Before Adam M. Goldstein, chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and president/COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., gave the packed audience at Cruise Shipping Miami 2015 a report of the cruise industry, he said these words: “Travel agents remain, in many respects, the backbone of our industry despite the fact that there have been radical changes in the way that people research and think about their cruise vacations—travel agents still overwhelmingly distribute our cruises to the public.”
Positive words to accompany the positive results Goldstein reported of today’s state of the cruise industry. So how is the industry doing? “In a couple of words,” said Goldstein, “very well. It’s an exciting time.”
Some of the important figures Goldstein presented where: A record 23 million passengers are expected to sail this year; cruise lines are traveling to nearly 1,000 ports of call in new destinations around the globe; the global impact of the cruise industry was more than $117 million (2013 figures); and nearly 900,000 jobs were created by the industry.
Costumer satisfaction is at an all-time high of 42 percent, and Goldstein said this enthusiasm is a catalyst for continued growth in the cruise industry.
“Not surprising this gives cruise line companies and their investors the confidence to continue to invest in new ships, and 2015 is no exception to this rule. There are some really exciting ships coming into the business this year, six ocean-going and 16 river cruise ships.”
Along with the figures, CLIA also shared seven 2015 cruise industry outlooks:
- Travelers will continue to cruise. According to CLIA, 62 percent are return cruisers and 69 percent ranked cruising as a better value than a land-based vacation.
- Size doesn’t matter. The industry is shying away from the bigger ships and will focus more on smaller vessels with unique designs and amenities.
- Specialty cruises on top. Luxury yachts, elegant ocean liners and the newest river cruise ships will continue to see passenger growth.
- Caribbean is queen. The Caribbean is still the top destination for cruisers today, followed by Europe and the Mediterranean.
- New ports. The cruise industry is experiencing an increase in new destinations and ports for travelers seeking different locations around the world.
- Travel agents are key. Travel agents continue to be the best way to book a cruise vacation.
- Consumers have the power. Cruise lines are meeting the needs of today’s travelers more than ever before by introducing new technologies, theme cruise vacations, and catering to multigenerational clients.