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Cruise Market Watch Announces 2015 Cruise Trends Forecast

We at Cruise Market Watch are proud to release our seventh consecutive annual cruise market forecast, now looking out into 2015 and beyond.

Actual 2014 revenues came in +0.5% better than originally forecast last year, and that positive momentum is expected to continue on into 2015.

Among the 2015 foretasted highlights:

~The worldwide cruise market is estimated at $39.6 billion, up 6.9% from 2014 driven by a combination of more cruisers/higher capacity and higher prices.

~Cruise passengers carried worldwide in 2015 is forecast at 22.2 million, a 3.2% increase over 2014.

~Worldwide sourcing of passengers is expected to be 58.6% North America (Canada, United States and Mexico) followed by Europe (25.9%), Asia (8.5%) and Australia (4.3%).

~Total worldwide cruise capacity at the end of 2015 will be 486,385 passengers and 298 ships.

~The total price of an average cruise is $1779.82 per person, a 3.5% increase over 2014. The average per passenger per day spending is projected to be $222.00, with $168.43 ticket price and $53.57 on board spending (average cruise duration 8.0 days, median duration 7.0 days). 

~The top three cruise companies Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Co (NYSE: RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ: NCLH) account for 81.6% of worldwide share of passengers carried and 76.7% of worldwide share of revenues.

Reflective of continued international growth, during 2015 the Celebrity Century will transfer to the TUI brand as the Mein Schiff 3. In addition, both Holland America’s Ryndam and Statendam will transfer to P&O Australia. Lastly, the Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Spirit will both transfer to Windstar.  Carnival, Costa and P&O Australia will combine to have 13 ships home porting in Asia and Australia, and there will be another 5 cruise ships home porting in the region under the Royal Caribbean brand.

A total of six new ships will be added in 2015 with a gain in passenger capacity of 18,813 (including the 4,200 passenger Norwegian Escape, the 4,100 passenger Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, 3,611-guest P&O Britannia and 3,250 berth TUI Cruises Mein Schiff 4).

Looking out further, 15 more new cruise ships will add 39,637 or 8.1% to passenger capacity by the end of 2017 – generating $3.6 billion more in annual revenue for the cruise industry.

By 2019, 25.3 million cruise passengers are expected to be carried worldwide of which 55.8% will originate from North America, 25.1% Europe and 19.1% the rest of the world.

Cruises Becoming Increasingly Popular Among Younger Holidaymakers


Zenith (Photo credit: lotsemann)

A new study aiming to discover the holiday preferences among young Britons has revealed an increase in the popularity of cruises among young adult holidaymakers.

The research was carried out and released by; the site polled a total of 1,647 UK adults aged 18-30 on their recent holiday choices. Of those questioned, 17% stated that they had been on a cruise holiday within the past five years. 61% of these people went on the cruise with their parents and other family members, whilst 22% cruised with a partner, and 11% went as a group of friends. 5% stated that they went on the cruise alone as a part of a solo travelling gap year or work experience.

When asked if they would go on a cruise holiday again, 88% said that they would do so, with 9% stating they had already begun the booking and planning process of their next cruise. When asked to choose the main reasons as to why booking another cruise holiday appeals to them, the top answers emerged as follows:

1.       The varied activities offered on board (62%)

2.       The money-saving aspects of an all-inclusive cruise (food/drink/entertainment etc.) (54%)

3.       Less stressful to organize and book excursions (44%)

4.       The opportunity to visit multiple destinations in one holiday (37%)

5.       More appealing than alternative holiday options (23%) also noticed a 38% increase in the number of 18-30 year olds booking cruises over the past year.

Steph Curtin, Cruise Development Manager at, made the following comments regarding the findings of the study:

“I cannot say that I am at all surprised that the popularity of cruises seems to be rising among the 18-30s, who are clearly bored with the traditional types of beach holidays that seem to be associated with their age groups. The fact is, that for the same price as a 2 week self-catering beach holiday, someone could get a really great all inclusive cruise.”

