â€œThe cruise industry is responding to global demand and we are highly encouraged by both the short-term and long-term outlook,â€ says Cindy Dâ€™Aoust, president and CEO, of the Cruise Lines International Association.
Cruise vacations are booming. In 2017, 25.3 million passengers are expected to sail, an increase from 24.2 million projected in 2016 and a big increase from 15.8 million passengers in 2007, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Twenty-six new ships are on order, representing a total investment of more than $6.8 billion in new ocean vessels in 2017.
“The cruise industry is responding to global demand and we are highly encouraged by both the short-term and long-term outlook,” says Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, of the CLIA. “From technological advances and deployment of new ships to new ports and destinations around the world, the industry continues to respond to desires of today’s travelers resulting in steady growth and strong economic impact around the world.” CLIA has identified eight trends that it expects will most affect the cruise industry in 2017.
Top 8 Cruise Travel Trends
1. New generation of cruisers: CLIA expects that younger cruisers, especially Millennials and Generation Xers, will cruise than ever before. CLIA predicts this based on surveys that find travelers in those age brackets rating cruises as better values than land-based vacations.
2. Increase in use of travel agents: The use of travel agents increased nearly 80 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker. CLIA expects that the 25,000 CLIA-member travel agents will be instrumental in matching vacationers to cruises.
3. Demand increases for river cruises: Demand for river voyages continues to increase. CLIA cruise line members currently deploy 184 river cruise ships with 13 new river vessels on order for 2017, an increase of about 7 percent.
4. Private islands are popular: As more cruise lines introduce private islands, vacationers are booking itineraries that include stops at these private ports. In 2017, cruise lines offer seven private islands.
5. New passengers expected for ocean sailings: CLIA expects interest in cruising to remain strong in 2017, citing a survey in which 48 percent of non-cruiser respondents expressed interest in taking a cruise within the next three years.
6. Ports within driving distance remain popular: Cruise ships depart from a variety of ports throughout the U.S. In a survey, 74 percent of cruise vacationers who responded said they liked the convenience and nearly 69 percent of non-cruisers liked the cost savings that result from being able to drive to a port.
7. Specialty dining is popular: Cruise travelers like the dining venues and fare created by celebrity chefs.
8. Demand increases for expedition cruises: With adventure travel continuing to grow, cruise lines are seeing more demand for itineraries such as Antarctica.