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Premium Member
5,620 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Unlike IATA for airlines, there is not a world body that collects comprehensive data on the cruise industry. The organisation with the longest database is Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), based in New York, but it only provides data for its members. The only world-wide database is produced by the Scandinavian trade publication ShipPax, but in my view that includes too many carriers, including for example the Hong Kong overnight gambling ships.
Nevertheless, these sources show that the world-wide total number of cruise passengers in 2005 was just under 17 million, compared with fewer than 8 million in 1996. The number of cruise passengers has doubled in 10 years. The CLIA figures show that their members’ passenger numbers (mainly US departures) have increased by 8.1% compound from 1.4 million in 1980 to 10.4 million in 2004. The only way these growth figures can be sustained is by building ever bigger ships.
Cruising is already a huge industry. It is estimated that in 2005 the industry generated about $60billion revenue and employed about 600,000 people, afloat and ashore, world-wide.
The industry is dominated by three groups, although MSC with 6 ships in service and 4 on order is emerging from the pack. At 1 January 2006 the fleet size was: -

1. Carnival Group (Aida, Carnival, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, Ocean Village, P&O Cruise, P&O Cruise Australia, Princess, Seabourn, Swan Hellenic, Windstar)
94 ships; average age 9 years; 177,918 lower berths

2. Royal Caribbean International (Celebrity, Island, Royal Caribbean)
34 ships; average age 8 years; 75,908 lower berths

3. Star Group (NCL America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Orient Lines, Star Cruises)
21 ships; average age 10 years; 34,749 lower berths

4. The 75 other brands
262 ships; average age 21 years; 109,792 lower berths

To my mind, the current situation in cruise shipping is rather like the food retail business, with the big supermarkets providing huge benefits to the public, but in the process driving the little guys out of business. A typical 7 day Carnival cruise from Miami costs $599 per head for two sharing an inner cabin today. This is exactly the same as the Carnival price in 1980. If the price were to match inflation it would be $1,380 today.
The big three (and MSC) are following a “pile ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap” policy that only works because of the great economies of scale obtained from very big cruise ships. With the exception of MSC, the other 75 brands cannot afford giant cruise ships. Their future is bleak, as it is no longer possible to economically build a small cruise ship at current cruise prices.

Fred (Read)

328 Posts
These are really extraordinary figures. I believe that the stats for 'downunder'(Aust+NZ), are either statistically up there with those or maybe even a little greater, admittedly coming off of much lower base.!
I understood M.S.C. to be a 'family-owned' company, where is the money coming from in such enormous quantities to construct the huge box boats like 'MSC Pamela' and her successors, PLUS the Cruise ships??
I wish that I had a Bank manager like they must have.
David D.
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