A year of record growth has been predicted for the cruise industry with 12.62 million passengers expected to sail in 2007.
The "formidable" growth forecast came from the US-based Cruise Lines International Association which expects more than 500,000 more people will take a cruise this year than 2006, representing a rise of 4.1%.
CLIA member cruise lines carried 12.12 million passengers worldwide last year, up 8.4% over the 11.18 million carried in 2005.
More than 10.6 million of the projected total will come from North America, up from 10.18 million in 2006 and 9.67 million in 2005.The predicted growth in passenger numbers was described as being commensurate with the planned net increase in cruise capacity by the 21 lines represented by CLIA.
CLIA says 12 new ships will enter service in 2007 representing 22,039 beds. In total, CLIA members plan to deploy 30 new vessels between 2007 and the end of 2010, translating into 73,563 more beds - an increae of almost 30% over 2006.
CLIA marketing committee chairman Dan Hanrahan, president of Celebrity Cruises, said: "The state of the industry is very, very strong, with CLIA cruise lines stepping up to the plate each and every year with innovative new offerings that continue to bolster cruise sales."
Report by Phil Davies
Thursday, January 18, 2007