Short Cruises make up 1/3 of the Caribbean Cruise Market
The cruise industry is vast and wide and covers most of the planet, but the heart and soul is still the Caribbean. The CLIA 2019 Cruise Trends & Industry Outlook has the Caribbean deployment as 34.4% of the market share with 11.9 million passengers coming from USA. The Caribbean remains the strongest market and there are a variety of options for Caribbean cruises: they can range from 2 nights to several weeks with combination cruises. For the sake of simplifying the cruise market, we will consider the Bahamas as the Caribbean, even though technically it isn’t in the Caribbean Sea.
According to the 2019 Cruise Industry News Annual Report, this year we will see more than one third of the Caribbean cruise capacity in short cruises (2-5 days); this is a 9% increase for this year. The short cruise market segment offers a value-priced entry-level product, and this is so appealing to first-time cruise guests sailing from ports in Florida.
The dominant cruise line in this market is Carnival Cruise Line. They have just over 45.3% of the market, approximately just under 4.5 million passengers at double occupancy, sailing on cruises of four nights or less. Royal Caribbean International follows just behind at 1.1 million passengers and Bahamas Paradise with 522,000. Bahamas Paradise has seen the largest increase in 2019, with 2 ships sailing year round from Palm Beach. With the effects of Hurricane Dorian, there are changes expected.
Norwegian Cruise Line has just above 400,000 cruise guests, also an increase this year with the Norwegian Sun sailing from Port Canaveral. These numbers are all above their short cruise capacity counts from last year. Royal Caribbean International has also added Voyager-class ships with refurbishments and a call to their private island into the short cruise market to entice new cruisers.
When Cuba opened for cruising, this was a huge driving force for the increase in short cruises; however with the travel regulation changes, the ports may have changed, but the cruises still remain. Floridians love the short cruise option as this can replace a “staycation” and can sometimes be more affordable.