I did a post recently in which I discussed the state of cruising in the German market and pointed out that it was very close to overtaking the UK as the largest market for cruise passengers in Europe. Well, I’ve read a report that says that in 2014 this happened (my figures were from 2013). The announcement was made in a speech/presentation by Pierfrancesco Vago, chairman of CLIA Europe, at the Cruise Shipping conference in Miami. I haven’t had the chance to examine the figures in depth yet but I gather the margin is still small.
What’s especially interesting is that the size of the UK market seems to be stuck at around 1.75m cruises – it’s been at about that figure for several years. It didn’t really drop at the beginning of the recession – indeed, at that time the UK market was a source of relief for the cruise lines as most other markets in Europe went into retreat – but the UK total hasn’t increased as the recovery has emerged. Maybe it’s a result of the nature of the UK economy – it’s the people that the lines want to attract, e.g. families and young adults, who are most affected by the cuts and the increase in house prices and who therefore have less disposable income. Whereas the older generation, with their increased pensions and with no mortgage to pay, are already cruising as much as they want to.
Perhaps the number of passengers will increase in the next year or so. Given the increased capacity capacity coming into the UK market, I imagine the cruise lines are hoping very much that it does.