Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), which has incorporated cruise lines and trade associations around the world in its numbers, has seen its membership leap from 26 to 55 cruise companies, including river and niche cruise lines from Captain Cook Cruises to its newest member, Tauck River Cruises.
Tauck is the newest member of CLIA. // © 2013 Tauck
Cruise Lines International Association
CLIA president and CEO Christine Duffy said that CLIA is not reducing its commitment to the travel agent community but wants to stimulate discussion among international travel sellers on best practices. In addition to 14,000 travel agent members from North America, the global expansion has brought 3,000 travel sellers into CLIA’s ranks, a change that is expected to impact attendance at the association’s cruise3sixty in Vancouver this year.
Duffy said a survey of CLIA agents resulted in 68 percent expecting business to be the same as or better than 2012; agents also remarked that the booking window is growing shorter and that consumers remain brand loyal. They felt that the three top factors in making a decision are homeport, price and onboard facilities, and that ethnic groups, weddings and honeymooners are the three top groups with growth potential.
CLIA estimates that 20.97 million people will cruise globally in 2013. Of these, 17.6 million are predicted to sail from North America, with 11.79 million sourced from North America and about a third (5.8 million) international passengers sailing from North American ports. In 2012 figures were 20.3 million overall, including 17.2 million sailing from North America.
Eleven ships are scheduled to join CLIA member lines in 2013, including Royal Princess, MSC Preziosa, Norwegian Breakaway, Pearl Mist and Silver Galapagos. The rest are river vessels: AmaPrima, AmaVida, Avalon Artistry II, Avalon Expression, Uniworld Queen Isabel and Uniworld River Orchid. Another 20 ships are in progress, representing an approximate $8 billion investment.
Jim Berra, chief marketing officer for Carnival Cruise Lines and marketing chair for CLIA, noted that, with revitalization of existing ships a huge trend, it is hard to determine which ships should be termed “new vessels”, as Carnival is doing with its renamed Sunshine, and which ships are “refurbished”.