CLIAcruise The global headquarters of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, detailing a steady pace of cruise travel interest and significant investment in the industry, and tipping the top eight cruise travel trends for 2017.Among those forecasts, CLIA says travel agents will continue to be the matchmakers between travellers and cruise lines in 2017. Today, there are more than 25,000 CLIA-member travel agents globally compared to 12,000 in 2010, and demand for river cruises will continue to surge. The report says an estimated 25.3 million passengers expected to sail in 2017, a strong surge from 15.8 million just 10 years prior (2007). More ships will set sail in 2017 as well, with cruise lines scheduled to debut 26 new ocean, river and specialty ships in 2017 for a total investment of more than US$6.8 billion in new vessels*.From 2017-2026 the industry is expected to introduce a total of 97 new cruise ships totalling an estimated investment of US$53 billion through 2026*.“The cruise industry is responding to global demand and we are highly encouraged by both the short-term and long-term outlook,” CLIA global President and CEO Cindy D’Aoust said.“From technological advancements and deployment of new ships to new ports and destinations around the world, the industry continues to respond to desires of today’s travellers resulting in steady growth and strong economic impact around the world.”As part of the 2017 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, CLIA has forecast the top eight cruise travel trends that are set to have the most impact on the cruise industry this coming year.1. New Generation Takes to the Water – A recent study found that younger generations—including Millennials and Generation X — will embrace cruise travel more than ever before, rating it as better than land-based holidays, all-inclusive resorts, tours, holiday house rentals, or camping. 2. Travel Agent Use Increases – travel agents will continue to be the matchmakers between travellers and cruise lines in 2017. Today, there are more than 25,000 CLIA-member travel agents globally compared to 12,000 in 2010. CLIA also found that cruisers report high levels of satisfaction with their travel experience when assisted by an agent. 3. River Cruise Demand Increases – River cruises offer travellers a unique and intimate travel experience. Due to demand, CLIA cruise line members currently deploy 184 river cruise ships with 13 new river cruise ships on order for 2017, an increase of about 7 per cent. 4. More Private Islands on Cruise Itineraries – As more cruise lines introduce private island destinations, travellers are responding and booking these itineraries. In 2017, cruise lines offer ports on a total of seven private islands. 5. New Cruisers Will Take to the Sea – Interest in ocean cruising is projected to remain strong in 2017. 6. Drivable Port Locations in Favour – The cruise industry offers a variety of small and large market port location options across the United States and internationally. Citing the advantages of myriadLocations, seven out of ten (69 per cent) non-cruisers believe the greatest benefit is cost savings and three-quarters (74 per cent) of cruisers like the convenience of driving to a cruise ship. 7. Lure of Celebrity Chefs – Cruise travellers are embracing specialty dining and will continue to consider cruise dining experiences based upon celebrity chefs. 8. Demand for Expedition Cruises – According to the Adventure Travel Trade Association, adventure travel is growing at a record pace and CLIA is reporting that cruise expeditions are seeing the impact. In fact, itineraries for Antarctica regularly sell out.