Members of the US-based Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) predict that more passengers could travel this year, with fleet sizes being bulked up to account for the rise.

CLIA said a total of 14.3 million passengers could travel on cruises this year.

The figure, comprising 10.7 million passengers from North America and 3.6 million sourced globally, represents an increase of 855,000 passengers or 6.4% compared to last year.

CLIA said a total of 13.445 million passengers are believed to have sailed last year.

In 2009, US and Canadian residents accounted for 76.5% of guests while 23.5% were sourced internationally, CLIA said.

The group said it is planning to invest $6.5bn in shipbuilding and add 12 vessels this year.

CLIA member lines have 26 new ships on order between 2010 and 2012 of which 23 are ocean-going vessels and three for river/coastal cruising.