Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released the latest global cruise passenger statistics.
Playing a significant role in international tourism, cruising continues at a paced growth around the world with an almost seven percent increase from 2017 to 2018, totaling 28.5 million passengers.
Research also shows North American travellers continue to embrace cruising with an annual passenger increase of nine percent (14.2 million passengers) in 2018.
While the cruise sector represents two percent of the overall global travel industry, this segment is on pace with international tourism worldwide. According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourist arrivals grew six percent in 2018, totaling 1.4 billion while cruise travel grew at almost seven percent during the same timing.
Cruise Passenger Insights Around the Globe
- Mediterranean Moves – Cruises in the Mediterranean are moving up in popularity with an impressive eight per cent increase from 2017 to 2018 totaling more than 4 million cruise passengers.
- Shorter Cruises – Passengers are preferring shorter cruise durations. Seven-day cruise itineraries are up nine per cent while three-day and under cruises are also up 10 percent in 2018.
- Caribbean Rebounds – Cruisers love the Caribbean and the latest insight reveal travel to the islands is still in full swing. An impressive 11.3 million cruise passengers traveled to the Caribbean in 2018 an annual increase of six per cent.
- Destination Alaska – As adventure travel continues to thrive, so do adventurous cruise destinations. Alaska has experienced double-digit growth with a year-over-year 17 per cent increase in passengers in 2017 and another 13 per cent increase in 2018 accounting for more than one million cruisers travelling to this destination.
- Moderate Growth in Asia – When compared to the rapid increases of the past, 2018 saw moderate cruise passenger growth throughout Asia and China with a 5 percent increase in cruise passengers from the region totaling a still impressive 4.2 million.
North American numbers
- Cruise Travel on the Rise - North American passenger numbers reached 14.2 million in 2018, showing an increase of nine per cent from 2017.
- Eyes on the Mediterranean– Globally, Mediterranean cruises grew substantially in popularity last year, totaling more than four million cruise passengers worldwide. Of those, more than 700,000 passengers came from North America up 29 per cent from the previous year.
- Craving the Caribbean – Cruise travelers from North America dominate cruise travel to the easily accessible Caribbean. Continued growth in cruising to the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Bermuda, is up seven per cent to 9.8 million passengers in 2018.
- Alaskan Adventures Preferred – Aligning with global insights, North American cruisers made up the significant portion of cruise passengers traveling to Alaska in 2018 with 906,019 cruise passengers increasing to 14 per cent from 2017.
- Additional Destinations - Other growing North American destinations include the Hawaii & North Atlantic Coast region, Mexico, California, and Pacific which increased four percent in 2018, totaling 1.3 million cruise passengers.
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