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Cruise industry: 2021 revenue will be almost five times lower than in 2019

Cruise industry: 2021 revenue will be almost five times lower than in 2019
Cruise industry: 2021 revenue will be almost five times lower than in 2019
Written by Harry Johnson

The entire cruise industry is expected to generate $6.6 billion in revenue in 2021, almost five times less than in 2019.

  • Confidence in the cruise lines plummeted amid COVID-19 pandemic
  • The number of cruise line users down by 76% in two years
  • Combined revenues of top five cruise markets still $16 billion under Pre-COVID-19 levels

The COVID-19 had a devastating impact on the global cruise industry, with cruise lines practically disappearing after the pandemic hit and all operators witnessing double-digit sales drop.

However, it seems that 2021 might bring a new hit to the sector, which is already on its knees. According to data presented by industry analysts, the entire cruise industry is expected to generate $6.6 billion in revenue in 2021, almost five times less than in 2019.

When the COVID-19 hit, cruise ships immediately suffered high infection rates among passengers and crew. Thousands of people were stranded on board, spending months in quarantine. By the end of April 2020, more than 50 cruise ships confirmed hundreds of COVID-19 cases. It didn’t take long for cruises to be depicted as places of danger and infection.

In 2019, the entire cruise industry generated $27.4 billion in revenue, revealed the recent data. After the pandemic struck, revenues plummeted by 88% in a year to $3.3 billion in 2020. Although this figure is expected to almost double and hit $6.6 billion in 2021, it still represents a massive 77% drop compared to pre-COVID-19 levels.

The latest data indicate it will take years for the cruise industry to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. By 2023, revenues are projected to reach $25.1 billion, still $2.3 billion less than in 2019. In 2024, cruise line revenues are expected to rise to over $30 billion.

As people lost confidence in the entire cruise industry amid the pandemic, the number of cruise line users plunged to the deepest level in years. In 2019, almost 29 million people worldwide had chosen cruise lines for their vacation. Last year, this figure dipped to 3.4 million. Although the number of cruise line users is forecast to recover to 6.7 million in 2021, it still represents a massive 76% drop in two years.

Recent survey revealed that, despite a $10.24 billion revenue drop in 2020, the global cruise giant Carnival Corporation remained the largest player in the market with a 45% market share in 2021. Royal Caribbean Cruises ranked second with a 25% share. Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises follow, with 15% and 5% share, respectively.

Analyzed by geography, the United States represents the world’s largest cruise industry, expected to generate around $2.8 billion in revenue this year, 78% less than in 2019.

Revenues of the German cruise line market, the second-largest globally, are expected to hit $830 million in 2021, compared to $2.8 billion before the pandemic struck. The UK’s cruise companies are forecast to generate $650 million in revenue, down from $2.4 billion two years ago. Chinese and Italian markets follow, with $570 million and $218 million in revenue, respectively.

Statistics show that combined revenues of the world’s five largest cruise markets are expected to amount to over $5 billion in 2021 or $16 billion less than in 2019.