NEW YORK, 25th April, 2016 (WAM) — The world’s cruise fleet is set to grow to more than 375 ships by 2026, based on existing orders and known withdrawals, according to the latest Cruise Industry News Annual Report, issued .

That is an increase of more than 55 ships from this year, but an ever bigger jump in passenger capacity as the new ships are bigger. The estimated annual passenger capacity this year is 23.6 million and is forecast to reach more than 33.5 million by 2026.

Growth in the North American market could go from an estimated capacity of 13.3 million passengers now, to more than 16 million by 2026, said the report.

European capacity is estimated to reach nearly 11 million by 2026, up from 6.3 million this year, but the big jump could come in the Asia/Pacific region, going from nearly 4 million this year (including China and Australia) to nearly 6.5 million, based on announced ship deployments. Much of that growth is expected to come from the Chinese market, South Atlantic News Agency, MercoPress, said, citing the report.

The average annual passenger capacity increase based on new ship introductions and known deployments will be approximately 4% over the 11-year period, but 8% over the next five years, which will see most of the new orders entering service.

As to the industry’s turnover, it is estimated that this year it will generate US$35.5 billion in ticket and onboard revenue worldwide, up from US$33.2 billion last year. The North American market will represent approximately 56% of the global industry in terms of passenger sourcing and revenue with Europe at 27%, and the Asia/Pacific region at 17%.

Year-on-year, the market shares for North America and Europe have contracted from 59% and 29% respectively in 2015, while the Asia/Pacific region has grown from 12% to 17%. Likewise the global passenger capacity is estimated at 23.6 million this year, up from 22 million last year.