As we know, the cruise industry took a bit of a hit from 2020 until 2021, but the recovery has been pretty remarkable. 2022 saw the cruise market boom once again, helped by a number of new ship launches.
In this updated guide, I’ve got some key cruise stats that help show you the state of the current cruise industry, including key info from the last couple of years and a preview of what’s to come in 2023.
2023 Cruise Industry Statistics
1. In 2022, the Cruise Market Recovered to Levels Last Seen in 2010
In 2019, the global cruise industry welcomed 29.7 million passengers, created jobs for 1.8 million people around the world and contributed over $154 billion to the global economy.
Cruising was suspended worldwide in mid-March 2020. July 2020 saw a resumption of sailing in parts of Europe, Asia and the South Pacific with around 200 cruises departing in the second half of the year.
In 2021, the cruise industry bounced back further, welcoming almost 13.9 million passengers worldwide. However, this is still only 46% of the passengers that cruised in 2019.
The final count for passengers in 2022 was 20.4 million – a massive increase on 2021 and starting to creep towards pre-2020 levels. It’s anticipated that 2023 might even break new records.
In terms of the stats just for UK and Ireland passengers. CLIA has revealed that British and Irish passengers took 1.7 million cruises in 2022, well up compared to the 479,000 in 2021.
2. Royal Caribbean Carried the Most Passengers of All Cruise Lines in 2022
(Individual cruise line reports)
Royal Caribbean carried more passengers than any other cruise line in 2022, with over 4.6 million passengers. However, the Carnival Corporation (including Carnival, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, AIDA, Holland America, and P&O) carried 7.7 million passengers total – the company hasn’t broken down the totals per brand.
3. Almost 30% Fewer Cruise Ships Were Built in 2022 Than 2021
(Cruise Industry News)
2021 was a really busy year for cruise ship launches – mainly helped by the fact that a lot of ships due for delivery in 2020 were pushed back a year. As such, there were 24 new ships launched that year – quite an achievement!
2022 naturally saw a bit of a slowdown on that figure, with 17 new ships launching.
The new cruise ships delivered in 2022 are shown in the following table…
|Cruise Line||Ship||Cost (millions)||Capacity|
|Viking Ocean||Viking Polaris||$275||378|
|Viking Ocean||Viking Neptune||$400||930|
|MSC Cruises||World Europa||$1,200||5,400|
|Viking Ocean||Viking Mars||$400||930|
Suggested read: How Long Does It Take To Build A Cruise Ship?
4. 17 New Cruise Ships Will Be Delivered in 2023
2023 should – if everything stays on track – see the same number of ships built compared to 2022.
The new cruise ships set to be delivered in 2023 are shown in the following table…
|Cruise Line||Ship||Cost (millions)||Capacity|
|Swan Hellenic||SH Diana||$TBC||192|
|Explora Journeys||Explora I||$530||922|
|Virgin Voyages||Resilient Lady||$710||2,770|
|MSC Cruises||MSC Euribia||$850||4,800|
|Scenic Ocean Cruises||Scenic Eclipse II||$230||228|
|Virgin Voyages||Brilliant Lady||$810||2,700|
|Regent Seven Seas||Seven Seas Grandeur||$450||750|
Learn more about the new cruise ships launching in 2023 here.
In 2024, 15 new cruise ships are currently planned, including a brand-new biggest ship ever.
5. More Than 50% Of All New Cruise Ships That Launched in 2022 or Are Launching in 2023 Are Powered by LNG Rather Than Diesel
Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) is the cleanest fossil fuel and it represents an excellent alternative to diesel to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and compact climate change. LNG also has virtually zero sulphur emissions.
69% of diesel-powered ships have been fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) which remove 98% of sulphur content from exhaust emissions. 96% of non-LNG new ships will have EGCS installed.
Here’s a full list of all of the LNG-powered cruise ships currently sailing and under construction.
