Year in Review: The Top Cruise Stories of 2022

Carnival Celebration

With 2022 now over, Cruise Industry News looks at the major headlines of the year – which was marked by return to normality, record capacity and further expansion.

Most of the World’s Fleet Back in Service

According to the latest edition of the Cruise Ships in Service Report by Cruise Industry News, nearly 95 percent of the world’s cruise capacity returned to revenue service in 2022.

While a few vessels are still waiting to welcome guests back and others are out of service due to seasonal lay ups, almost the entire global fleet is now sailing again.

27 New Ships Hit the Market

New cruise ships also continued to enter service. While 20 newbuilds were delivered in 2022, an additional seven vessels debuted during the year, after being completed in 2021.

The number included 24 oceangoing cruise and expedition ships, as well as three coastal vessels for service in the United States and Norway.

Changing of the Guard at Carnival Corporation

Arnold Donald stepped aside as CEO of Carnival Corporation over the summer, as Josh Weinstein took the top spot at the world’s largest cruise operator.

Record Cruise Capacity in Various Regions

As the industry recovers from the COVID-19 operational pause, several key regions saw record capacity in 2022.

According to the 2022 Cruise Industry News Annual Report, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Alaska and the West Coast all registered strong numbers, with projected capacity reaching all-time highs.

New Players Join the Business

While start up brands such as Ritz-Carlton, Ambassador, Emerald and Astoria Grande started operations in 2022, new players also emerged with future plans.

In France, two new cruise operators, CFC and Exploris, were revealed during the third quarter. Other newcomers include Four Seasons, which is launching a series of purpose-built luxury yachts, and Resorts World Cruises, the successor of Genting Cruise Lines.

Cruising Returns to More Regions, Including Australia and Asia

With more countries reopening to travel, cruising returned to additional destinations over the year.

Following a two-year gap, Australia welcomed cruise ships back in late May, with several cruise lines later returning to the region. More recently, Asia also saw the resumption of international cruising, welcoming back brands that include Silversea and Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean Reveals the Next Biggest Cruise Ship

After introducing the Wonder of the Seas in March, Royal Caribbean International revealed the first details of the new Icon of the Seas in October.

Replacing the Wonder as the world’s largest cruise ship, the 250,000-ton vessel is set to enter service in early 2024, with a series of innovations that include the ultimate green technology and the largest waterpark at sea.

MSC Expands U.S. Presence

Continuing its expansion in North America, MSC Cruises made several announcements for the U.S. market in 2022.

Currently sailing from Miami and Port Canaveral, the European cruise line plans to add new stateside homeports in the future, including New York City, where it’s starting year-round operations in 2023, and Galveston.

After having the new MSC Seascape in the region for its maiden season, MSC also announced plans to sent the new MSC World America to the United States once its construction completed in 2025.

Carnival Cruise Line Getting Three Additional Ships

In separate announcements through the year, Carnival Cruise Line revealed plans to add extra cruise ships to its fleet through 2024.

Apart from its previous newbuild program, the company is now receiving three former Costa Cruises vessels: the Costa Luminosa, the Costa Venezia and the Costa Firenze. The later two will offer a new product called Carnival Fun Italian Style.

Going Green with More LNG-Powered Ships

After the addition of five newbuilds, the LNG-powered fleet reached a total of 11 cruise vessels. Two cruise lines also received their first ships driven by the fuel: Disney with the Wish in July and MSC with the World Europa in October.

Considered one of the cleanest burning fossil fuels, the LNG is one of the biggest bets of the cruise lines for greener operations.

Crystal Cruises Brand and Ships Saved

One of the most traditional names in the luxury cruising market, Crystal Cruises was saved by a former competitor in June.

With the company’s assets being auctioned after Genting’s bankruptcy, the A&K Travel Group – a company partly owned by previous Silversea stakeholders – acquired the Crystal Cruises brand, customer list and domain names, in addition to the Crystal Serenity and the Crystal Symphony.


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