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Cruise industry in the United States - statistics & facts

Over the last ten years, the popularity of cruise trips has increased significantly among travelers worldwide. Since 2009, the number of global ocean cruise passengers has risen steadily, peaking at nearly 30 million in 2019. The onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic the following year, however, resulted in a sharp decline in cruise travel. While cruise passengers hail from all over the world, most are residents of just a few regions. In this respect, North America is the region with the most cruise passengers worldwide, followed by Western Europe and Asia. In particular, most North American cruise travelers come from the United States, the global largest cruise market. Over 14 million Americans made a cruise trip in 2019 alone, while the number of U.S. cruise passengers dropped to under three million in 2020.

The cruise industry in the U.S. during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, most cruise vacations were interrupted as governments enacted social distancing measures and constrained global travel. As a result, the cruise passenger volume in the United States dropped by roughly 81 percent that year over 2019. With the decrease in cruise passenger numbers came a decline in revenue. According to Statista’s Mobility Market Outlook, the revenue of the cruise industry in the United States dropped from over 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 to just around 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. From 2021 onwards, this market is expected to slowly recover from losses sustained during the pandemic, but revenues are not expected to surpass pre-pandemic figures until 2024.

Though the U.S. is the biggest cruise market worldwide, cruise employees in the United States were expected to be less affected by the health crisis than those in Europe. The estimated number of cruise industry jobs lost due to the pandemic in Europe amounted to roughly 800 per day, while an estimated 600 cruise industry jobs were lost per day in the United States. Globally, it was calculated that there were around two and a half thousand cruise jobs lost each day of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leading U.S. cruise companies

Several popular cruise companies are headquartered in the United States. According to U.S. consumers, the best rated mega-ship cruise line in the U.S. was Royal Caribbean International as of October 2020. This cruise line is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., an American cruise holding company that also operates Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. reported a revenue of over two billion U.S. dollars in 2020, experiencing a dramatic decrease in revenue over the previous year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the same October 2020 survey, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., also based in the United States, was another highly rated cruise company. Revenue of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. in 2020 was slightly more than half that of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. during the same year. That being said, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is not the largest cruise company in the United States. The reported revenue of Carnival Corporation & plc, a British-American cruise operator responsible for a variety of cruise lines, was over double that of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. both during the pandemic and in years prior. In the United States, Carnival Corporation & plc operates the well-known Carnival Cruise Line, headquartered in Miami, Florida.

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Cruise industry in the United States

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Cruise industry in the United States - statistics & facts

Over the last ten years, the popularity of cruise trips has increased significantly among travelers worldwide. Since 2009, the number of global ocean cruise passengers has risen steadily, peaking at nearly 30 million in 2019. The onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic the following year, however, resulted in a sharp decline in cruise travel. While cruise passengers hail from all over the world, most are residents of just a few regions. In this respect, North America is the region with the most cruise passengers worldwide, followed by Western Europe and Asia. In particular, most North American cruise travelers come from the United States, the global largest cruise market. Over 14 million Americans made a cruise trip in 2019 alone, while the number of U.S. cruise passengers dropped to under three million in 2020.

The cruise industry in the U.S. during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, most cruise vacations were interrupted as governments enacted social distancing measures and constrained global travel. As a result, the cruise passenger volume in the United States dropped by roughly 81 percent that year over 2019. With the decrease in cruise passenger numbers came a decline in revenue. According to Statista’s Mobility Market Outlook, the revenue of the cruise industry in the United States dropped from over 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2019 to just around 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2020. From 2021 onwards, this market is expected to slowly recover from losses sustained during the pandemic, but revenues are not expected to surpass pre-pandemic figures until 2024.

Though the U.S. is the biggest cruise market worldwide, cruise employees in the United States were expected to be less affected by the health crisis than those in Europe. The estimated number of cruise industry jobs lost due to the pandemic in Europe amounted to roughly 800 per day, while an estimated 600 cruise industry jobs were lost per day in the United States. Globally, it was calculated that there were around two and a half thousand cruise jobs lost each day of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leading U.S. cruise companies

Several popular cruise companies are headquartered in the United States. According to U.S. consumers, the best rated mega-ship cruise line in the U.S. was Royal Caribbean International as of October 2020. This cruise line is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., an American cruise holding company that also operates Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. reported a revenue of over two billion U.S. dollars in 2020, experiencing a dramatic decrease in revenue over the previous year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the same October 2020 survey, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., also based in the United States, was another highly rated cruise company. Revenue of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. in 2020 was slightly more than half that of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. during the same year. That being said, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is not the largest cruise company in the United States. The reported revenue of Carnival Corporation & plc, a British-American cruise operator responsible for a variety of cruise lines, was over double that of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. both during the pandemic and in years prior. In the United States, Carnival Corporation & plc operates the well-known Carnival Cruise Line, headquartered in Miami, Florida.

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