She continued, “There may be some sort of stereotype that cruises are only for middle-aged and elderly holiday makers, but cruise companies are continually introducing new activities and forms of entertainment on board. There are also more excursions targeted at younger people being offered to customers on board many ships.”

Anecdotally, Cruise Market Watch expects the importance of reason #2 to grow as price of air travel and hotel have increased recently relative to the price of a cruise.

Top 5 Annoyances of Cruisers Revealed

A new research study has revealed what cruisers deem to be the most annoying characteristics of their fellow passengers while on board. Top of the list included the mindless chatter of those aboard, with the invasion of personal space coming in a close second.

Last Cruise Ship Visit

Last Cruise Ship Visit (Photo credit: _setev)

The study, carried out by was compiled from the opinions and experiences of 1,738 individuals, who had all previously been on cruise holidays. These respondents were asked to name what they felt were the most annoying tendencies of their fellow cruisers, with the top five answers as follows:

1. Mindless/Annoying chatter from fellow passengers (38%)

2. Passengers invading personal space (27%)

3. Drunken behavior (fighting, shouting, arguments) (22%)

4. Long queues at buffet/activities due to passenger’s indecisiveness (14%)

5. Irritating young children on board cruise (11%)

Various other, slightly more obscure, complaints featuring fellow passengers were collected by the cruising site whilst carrying out the poll. These included: a man on a Mediterranean cruise whose sleep was interrupted every night during his three week cruise as the couple in the cabin next to him made love very loudly, and an elderly couple who felt that they had a ghost haunting their cabin whilst they holidayed in the Caribbean.

Despite admitting that their confessions of personal annoyances were less than desirable whilst trying to enjoy their holiday, 94% of respondents questioned in the poll were quick to state that the overall of experience of a cruise is something they very much enjoyed, and that they had not been put off returning for another trip in the future.

Regarding the findings of the study, Steph Curtin, Cruise Development Manager at, had the following to say:

“It is important for cruise companies to be made aware of the certain factors of holidays that customers did not enjoy, or felt could be improved. A sign of a great cruise company is one that would take these annoyances on board and actively try to improve conditions for all future passengers, and this is why the majority of cruise lines ask customers to complete a survey at the end of their cruise to highlight any areas for improvement.”

She continued, “Having said that, when taking a look at some of the more obscure answers our study revealed, I fear it may be asking too much to ask for cabins to be regularly checked for ghosts and similar paranormal goings-on!”

Cruise Market Watch Announces 2014 Cruise Trends Forecast

Now in its sixth consecutive year, we are proud to release the 2014 cruise market forecast.

English: Carnival Ecstasy departing Puerta May...

English: Carnival Ecstasy departing Puerta Maya Pier in Cozumel. By Andy P. Jung (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Over the last six years the industry has adeptly managed a “great recession” and series of unfortunate, albeit historically rare, ship incidents. The Carnival Triumph (on the heals Costa Concordia the year prior) impacted Carnival Cruise Line actual revenues by about -5.8% from the original 2013 estimate (having been projected two months prior to Triumph in November 2012). The other cruise lines ended the year in line with prior estimates. Looking forward to 2014 the industry is expected to begin its normalization towards historic growth trends.

Among the 2014 highlights:

  • • The worldwide cruise market is estimated at $37.1 billion, up 2.3% from 2013.
  • • Cruise passengers carried worldwide in 2014 is forecast at 21.6 million, a 3.0% increase over 2013.
  • • The top three cruise companies Carnival Corporation (NYSE: CCL), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Co (NYSE: RCL) and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NASDAQ: NCLH) account for 79.4% of worldwide share of passengers carried and 71.8% of worldwide share of revenues.
  • • Direct spending by passengers and crew at all cruise ports in the world is estimated at $18.9 billion.
  • • The top two ports are Miami, FL for embarkations and Nassau Bahamas as destination.
  • • Total worldwide cruise capacity at the end of 2014 will be 453,211 passengers (a 3.2% increase over 2013) and 292 ships.
  • • The average per passenger per day spending is projected to be $214.44, with $162.69 ticket price and $51.74 on board spending (average cruise duration 8.0 days, median duration 7.0 days).

