There was almost a 7% increase in the number of people taking a cruise last year.
According to statistics produced by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the 2018 total was 28.5 mill pax worldwide. This figure is likely to break the 30 mill barrier by the end of this year.
Research also shows North American travellers continued to embrace cruising in 2018 with an annual passenger increase of 9% to 14.2 mill last year.
While the cruise sector represents only 2% of the overall global travel industry, this segment is on a growth pattern similar with international tourism worldwide. According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals grew 6% in 2018, totalling 1.4 bill while cruise travel grew at almost 7% over the same period.
“It is not surprising that cruise travel is on par with overall international tourism growth. Cruising makes international travel accessible for travellers worldwide and it is apparent in the 2018 CLIA global passenger findings,” said Kelly Craighead, CLA’s president and CEO (pictured). “From a renewed interest in cruises to the Mediterranean to a significant increase in adventure cruising, travellers are embracing cruise travel more than ever before.”
Among the findings of CLIA’s annual report were –
• Mediterranean – Cruises in the Mediterranean are rising in popularity with an 8% increase from 2017 to 2018 totalling more than 4 mill cruise passengers.
• Shorter Cruises – Passengers are preferring shorter cruise durations. Seven-day cruise itineraries are up 9%, while three-day and under cruises are also up 10% in 2018.
• Caribbean Rebounds – Some 11.3 mill cruise passengers travelled to the Caribbean in 2018 an annual increase of 6%.
• Destination Alaska – Alaska has experienced double-digit growth with a year-over-year 17% increase in passengers in 2017 and another 13% increase in 2018 accounting for more than 1 mill cruisers travelling to this destination.
• Moderate Growth in Asia – When compared to the rapid increases of the past, 2018 saw moderate cruise passenger growth throughout Asia and China with a 5% rise in cruise passengers from the region totalling a still impressive 4.2 mill.
• Additional Destinations – Other growing North American destinations include the Hawaii & North Atlantic Coast region, Mexico, California, and Pacific, which increased 4% in 2018, totalling 1.3 mill cruise passengers.