Cruise Ship Statistics
6. In 2022 There Were 323 Cruise Ships in the World
(Cruise Market Watch)
There are currently 322 cruise ships in the world. While 17 new cruise ships were launched that year, 18 were scrapped, so the total number of cruise ships fell by 1.
7. There Are More Than 50 Cruise Lines in the World
(CLIA, Maritime Executive)
There were more than 50 cruise lines operating in 2022, as recognised by the Cruise Lines International Association as well as some smaller brands.
The biggest additions to the cruise line world in 2023 are Explora Journeys – a new luxury brand operated by MSC – and Crystal Cruises, which makes its return after folding in 2022.
8. An Exact Replica of the Titanic, Called Titanic II Might Launch in 2023
An Australian businessman has undertaken a $500 million project to build an exact replica of the Titanic cruise ship which sank in 1912.
The ship will feature modern-day navigation technology and safety systems and, unlike the original, it will have enough lifeboats and life jackets for all of the passengers.
You can learn more about Titanic II in this video…
However, the whole project is shrouded in mystery. As of November 2022, the Blue Star Line company has refused to give an update on the state of the ship and whether it will finally launch.
Suggested read: How big was the Titanic compared to modern cruise ships?
9. The First Cruise Ships Had Cows on Board To Provide Fresh Milk
(Associated Press, Cunard)
Cunard is one of the oldest cruise lines with a history dating back to 1840. On the earliest cruises, cows were kept on board to supply fresh milk before being slaughtered and eaten on the final day of the voyage.
These days, over 40,000 pints of milk are brought on to a cruise ship for a two-week cruise. To produce that amount of milk in two weeks would require 25 dairy cows.
10. 2024 Will See a New ‘Biggest Cruise Ship in the World’
In early 2024, Royal Caribbean’s ship Icon of the Seas will be launched as the biggest cruise ship in the world.
Unlike previous new ‘biggest ship’ launches such as Wonder of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas, this is not a minor increase within the same class. This is a brand new Icon Class, which is significantly larger.
The previous biggest ship launched in 2022, and that was Wonder of the Seas. She had an internal volume of 236,857 gross tons and a maximum passenger capacity of 6,988.
Icon of the Seas will exceed those stats by some way, with a volume of 250,800 gross tons and a maximum passenger capacity of 7,600.
She really will be iconic.
Read more: Icon of the Seas Size Comparison
11. The Most Expensive Cruise Ships Are Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas… For Now
The most expensive cruise ships ever built are Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. These virtually-identical ships each cost around $1.4 billion when they were built in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
Royal Caribbean’s newest ship for 2022, Wonder of the Seas, was slightly less expensive to build, with a cost of $1.3 billion.
But Icon of the Seas, launching in 2023, could reach a cost of $2 billion. So the title may change hands very soon…
Suggested read: How Much Does A Cruise Ship Cost To Build?
12. The Average Cruise Duration Is Seven Days
The average cruise duration is seven days. However, seven-day cruises account for only 40% of all cruises. 27% of cruises are 4-6 days in length, 15% are 8-13 days, 11% are up to 3 days and 4% are 14 days.
Cruise Port and Destination Statistics
13. There Are More Than 2,000 Cruise Ports To Explore
CruiseMapper has a database of 2,219 cruise ports. 587 of these are river ports and 1,632 are ocean ports.
Most cruise ports can only accommodate ships of a certain size – the smaller ones are only accessible by smaller cruise ships.
14. The World’s Busiest Cruise Port Is Port Canaveral
(Florida Ports Council)
The world’s busiest cruise port is Port Canaveral, which welcomed 6.8 million passengers in 2023 – a massive increase of over 2 million guests compared to 2022 (source).
15. The Average Cruise Passenger Spends $385 in Port Before Boarding a Cruise
Most passengers will arrive in a port city at least one day before they embark on a cruise. During this time, they spend an average of $385 per person on things like accommodation, food and transport.
Passengers go on to spend an average of $100 in each port that they visit during the cruise.
