Overall European growth, however, slowed down to a trickle, producing 6.1 million passengers last year from 6 million the year before. Although nearly all European markets experienced growth, that was largely offset by the shrinking Spanish market.  (photo: Miguel Noia)Asia drove the cruise growth in 2012, according to the latest Cruise Industry News Global Industry Report. The main Asian markets, China, Hong Kong, Japan, India and South Korea generated nearly 1.2 million passengers for a 49 percent increase over 2011.

Australia/New Zealand also continued to grow from 549,000 to an estimated 700,000 passengers for a 27 percent increase, although there are signs the market is maturing with ships being redeployed during the Australian winter season.

The North American market continued to expand, as well, up 4.5 percent from 11.2 million to 11.7 million passengers.

Overall European growth, however, slowed down to a trickle, producing 6.1 million passengers last year from 6 million the year before. Although nearly all European markets experienced growth, that was largely offset by the shrinking Spanish market.

In South America, Brazil contracted from 780,000 to an estimated 762,000, according to Cruise Industry News.

The 350-page 2013 annual industry report can be ordered from Cruise Industry News by clicking here.