Do you love a good cruise? Are you excited by the idea of getting out onto the open water and sipping cocktails while you lounge on the deck or explore foreign ports? If so, you’re not alone, but you might be surprised to find out how much you didn’t know about the cruise industry yet. Well, for your convenience, we’ve curated a list of cruise industry statistics for you to peruse below.
Key Cruise Industry Statistics (Editor’s Picks)
Cruising is all about the journey, and what a journey it has been for this industry. But, there is so much information out there and it’s scattered everywhere — search results, reports, other people’s research, social media sites, forums, etc. So to help make things easier for you, here we’re presenting you with the latest cruise industry statistics.
Whether you’re a travel agent, an online search marketer, travel agent, a fan of cruising, or any other type of person involved in any way with the cruise industry, you’re certainly going to find a statistic that you can use.
- The worldwide cruise industry earned $6.648 billion in revenue in 2021
- Cruise industry revenue is anticipated to reach 34.1 billion USD by 2025
- The cruise industry employs over 436,000 Americans
- The pandemic caused an 88% revenue drop for the cruise industry
- The United States is the leading country in revenue generated by the cruise industry
- 78% of the revenue for the global cruise industry is derived through offline sales channels
- Carnival Cruise Lines has the largest share of the cruise market at 45 percent
- The Caribbean is the most visited cruise ship destinations
- In 2021, 60% more cruise ships were built than the year before
- 75% of all cruise bookings are made through travel agents
Cruise Industry Overview Statistics
Many vacationers prefer the leisure and extravagance of cruise ships over staying at a hotel where the view never changes. So, let’s look at some exciting statistics to see what makes sea vacations spectacular?
1. The worldwide cruise industry earned $6.65 billion in revenue in 2021
The worldwide cruise industry earned $6.65 billion in revenue in 2021, a huge increase from the $3.36 billion it earned in 2020.
While these numbers are impressive, they’re not surprising. We’ve seen a huge influx of people looking for cruises since the beginning of 2021, particularly because many land-based vacation destinations shut down during that time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The good news is that things seem to be looking up, and many people are optimistic about the future of traveling (or at least optimistic about not being stuck in their house for too much longer).
2. Cruise industry revenue is anticipated to reach 34.1 billion USD by 2025
It’s no surprise that the cruise industry is booming: in an increasingly connected world, the ability to unplug and just relax is more desirable than ever.
From the onboard activities to the excursions at each port, cruises are a great way to spend time with family and friends, experience new cultures and cuisines, and recharge your batteries.
The cruise industry has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years. It is anticipated that by 2025, the market size of the cruise industry will reach 34.1 billion USD.
3. The cruise industry employs over 436,000 Americans
(Federal Maritime Commission)
Did you know that the cruise industry employs over 436,000 Americans? And it’s not just people working on cruise ships—these are jobs within cruise companies, and also at travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, and more.
So when you go on a cruise vacation, you’re actually helping to support a huge number of other industries and businesses that help make your vacation possible in the first place!
4. The United States is the leading country in revenue generated by the cruise industry
The cruise industry is a big deal here in the US. While the cruise industry is growing worldwide, the United States is the largest market in terms of revenue. In fact, the United States brings in more revenue to the cruise industry than any other country on earth.
The US is followed by Germany, UK, China, Italy, and Canada respectively.
5. 78% of the revenue for the global cruise industry is derived through offline sales channels
Overall, the cruise industry is still largely dependent on offline sales channels, which account for 78% of the industry’s revenues. Only 22% of global cruise revenue is coming from online sales.
This finding suggests that many tour operators are still relying on traditional offline sales channels, such as travel agents and brochures, to sell cruises.
6. The Caribbean is the most visited cruise ship destinations
According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the most popular destinations are the Caribbean, Bahamas, and Bermuda with about 11.982 million passengers yearly.
Asia and China fall in second place. And Hawaii appears to be the least popular destination across the globe.
Carnival Cruise Lines is the largest cruise company in the world, with a 45-percent share of the market. They are headquartered in Doral, Florida, and operate a fleet of 24 ships that visit over 40 countries around the world.
This may be because of their dominant marketing forces. CCL has a massive fleet of ships and a huge passenger carrying capacity. CCL is also known for having the first cruise ship that was built specifically to cater to the needs of children and their families, the Fantasy. The Fantasy was launched in 1990. According to their CEO Arnold Donald, “It’s all about making memories.” This is a very powerful statement that attracts people.