16. The Preferred Destination of British and Irish Passengers Is the Mediterranean
38.4% of cruises taken by British and Irish passengers were to the Mediterranean, significantly more than any other region. The second most popular destination was Northern Europe, with 29%, while 10.6% of passengers went to the Caribbean.
Of all passengers cruising anywhere in Europe in 2022, 29% came from the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Cruise Passenger Statistics
17. The Average Cruise Passenger Is 47 Years Old
The average age of a cruise passenger is 47 years old. However, people in their forties make up only 15% of cruise passengers. Most cruises have a mix of all ages, from children to pensioners.
Here is the breakdown of cruisers by age:
- 12 and under – 9%
- 13 to 19 – 6%
- 20 to 29 – 9%
- 30 to 39 – 11%
- 40 to 49 – 15%
- 50 to 59 – 18%
- 60 to 69 – 19%
- 70 and over – 14%
World cruises have the oldest passengers, with an average age of 62. This is because there are few, if any, children on board and because it’s mostly retired people who can go away for 3 months at a time.
Caribbean cruises have the youngest passengers, with an average age of 43. This is because they are popular with families as well as those under 30 who like to take short party cruises from the US.
British passengers have an older average age than the global figures – it stands at 55.8 years.
We also know from the latest CLIA stats that more than a quarter of cruises taken by British and Irish guests in 2022 involved a travelling party of three or more generations. That’s a lot of people travelling with children, parents and/or grandparents (or even great-grandparents).
18. Half of All Cruise Passengers Reside in North America
Around 50% of cruise passengers come from North America. 24% come from Western Europe, 15% from Asia and 11% from elsewhere.
The following table shows the number of cruise passengers in 2018 based on where they live:
|Region of residence||Number of Passengers||% of all|
19. Singaporean People Like to Cruise More Than Any Other Nation
Cruising is very popular in Singapore, with 6.4% of Singaporeans taking a cruise in an average year. Other nationalities which like to cruise are Australians (5.4%), Americans (4%), Hong Kongers (3.3%), Brits (2.8%), Germans (2.7%) and Canadians (2.6%).
The following table shows how many people from each country took a cruise in 2018:
|Country||Cruise passengers (2018)||Population||% of people cruising per year|
|UK & Ireland||2,009,000||72,000,000||2.8%|
20. Three-Quarters of People Use a Travel Agent When Booking a Cruise
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) recognises 13,000 travel agencies and 50,000 individual travel agents worldwide. Together, these book 75% of cruise vacations around the world.
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21. More People Are Aware of the Environmental Impact of Cruising – And the Efforts To Improve Things
CLIA’s latest information for British and Irish cruise passengers shows that 76% of passengers were either “more aware” or “much more aware” of environmental and sustainable tourism, while the cruise industry moves towards a target of net zero carbon cruising by 2050.
This shows a significant increase in passengers being aware of cruising’s environmental impact – a good thing that more ships are being built to use more eco-friendly fuel then.
Cruise Safety Statistics
22. The Biggest Threat to Cruise Ship Safety Is Fire
To ensure that any fires that occur on cruise ships can be quickly contained, the average 2,700-passenger cruise ship has 4,000 smoke detectors, 500 fire extinguishers, 5,000 sprinklers, six miles of fire hose and five specially-trained firefighting teams.
23. The Risk of Violent Crime on a Cruise Ship Is 95% Lower Than on Land
A study of four years of violent crime data by renowned criminologist Dr James Alan Fox showed that the rate of violent crime on a cruise ship is 23.8 per 100,000 people, compared to 508 per 100,000 people in a typical city in the United States.
Suggested read: How Safe Are Cruise Ships?
24. Most Cruise Ships Have Jails, Hospitals and Morgues on Board
Cruise ships need to be prepared for every eventuality. Cruise ship jails, hospitals and morgues will be found in the lower decks, away from the majority of passengers. Depending on the size of the cruise ship, the morgue usually holds thre to six bodies.
25. Many Cruise Ships Have Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Meetings on Board
As cruise ships have an abundance of alcohol on board, people suffering from addictions sometimes worry about being able to practice abstinence on board.
