The cruise revival of passenger shipping

fred henderson
20th November 2005, 22:50
I have been compiling a database of passenger ships over 10,000 gross registered tons (GRT). I have started at 1970, which was a watershed in passenger shipping. Liner services were closing and shipping companies were scrapping passenger ships or trying to redeploy unsuitable ships in the cruise trade. Also in 1970, the first modern cruise ships were entering service. The decline in the fleet continued until 1980, by which time larger new ships were entering service. During the 1980s the recovery began, accelerated during the 1990s and is surging ahead in the current century. The figures for the total passenger fleet are as follows: -

1970: 166 ships; 3,088,323 GRT; 136,078 passenger capacity
1975: 125 ships; 2,341,387 GRT; 103,168 pax.
1980: 85 ships; 1,667,181 GRT; 74,508 pax.
1985: 87 ships; 1,909,807 GRT; 83,817 pax.
1990: 104 ships; 2,681,064 GRT; 109,248 pax.
1995: 137 ships; 4,259,361 GRT; 148,364 pax.
2000: 167 ships; 7,054,611 GRT; 192,578 pax.
2005: 196 ships; 10,887,207 GRT; 345,033 pax.

In addition to the revival in the number of passenger ships it will be seen that the dramatic increases in total tonnage and passenger capacity has been achieved by a considerable increase in the size of modern ships. The passenger capacity of the average ship has doubled from 1970 to 2005, whereas the tonnage is three times greater, reflecting the far better passenger amenities available in the latest cruise ships.

In 1970 the average size of all passenger ships in the database was 18,604 GRT with an average passenger capacity of 820. In 2005 the average was 55,547 GRT and 1,760 passengers.
Amazingly, in 1970 only six passenger ships had ever been built that were over 55,000 tons.

My database covers all ocean going passenger ships over 10,000 GRT. It excludes ships laid-up, employed as accommodation ships, ferries, coastal passenger ships, pilgrim ships and ships engaged on overnight gambling or booze-cruise operations.


Doug Rogers
20th November 2005, 23:55
I find the tonnage most significant of all, well done Fred!!.

Paul UK
21st November 2005, 12:22
Thats really interesting and of course the industry is still growing.


21st November 2005, 18:26
Thank you fred
that's an intreresting development over the years.
it makes me wonder though when will the bubble pop


21st November 2005, 20:00
Yes, that is really interesting Fed, and as Paul says, the industry is still growing. Also, it would seem that more tonnage and more competition is affecting fares for the good. For example, the cheapest fare for a 12 night cruise to the Canaries in 1990 on Canberra was 890. The cheapest fare on an almost indentical cruise also 12 nights on Oriana in August 2006 is 1,229. That is only an extra 339 in 16 years and with all due respect to my beautiful Canberra, a far more luxurious ship. Who said that modern day cruising was expensive?!. David

fred henderson
21st November 2005, 20:22
Although Carnival Cruise Line itself is very much an American taste, David, they are giving an even better deal. A typical 7 day Carnival cruise from Miami cost $599 this year, exactly the same as the fare in 1980! To adjust for inflation it should cost $1,373 today.
Carnival Corporation (the whole group) first came to the New York Stock Exchange in 1993. In that year they made $318 million profit on revenues of $1.557 billion. That was a profit of 20% of turnover. In 2004 Carnival Corporation made a profit of $1.854 billion on revenues of $9.727 billion. A profit of 19% of turnover.
They are a very efficient and very aggressive group, known as Carnivor Corporation by some in the industry. There is certainly no sign of their "Bubble bursting" but some of the weaker operators go bust every year.


21st November 2005, 20:28
They pass us every other day here in GOM but no graceful lines like the old liners more like boxes these days. Heard the guy who owned Easyjet is doing a cut price deal in Medi with a passanger vessel any truth to that.

fred henderson
21st November 2005, 22:37
They pass us every other day here in GOM but no graceful lines like the old liners more like boxes these days. Heard the guy who owned Easyjet is doing a cut price deal in Medi with a passanger vessel any truth to that.
Yes Stelios is trying to establish EasyCruise with one very small orange ship. It is 1990 built 3,990 ton floating youth hostel/ferry. Passengers need only stay on board for two days. Most people will be glad to disembark after two days. EasyJet was established on the basis of leasing large numbers of state of the art Boeing 737 aircraft. There are no cruise ship leasing companies.
Stelios has had the one brilliant idea of copying the American no-frills airline model and challenging the vastly overpriced European state owned air services. Painting a product orange and adding the word easy was not essential, as the even more successful Ryanair has proved.
All the other Stelios ventures have failed, because he is not fighting overpriced state operated organisations. I suspect that EasyCruise is another non-event.


Jan Hendrik
21st November 2005, 22:49
Very good information Fred. Thanks for that.