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CLIA sees nearly 24m cruisers in 2016, lists 'trends'

CLIA sees nearly 24m cruisers in 2016, lists 'trends'

Cruise Lines International Association projects nearly 24m people will cruise in 2016—a safe bet, considering more than 23m are expected this year. The association also listed 13 cruise trends. Among them, some old chestnuts—that ships were once considered transportation and now are 'the destination.'

The 2016 forecast follows CLIA's October announcement that 22.04m people cruised in 2014, 3.4% more than in 2013.

On Tuesday CLIA said its member cruise lines are scheduled to launch 27 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2016, a total investment of more than $6.5bn in new ocean vessels alone. It went on to note that 18 of those 27 vessels are for the rivers.

It's not clear if non-CLIA-member lines like Viking Cruises figure in that. In the past, the company's substantial numbers of river ships were not tallied by the association. Plus, now Viking is adding one ocean-going newbuild in each of the next several years.

With 18 of CLIA's new ships for the rivers, that leaves nine for the oceans, but they weren't identified in a release.

Seatrade's orderbook, which counts ocean-going ships only, numbers 11 newbuilds in 2016.

Toppng CLIA's 2016 trends is the increased popularity of river cruising. The association said its member lines currently field 170 river vessels and will add the 18 more.

The second trend is 'more ships, more options,' while Asia as the fastest growing cruise region follows, then continued growth in Australia.

The No. 5 trend, 'cruise specialists,' states there are more than 30,000 CLIA member agents globally now, compared to 12,000 in 2010. That was before the association became global and at a time when only agencies, not individual agents, could become CLIA members. That said, CLIA releases in 2010 routinely claimed 16,000 travel agencies.

More connectivity (Wi-Fi) at sea, continued demand for luxury, brands at sea (LEGO, Seuss, etc.), more overnight stays, intergenerational travel (which the cruise industry previously called 'multigenerational' travel), voluntourism and cultural customization (outfitting ships for passengers they serve) are among the other trends CLIA identified.

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