For this reason, many cruise ships have Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings on a daily basis. You’ll see these on the cruise daily schedule as ‘Friends of Bill W’ or ‘FOB’.
Bill Wilson is the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Friends of Bill meetings on cruise ships may also be attended by members of similar support groups such as Overeaters Anonymous (OA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
Weird Cruise Facts
26. The Church of Scientology Has Its Own Cruise Ship
The Freewinds is a 540-passenger cruise ship belonging to the Church of Scientology. It is staffed by an unpaid crew known as Sea Org and sails out of Curaçao. The church describes the cruise ship as ‘the pinnacle of a deeply spiritual journey’.
27. Not All Cruise Ship Weddings Are Legally Recognised
(World of Cruising)
Cruise ship weddings may be legally-binding or just symbolic. If you want your cruise ship wedding to count as a legal marriage, you’ll need to choose a cruise ship that was registered in a country where the law allows marriages onboard a cruise ship.
Options for legally-binding cruise ship weddings include P&O Cruises, Cunard and Princess Cruises (which have ships registered in Bermuda), Celebrity Cruises (on ships registered in Malta) and Royal Caribbean (on ships registered in the Bahamas).
Suggested read: Why Do Cruise Ships Register In The Bahamas?
28. The Big X on Celebrity Cruises’ Ship Funnels Isn’t the Letter X
Each Celebrity Cruises ship has a big letter X on the funnel. While you may think that this is the letter X, it’s actually the Greek letter Chi and it stands for Chandris which is the group that founded Celebrity Cruises in 1988.
29. You Can Bring Your Dog or Cat on a Cruise
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is the only cruise ship that allows passengers to bring their pet dogs and cats on board. This ship has 24 kennels, space to play and it even has lampposts and fire hydrants for dogs to relieve themselves.
Service dogs such as guide dogs for visually impaired people and hearing dogs for the deaf are welcome on most cruise ships.
However, certain types of working dogs such as emotional support dogs are not recognised as official service dogs and are not allowed on board. The rules have become stricter since people began to bring untrained pet dogs on board under the guise of being assistance dogs.
Cat lovers may also be interested in the Meow Meow Cruise, a cat-themed cruise. Unfortunately, no cats are permitted onboard.
30. You Can See an Abandoned Cruise Ship Wreck on Google Maps
The MS World Discoverer is a cruise ship that struck a rock in the ocean off the Solomon Islands in April 2000. All passengers were transported to safety, but the ship remains there to this day, lying tipped to one side.
You can view the World Discoverer cruise ship on Google Maps here.
31. Most Cruise Ships Don’t Have a Deck 13
And yes, it’s for exactly the reason you think it is – superstition means that many cruise ships go straight from Deck 12 to Deck 14.
MSC Cruises is a little different – the number 17 is considered unlucky in Italian culture, and so instead MSC ships often skip from Deck 16 to Deck 18.
32. You Can Part-Own the Biggest Cruise Lines
Many of the biggest cruise lines in the world are public – meaning you can buy shares in them.
Not only that, but there are often rewards to owning a minimum number of shares, with perks given to you every time you cruise with that cruise line!
- Carnival Shareholder Benefits
- Celebrity Cruise Shareholder Benefits
- Cunard Shareholder Benefits
- P&O Cruises Shareholder Benefits
- NCL Shareholder Benefits
- Royal Caribbean Shareholder Benefits
The Bottom Line
The cruise industry is a huge contributor to the global economy. Following a year like no other, the cruise industry has been quick to engage experts and government authorities to strengthen its already robust public health measures.
Cruising resumed gradually from summer 2020 and the return has continued into 2021 and 2022. 2023 is shaping up to be the strongest year in a long time.
With the pent-up demand for travel, I’m sure that the cruise industry will reach new heights in the years to come.
- Associated Press
- Business Insider
- Cruise Industry News
- Cruise Market Watch
- Cruise Market Watch
- Cruise Market Watch
- Maritime Executive
- Miami Dade County
- World of Cruising
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