In addition, compared to other cruise lines, Carnival has the most affordable rates per person/day, which attracts people as well as increases their market share.
8. The average cruise vacation is seven days long
Cruise vacations are pretty popular. They’re a great way to see the world, meet new people, and let someone else do all the work while you relax and enjoy life. Your vacation can be any length you want it to be, but the average cruise vacation is seven days long.
The largest percentage of the cruises, around 40%, last 7 days. 27% of the cruises last an average of 5 days, 15% last an average of 11 days. 11% of the cruises last only three days, and 4% last 14 days.
Cruise Ship Statistics
9. In 1901 the first cruise ship embarked on a journey from Hamburg, Germany, to New York
Prinzessin Victoria Luise was the first ship designed specifically for leisure travel. She loaded her passengers in New York on January 26, 1901, and set off for the West Indies. On December 16, 1906, her career ended in Jamaica, where she ran aground near the Kingston Harbour.
A lot has changed in 121 years, so read on as we explore a century of cruise industry statistics.
10. Symphony of the Seas is the world’s biggest cruise ship, with a gross tonnage of 228,081
(Royal Caribbean International)
Symphony of the Seas is the world’s biggest cruise ship, with a gross tonnage of 228,081.
If you’re not a boat person, that might not mean much to you. But if you picture yourself on a boat like Titanic—which was only about 46,000 gross tons—you’ll get an idea of how huge Symphony really is.
According to Royal Caribbean, Symphony “has every amenity imaginable.” It also comes with 7 distinct neighborhoods (including its own Central Park), 18 decks, and 22 restaurants.
11. Only 17 cruise ships are on the CDC’s green list
On the recent status update (January 28, 2022), there were seventeen cruise ships on the green list. Ten ships are below the threshold in orange, and the rest just met the requirements on yellow status.
12. Usage of LNG can reduce cruise ship sulfur emissions by 90%
LNG (liquefied natural gas) is the purest fossil fuel, and cruise ships have started using it as an alternative to diesel. It can reduce emissions by 90 percent.
13. Crime is 95% lower on cruise ships than on land
(Department of Transportation)
The risk of a crime happening on a cruise ship is pretty low, but there is still a 5% risk. Overall, the crime rate on a cruise ship is 95% lower than the crime rate on land.
14. The Church of Scientology’s cruise ship holds 540 passengers
Freewinds, the 440-foot cruise ship that belongs to the Church of Scientology, can hold 540 Passengers. In 2019, the cruise ship was quarantined for a few days with a potential measles outbreak risk.
15. $500 million will go toward the construction of a Titanic replica
Titanic was a vast and beautiful ship that sank in 1912. An Australian businessman with a fondness for large cruise ships invested 500 million dollars into creating a replica, along with all the latest technology.
A replica is nearing the end of manufacturing and should set sail somewhere in 2022.
16. Cruise ships make an average of 12.7% profit before taxes
(Cruise Market Watch)
Passengers spend an average of $1714 on a cruise. It includes ticket sales, onboard purchases, bar tabs, and spa treatments. The average expenses for the ship run about $1,564 per passenger.
You might think that cruise ships are basically just giant floating casinos—and while that’s not untrue, they’re also basically giant floating hotels that have to make a profit in order to, you know, stay afloat. And as it turns out, cruise ships are actually pretty good at making money.
In fact, the profit margin of an average cruise ship is 12.7%. That seems like a lot, but keep in mind: cruise operators cover the cost of housing thousands of passengers for weeks at a time and keeping them fed and entertained.
17. There is only one cruise ship that allows dogs on board
The only cruise line that can allow you to take your dog on board is Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. The ship oﬀers plenty of amenities for your lovely ones.
Some cruise liners allow working service dogs. These rules tightened since people started bringing in untrained pets on board. Sadly, emotional support dogs (or dogs in training) are not considered service dogs.
18. Pregnant women past their second are not allowed to board cruise ships
According to Carnival rules, women that are 24-weeks pregnant will not be allowed on ships. Cruise ships don’t have the necessary medical resources to handle such cases.
This precaution might be because of an incident on a Royal Caribbean cruise. In September 2015, a woman gave birth three months before the baby was due.
