According to a Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) survey, the European ocean cruise market has grown to more than 6.9 million passengers, a 2.5 per cent increase compared with 2016. European cruising has been steadily growing for the past ten years led by the German, UK and Ireland markets.
Germany has shown the strongest growth at 8.5 per cent, reaching a record of nearly 2.2 million passengers. UK and Ireland was up by 0.5 per cent with over 1.95 million cruise guests. Italy has grown to nearly 770,000 passengers (2.5 per cent growth) and Spain continued to grow for the second year running with an increase of 6.4 per cent.
75 percent of Europeans cruised in Europe. This is down slightly compared to previous years due to lower volumes in the Mediterranean and higher volumes in the Caribbean. Half of European cruisers go to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Canary Islands, and 25 per cent choose northern Europe and the Baltic. Outside Europe, transatlantic and Asian destinations are the main choices for most of the remaining 25 per cent of European cruise travellers.
The 2017 findings also revealed that there is a clear relationship between average age and cruise length – confirming that older generations cruise for longer periods. The youngest cruisers are in Italy while cruisers in the UK tend to be older. Younger cruisers enjoy the Mediterranean while the Baltics and Canary Islands welcome more older travelers.
Kyriakos Anastassiadis, chairman of CLIA Europe said: “Our growth prediction of cruising in Europe is well confirmed for 2017. We expect another positive year in 2018, with the arrival of 16 new ships. Our cruise industry will continue to thrive in Europe and beyond because of the increasing variety of cruise ships and the level of personalization it is able to offer to its guests.”
Key figures for CLIA Europe are:
- 6,941,000 Europeans took a cruise in 2017, for an average duration of 8 nights.
- Germany leads the source market in Europe with 2,189,000 passengers, the largest significant growth of 8.5 per cent in one year – an exceptional result.
- United Kingdom, with a 0.5 per cent increase in passengers had a record year with almost 1.95 million passengers.
- Italy is showing a growth of 2.5 per cent, an impressive recovery compared with 2016
- Spain takes the fourth position with a 6.4 per cent, confirming a consistent two-year headway after the economic downturn of 2014/2015.
- 4 out of 5 Europeans chose a cruise in Europe. The Mediterranean remains the most popular destination, but Northern Europe is becoming increasingly popular too, growing by 8% per cent in 2017.
- The average age of cruise passengers is between 42 (Italy) and 57 (UK)
- Cruise length varies from market to market, averaging from 10.4 days in the UK to 7.3 days in Italy. No variation in Germany in 2017, with an average of 8.8 days spent on board.
- Other European markets, such as Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands and Belgium, are all showing positive development with growth from 3.1 to 5.9 per cent.
- With its continued expansion, the cruise industry will have enhanced its economic contribution in European employment and overall economic participation. The 2018 CLIA European Economic Contribution Report is set to be released later this year.