WASHINGTON — Cruising continues to grow in leaps and bounds with an almost 7% increase from 2017 to 2018, for a total of some 28.5 million passengers, according to new data from CLIA.
CLIA says its research also shows that North American travellers are continuing to fall in love with cruising, with an annual passenger increase of 9% (14.2 million passengers) in 2018.
“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,” says Kelly Craighead, President and CEO, CLIA. “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.”
Here’s a look at some of the trends and stats…
- Mediterranean Moves – Cruises in the Mediterranean are moving up in popularity with an impressive 8% increase from 2017 to 2018 totalling more than 4 million cruise passengers.
- Shorter Cruises – Passengers are gravitating to shorter cruise durations, says CLIA. Seven-day cruise itineraries are up 9% while three-day and under cruises are also up 10% in 2018.
- Caribbean Rebounds – Some 11.3 million cruise passengers travelled to the Caribbean in 2018, an annual increase of 6%.
- Destination Alaska – As adventure travel continues to thrive, so do adventurous cruise destinations. 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 one million 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% increase in cruise passengers from the region totaling a still impressive 4.2 million.
And here’s CLIA’s insight on the North American market specifically …
- Cruise Travel on the Rise – North American passenger numbers reached 14.2 million in 2018, up 9% from 2017.
- Eyes on the Med – Globally, Mediterranean cruises grew substantially in popularity last year, totaling more than 4 million cruise passengers worldwide. Of those, more than 700,000 passengers came from North America up 29% from the previous year.
- The Caribbean – Continued growth in cruising to the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Bermuda, is up 7% to 9.8 million passengers in 2018.
- Alaska – Aligning with global insights, North American cruisers made up the significant portion of cruise passengers travelling to Alaska in 2018 with 906,019 cruise passengers increasing to 14% from 2017.
- Other 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 million cruise passengers.