Cruising to Grow to $15 Billion by 2028; Trends to Help Advisors Grow Their Cruise Business

Norwegian Cruise Line ship.
Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

New market research shows that the global cruise market will grow to a whopping value of over USD $15billion in the next five years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11 percent between now and 2028.

Grand View Research, a U.S.-based market research and consulting company, published its findings in a new cruise market size, share, and trends report this month, as the first full year of cruising post-pandemic enters its final quarter.

Some of its other findings may come as no surprise to travel advisors who specialize in cruise - and others may provide insights for all advisors and agencies to capture some of that explosive growth for their own business.

Top Market Region:

North America dominated globally in 2021, with around 50 per cent of the global market's revenues. The "strong presence of the key players, and higher consumer spending" are credited with North America garnering half of the market's share of revenues.

Europe came in second with a quarter of the market's share of revenues. The report notes that the growing demand for sustainable tourism in that region will favour small- and medium-sized operators.

Type of Cruising with the Highest Future Growth:

Ocean cruising still corners 80 per cent of the cruise market overall, with more operators, more destinations, bigger ships with greater capacity and competition between brands for ever-more unique experiences filling an endless stream of new ships.

While it's the biggest cruise sector, ocean cruising is not the fastest-growing cruise sector.

Instead, river cruising is predicted to see the highest rate of growth among cruise sectors. At over 13 per cent, its projected growth exceeds the industry's overall 11 per cent predicted CAGR by 2028.

What's Driving Market Growth:

According to the report, projected cruise market growth is being driven by the rising popularity of "theme cruises that attract various consumer groups. The kids-related theme, yoga theme, mystery theme, and adventure theme are likely to offer extra fun with destination traveling, rather than traditional cruises."

What Customers will Grow Cruising?

The report cites CLIA's research that indicates that "gen z is likely to become the largest consumer of the cruise industry, outpacing millennials."

According to the report, "this generation seeks out unique and authentic experiences and seeks out travel more enthusiastically, which is expected to drive the enlargement of the cruise market."

What's Limiting the Growth of Cruising?

During the pandemic, the cruise industry struggled to overcome unfair reporting and labels that painted cruising as the face of COVID-19.

Coming out of the pandemic doldrums, the report suggests future cruise market growth will be constrained by the limited number of cruise companies, as well as rising global environmental concerns.

Lynn Elmhirst


With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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