The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has published its 2020 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report, projecting that 32m cruise passengers will set sail in 2020, up from the projected 30m in 2019.
The majority of passengers (14.24m) will come from North America with 6.73m passengers expected from Western Europe and 4.24m from Asia. As many as 82% of these passengers are likely to select a cruise as their next vacation.
CLIA-member cruise lines will debut 19 new ocean liners in 2020, which will bring the fleet total to 278 by the end of 2020, with an average fleet age of 14.1 years.
CLIA highlighted the industry’s $22bn investment in the environment and sustainability including new energy efficiency technologies, partnerships with local governments in key destinations and commitment to reducing carbon emissions by 40% by 2030, compared to 2008.
The environmental benefits of liquified natural gas (LNG) are virtually zero sulphur emissions, a 95% to 100% reduction in particulate emissions, 85% reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions and up to a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
Exhaust gas cleaning systems (ECGS) contribute to a 98% reduction in sulphur oxide levels, 50% reduction of total particulate matter and 12% reduction of nitrogen oxides.
Additionally, 100% of new-build cruise liners in the CLIA fleet are expected to have advanced water treatment systems. 88% will have shore-side power or be configured for that capability.
“While demand for cruising has reached new heights, the cruise industry is accelerating our efforts to be a leader in responsible tourism,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO, CLIA. “Our members are at the forefront of best practices designed to protect the sanctity of the destinations we visit and enhance the experiences of travellers and residents alike.”
The most popular destination for cruising is in the Caribbean which accounts for 32% of fleet deployments; 17% of the fleet will be deployed to the Mediterranean and 11% to European destinations outside of the Mediterranean. The next four popular destinations, each accounting for 5% of fleet deployments, are China, Australia/NZ/Pacific, Alaska and cruises in Asia that do not include stops in China. South America accounts for 2% of fleet deployments.
“The industry’s economic impact is a big part of the story, especially as it relates to our passengers’ contributions to local economies and the diverse workforce onboard our ships,” said Craighead. “We recognise that with growth comes increased responsibility to raise the bar in all aspects of what we do to ensure cruising remains a force for good and the best way to experience the world.”
The industry is expected to contribute to the local economies in job-creation, supplies and services, as well as passenger spending. According to the newly released CLIA 2018 Global Economic Impact Analysis, cruising sustained 1,177,000 jobs equaling US$50.24bn (€45.17bn) in wages and salaries; and US$150bn (€134.89bn) total output worldwide in 2018. CLIA reports that passengers spend US$376(€338) in port cities before boarding a cruise and spend $101(€90) in each visiting port destination during a cruise.
Additional trends that will shape the cruise industry for 2020, according to CLIA, include the growing popularity of cruise and stay holidays, with 65% of cruise passengers spending a few extra days at embarkation or debarkation ports.
Plastic-free travel is also growing in popularity; 82% of cruise passengers recycle, 80% reduce single-use plastics while travelling and 70% of cruises have eliminated plastic straws.
Cruise travel is gaining popularity with younger generations with 66% of Generation X and 71% of Millennials having a positive attitude about cruising.
Lone cruising is also on the rise and cruise lines are adjusting by offering studio cabins, single- friendly activities, eliminating single supplements and solo-lounges.
Cruises are also appealing to a micro travel trend by offering “bite-sized” cruises over a three-to-five-day period.