By Joel Katz, Managing Director, CLIA Australasia
In a year when 14 spectacular new ships are set to enter service for CLIA cruise lines, the past few weeks have been especially busy.
Four ships have made their debut in recent days, representing the contemporary, luxury and expedition cruise sectors.
They include Norwegian Cruise Line’s newly delivered Norwegian Viva, Explora Journey’s debut ship Explora I which began its maiden voyage, Seabourn’s just-delivered expedition ship Seabourn Pursuit, and Crystal’s comeback ship Crystal Serenity (which, although not new, has departed on the line’s first voyage since its recent revival).
Every new ship that enters service brings new levels of innovation, new experiences for guests, new advances in sustainability and new opportunities for our travel agent community.
Importantly, they are also a sign of a very confident outlook for the global cruise sector. More than 60 new ships are due for delivery through to 2028, representing more than US$40 billion worth of investment in cruising.
Undoubtedly there is an enormous amount of work needed to fill these ships – including the task of attracting an estimated four million new-to-cruise guests over the next two years. But we are an industry that is supported by a strong network of trade partners, a strong community of ports and destinations, and an increasingly positive sentiment among consumers.
If there are still any misperceptions, I think we can now be absolutely clear – we are an industry that is back, and back better than before.
With the summer season now in full swing in the northern hemisphere, we can confidently say 2023 is the year in which our global passenger volumes will rise beyond the levels we had achieved in 2019, before the pandemic.
This is the result of an incredibly swift and well-managed recovery.
We are an industry that is resilient, responsive, and rebounding all over the world.