Among the 2011 highlights:

  • ~Total worldwide cruise market is estimated at $29.4 billion, a 9.5% increase from 2010
  • ~Total cruise passengers carried worldwide in 2011 is estimated at 19.2 million, a 4.1% increase over 2010
  • ~Carnival (NYSE: CCL ) controls 51.6% of worldwide share of revenue and Royal Caribbean  (NYSE: RCL ) 25.6%
  • ~Worldwide, the cruise industry has an annual passenger compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7% from 1990 – 2011.

On the heals of the 3,650 passenger Carnival Dream, the 5,400 passenger Royal Caribbean Oasis and Allure and the 4,200-guest Norwegian Epic a total of 14 additional cruise ships will come online by 2014. These new ships will add another $1.6 billion in annual revenue to the cruise industry. By 2014, 21.6 million cruise passengers are expected to be carried worldwide.

The new ships bring attention to cruising, creating interest, additional pricing power, economies of scale and bookings of first time cruisers.  Average cruise revenue per passenger (APCD) for 2011 is projected to be $218.57, a 5.2% increase over 2010.

Moreover, the addition of the new ships allow older ships to be spun off to other overseas brands, generating additional revenues and further penetration of less mature overseas markets.  International markets are now growing passengers faster, percentage wise, than the core North American market.

The new ships are the Apple iPhone’s of the sea.  They generate excitement, helping to get cruising back to front and center so vacationers are thinking “that would be fun.” This helps chip away at the edges of the “hard core” resistors, those 55% of the U.S core market who have never cruised.