Royal Caribbean expects Asia cruise growth to follow U.S. growth


With the Chinese becoming richer, Royal Caribbean is expecting the booming Asian cruise market to repeat the United States growth rate over the last three decades.

Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein commented on the growth the company expects to see, "The number of Asians cruising today is very similar to the number of Americans who were cruising in 1980s. While the markets are not the same, we think that China has terrific potential to grow."

Industry data points to the global cruise market will grow an estimated 4.5 percent, with Asians making up 1.5 million of the total number.  That number looks a lot like how many Americans were cruising 30 years ago, Goldstein said. The number of U.S. voyagers has grown to about 12 million, and Asia accounts for only 6 to 7 percent of the world’s total cruises, he said.

One issue for a company like Royal Caribbean is educating Chinese consumers about cruising but Goldstein feels China will overtake the United Kingdom in two to three years in terms of demand.

The number of Chinese passengers at Royal Caribbean quadrupled to 100,000 last year from 25,000 in 2012 and is expected to double to 200,000 this year, Goldstein said.