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Global Maritime Passenger Transport Industry


The global maritime passenger transport industry continues to expand due to a high rate of customer satisfaction. According to Koncept Analytics, cruise takers report better than expected cruise experiences for both first time and repeat cruise takers. Cruise trips are also becoming more accessible to a wider customer base due to declining prices. Over the past decade, the global cruise sector has witnessed a near doubling in passenger numbers.


The global cruise sector benefits from high demand, value appeal, good passenger demographics and strong consumer satisfaction. Growth in the world vacation cruise market is fuelled by low pricing and low penetration rates, reports Global Industry Analysts. Planned capacity additions carried out by leading cruise companies are forecast to drive growth in the global vacation cruises market in the near future.




The majority of consumers responding to cruise appeal fall into the 55 to 64 age bracket, reports Key Note. In the four-year period ending 2015, the number of passengers in this bracket is forecast to decline somewhat. Balancing this fall off, the number of passengers in the 65 to 74 age bracket is forecast to increase. Cruise demand could receive a boost if cruise operators make the cruise option more accessible, particularly regarding travel insurance, which is often unfavorable for this age bracket in the travel sector. Recently, cruises are also drawing an increasingly young and affluent passenger base.


A notable trend in the cruise sector is larger-sized ships, which offer greater capacity and help cut per-passenger costs. Bigger ships also provide a wider range of services and amenities for passengers, leading to a higher rate of onboard spending as passengers avail of onboard services instead of waiting to spend on shore.


The largest cruise ships in circulation belong to cruise operator Royal Caribbean. The company’s two sister ships, 225 and 250 tons respectively, can cater to almost 5,500 passengers. The disadvantage facing companies operating such large ships is a loss in the personal holiday experience. These larger ships are also less popular with destination-focused passengers as their size means they are prohibited from landing at certain ports.


Large ships, and cruise ships in general, are forced to comply with increasingly strict environmental legislation. For example, a limit on global sulphur oxide emissions was introduced in early 2012. Other restrictions include the growing number of emission control zones. These zones are set up to protect specific environments by controlling the amount of particulate matter, nitrous and sulphur emitted by cruise ships.



Regional Market Share


  • The US was leading the global cruise market in 2011. The UK represented the second largest cruise market, followed by Germany. More recently the EU region has been witnessing stronger growth in passenger numbers than the US, according to research from Key Note. Germany has been witnessing the fastest rate of growth in the global cruise market. Sensitive to these trends, cruise companies have been investing more in the EU market. Koncept Analytics points to the potential of emerging markets such as Asia, which is fuelled by population size and rising levels of income.


  • UK travelers have been opting to set sail from UK ports, encroaching on the fly-cruise holiday market. The main reason for this trend is attributed to the lesser expense of cruises compared with rising air travel costs. Passengers are, however, limited as to the destinations they can reach through the cruise holiday option. Another notable trend in the UK cruise market is the growing demand for cruises of longer duration. Cruises lasting between 8 and 14 nights represent the market’s fastest-growing segment.



Industry Leaders


  • Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corporation represent the two main multinational cruise outfits currently operating in the global cruise market, according to Key Note. The two are followed by Genting Hong Kong counted in third place, between its Star Cruises lines and its 50% stake in Norwegian Cruise Lines. Between them, these three outfits hold the 10-leading cruise brands.



Market Outlook


The global cruise industry witnessed growth despite the economic recession, faring better than other segments of the holiday industry, reports Key Note. Growth is forecast to continue over the coming years, with the US and UK in particular set to witness strong growth due to economic recovery. It is forecast that more than 20 new cruise liners will be introduced in the four-year period ending 2016. The industry could face saturation, which could result in wide discounting practices to retain demand.



Leading Industry Associations




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Parent industry:  Passenger Transportation

Related industries: Airline, Railway Passenger Transport, Road Passenger Transport

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