Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review: An Introduction

Shawn J. Dake’s
Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review

CONCORDIA overview. Photo © Peter Knego, October 21, 2012
CONCORDIA overview. Photo © Peter Knego, October 21, 2012

Despite a worldwide economy that depending where you are ranges from difficult to disastrous, the cruise industry seems to be immune from the current recession.  For the most recent full year reported, cruising experienced a double-digit growth rate of 10% which represents an additional two million people that went to sea.  The number of annual cruise passengers globally has topped 20.6 million for the first time.  Australia has experienced the most rapid growth, with an increase in passengers of 30% exceeding more than half a million.

North America still leads in the total number of cruise passengers with 11.5 million with Europe racing to catch up represented by 6.2 million.  Despite the great numbers, not all was rosy during 2012.  In many areas revenues were down significantly with the two largest conglomerates reporting weak results and even a loss during one quarter.  The major news story of the year was the largest cruise ship loss in history when the 114,147 gross ton COSTA CONCORDIA was wrecked on the Italian island of Giglio in a needless disaster primarily caused by poor seamanship on the part of the Captain, that cost the lives of 32 people.

All of the year’s biggest events, both good and bad, will be covered by this “2012 Year In Review.”  The first half will focus on the three largest corporate groups, Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and the Apollo group and their subsidiaries.  The second half will cover the smaller independent companies.  A series of posts on MaritimeMatters to follow.



Shawn Dake is a freelance photo-journalist and regular contributor to  He writes extensively for a variety of print publications about cruising and the travel industry.

In his nearly 40 years of cruise experience, he has sailed on ships of every description to all seven continents and on all the major oceans of the world.  For more than a decade he has written his annual “Cruise Ships, The Year In Review” which has now grown to a nearly 15,000 word essay recalling all of the events that have taken place within the cruise industry the previous year.  He is also at work on his first full-length book which will naturally be about cruising.

On Maritime Matters, he specializes in reporting breaking news, historical ship stories and maintains Future Ships, with future plans for a section of the website which will provide data on every active ocean-going passenger ship in the world.

Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.