Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, detailing a steady pace of cruise travel interest and significant investment in the industry. CLIA, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, is also predicting the top eight cruise travel trends that will have an impact on the industry in the coming year.

Increase in cruise travel is expected to continue throughout 2017, with an estimated 25.3 million passengers expected to sail in 2017, a strong surge from 15.8 million just 10 years prior (2007). More ships will set sail in 2017 as well. CLIA reports that cruise lines are scheduled to debut 26 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2017 for a total investment of more than $6.8 billion in new vessels From 2017-2026 the industry is expected to introduce a total of 97 new cruise ships totalling an estimated investment of US$53 billion through 2026.

“The cruise industry is responding to global demand and we are highly encouraged by both the short-term and long-term outlook,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA.  “From technological advancements and deployment of new ships to new ports and destinations around the world, the industry continues to respond to desires of today’s travelers resulting in steady growth and strong economic impact around the world.”

Cruise industry expenditures generated US$117 billion in total output worldwide, supporting 956,597 full-time equivalent employees who earned US$38 billion in income in 2015.

As part of the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, CLIA has forecasted the top eight cruise travel trends that will have the most impact on the cruise industry this year.

  1. New Generation Takes to the Water – A recent study found that younger generations—including Millennials and Generation X — will embrace cruise travel more than ever before, rating it as better than land-based vacations, all-inclusive resorts, tours, vacation house rentals, or camping.
  2. Travel Agent Use Increases – According to the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker, consumer use of a travel agent increased nearly 80% from 2015 to 2016. Supporting this, CLIA is forecasting that travel agents will continue to be the matchmakers between travelLers and cruise lines in 2017. Today, there are more than 25,000 CLIA-member travel agents globally compared to 12,000 in 2010. CLIA also found that cruisers report high levels of satisfaction with their travel experience when assisted by an agent.
  3. River Cruise Demand Increases – River cruises offer traveLlers a unique and intimate travel experience. Due to demand, CLIA cruise line Members currently deploy 184 river cruise ships with 13 new river cruise ships on order for 2017, an increase of about 7 percent.
  4. More Private Islands on Cruise Itineraries – As more cruise lines introduce private island destinations, travellers are responding and booking these itineraries. In 2017, cruise lines offer ports on a total of seven private islands.
  5. New Cruisers Will Take to the Sea – Interest in ocean cruising is projected to remain strong in 2017. When asked what kind of vacations might be of interest in the next three years nearly half (48 percent) of non-cruisers expressed interest in taking an ocean cruise while a striking 85 percent of cruisers also expressed interest.
  6. Drivable Port Locations in Favour – The cruise industry offers a variety of small and large market port location options across the United States and internationally. Citing the advantages of a myriad of locations seven out of ten (69 percent) non-cruisers believe the greatest benefit is cost savings and three quarters (74 percent) of cruisers like the convenience of driving to a cruise ship.
  7. Lure of Celeb Chefs – Cruise travelLers are embracing specialty dining and will continue to consider cruise dining experiences based upon celebrity chefs. This year, several cruise lines feature restaurants and dishes created by famous chefs including Guy Fieri, Nobuyuki “Nobu” Matsuhisa and Geoffrey Zakarian.
  8. Demand for Expedition Cruises – According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel is growing at a record pace and CLIA is reporting that cruise expeditions are seeing the impact. In fact, itineraries for Antarctica regularly sell out.

For more information on CLIA’s 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook: .

* This represents the entire cruise industry, not only CLIA cruise line Members 


Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has also released this month the fourth and final Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report of 2016, revealing key cruise travel trends and insight into the current state of the travel agent industry. The report is the fourth instalment in an ongoing quarterly research study from CLIA and is designed to forecast trends in the cruise industry among the travel agent community. This instalment of the report found that travel agent sales remain strong, overall cruise spending is growing, and travel agents are influencing advance cruise bookings.

“The Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook report allows us to keep our finger on the pulse of the cruise industry as a whole and provides a glimpse into the future from the travel agents perspective,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “Findings from latest report help both travel agents and industry stakeholders adapt to meet the needs of today’s travelers and has become a staple in our research calendar.”

Key findings from the latest Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook Report of 2016:

Cruise Growth: Increase Over Last Year

According to the report, cruise travel’s popularity continues to rise across all four major cruise segments. Travel agents reported a higher cruise sales volume over last year with over three-quarters projecting a continued increase.  River cruise popularity continues and six out of ten (67 percent) of travel agents are seeing a growth in river cruise popularity. Larger ships are seeing a spike in interest as well as 62 percent of agents is reporting growth in the sector.

Increased Sales & Spending: Strong Interest in Cruise Travel This Winter

The report found that travel agents are continuing to see strong sales due to cruise travel’s ever-growing popularity and sales are projected to be the strongest this winter when compared to earlier in 2016. Over 80 percent of travel agencies polled believe that cruise sales volume will be strongest this winter compared to sales this time last year, due in part to economic stability. Overall cruise spending is also reported to be on the rise, as nearly three-quarters of all travel agents report an increase in consumer spending with 22 percent expecting growth of ten percent or more, another 22 percent expect sales to grow six to ten percent, and 30 percent expecting a five percent growth.

Advance Travel Booking: Last-Minute Cruise Deal Hunters On the Decline

Travel agents taking part in the report stated clients are increasingly booking cruises further in advance, shining a light on how knowledgeable agents can guide clients toward a best vacation with the best deal before ships reach sailing capacity contrary to the “last minute deal” mentality.  In fact, 43 percent of agents report that more customers are booking travel nine months to a year in advance, while 37 percent report higher bookings 12 to 18 months in advance. Last minute deal hunters are on the decline, as 20 percent of travel agents report a reduction in the number of travelers booking cruises less than three months out.

Travel professionals in the cruise industry, can have their voice heard by joining the CLIA Travel Agent Research Panel. To join, email

The full report is available at: