.1%, Australia/New Zealand at 5.9%, Alaska at 4.5%, Asia at 4.4% and South America at 3.3%.

In 2014, CLIA says that 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 comprised of 410 ships, up from 393 ships in 2013, and includes a wide variety of vessels from large- and mid-sized to small and intimate.

Additionally, in 2014 and 2015, CLIA member lines will introduce 24 new ships, including 16 new ships in 2014 and 8 in 2015, representing a total capital investment of approximately $8 billion. Looking forward, twelve additional new CLIA global and regional ships are confirmed for 2016 to 2018, representing an additional 33,192 passenger capacity and an investment estimated at $7.9 billion.

CLIA Global Presence

2014 marks the first year that CLIA is serving as a global association following the merger in December 2012 of nine separate industry associations under the CLIA umbrella.

“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.”

Additional Cruise Industry Trends:

  • 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
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