U.S. Maritime Administration has announced that 2011 was a record year for the North American cruise line industry
Analysis showed that 10.9 million passengers took 4,222 cruises for a record 71.8 million passenger nights, a 2.8 percent increase over 2010. Data also show a two-year surge in cruise capacity helped benefit ports and related businesses. A more complete analysis of cruise industry statistics is published in MARAD’s booklet North American Cruise Statistical Snapshot 2011, which is available for online review or downloading at www.marad.dot.gov/publications.
For the fourth quarter of 2011, a record 18.9 million passenger nights were booked on North American cruises, up 3.3 percent from a year earlier. About 2.8 million passengers were carried on 1,075 cruises.
Passenger nights are a measure of supply/demand for cruises while passengers (embarked) are a measure of supply/demand for U.S. port services. An increase in supply/demand for cruises does not necessarily mean an increase in supply/demand for port services, and vice versa. For example, passenger nights (and cruise lengths) increased from the 3rd to 4th quarter of 2009 while passengers fell over the same period.
The North American cruise market has been capacity driven; that is, cruise lines set fares to fill ships. NB: Capacity is based on two passengers per stateroom. A stateroom with two passengers is considered 100 percent occupied. Since many double staterooms can accommodate three or four people, occupancy rates are generally above 100 percent.