Cruising is still sailing toward recovery in 2023, report says


Cruise bookings this year are projected to come close to 2019 numbers but likely fall short of prepandemic levels until 2024, according to a new report from Phocuswright.

The report, the U.S. Cruise Market Report 2022-2026, shows 2023 will be a significant year for the cruise industry’s recovery. Revenue is expected to grow 90% over 2022, a year dogged by the Omicron variant, which reached its peak during Wave season, and hampered by Covid-era vaccination and testing requirements until cruise lines began dropping those regulations in August. Industrywide revenue is expected to go from $11.1 billion in 2022 to $21.1 billion in 2023.

However, that falls short of the cruise industry’s revenue of $23.4 billion in 2019, the report said.

The report, which projects into 2026, suggests the market will show consistent double-digit growth. In addition, the industry is expected to debut 19 new ships this year, which will account for 38,000 additional berths and potentially 2 million additional cruisers. Through 2027, a total of 75 ships are expected to be delivered.

“The industry is embracing a new normal as it moves forward with new ships, added destinations, increased marketing and a consumer base ready to travel,” read the report. It pointed to “While record sales, new ships, expanded destinations and pent-up demand boost the spirit of the industry, headwinds and risks still linger.” (Phocuswright is owned by Travel Weekly parent company Northstar Travel Group.)

Those challenges include paying down or refinancing debt built up during the pandemic shutdown and the possibility that inflation and recession could affect consumer spending. Other headwinds include increases in fuel prices, continued struggle with supply chain distribution, the war in Ukraine keeping cruise lines from popular destinations and a fuel crisis in Europe that could affect future itineraries, the report said.

Courtesy of Travel Weekly

3 cruise ships in port