The cruise industry was hit hard by the pandemic with operators seeing huge drops in sales. But you may be wondering how is the industry is recovering in 2022…
I’ve highlighted some of the most important cruise statistics for 2022 as well as some incredible cruise ship facts that you probably won’t be aware of.
2022 Cruise Industry Statistics
1. In 2021, the cruise market recovered to levels last seen in 2006
(Cruise Market Watch)
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.
2. Royal Caribbean carried the most passengers of all cruise lines in 2021
(Cruise Market Watch)
Royal Caribbean carried more passengers than any other cruise line in 2021. The line had 20 of its fleet of 24 ships back in service by December 2021. Following closely behind was Carnival, with 17 ships back in service out of a fleet of 23.
Ships that are not yet in service in 2022 tend to be the oldest and smallest ships in each fleet as ships sail at a reduced capacity to allow space for social distancing on board.
|Cruise Line||Passengers in 2021|
3. 60% more cruise ships were built in 2021 than 2020
(Cruise Industry News)
Work on building new cruise ships slowed in 2020 and some ships such as Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas which were due to be completed in 2020 were delayed until 2021.
Fewer shipyard closures in 2021 meant that 24 brand new cruise ships were delivered, compared to just 15 in 2020. However, this is still behind the target of 28, as the builds of four new ships were pushed back into 2022.
The new cruise ships delivered in 2021 are shown in the following table…
|Cruise Line||Ship||Cost (millions)||Capacity|
|Viking Ocean||Viking Venus||$400||930|
|Viking Ocean||Viking Octantis||$275||378|
4. 25 new cruise ships will be delivered in 2022
(Cruise Industry News)
In 2021 almost twice as many new cruise ships will be built as were completed in 2020. The new ships include mega-ships such as MSC Virtuosa, MSC Seashore and Odyssey of the Seas.
The new cruise ships set to be delivered in 2022 are shown in the following table…
|Cruise Line||Ship||Cost (millions)||Capacity|
|Viking Ocean||Viking Polaris||$275||378|
|Dream Cruises||Global Dream||$1,800||5,000|
|Viking Ocean||Viking Neptune||$400||930|
|MSC Cruises||World Europa||$1,200||5,400|
|Viking Ocean||Viking Mars||$400||930|
In 2023, 21 new cruise ships will be built. You can see a list of them all here.
5. More than 50% of all new cruise ships on order for 2022 and beyond will be 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.
Cruise Ship Statistics
6. In 2022, there are 323 cruise ships in the world – 23 fewer than pre-COVID.
(Cruise Market Watch)
There are currently 323 cruise ships in the world, although not all of these are currently in operation. Between 2019 and 2021, 31 cruise ships were scrapped and 8 new ones were built, meaning that the total number of cruise ships has reduced by 6.6%.
7. There are more than 50 cruise lines in the world
(CLIA, Maritime Executive)
There are more than 50 cruise lines operating in 2022, as recognised by the Cruise Lines International Association as well as some smaller brands.
In 2020, three cruise lines went out of business as a result of the pandemic – the UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Spain’s Pullmantur Cruises and a Swedish cruise line called Birka Cruises.
New cruise lines for 2022 include Ambassador Cruise Line which was launched in 2021 by the same team who ran the not defunct Cruise & Maritime Voyages and Explora Journeys which is owned by the MSC Group.
8. An exact replica of the Titanic, called Titanic II will launch in 2022
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…
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. 2022 will see a new ‘biggest cruise ship in the world’
In March 2022, Royal Caribbean’s new ship, Wonder of the Seas, made her maiden voyage and become the biggest cruise ship ever to set sail. At 236,857 gross tons, this ship is about 4% larger than the previous largest ship, Symphony of the Seas.
Until 2022, Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas was the biggest cruise ship in the world with an internal volume of 228,000 gross tons (2.28 million cubic feet).
Wonder of the Seas will also become the joint-longest cruise ship in the world. Both Wonder and Harmony of the Seas measure 1,118 feet in length – three-and-a-half feet longer than Symphony of the Seas.
Each of these ships is longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall, and each weighs more than 10,000 adult elephants.
11. The most expensive cruise ships are Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas
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 new ship for 2022, Wonder of the Seas, was slightly less expensive to build, with a cost of $1.3 billion.
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. Cruises to the Mediterranean were slowest to resume in 2020
Cruises to the Mediterranean were the slowest to resume after the pause in cruising, with passenger numbers 95% down in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, just 255,000 passengers cruised the Mediterannean, down from 4,437,000 in 2019.
The following table shows the breakdown of cruises by region:
|Asia & China||3,977||643||-84%|
|Panama Canal/South America||807||484||-40%|
|Central & Western Mediterranean||3,211||225||-93%|
|Transatlantic & World Cruise||393||45||-89%|
14. 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.
15. The world’s busiest cruise port is the Port of Miami
(Miami Dade County)
The world’s busiest cruise port is the Port of Miami which welcomed 5,592,000 passengers in 2019 with 1,220 cruise ships from 22 cruise lines docking at the port. The port also welcomed 1,000 cargo ships carrying over 9 million tons of goods.
16. 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.
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.
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.
Cruise Safety Statistics
21. 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.
22. 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.
23. 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.
24. 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
25. 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’.
26. 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?
27. 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.
28. 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 an assistance dog.
Cat lovers may also be interested in the Meow Meow Cruise, a cat-themed cruise. Unfortunately, no cats are permitted onboard.
29. You can see an abandoned cruise ship wreck on Google Maps
The MS World Discoverer is a cruise ship that struck a rock off 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.
30. Thirty cruise passengers equate to one job in the cruise industry
The first six months of the global pause in cruising between mid-March and September 2020 resulted in a loss of 518,000 cruise industry jobs and $77 billion in global economic activity related to cruising.
With 1.8 million people working in the cruise industry in 2019 and over half a million job losses in the first six months of the shutdown, it’s estimated that at least 25% of cruise industry workers have lost their employment. Of course, cruise industry workers don’t just work on ships, they also work in ports, in head offices, in travel agencies and many other locations.
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.
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
Don’t Overpay For Your Cruise!
Here’s how I get the lowest price when I book a cruise…
Please don’t book with any old company just because they have a cheap deal. I recommend that you find the best price and then take it to a trusted travel agent who will beat it, as well as giving you the best service.