Stats: 24.7 Million Passengers Took Cruise in 2016, Says CLIA

Cruise ships docked in St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands
Photo by sorincolac/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Cruise travel last year beat projections, according to new data released by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Cruise travel reached 24.7 million cruise passengers globally in 2016, CLIA reports, up from a projection of 24.2 million. CLIA is also forecasting a strong year of growth for 2017, with cruise passengers projected to reach 25.8 million.

“One of the many reasons that the cruise industry continues to thrive is because of the personalization it is able to offer to its guests from around the world,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA, in a written release. “Never before have I been a part of or seen an industry that is so good at listening and reacting to what its customers want, and this is why we are going to see our industry continue to grow.”

Top Cruise Destinations in 2016

  1. Caribbean (35 percent)
  2. Mediterranean (18.3 percent)
  3. Europe w/o Med (11.1 percent)
  4. Asia (9.2 percent)
  5. Australia/New Zealand/Pacific (6.1 percent)
  6. Alaska (4.2 percent)
  7. South America (2.5 percent)

Much of the industry’s growth can be attributed to the continuing development of the Asian market, CLIA said, with ocean capacity rising to 9.2 percent in 2016, a 38 percent increase from 2015. The increased capacity in the region, combined with travelers in this region going on shorter, and more frequent cruises, has kept this marketplace at the top of emerging markets within the cruise industry.

New Cruise Ships

Globally, the 2016 CLIA fleet was comprised of 458 ships and welcomed nine new ocean ships and 17 new river vessels for a total of 26 new ships. These new ships represent an additional 28,000 passenger capacity.

Cruise Line


AIDA Cruises






Amadeus by Luftner


American Cruise Lines


APT Group

RV Samatha

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Vista

CroisiEurope Cruises

MS Elbe Princesse

CroisiEurope Cruises

MS Daniele

CroisiEurope Cruises

MS Deborah

Crystal Cruises

Crystal Mozart

Emerald Waterways

Emerald Belle

Holland America Line

ms Koningsdam

Regent Seven Seas

Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Royal Caribbean International

Harmony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International

Ovation of the Seas

Scenic Tours

Scenic Amber

Scenic Tours

Scenic Azure

Scenic Tours

Scenic Spirit

Scenic Tours

Scenic Aura



Star Cruises (Genting HK)

Genting Dream

Tauck River Cruises

ms Grace

Tauck River Cruises

ms Joy

TUI Cruises

Mein Schiff 5

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Ganges Voyager II

Source: CLIA

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