32 Cruise Industry Statistics and Facts For 2024

As we know, the cruise industry took a bit of a hit from 2020 until 2021, but the recovery has been pretty remarkable. 2022 and 2023 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 2024.

cruise statistics

2024 Cruise Industry Statistics

1. In 2023, the Cruise Market Recovered to Record Levels

While the final figures are yet to be fully confirmed, it’s expected that 31.5 million passengers embarked on a cruise in 2023 – and that’s only expected to grow further.

According to the latest state of cruising report by the Cruise Line International Association, around 36 million passengers are expected to embark on a cruise in 2024.

2023 was the first year expected to be above 2019 passenger levels, with the industry recovering slowly from the global shutdown of 2020 – though not slow compared to some other travel industries.

2. Royal Caribbean Carried the Most Passengers of All Cruise Lines in 2023

(Individual cruise line reports)

Royal Caribbean carried more passengers than any other cruise line in 2023, with over 6 million passengers. However, the Carnival Corporation (including Carnival, Costa Cruises, Princess Cruises, AIDA, Holland America, and P&O) hasn’t yet announced its full statistics and it’s likely that the Group will have more passengers combined – it was 7.7 million in 2022.

3. 15 New Cruise Ships Were Delivered in 2023

The new cruise ships delivered in 2023 are shown in the following table…

Cruise LineShip Cost (millions) Capacity
SeabournPursuit$265264
EmeraldEmerald Sakara$TBC100
OceaniaVista$6801,200
VikingSaturn$400930
Swan HellenicSH Diana$TBC192
Explora JourneysExplora I$530922
Virgin VoyagesResilient Lady$7102,770
MSC CruisesMSC Euribia$8504,800
NCLNorwegian Viva$8503,219
Scenic Ocean CruisesScenic Eclipse II$230228
SilverseaSilver Nova$205728
Regent Seven SeasSeven Seas Grandeur$450750
CarnivalCarnival Jubilee$9506,500
CelebrityCelebrity Ascent$9003,260
AdoraMagic City$7705,246

Learn more about the new cruise ships launched in 2023 here.

4. Another 11 Cruise Ships Will Launch in 2024

In 2024, 11 new cruise ships are currently planned, including a brand-new biggest ship ever.

The ships due to be delivered in 2024 are:

Cruise ShipCruise LineCapacityLaunch
Icon of the SeasRoyal Caribbean7,600January 2024
Sun PrincessPrincess Cruises4,300February 2024
Brilliant LadyVirgin Voyages2,700May 2024 TBC
Queen AnneCunard Line3,000May 2024
Mein Schiff 7TUI Cruises2,900June 2024
Silver RaySilversea728June 2024
Utopia of the SeasRoyal Caribbean5,668July 2024
Explora IIExplora Journeys922August 2024
Viking VelaViking Ocean Cruises998December 2024
Disney TreasureDisney Cruise Line4,000December 2024
IlmaRitz Carlton448TBC Summer 2024

5. More Than 50% Of All New Cruise Ships That Launched in 2022 or 2023 Are Powered by LNG Rather Than Diesel

(CLIA)

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.

Arvia being fuelled with LNG
Arvia being fuelled with LNG

Here’s a full list of all of the LNG-powered cruise ships currently sailing and under construction.

Cruise Ship Statistics

6. In 2023 There Were Over 300 Cruise Ships in the World

It’s not clear how many cruise ships are operating right now, because some of the smaller ships don’t always operate. There were believed to be 323 cruise ships by the end of 2022 and another 15 were added in 2023, but it’s not clear how many were sold or scrapped. It’s likely to be around 320 ships sailing right now.

7. There Are More Than 50 Cruise Lines in the World

(CLIA, Maritime Executive)

There were more than 50 cruise lines operating in 2023, as recognised by the Cruise Lines International Association as well as some smaller brands.

The biggest additions to the cruise line world in 2023 were Explora Journeys – a new luxury brand operated by MSC – and Crystal Cruises, which makes its return after folding in 2022.

Explora Journeys
Explora Journeys is a new cruise line for 2023

8. An Exact Replica of the Titanic, Called Titanic II, Was Announced (Again) in 2024.

(Business Insider)

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…

The project was announced a long time ago, but only in early 2024 was an update given and it is still happening, though there is no timescale.

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 Saw The New ‘Biggest Cruise Ship in the World’

In early 2024, Royal Caribbean’s ship Icon of the Seas 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 exceeds those stats by some way, with a volume of 250,800 gross tons and a maximum passenger capacity of 7,600.

She really is iconic.

