Approximately 24 million passengers are predicted to sail in 2016, up 1 million from 2015. // © 2016 iStock
Feature image (above): Cruise Lines International Association’s State of the Cruise Industry Outlook reports that more cruise ships are offering overnight excursions so that passengers can get a better taste of the local culture. // © 2016 iStock
At the start of December, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) released its 2016 “State of the Cruise Industry Outlook.” The organization expects nearly 24 million passengers to sail in 2016, up 1 million from 2015. Eight out of 10 CLIA agents report that they are expecting an increase in sales this year.
CLIA is composed of 62 member cruise lines, which in 2016 are scheduled to debut 27 new ocean, river and specialty ships, representing a total investment of more than $6.5 billion in new seagoing ships alone.
Trends identified by CLIA in the outlook include a continuation of the rise of river cruising, with members adding 18 of the aforementioned 27 newbuilds in 2016, adding to the existing 170 river cruise ships. (Note that many river cruise lines are not members of CLIA.)
Luxury travel in general continues to be strong, and the trend of cross-promotion with name-brand products to enrich the onboard experience and entice new cruisers remains highly popular.
CLIA also reports that more cruise lines are offering overnights so that guests can immerse themselves in the local culture, as well as the refinement of voluntourism —which has been growing for the past decade — as a dedicated aspect of cruising.
Fast, well-priced Wi-Fi connectivity has become a priority on cruise ships, and multigenerational travel also continues to be of great importance.
According to the report, Asia is the fastest-growing region in the cruise industry: Between 2012 and 2014, passenger volume on CLIA ships in the destination grew from 775,000 to nearly 1.4 million, a 34 percent compound annual growth rate. Australia also shows record growth, exceeding more than 1 million cruisers in 2014 and increasing sixfold in 10 years.