While the cruise industry suffered a devastating year in 2020, latest research by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) suggest that there are reasons for hope and optimism in the year ahead.
CLIA's 2021 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report, released in end December 2020, revealed that two out of three cruisers willing to cruise within a year and 58% of international vacationers, who have never cruised, are likely to cruise in the next few years.
Looking ahead, there will be more than enough ships to accommodate demand in 2021. CLIA Cruise Lines will be debuting 19 new ocean ships in 2021, translating to a total of 270 ships in operation by the end of the year. This 'Fleet of the Future' will feature enhanced health and safety cruise protocols for the resumption of passenger operations designed to help protect passengers, crew and destinations.
When it comes to safe cruising, more than 200 of such successful sailings from early July through mid-December 2020. These included Covid-19 testing prior to embarkation for crews and passengers, mandatory wearing of masks, physical distancing, air management and ventilation strategies as well as enhanced medical capabilities.
Across the board, North America hosted the most cruisers in 2019:
15.4 million out of a global total of 29.7 million passengers.
Passengers spent US$385 in port cities before boarding a cruise, and US$100 when visiting port destinations during sailings.
Despite the pandemic disruption, the cruise industry remains committed to a more sustainable future — US$23.5 billion has been sunk into ships with new technologies and cleaner fuels to reduce carbon emissions, as well as partnerships with local governments in key destinations.
99% of new ships on order will have advanced wastewater treatment systems installed, and 49% relying on liquified natural gas for primary propulsion. 96% of these new builds will also have exhaust gas cleaning systems.
The target is also to cut carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008, and 58% of new builds connected to shore side electricity (SSE). Currently, 32% of global fleets are capable of SSE, with another 25% being retrofitted to use SSE.
"As we look to 2021, I know that cruisers are eager to set sail once more, just as our industry is eager to put people back to work and create unforgettable experiences for our valued guests," said Adam Goldstein, CLIA chairman.
The report also includes 2019's Global Economic Impact Analysis, which showed that cruising had contributed nearly 1.2 million jobs equaling US$50.53 billion in wages and salaries, as well as US$154.5 billion total output worldwide.
According to the association, every one per cent loss of cruisers meant a loss of 9,100 industry-related jobs. Each day of cruise suspension caused losses of 2,500 jobs.