19. The Allure of the Seas and the Oasis of the Seas are two of the world’s most expensive cruise ships
They cost about 1.4 billion U.S. dollars apiece to construct which is more than the GDP of some countries.
The Allure of the Seas was created by RCI in 2009 and is still one of their biggest ships, with a maximum capacity of 6780 passengers. The Oasis of the Seas first set sail in 2009 and is also one of RCI’s largest ships. It has a maximum capacity of 5,400 passengers.
20. Fire poses the greatest danger to cruise ships
Cruise ships have a lot of fun stuff to do on them—some even have their own casinos and roller coasters.
However, it’s a little-known fact that cruise ships are the most dangerous vessels on Earth. With their high-tech navigational systems, huge engines, and well-trained crews that keep them running smoothly, it is often assumed that there is little chance of these massive floating cities being struck by disaster.
Unfortunately, one thing cruise ships need to be (extra) prepared for is fire. Fire poses the greatest danger to cruise ships, and several fires happen every year, often with tragic results.
The deadliest hazard to cruise ships is fire. In fact, fires pose such a threat that cruise lines have had to develop elaborate fire suppression systems and protocols in order to protect passengers and crew members from harm.
An alarming number of 139 cruise ship fires have been reported in just 23 years. Employees require help while containing a fire on board. This is why an average 3k-passenger ship includes about 4000 smoke detectors, 5000 sprinklers, and 500 fire extinguishers.
21. The Wonder of the Seas will be soon the biggest ship to ever set sail
(Royal Caribbean International)
People are working towards it. At the moment, the largest ship that the world has ever seen is in the making. The ship is called Wonder of the Seas, the biggest ship to ever set sail.
It will begin its first journey in March of 2022. The Wonder Of The Seas weighs 236,857 gross tons! This is making it to be about 4% largest than the current largest ship.
The name of the largest cruise ship is Symphony of the Seas, which Royal Caribbean owns. The ship has an internal volume of 228,000 gross tons!
If placed vertically, both of these ships exceed the height of the Eiﬀel Tower! Also, both of these cruise ships weigh more than ten thousand elephants.
Both of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships took a fortune to make. The great cruise ships ran a bill of about 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in manufacturing.
21. Only 16 cruise ships had sunk between 1980 and 2012
One of the newest incidents of a sunken cruise ship was the Costa Concordia. Luckily, more ships run aground than sink each year.
Google Maps is an amazing tool to see plenty of interesting things. One of those things is a shipwreck oﬀ the coast of the Solomon Islands. It wrecked there in April 2000, and you can still see it there today.
22. In 2021, 60% more cruise ships were built than the year before
(Cruise Industry News)
Running the numbers from 2020 and 2021, there is a considerable diﬀerence. The spike in the numbers is mostly due to the quarantines, which delays production. There were 60% more cruise ships built last year than in 2020
When it comes to cruise ships, it takes a lot of eﬀort, planning, workforce, and money. Depending on the capacity that you are after, the price may vary.
If you want to build a ship that would welcome 100-200 people, the cost would be between 60-90 million U.S. dollars. Of course, it all depends on the amenities you wish to have on the ship.
And if you want to build a ship that would welcome 2000+ people, the cost would be over 700 million U.S. dollars. It all depends on the amenities you wish to have on the ship.
23. Celebrity cruises is one of the most popular cruise lines
All cruise lines are incredible, and some just oﬀer more entertainment on board than others. Some of the best cruise lines include Celebrity Cruises, MCS Cruises, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean.
According to CLIA and other sources, there are more than 50 diﬀerent cruise lines across the globe. The exact number of cruise ships in the world is 323. Within the past three years, 31 of these ships were out of use.
Royal Caribbean is the cruise line that did most of the work in 2021. They welcomed more than 2.5 million passengers throughout the entire year.
The cruise line that welcomed the least passengers last year was TUI Cruises. They managed to get only about 330,000 passengers.
24. Disney Cruise Line is the best-liked large-ship cruise line among US travelers
(Condé Nast Traveler)
According to a recent survey, US travelers like Disney Cruise Line better than any other large-ship cruise line.
The study asked past cruisers to rate their satisfaction with their experiences and how likely they were to recommend a particular cruise line. Disney Cruise Line scored the highest out of all large ship lines, earning an overall satisfaction score of 94.09 out of 100 points.
