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