CLIA’s Cruise Industry Outlook

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Royal Carribean's Anthem of the Seas is one of the new ships that are debuting this year.
Royal Carribean’s Anthem of the Seas is one of the new ships that are debuting this year.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has projected a strong growth for the cruise line industry in 2015.

According to CLIA, 23 million passengers are expected to sail this year, and 61 percent of CLIA-certified agents reported an increase in 2015 bookings when compared to last year. Cruise lines are enticing passengers to set sail with 22 new ocean, river, and specialty ships debuting in 2015, and approximately 1,000 ports of call.

In its State of the Cruise Industry Report, CLIA identified seven points for the outlook of the cruise industry in 2015:

  1. Travelers Continue to Sail: CLIA reports that 63 percent of cruisers are return cruisers and 69 percent rated cruising as a better value than a land-based vacation.
  2. Size Isn’t Important: The focus is no longer on the biggest cruise ship in the market, but more on unique design and amenities.
  3. Specialty Cruises are Rising: Specialty cruises grew by 21 percent annually from 2009 to the 2014 estimates. This includes luxury yachts, elegant ocean liners and river cruises—all of which experienced double digit passenger growth.
  4. The Caribbean is Still Popular: Though the Caribbean is still the most popular destination for cruisers to sail, the Mediterranean, Asia, and Australia are all on the rise as well. So much so, that in 2015, 52 ships will provide 1,065 Asian sailings.
  5. Expanding Ports: As more passengers search for global experiences when it comes to sailing, CLIA’s member cruise lines offer 1,000 ports around the globe, many of which are within a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  6. Travel Agents are Important: CLIA reports that 70 percent of cruise travelers use a travel agent to plan and book their cruise vacations—that’s seven out of 10 cruise passengers.
  7. Cruisers are Demanding More Amenities: Cruise lines are listening to their passengers to meet their needs while on board, providing amenities such as bow-to-stern WiFi and phone connectivity, multigenerational itineraries, themed cruises, and a larger focus on culinary-focused experiences.

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