Read more: Icon of the Seas Size Comparison

Ariel shot of Icon of the Seas
Icon of the Seas

11. The Most Expensive Cruise Ships Are Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas… For Now

(Statista)

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 Oasis-class ship, Wonder of the Seas, was slightly less expensive to build, with a cost of $1.3 billion.

But Icon of the Seas, that launched earlier in 2024, is estimated to have cost $2 billion. So the title may change hands very soon, once that figure is confirmed…

Suggested read: How Much Does A Cruise Ship Cost To Build?

12. The Average Cruise Duration Is Seven Days

(CLIA)

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)

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).

Port Canaveral
Port Canaveral

15. The Average Cruise Passenger Spends $385 in Port Before Boarding a Cruise

(CLIA)

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

(CLIA)

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 2024, 29% came from the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Cruise Passenger Statistics

17. The Average Cruise Passenger Is 47 Years Old

(CLIA)

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 2024 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

(CLIA)

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 residenceNumber of Passengers% of all
North America14,240,00050%
Western Europe6,731,00024%
Asia4,240,00015%
Australasia1,460,0005%
South America883,0003%
Scandinavia225,0001%
Eastern Europe213,0001%
Africa154,0001%
Middle East111,0000%
Caribbean56,0000%
Central America47,0000%

19. Singaporean People Like to Cruise More Than Any Other Nation

(CLIA)

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:

CountryCruise passengers (2018)Population% of people cruising per year
Singapore373,0005,800,0006.4%
Australia1,345,00025,000,0005.4%
United States13,091,000331,000,0004.0%
Hong Kong250,0007,500,0003.3%
UK & Ireland2,009,00072,000,0002.8%
Germany2,233,00083,800,0002.7%
Canada971,00037,700,0002.6%
New Zealand112,0004,800,0002.3%
Norway101,0005,400,0001.9%
Switzerland154,0008,654,6221.8%
Taiwan391,00023,800,0001.6%
Austria136,0009,000,0001.5%
Italy831,00060,400,0001.4%
Spain530,00046,700,0001.1%
France521,00065,200,0000.8%
Netherlands113,00017,100,0000.7%
Malaysia150,00032,300,0000.5%
Argentina187,00045,200,0000.4%
South Africa143,00059,300,0000.2%
Brazil510,000212,500,0000.2%
Japan266,000126,400,0000.2%
Mainland China2,357,0001,395,000,0000.2%
Mexico174,000123,932,0000.1%
India221,0001,380,000,0000.0%

20. Three-Quarters of People Use a Travel Agent When Booking a Cruise

(CLIA)

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)

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

(Tyco)

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

(CLIA)

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.

Read more about cruise ship morgues.

Medical centre on a cruise ship
Medical centre on a cruise ship

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).

Friends of Bill W meeting on a cruise
Friends of Bill W meeting on the bulletin board

Weird Cruise Facts

26. The Church of Scientology Has Its Own Cruise Ship

(Scientology)

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’.

Freewinds Scientology cruise ship
Freewinds
Photo credit: Ein Dahmer CC BY-SA

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. 

Read more: Why Celebrity Cruise ship funnels have a letter X

Celebrity Cruises ship
Photo credit: Celebrity Cruises

29. You Can Bring Your Dog or Cat on a Cruise

(Cunard)

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. 

Service dog toilet on the Disney Wish
Service dog toilet on the Disney Wish

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!

Read more:

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 was then one of the strongest years 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.

Sources:

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Cruise Mummy

Jenni Fielding is the founder of Cruise Mummy. She has worked in the cruise industry since 2015 and has taken over 30 cruises. Now, she helps over 1 million people per month to plan their perfect cruise holidays.

Read more about me



12 thoughts on “32 Cruise Industry Statistics and Facts For 2024”

  1. Do you know the percentage of cruise passengers traveling with a group?

    Thanks for your help.

    Bob

  2. What percentage of cruise guests are on a world cruise?

    • That will vary depending on the time of year and whether you count world cruise segments or not which may only be a month long. But it’s a very small percentage either way.

  3. I took a 12 day Xmas holiday Pacific cruise out of Sydney in the mid 1960s aboard P&O’s Oriana. I recall the gender demographic was something like one male to four females, so making a connection with a woman was like shooting fish in a barrel!
    Now that I’m older, and again single, I can’t help but wonder if I would happily find a similar gender mix on an ex-Sydney seniors cruise today?

  4. Love reading your information.

  5. Fantastic amount of information thank you very much
    Hope all your family are well.

    • Thank you.

  6. Very interesting thank you 😊

  7. Really fascinating facts . Thank you

  8. Fantastic amount of information, thank you.

  9. Enjoyed this information. Keep up the good work.

    • Thank you!

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