New Report Forecasts Safe, Sustainable Cruising in 2021

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Despite a challenging year for the cruise industry in 2020, new research from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reveals resiliency and optimism on the horizon.

The 2021 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report highlights the extraordinary steps the industry took to develop and implement enhanced public health protocols while continuing to focus on sustainability, innovation, and responsible tourism practices. Kelly Craighead, president, and CEO of CLIA said:

“For the cruise community, there is no denying that 2020 was not the year we anticipated. Still, the industry wasted no time adjusting course to address the challenges before us.” 

The Fleet of the Future – New Cruise Protocols

CLIA 2021 State of Cruise Industry - Planning -Protocols
Cruise Lines International Association

CLIA Cruise Lines are anticipate debuting 16 new ocean ships in 2021. Looking ahead, this “Fleet of the Future” will feature enhanced health and safety cruise protocols designed to help protect passengers, crew, and destinations.

  • Successful Sailings – From early July through mid-December 2020, there were more than 200 sailings with multiple layers of enhanced measures in place. The success of these initial sailings demonstrates new protocols are working as designed—to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 among passengers, crew and the destinations cruise ships visit.
  • New Cruise Protocols – Some of the new protocols include crew and passenger COVID-19 testing prior to embarkation, mask wearing, physical distancing, air management and ventilation strategies as well as enhanced medical capabilities.

Spotlight on Responsible Tourism

As CLIA members worked to address the impacts of COVID-19, the cruise industry also remained focused on its commitment to a cleaner, more sustainable future. The report highlights the industry’s $23.5 billion investment in ships with new technologies and cleaner fuels to reduce carbon emissions, partnerships with local governments in key destinations, and a commitment to reducing its rate of carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 2008. 

New Environmental Technologies 

CLIA State of Cruis Industry 2021 - responsible tourism
Cruise Lines International Association
  • Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) – 49% of new-build capacity on order will rely on LNG fuel for primary propulsion.
  • Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (ECGS) – More than 69% of global capacity currently utilizes EGCS, while 96% of non-LNG new-builds will have EGCS.
  • Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems – 99% of new ships on order will have these systems in place, bringing global capacity served by these systems to 78.5%.
  • Shore Side Electricity – 58% of new-build capacity is committed SSE compatibility with 32% of global fleet capacity already capable of SSE and 25% of existing capacity will be retrofitted to use SSE.

For the full 2021 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook findings, visit


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