A total of six new ships will be added in 2014 with a gain in passenger capacity of 17,410 (including the 4,000 passenger Norwegian Getaway, the 3,600 passenger Regal Princess, 2,500-guest Mein Schiff 3 (Tui Cruises), 3,000 berth Costa Diadema and 4,100 passenger Quantum of the Seas. Looking out further, 17 more new cruise ships will add 41,162 passenger capacity or 9.1% to passenger capacity by the end of 2016 – generating $3.4 billion more in annual revenue for the cruise industry.

By 2018, 24.1 million cruise passengers are expected to be carried worldwide of which 58.8% will originate from North America and 27.2% Europe.

Celebrity Millennium mechanical issue cost about $13 million in ticket revenue

English: The Celebrity Millennium cruiseship d...

English: The Celebrity Millennium cruiseship docked in Nassau, Bahamas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the recent mechanical issues with the Celebrity Millennium, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., which owns Celebrity Cruises, announced Tuesday the cancellation of the remainder of the ship’s seven-night cruise to Alaska and four additional cruises, when a faulty propulsion caused the return to port in Ketchikan on August 18. At the time, about 2,200 guests and nearly 960 crew members were on-board. The company will offer full refunds to all passengers who have been stuck in Ketchikan and also to guests booked on the other canceled sailings, as well as a certificate for a future cruise.

Lost revenue will show in many forms, including costly repairs of the vessel and lost on-board revenue. Based on actual ticket pricing, Cruise Market Watch estimates lost ticket revenue of $13,851,093:

Sail date

Ticket Revenue


 $ 3,058,593


 $ 2,908,601


 $ 2,555,152


 $ 2,512,067


 $ 2,816,680
 Total  $ 13,851,093

Only time will tell if the unknown variable of customer sentiment will correlate to an additional effect on incremental sales, but our guess is that even naysayers would have a difficult time saying no to a $31.76 dollar/day 16 day cruise to Southern Europe on board of the Carnival Sunshine, which according to our database is the cheapest inside cabin on a per passenger per day basis that you could book.  Happy sailing!

When to book your Caribbean Cruise for the best price

The infographic below guides you on how far in advance you should book, and the season to set sail for the best deal on a Caribbean cruise.  This provides a framework for planning, from which you can then narrow down your specific destinations, cruise duration, cabin type and ship segment.   Based on actual pricing* from 26 cruise lines and 144 cruise ships representing over 7,500  sailings in the Caribbean and Bahamas between September 1, 2010 to November 30, 2013, it just goes to show a little advance planning  can save a lot of money per person per day on your cruise itinerary.

Interestingly, unlike its European infograph counterpart, Caribbean cruises get more expensive each month closer to the sail on date - so no penalty for booking well in advance!

* Cruise Market Watch total weighted average price (per per person per day) across all cabin categories.

Cruise sailing disruptions from Hurricane Sandy

List of possible cruise sailing disruptions from Hurricane Sandy:

Scheduled Departure Dates
Departure Port/Ship Name 10/28/2012 10/29/2012 10/31/2012
Baltimore MD
Carnival Pride            2,251
Bayonne NJ
Explorer of the Seas            3,301
Boston MA
Jewel of the Seas            2,234
New York NY
Caribbean Princess            3,301
Carnival Miracle            2,251
Crystal Symphony            1,018
Norwegian Gem            2,529
Norwegian Jewel            2,544
Queen Mary 2            5,554
Norfolk VA
Carnival Glory            3,152
Sum Of Passengers         19,038            4,781            4,318


Best time to purchase a European cruise

Cruise prices vary not only based on destination, number of nights booked, cabin type and ship segment but are also dependent on the season you set sail and how far in advance you buy. The same cruise itinerary can cost you a lot less per person per day if you book your ticket for the right season and the right number of months in advance. This infographic* can help you figure out the best time of year to go on a European cruise by highlighting prices by season and how far in advance you should book to get the best deal. The "rule of thumb for a European cruise" graphic requires little additional editorial comment. The only question that remains is what you will do with the money you save?

