Stats: Cruise Bookings Up 38 Percent in January

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas
Royal Caribbean reported record forward bookings in its recent 2016 earnings report. // Photo copyright by Susan J. Young

Strong signs keep coming for the cruise industry. Cruise wholesaler Tourico Holidays just released a report showing that the company’s cruise bookings increased by 38 percent in January year over year. Those numbers follow a strong 2016 for the company, in which cruise bookings increased 37 percent over 2015, along with an 8 percent increase in average transaction size.

Tourico said the growth was primarily driven by outbound bookings from the U.S., which increased 49 percent in 2016 versus 2015. Canada’s bookings increased 12 percent and UK bookings increased 10 percent, while Latin America as a whole was up 21 percent.

The study is the latest in a series of positive reports for the cruise industry. In Royal Caribbean’s 2016 earnings report, the cruise line said that “forward bookings are at record levels” for early 2017, driven by strong numbers from North American travelers, as well as a positive outlook in Australia and China. According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA)’s Cruise Travel Report, which was released in late January, new Millennial and Generation Y cruise travelers are set to continue to drive growth this year, with 90 percent of customers in this age group who have taken a cruise reporting plans to come back.

Major agency networks, too, started off the year reporting optimism. In a late-January press conference Travel Leaders Network reported that 93 percent of its agents had seen year-over-year cruise bookings higher than or on par with last year. The numbers were strong when zeroing in on the luxury segment as well – in another Travel Leaders survey spotlighting luxury, cruises were the number one destination within and outside North America (Europe river cruises and Caribbean cruises, respectively). Mediterranean and Baltic ocean cruises, as well as Australia/New Zealand cruises also made the top 10. In all, 82.8 percent of Travel Leaders luxury agents predicted either increased or similar cruise bookings this year versus last year.

Tourico sells cruises from 16 major lines in destinations including the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, Bermuda, Mexico, South America, Asia and Australia. The company also just signed a new partnership with Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

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