Disney Cruise Lines also have some of the highest rates of customer satisfaction of any cruise line out there. As if you needed another reason to go on a cruise!
Impact Of The Pandemic On The Cruise Industry
Tourism was one of the industries that had to take the brunt of the COVID-19 effects. The cruise ship industry was not excluded from the devastation on the service sector.
25. Covid-19 caused a 24-million drop in passengers for the cruise industry
Covid-19 all but ended the worldwide travel and tourism industry with a severe reduction in cruise travelers after 2019. in 2020, there were 5.8 million passengers worldwide, a drop of more than 24 million from the previous year.
The year 2021 made way for everything to return to normal. The cruising industry received almost 14 million passengers this year globally.
With the worldwide situation of Covid-19, cruise lines have excluded their smaller and older ships. They have done this to allow the necessary social distancing to all passengers on board.
26. The pandemic caused an 88% revenue drop for the cruise industry
Although travel limitations are mandatory due to the pandemic, the industry’s worldwide revenue stands at 3.37 billion U.S dollars. Despite a 12 billion dollar drop, the United States still had the highest revenue in 2020.
Statistics indicate that the voyage business produced $27.4 billion in 2019. When the news broke, revenue dropped by 88% worldwide.
In 2020, the cruise industry generated about 3.3 billion dollars in revenue. The revenue of the cruising industry can go up to more than 300 billion U.S. dollars.
27. A single docked day could mean 2500 lost cruise jobs
Cruise ship jobs took a massive hit due to the pandemic. It was estimated that with only a single day of lost revenue, an estimated 2500 jobs would be lost.
In Europe, around 800 jobs would have been lost daily. The U.S. numbers were predicted to be lower with 600, and the U.K. had the least at about 140.
Before Covid (B.C.), the cruise ship industry contributed significantly to the global economy. In 2019, 50.53 billion U.S dollars were spent on salaries and wages for approximately 1.1 million employees.
When the pandemic hit, there was a pause on a global level. This resulted in almost 520,000 lost jobs and 77 billion in global economic activity. On average (the average being 2019), around 1.1 million people worked in the cruise industry. It has been estimated that 25% of them lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
28. The number of cruise ship orders dropped by a whopping 13 times in 2020 from the previous year
Orders for cruise ships dropped sharply in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. The orders were down from 1.7 million gross tonnage in 2019 to just about 130,000 gross tonnage for 2020.
29. Cruise passenger traffic from the Middle East had the highest percentage decline (92%) due to the pandemic
The number of cruise passengers from the Middle East decreased by 92% decrease during the pandemic, making it the largest percentage drop worldwide.
There are three main factors that contributed to the drop in Middle Eastern cruise passenger traffic.
The first was the pandemic itself: it flat-out scared people away from traveling, and drove them to focus on getting home instead of on vacation.
Second was the fall-off in business travel from the area, which meant fewer business travelers were coming in and out of ports—and these are the passengers who account for many of the trips from Middle Eastern cruise companies.
Finally, there was a chain reaction once people started cancelling their trips: because not as many people were traveling, companies couldn’t fill their ships with passengers like they used to. They either cancelled future trips or cut down on how many trips they offered each year, which also impacted passenger numbers.
Cruise Industry Demographics and Passenger Statistics
The heart of the cruise industry beats in its guests, so let’s explore some passenger statistics.
30. Globally, 29.7 million passengers boarded cruise ships in 2019
Statistics showed a 4.1% growth from the previous year. North America represented approximately half of the volume with 15.4 million. Europe was the runner-up with 7.7 million passengers in 2019.
Asia was one of the two destinations that experienced a drop from the previous year. However, even with a decline of 11.8%, they still came in third place with 3.7 million.
Combined, South/Central America, Australia, and New Zealand saw around 2.3 million passengers in 2019. Australia and New Zealand saw a drop of 7.5% from 2018.
With the global situation of Covid-19, all of the cruise lines have excluded their smaller and older ships. They have done this to allow the necessary social distancing to all passengers on board.
31. The average cruise ship passenger is 47 years old
The demographics of the passengers going on a cruise can be pretty vast, but the majority is white. The average persons’ age on a cruise ship is 47 years old.
The leading country in North America, by a landslide. Of all cruise passengers hop on from North America. The rest is divided between Western Europe, Asia, etc.
