This year is setting up to be a record-breaking year the cruise industry, and some of those setting the bar will be familiar names while others are new to the scene. Overall, the industry is slated to add an additional 42,488 berths to the total number worldwide, which is over a 25% increase from last year’s addition of 34,000. And dry dock projects are also set to spike as cruise lines know that passengers want the latest amenities and features, so older ships need a retrofit immediately.
China was predicted to be the world’s largest cruise market in 2019, but that title could now be in question. Many believe that the market in China grew too quickly and that short booking window has created a glut in the supply side while the demand is still not reaching its full potential. In addition, there are too many suppliers competing with the same product. No one cruise line has found a way to set itself apart from the masses and create a desire for passengers to opt for a cruise this year.
One of the biggest problems facing cruise lines in the rest of the world is connectivity. Passengers want the same features, apps, and access at sea that they enjoy at home. This has turned out to be very challenging for most cruise lines. The capacity needed to operate all of the electronics that passengers bring with them on vacation is massive, and it requires a very robust network to keep everyone connected and at the speed which they desire.
There will be a few new names circling the industry this year as Jalesh Cruises will begin operating out of Mumbai in April offering an array of short cruises geared toward the market in India. China Travel service is expected to launch service in late 2019 as well. And though they are not going to be hitting the water until 2020, Virgin Voyages and the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection are making headlines on a regular basis as they reveal information about their new ships and itineraries just a peep at a time.
One thing is clear for 2019, the cruise industry is hoping to enjoy a year filled with prosperity and growth. Four mega ships are set to hit the water this year as well as a host of other smaller ships including a few new expedition ships. The business plan is to provide an alternative vacation that travelers just can’t pass up.