The global cruise body has revealed 75% of its member capacity is now back in service and predicted passenger numbers could exceed pre-COVID levels by the end of 2022.
The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) said its ‘upside forecast’ was for a rapid full recovery.
But it warned it could take until 2023 for the industry to surpass 2019 volumes under its ‘baseline forecast’.
Releasing its State of the Industry Outlook report, CLIA spelt out the impact of COVID, revealing passenger numbers in 2020 – the latest data available – slumped 81% as the virus took hold, falling from almost 30 million in 2019 to 5.8m.
Cruise-supported jobs also collapsed from 1.17m to 576,000, a decline of 51%.
Meanwhile, the economic contribution of the sector in 2020 tumbled to $63 billion, down 59% from $154 billion.
“The 2022 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report provides an opportunity to reflect on how far our industry has come as CLIA ocean-going cruise lines have welcomed more than six million guests onboard since resuming operations in July 2020,” President and CEO Kelly Craighead said. “While our focus on health and safety remains absolute, our industry is also leading the way in environmental sustainability and destination stewardship.”
The report revealed millennials are the most likely to cruise again once they have experienced an ocean-going voyage.
CLIA said 85% of millennials are planning a repeat trip, making them the most enthusiastic ‘cruisers of the future’.
Generation X was not far behind, with 82% keen to return, followed by Gen Z (79%), baby boomers (77%) and traditionalists (73%).
The report also revealed that a third of cruisers between 2018 and 2020 were aged over 60, marginally ahead of the 40-59 age bracket which made up 32% of passengers.
A fifth were aged between 20 and 39 with 14% under 14. The average passenger age was just under 48.