The global cruise industry and all its players involved have proven through the pandemic that come hell or high water, they will still find a way to survive and thrive. And thrive the sector is indeed doing, as passenger volumes are increasing by the day and expected to even outperform pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
At Seatrade Cruise Global that happened from 25 to 28 April in Miami, Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) shared new insights of the bigger and better opportunities that await the cruise sector.
“As the industry resumes operations, passenger volume is expected to recover and surpass 2019 levels by the end of 2023, with passenger volumes projected to recover 12% above pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2026,” Craighead said.
As the demand for cruising continuously picks up speed, CLIA revealed that intent to cruise is rebounding harder than compared to its previous 2022 outlook based on uplifting insights from its recent consumer survey:
- 63% of existing cruisers and potential cruisers indicate they are “very likely” or “likely” to cruise in the next two years.
- 69% of respondents that have never cruised said they are open to taking a cruise, exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
- Millennials are the most enthusiastic cruisers, with 87% expressing their desire to sail in the next few years, followed by Gen X at 85%.
“Cruising is accessible, responsible, and experiential – making it the best way to see the world for people of all ages and interests,” Craighead asserted. “With the support of an incredibly resilient community, the future of the cruise industry is bright.”
During the event, CLIA’s ocean-going members also pledged to pursue net-zero carbon cruising by 2050. By 2035, all ships calling at ports where shoreside electricity (SSE) is available will be equipped to use SSE, allowing engines to be switched off and effectively eliminating carbon emissions while berthed at port. If shoreside electricity is not available, the ships will use alternative low-carbon technologies.
“I have only one word: sustainability — this is the future not only for all of us as a society but especially for our industry,” said CLIA chairman Pierfrancesco Vago. “The cruise industry has an extraordinary ability to innovate, and we want to channel our collective expertise and commitment to help find solutions as an active partner in the effort to decarbonise shipping.
“We continue to set ambitious carbon-reduction goals as an industry, and cruise lines are showing the way by partnering with fuel suppliers, shipyards, technology manufacturers and academic institutions to develop new lower-carbon fuel sources. We are investing in our future,” Vago emphasised.