The penguins go on with their daily life, not paying any attention to the Ocean Victory expedition cruise vessel. Photo: Albatros Expeditions.

Market study: The cruise industry is expected to soar

The cruise industry was set to a halt when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Our fresh market study shows that the cruise industry is projected to experience substantial growth ahead.

17 October 2023

How the pandemic affected newbuild investments

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic abruptly halted the rise in the cruise industry. Cruise companies had strategically positioned themselves for rapid growth by investing heavily in expanding their fleets in size and quantity. When the pandemic emerged, these companies found themselves committed to substantial investments in new, costly vessels that remained idle, a painful and unforeseen challenge.

During the prolonged disruption caused by the pandemic, spanning from Q1 2020 to Q3 2022, cruise companies faced the arduous task of reallocating resources to navigate the crisis. Efforts were concentrated on debt refinancing, company restructuring, consolidation, and shedding older, less profitable vessels. Fleet expansion and upgrades took a backseat. 26 cruise vessels were removed from the fleet during this period, while only six new vessels were commissioned. Additionally, 14 new vessel projects were either postponed or cancelled altogether.

The recovery of the cruise market

The cruise market has since made a remarkable recovery, reclaiming much of the ground lost during the pandemic. As of the close of 2022, over 20 million individuals had enjoyed the cruise experience. Projections for 2023 anticipate this number soaring to 31.5 million passengers, surpassing the historical record of 29.7 million. Even more fascinating is the outlook for 2027, a mere four years from now, with an astounding forecast of 39.5 million passengers—effectively doubling the figures from 2022. (Copyright graph: CLIA-2023.)

Ocean going cruise passengers 2800 px

Ulstein-designed expedition cruise vessels

In 2017, Ulstein signed its first expedition cruise ship design contracts and has already reached nine design projects, with two for Lindblad Expeditions and an impressive seven for SunStone Ships. 

Cruise expectations
Ulstein has designed several expedition cruise vessels featuring our X-BOW solution.

Several Ulstein-designed cruise vessels have been awarded for their green solutions and record-low emissions. Notably, these designs introduced the X-BOW feature to the cruise industry for the very first time. 

Get in touch

Jose Agis DSC4273 comp bw

Jose Jorge Garcia Agis

Managing Director
Ulstein International AS

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Jose Agis DSC4273 comp bw

Jose Jorge Garcia Agis

Managing Director

Ulstein International AS