Almost out of the blue, Asia has emerged as one of the world’s biggest cruise markets with natives of the continent (in particular the citizens of China) seeking out holidays on the seas in record numbers. With the biggest cruise lines sending their newest and biggest cruise ships to the region and projected figures suggesting the continent will dominate the cruise industry within the next ten years, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) have explored just how quickly the industry is growing.
Since 2013, the passenger capacity of Asia has grown by 20% annually with more and more cruise ships calling the continent home. This figure will only continue to increase as the biggest cruise lines send more ships to region. Royal Caribbean’s upcoming Quantum Class ship, Ovation of the Seas, will homeport in Tianjin in China upon her launch in 2016, joining sister ship, Quantum of the Seas, who is set to relocate to Shanghai next month (May 2015).
The region now has the tied fourth largest passenger capacity (along with the more establish Australasia) and will surely soon break into the top three. There are currently 52 cruise ships operating out of Asia, offering 1,065 sailings.
The increased capacity has come about due to growing demand, with a 34% increase in Asian cruise passengers since 2012. The 1.4million Asian cruisers in 2014 looks set to continue year on year with more ships and itineraries at their disposal.
Popularity of cruising amongst Chinese holidaymakers has grown at an even more extreme rate with the number of cruisers from the country increasing by 79% between 2012 and 2014.
Adam M. Goldstein, Global Chairman of CLIA, enthused: “It is exciting that, for the first time, we know the true size of Asian source markets and have been able to extend our understanding of Asia’s cruise industry growth and potential. 2015 will be a record-breaking year in Asia with more travellers cruising the region than ever before. The cruise industry is responding by offering more cruises with experiences tailored to Asian travellers as well as enticing international travellers with an easy way to visit Asia’s array of fascinating destinations.”
Whilst the average age of cruise holidaymakers has fallen slightly throughout the world, this figure is still about 55 years in the majority of regions. However in Asia, the average cruise passenger age is under 35 with holidays on the seas proving particularly popular with members of China’s Generation Y. Family-focussed cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean are proving to be a huge hit in the region – combining cultural excursions with fun on-board activities.
Exploring Wider Asia
Nine out of 10 Asian cruise passengers are staying within the continent, using cruise ships as a means to explore different Asian countries. The hugely diverse culture of the continent appears to be more appealing to Asian cruise passengers than the offerings from Europe, the Americas and Australasia. Additionally the strict vacation entitlements of many Asian workers means that shorter cruise itineraries are more in demand – potentially ruling out holidays further afield.
More and More Ports
The increased number of ships docking in Asia and more passengers clamouring for cabin space has meant that more ports are being built in the region. Additional ports are currently being developed throughout China and the rest of Asia to accommodate the growing demand for cruise holidays in the region.
Images sourced via Royal Caribbean Press Center, Flickr Creative Commons. Credits: louis.foecy_.fr_, Ed Coyle