Is the cruise boom unstoppable?

//Is the cruise boom unstoppable?

No need to worry about early-morning towels on the sun loungers just yet, but the latest statistics show that Germany is catching on to cruise holidays in a big way. Brits continue to lead the rest of Europe – taking a record 1.62 million cruises in 2010 – but while the UK market grew by six per cent in the year, the Germans leapt by 19 per cent to 1.2 million.
The rapid and continued growth in the popularity of cruising contrasts with other sectors of the travel industry, and the latest domestic figures issued by the Passenger Shipping Association show that cruises account for 11.7 per cent of the overseas package holiday market, up from 10.6 per cent in 2009. In 1997 the figure was less than three per cent – although it’s not clear from this statistic how much of the change can be attributed to shrinkage of the overall package holiday market.
Cruising from British ports increased by 10 per cent – more than 650,000 people chose to cruise from the UK – while fly-cruises saw an increase of three per cent. The Mediterranean continued to be the most popular cruise destination with 43 per cent of Brits choosing the region, an 18 per cent increase; Northern Europe held on to second place.
PSA director Bill Gibbons, who now expects the number of cruise passengers to reach two million by 2014, said: ” The success of UK cruising, during one of the toughest economic periods the world has seen, can be attributed to the excellent value for money and the fantastic variety of a cruise holiday. The choice and diversity of cruising has never been greater – from intimate, ultra luxury yachts to floating passenger resorts. The exceptional standards of quality and service are the key to our continued growth, along with the huge choice of worldwide destinations.”
The European Cruise Council’s figures – indicating a total of five million passengers from the region in 2010 – show the popularity of cruising is also increasing in Italy, with 889,000 (11 per cent growth); Spain, 645,000 (up 10 per cent); and France, 387,000 (12 per cent more).
Europe’s biggest cruise line, Costa Crociere, is forecasting that its numbers will increase by 33 per cent in the Mediterranean this year. Its 15th ship, Costa Favolosa, is due to join the fleet in Venice on July 4, and it will be joined next year by yet another, Costa Fascinosa.
The rapid growth of cruising in recent years was fuelled by huge investment in new ships; the number of orders has now decreased dramatically, and it is difficult to see how passenger numbers can continue to escalate.
Anyone looking for clues should take note of what Carnival UK’s David Dingle has to say when he presents his company’s annual Cruise Report in a couple of weeks, or when Bill Gibbons comments on the PSA’s full figures at the UK Cruise Convention in Southampton in May.

By | 2011-03-15T11:31:31+00:00 15 March 2011|Cruise News|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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