This week in the cruise industry we’re tracking three signs of a good year ahead for cruise travel.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) released its 2018 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, which projects cruise travel to continue to rise to an estimated 27.2 million passengers in 2018. That’s up from 25.8 million cruise passengers this year, and a 20.5 percent increase over the five-year period from 2011-2016. CLIA predicts that cruise travel will appeal to a broad variety of budgets, with households with incomes of less than $80K accounting for one third of cruisers surveyed. Transformational experiences, chilly destinations and “skip-gen” cruising – in which grandparents take the grandkids on vacation – are also expected to be hot. Another trend to watch: Millennials checking out river cruises.
2018 will also see Caribbean destinations impacted by this year’s devastating hurricane season continue their recovery. The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) reports that its “Caribbean Is Open” campaign has generated more than five billion impressions aimed at raising awareness of and driving travel to the many destinations that were untouched by the storms, as well as the destinations’ resiliency and recovery efforts.
Finally, new cruise ship construction continues apace, with a number of lines announcing new product to lure new and repeat cruise travelers this week. Luxury line Ponant just announced an order for a hybrid-electric ice breaker for delivery in 2021, while Viking Cruises has finalized a contract to expand its oceangoing fleet to 10 ships. Construction has also begun on the new Celebrity Flora and Hondius.