River cruise capacity is set to increase 7 percent this year, according to Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook.
CLIA cruise line members are set to deploy 13 new river cruise ships in 2017, a move the organization said is driven by higher passenger demand.
Use of travel agents and demand for expedition cruises is up as well, according to CLIA. According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, consumer use of a travel agent increased nearly eighty percent from 2015 to 2016. Supporting this, CLIA is forecasting that travel agents will continue to be the matchmakers between travelers and cruise lines in 2017. Today, there are more than 25,000 CLIA-member travel agents globally compared to 12,000 in 2010. CLIA also found that cruisers report high levels of satisfaction with their travel experience when assisted by an agent.
According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel is growing at a record pace and CLIA is reporting that cruise expeditions are seeing the impact. In fact, itineraries for Antarctica regularly sell out.