As Consumers Respond Strongly to Innovation, Diversity of Cruise Experiences, Industry Anticipates Record Year With 10 Ships Joining the Fleet, CLIA Predicts 12.8 Million Passengers

Worldwide in 2008



    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Cruise Lines
 International Association (CLIA), the cruise industry organization for 24
 member cruise lines and 16,000 travel agency members, today predicted a
 record year for 2008, with its member lines projected to carry 12.8 million
 passengers. Of the total, 10.5 million passengers will originate from North
 America; 2.3 million from international markets.
 
     "The cruise industry, represented by CLIA member lines and driven by
 new ships, innovative itineraries and ground-breaking shipboard facilities
 and activities, continues to demonstrate enviable strength," said Dan
 Hanrahan, CLIA's marketing committee chairman and president & CEO of
 Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises. "We anticipate that the unparalleled
 diversity of cruise experiences offered by our members will result in
 another record year for the industry."
 
     Also newly released today are third quarter 2007 passenger carrying
 results and fourth quarter estimates, which revealed that CLIA member
 cruise lines are anticipated to have carried 12.6 million worldwide
 passengers last year, a 4.6 percent increase over the 12.01 million carried
 in 2006. Included in that forecast is 10.33 million North Americans in
 2007, compared with 10.08 million the previous year. Cruise lines also
 maintained their high utilization rates, posting a collective occupancy
 factor of over 105 percent in 2007.
 
     Adding to the excitement of cruising in 2008 will be the introduction
 of eight new ships and two redeployed vessels joining the CLIA fleet,
 representing a total increase in berths of 23,275. Taking into account the
 timing of ship introductions and deletions throughout the year, the actual
 annual increase in available net bed days -- and passenger growth -- is
 projected to be a moderate 1.6 percent. Based on known 35 new ships that
 CLIA will introduce from 2008 - 2012, the CLIA fleet will have a 29 percent
 increase in capacity from 2007, reflecting a dynamically changing capacity
 environment.
 
     CLIA's optimism is supported by early reports from CLIA member travel
 agents on this year's Wave Season, the period between January and March
 traditionally known as the heaviest booking period of the year. A recent
 survey indicated that 90 percent of agents expect as good or better annual
 sales results as 2007, 60 percent of agents expect 2008 to be better than
 2007, and 20 percent expect it will be their best year ever overall for
 cruise bookings. Almost 35 percent of respondents expect Wave Season to be
 their highest volume booking period although 32 percent reported that their
 cruise sales are generally consistent throughout the year -- which is also
 good news for the industry.
 
     "With consumers typically booking at least five to six months out, Wave
 Season gives us a good indication of the year to come and it's looking
 positive," said Terry L. Dale, president and CEO of CLIA. "We are also
 heartened by the fact that cruise bookings and sales are increasingly
 strong throughout the year, extending beyond Wave Season. From all
 indications, CLIA member lines are having great success reaching an
 increasingly diverse population of vacationers -- of all ages, backgrounds
 and interests. And, according to the travel agents who sell nearly 90
 percent of all cruises, they are strongly receptive to the extraordinary
 range of different experiences offered on CLIA member ships."
 
     CLIA travel professionals are considered the consumer's very best
 resource when planning a cruise vacation. To locate an agency, consumers
 should use the travel agent locator on CLIA's Web site at www.cruising.org.
 
     About CLIA
 
     The nonprofit Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is North
 America's largest cruise industry organization. CLIA represents the
 interests of 24 member lines and participates in the regulatory and policy
 development process while supporting measures that foster a safe, secure
 and healthy cruise ship environment. CLIA is also engaged in travel agent
 training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and
 desirability of cruise vacations and counts as members more than 16,000
 travel agencies. For more information on CLIA, the cruise industry, and
 CLIA-member cruise lines and travel agencies, visit www.cruising.org.
 
 
 

SOURCE Cruise Lines International Association

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