The recently completed Cruise Pulse travel agent survey panel analyzed responses gathered January 24 - January 30, 2009 from 330 travel agents.  Findings provided insights into early wave season cruise booking trends.

Based on the analysis, Cruise Market Watch is revising 2009 worldwide revenue and passengers carried estimates.  Current projections are for worldwide revenue at $24.9 billion (down -9.5% vs. ’08) and total passengers carried at 16.0 million (+2.6% vs. ’08).

The economic impact of the recession is being felt in the cruise industry.  How did we get here? A least three former sources of travel and vacation spending have been impacted:

1) During the boom, as much as 10% of U.S. GDP was being generated from accessing home equity through refinancing.

2) Spending from an increasing number of employees who have lost their jobs is gone.

3) Among those with the ability to spend, heightened fear for their jobs and the feeling of significant wealth loss from dramatic declines in home values and stock portfolios have contributed to strong consumer fear and cutbacks in spending.

The new corporate motto is “stay alive until 2011 and you will be in heaven.”

Optimistically, due to the cruise value proposition relative to other vacation options, there is evidence of growing market share for cruise within the total travel market.  While revenues will be down, there will still be more passengers carried in 2009.  A large portion of this increase is by getting former cruisers to take another cruise at bargain prices.

The Cruise Pulse travel agent panel survey covers wave period booking trends, price discounting, cancellation levels, earnings impact and what cruise segments and destinations are heating up.

Both a full and sample versions of the Cruise Pulse survey panel are available on the website at