INTERNATIONAL. Ocean-going cruise passenger numbers in 2017 reached 26.7 million, up +6.3% and surpassing the previously projected 25.8 million, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Asia led the growth by region, with passenger figures surging +20.5% year-on-year. The region accounted for about 15% of the total market, or four million ocean passengers.

The world’s largest cruise industry trade body is now forecasting 28 million passengers worldwide for 2018 based on new vessel launch schedules and expected regional deployment.


Asia’s performance was well ahead of the largest cruise market of the USA and Canada (13 million passengers) which increased by +5%. Australia/Pacific grew by +4.9% and Europe trailed with a growth rate of +2.5%.

North America still accounts for just under half of the global cruise market at 49% and Europe another 26% (or almost seven million ocean cruise passengers).

Commenting on the year and global market as a whole, CLIA President and CEO Cindy D’Aoust said: “Once again, the cruise industry has raised the bar and exceeded projections and expectations.”

Together, Asia and Australia/Pacific account for one in five cruise passengers

New passenger profile analytics

Demographically the average age of global ocean passengers last year was 47 years old according to the new CLIA data. These passengers preferred cruising for an average of 7.2 days, -2% lower than the average cruise length in 2016.

A full analysis of the cruise market and how it is shaping up from a duty free and travel retail perspective can be found here.