32. A total of 623 passengers passed away on cruise ships in 20 years
(International Journal of Travel Medicine and Global Health)
Luckily, not all of them drowned. Heart problems appear to be the killer on cruises. The second is accidental falls and the third deliberate jumps overboard.
In the past 20 years, 623 passengers have died on cruise ships. 89% of all deaths occurred among passengers, and 11% occurred among crew members.
Perhaps a tiny percentage of the total, but murder, sexual attacks, and manslaughter also make their way onboard.
In safety, cruise ships are generally safe. However, as with any entertainment business, it runs quite a few risks. According to estimations, there have been more than 400 accidents in 17 years.
33. Booking agents in the cruise industry average about $47,133 yearly
When booking, passengers try to avoid going through the ordeal of organizing a trip themselves. So, when booking a cruise, three-quarters of all the passengers decide to go through an agent.
Cruise agents make an average of $47,133 per year booking cruises for clients. Now, it might seem like a lot of money to make bookings, but they do more behind the scenes.
34. The typical passenger spends $385 on port excursions before boarding their cruise
The truth is, there’s a lot of money to be made in cruise ports.
Cruise travel is associated with a typical $385 expenditure for each cruise passenger in the days before embarking. Most passengers arrive at least one day in advance of a cruise to enjoy the city.
On average, they spend $385 per person on things like accommodation and food. Some passengers will stick around after their cruise to see other nearby places, spending $100 for each port visited.
So cruise-goers, don’t let your wallet go overboard at sea!
35. Singaporeans love to cruise more than anyone else in the world
The popularity of cruising in Singapore is notable. 6.4% of Singaporeans take a cruise in an average year, and they are joined by other nationalities that like to cruise, such as Aussies (5.4%), Americans (4%), Hongkongers (3.3%), Brits (2.8%), Germans (2.7%), Canadians (2.6%), Kiwis (2.3%) and Norwegians (1.9%).
36. 75% of all cruise bookings are made through travel agents
When you plan a vacation, you probably make most of your plans yourself, right? You decide where you’re going to stay, what activities you’ll do there, and what you’ll eat. It’s all up to you!
When it comes time to book your cruise, though, it may seem different. Maybe you don’t feel like you have as much control over the process. Maybe the whole thing feels more complicated than it should. Well, the truth is: 75% of all cruise bookings are made through travel agents. That’s 3 out of 4 people who are booking cruises with an agent!
Cruise Port Statistics
37. Across the globe, there are more than 2,000 active cruise ports
Cruise ships are an incredible way to see the world. The ports they dock in allow you to explore new places and cultures while enjoying all the amenities of a luxury hotel.
There are 2,339 active cruise ports around the world. These cruise ports are responsible for transporting millions of passengers and their cargo to international destinations every year.
Some of the busiest cruise ports include Miami and New York City in North America; Sydney, Australia; the islands of Greece; and history-rich London, England.
The vast majority of these ports can accommodate ships of any size and type, so even if your cruise ship is one of the biggest in the world—the Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas holds 6,680 passengers—you should be able to find a port that can fit it.
38. Miami has the busiest cruise port in the world
The U.S is home to three of the busiest ports in the world. Port Canaveral and Port Everglades fall second and third, respectively.
39. There are 212 cruise ship ports in the US
When you’ve got a whole ocean of fun to explore, the only thing standing between you and the next island is a cruise ship. And while they’re certainly not called “ships” for nothing, there are plenty of ports in the US that make it easy to get to the middle of the ocean and back again.
Of the 2339 cruising ship ports around the world, 212 (9%) of them are in the United States. The busiest ones in terms of passenger volume are in Miami, Florida, and Texas
That’s it for the informative and interesting cruise industry statistics that we presented throughout this article. As you can see, the cruise industry is growing strong by offering numerous incentives to passengers, and the benefits of choosing cruises over other forms of travel are growing as well.
The cruise industry has grown to become a monster in the tourism industry, which means there’s plenty of room for you to get involved (if you want).
Hopefully, this post has been helpful and you can use the data we’ve looked at to inform your next steps. If you liked this blog post, please make sure to share it in your network.
If you have any questions or suggestions feel free to let me know as well. And of course, I would be remiss not to thank all of the sources that provided this data so we could look at these statistics in the first place.
With so much going on in the world today, we need vacations more than ever. Don’t get left behind and make your next vacation on a cruise! Until next time…looking forward to seeing you here again soon!