Cruising In The Caribbean Continues To See Record Numbers Throughout 2024

Cruising In The Caribbean Continues To See Record Numbers Throughout 2024

Driven by a massive pent-up demand caused by the shutdowns that occurred during the pandemic, the Caribbean cruise business is currently experiencing rather interesting economic growth. 

Data provided by the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) last week, show that Caribbean destinations combined welcomed more than 31.1 million cruise passengers in 2023 only.

This figure represents a staggering 56.8 percent rise compared to arrival numbers in 2019 and breaks the record set the same year.

These successful results haven’t happened overnight. During this “recovery period,” leading cruise lines have made sure to increase their fleets, renew their docking facilities and provide customers with a wider and more attractive tourist portfolio.

Things are looking good and stakeholders are keeping their eyes on the prize. CTO representatives have expressed that they aim to receive up to 35.8 million cruise tourists this year. This represents an ambitious increase of up to 15% over 2023.

A number of Caribbean hotspots have disclosed their optimistic forecasts for 2024.

The Bahamas, for instance, are confident to receive 5.6 million cruise visitors at Nassau Cruise Port this year, surpassing the figures reported in 2019, Chester Cooper, minister of tourism told TravelPulse.

For its part, the Barbados cruise industry has already secured 715,527 passengers for the winter season alone, a positive increase of 18 percent over 2023.

In 2024, more than 300 vessels will dock at Curaçao ports bringing in up to 800,000 new visitors. This is an increase of 13 percent compared to 2023.

Other destinations such British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos saw an increase in visitors of an astonishing 110 percent and 30.5 percent respectively over 2022. 

In January and February alone, Cozumel, Mexico, hosted  958,527 cruise tourists.

As of today, Cozumel is the 4th busiest cruise destination in the world, with an average of 2,943,760 arrivals per year. 

Tourism experiences evolve and cruise passengers increasingly demand to be provided with innovative offerings when choosing to cross the ocean aboard a vessel.

To meet their needs and never-ending thirst for adventure, cruise companies have quickly adapted to new market trends. This is a comprehensive list of the 5 most popular cruise travel trends for 2024.

Environmental Commitment: Looking to provide 100 percent green trips by 2050, cruise companies are allocating funds to renewable energy and biofuel options.

Expanded Destination Portfolio: After cruising the Caribbean and other traditional destinations, cruise passengers are ready to try emerging destinations such as West Africa, Madagascar, the Seychelles, and Raja Ampat in Indonesia.

Innovative Culinary Experiences: Cruise companies are expanding their cuisine portfolio to include environmentally responsibly caught seafood and exotic local delicatessens prepared by renowned chefs. Food tours are also becoming quite popular.

Extended International Cruises: Royal Caribbean is offering a popular “274-night Ultimate World Cruise” which has had great acceptance across popular social media platforms. 

New Passenger Targeting: Cruise travel has increasingly picked up the interest of Millennials and Gen-X travelers who, pushed forward by social media influencers, are willing to try new adventures.