* Cruise Market Watch total weighted average price (per day per person) across all cabin categories from 30 cruise lines and 163 ships representing over 8,500 sailings in northern and southern Europe between September 1, 2010 to November 30, 2013.

Word Cloud: Captain Schettino

A type of boomerang occurs for companies and victims that suffer tragic events.  First is the event itself, which is followed many months later by its reemergence in the news during subsequent trails and lawsuits.  And so it is with Carnival, Concordia passengers, crew and their families while the captain of the cruise ship finished his pre-trial hearings last week.  While no date has been set for the actual court case, we can expect the news flow to continue.

As demonstrated by the word cloud of that news flow below, the Captain remains squarely at the center of the discussion.


And the impact has been felt in the industry.  Three weeks ago on September 25th, the word "Costa" was mentioned 67 times in Carnival's Q3 earnings conference call.  That was more than “Executive” (66 times), but less than “quarter” (96 times).

In summary, earnings were reduced as a result of the Concordia incident by about $500 million, and Costa lost about $100 million in 2012.  In the most recent financial quarter – a quarter that booked revenue for sailings six to eight months after the accident, Costa accounted for over half of Carnival’s decline in net revenue yields.

The Costa brand’s occupancy drop was 5% in 2012, with an 11% decline in the second and a 6% drop in the third quarters.  In the fourth quarter of 2012 Costa’s ships are expected to match the occupancy rates of a year prior, albeit at lower prices.

Going forward, pricing and occupancy for Costa's bookings in Q1 2013 are tracking lower on a year-over-year basis.  However, these differences will narrow as year over year comparisons versus 2012 become easier.  According to Howard Frank, Carnival’s Vice Chairman and Chief Operating Officer “Based on consumer research, the brand perception in each of Costa's major markets is gradually improving so we are greatly encouraged by the resiliency of the brand.”

In fact, Carnival has a new build on order for Costa with expected delivery in the Fall 2014  The Costa brand is also helping to develop an emerging cruise market strategy in Australia and Asia.  Carnival has increased capacity by 8.5% in these markets and will be sending the Costa Atlantica to join the Costa Victoria in China in the spring of 2013.  Costa was an early entrant into the Chinese market and has a marketing history there.

Carriage and Cruise from the Port of San Juan

Sally with RCL's Grandeur of The Seas

Cruising has always been about more than just sailing – it’s also about visiting and exploring destinations.  One of the best ways to do that in Old San Juan Puerto Rico is a horse and carriage tour with Las Calesas Del Viejo San Juan.  Not only will you get to see the highlights of Old San Juan, you will learn about the culture and history from your skilled and knowledgeable driver.  The sound of horse’s hooves over the cobblestone streets can’t help but transport you back to the early years of Spanish rule in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Experiences such as these explain the positive cruise industry economic impacts to local economies and small businesses that operate shore side excursions.

Puerto Rico is no exception.  With a 2012 Port Pulse™ rank of 26th (out of over 830 embarkation and destination ports around the world) the Port of San Juan benefits from the spending of 150,000 crew and 920,000 annual passengers.  That is a direct economic impact estimated at over $125 million.

Review seasonality of 2012 passenger and crew spending in San Juan, cruise line share and embarkation vs. destination statistics in the charts below by clicking the image to enlarge.


Cruise passenger and crew spending in ports of call from direct spending on a variety of goods and services including ground transportation, clothing, food and shore excursions.  For embarkation/debarkation ports estimates also include lodging as part of a pre- and/or post-cruise stay, air and ground transportation and miscellaneous port and cruise line services.  

Sources: Crew and passenger visitation rates and port spending estimates derived from Business Research & Economic Advisors, Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association and Cruise Lines International Association.  Each ship's unique destination itinerary, sailing days and passenger capacity from Cruise Market Watch.