2019 is projected to be another growth year for the global cruise industry, with an estimated 30 million travellers expected to cruise, up 6% from 28.2 million in 2018.
In the coming year 27 new ships are on order from CLIA cruise lines. A total of 272 CLIA-member cruise ships are projected to be in operation by June 2019.
The cruise industry continues to make a positive impact on communities around the globe by sustaining 1,108,676 jobs equaling $45.6 billion in wages and salaries and $134 billion total output worldwide in 2017.
CLIA’s 2019 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report reveals that cruise travel continues to grow and contribute to the overall global economy.
1. Instagrammable Cruise Travel
Instagram posts are driving interest in travel around the world, so much so that on an average day, there can be close to 351 million posts with the tag #travel. With onboard connectivity, cruise passengers Instagram feeds with diverse travel experiences both onboard and on land from several cruise destinations.
2. Total Restoration
Stressed out from fast-paced lives, travellers are seeking ways to check out from daily responsibilities and rejuvenate more than ever before. Cruise lines are responding by offering total wellness in the form of restorative spa experiences, onboard oxygen bars, healthy menu choices for a wide variety of diets, and the latest in fitness innovations.
3. Achievement Over Experience
Experiential travel has evolved into achievement travel as holiday makers are looking for immersive, cultural experiences beyond sightseeing. Bucket lists have become more goal-oriented and cruise lines are meeting these demands. Passengers can conquer Machu Picchu or complete culinary workshops hosted by Le Cordon Bleu chefs.
4. On-Board with Smart Tech
Cruise lines have adopted wearable technology for cruise travellers—including keychains, necklaces, bracelets, and more—in order to provide a highly personalised travel experience while on and off the ship.
5. Conscious Travel
Travellers want to see the world in a conscious, mindful way. The cruise industry is more conscientious than ever, working with local communities to preserve their heritage and implementing innovations that decrease the environmental footprint of cruise travel. The industry is also working with destinations to bring the benefits of tourism to local economies while preserving local cultures, landmarks and environments.
6. Access is the New Luxury
Travellers are setting their sights on destinations that were previously out of reach, some only accessible now by cruise ship. They want to be among the first of their peers to experience destinations such as the Galapagos Islands and Antarctica.
7. Gen Z at Sea
Generation Z is set to become the largest consumer generation in the next two years—outpacing even Millennials. Like the generation before, this age bracket prefers authentic experiences over material items and has an even greater wanderlust. The appeal of multiple destinations and unique experiences, such as music festivals at sea, is helping attract this new generation of cruisers.
8. Off-Peak Adventures
The off-peak season is rising in popularity, whether travellers are looking to escape the cold in a tropical place or embrace the chill in a new destination. Cruising offers some once-in-a-lifetime experiences during the colder months that include: excursions to see the Northern Lights, visiting a penguin colony, and touring European Christmas Markets.
9. Working Nomads
Combining work with leisure time is on the rise. Straying far from the notion of device-free travel, many modern travellers or “digital nomads” are opting for trips where they can work remotely which cuts down on time off and lost wages. With WiFi, desks and work-friendly cafes, travellers can keep up with work while enjoying a cruise holiday.
10. Female-Centered Cruising
With the number of female travellers growing, many tourism and travel companies are creating female-centered itineraries based on interests and connecting women with other women. Female-centered cruises can create a female empowerment community at sea while allowing travelers to experience the world around them, as well as visit famous feminist landmarks.
11. Going Solo
With more Google searches for “solo travel” and “travelling alone” than ever before, travelling alone is rising in popularity. Cruising allows for solo travel without the worry of arranging a ton of details while visiting even the most far-reaching destinations and connecting with other travellers, forming community bonds and experiencing once-in-a-lifetime things.
Joel Katz is the Managing Director Australasia for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).