UK's Cruise Industry
Rides The Crest Of The Wave
Figures released today from the UK Passenger Shipping
Association (PSA) show that 1.65 million Brits are expected to take a cruise in
2010 – more than a seven percent increase on 2009 and more than double
the figure recorded in 2000. The PSA’s 2009 Cruise Review demonstrates that
cruising has continued to grow in popularity with 1.53 million UK holidaymakers
taking a cruise last year despite a challenging year for the travel industry.
Fourteen ships are launching this year and passenger numbers are on course to
rise further still to two million by 2014.
One in ten package holidays booked is now a cruise, compared
with one in nearly 30 in 1997. The sheer diversity of the cruise market means
there is a holiday for everyone, whether it’s a cruise departing from the UK,
an ultra-luxury experience in the Caribbean, a cultural river cruise or a
photographic expedition to the Fjords, many more people are getting onboard to
discover a world of cruising.
Cruise customers are loyal. Figures from The Cruise Review
show that 60 percent of passengers take more than one cruise a year. Passengers
are also cruising for longer, with the average length of a cruise increasing
year on year from 10 nights to 11 nights. The quality of service, value, high
standards of facilities and huge variety of activities mean that passengers
keep returning to cruising.
A cruise holiday offers a world of destinations. The Cruise Review shows that Northern
Europe is proving particularly popular with a 20 percent increase in the number
of Brits visiting this region, with Baltic and Norwegian Fjord itineraries top
of the list, while the Caribbean saw an eight percent increase in the number of
Cruise Review reveals that ultra luxury cruises are up 50 per cent in 2009
compared with the previous year. Thirty one thousand people paid more than £5,000 each for their cruise
with another 200,000 spending between £2,500 and £5,000. PSA Director, William
Gibbons, said: ‘The success of UK cruising, during one of the toughest economic
periods the world has seen, can be attributed to the value and high standards
of a cruise holiday. . .The all-inclusive nature of cruising
and exceptional standards of quality and service are the key to our continued
growth, along with the huge choice of worldwide destinations and the wide range
in styles of cruising . . . 2010 is on course to be another record year with
1.65 million UK passengers taking a cruise, and with a further 14 new ship
launches this year and more ships dedicated to the UK market, we are confident
in reaching 2 million passengers by 2014.”
Key findings from The Cruise Review (2009 UK Cruise Market):
· Cruise passenger numbers
· Average cruise duration
rises to 11 nights
· Six out of ten
passengers take more than one cruise a year; one in 25 cruise more than six times
· Sales of Ultra-Luxury
cruises increase more than 50%
· 1 in every 10 package
holidays booked is now a cruise
· Average cruise price
drops 6% and per diems by nearly 11% but 30,000 still pay more than £5,000 for their
· Northern Europe is now
more popular than the Caribbean with British cruise passengers
· More passengers book
cruises face to face with travel agents
· One in four passengers
books a cruise a year or more ahead
For a copy of the Cruise Review 2009 visit
One Stop Shop For
Cruises From The UK
The Discover Cruises website (www.discovercruises.co.uk ) is a
one stop shop for everything cruise, whether it’s for family traveling for the
first time, a couple looking for
adventure, or a solo traveler in need of a relaxing spa break. Offering ultra
luxury, deluxe, river and specialist collections, Discover Cruises gives
visitors access to the latest on destinations, what’s new on board and a wave
of exciting and innovative excursions and activities.
Council Expanding Rapidly
According to a report in the May 18 Seatrade Insider, the
European Cruise Council is expanding rapidly to meet the challenges of today’s
European cruise industry. The ECC was formed just over six years ago to promote
the interests of cruise ship operators within Europe, liaising closely with the
EU Commission and the European Parliament, and to promote cruising to a wider
public audience noted Bill Gibbons, ECC marketing director, in an exclusive
interview with Seatrade Insider this month.
2010 sees new faces on the association’s board with recently
appointed chairman Silversea’s Manfredi Lefebvre D’Ovidio taking over from
David Dingle plus a new vice-chair, MSC Cruises’ Pierfrancesco Vago, whilst
NCL’s Roberto Martinoli has joined the executive board. Founding chairman,
Costa’s Pier Luigi Foschi, has stepped down from the board. Gibbons also
commented that the council would be appointing an environmental director and
already has engaged a Brussels-based PR firm to represent the ECC in the
Funded by annual subscriptions from cruise line members,
which currently number 24, plus an expanding list of associate members, the ECC
has a working identity within the European Community Shipowners' Association.
The ECC also works very closely with the US-based Cruise Lines International
Association on a range of issues from regulatory to environmental.
UK Cruise Industry Bullish For 2009 And Beyond
The UK cruise industry is predicting further long-term growth according to the latest figures released at the Association of British Travel Agents travel convention in Gran Canaria this month. William Gibbons of the Passenger Shipping Association confirmed that 1.5 million British holidaymakers are expected to take a cruise this year and predicted a further two to three per cent growth for 2009. “We’re still a relatively young and expanding industry,” he said, “with plenty of opportunity to grow as new ships come into service. With the present difficult economic climate, cruising is better placed than many other sectors as the inclusive nature of a cruise holiday makes it easy to budget for while continuing to offer exceptional value for money. Fourteen ship launches are planned for 2009 and we are anticipating the number of British cruise passengers to exceed 1.6 million cruise passengers in 2010.”
The ships planned for 2009 vary from ultra luxury to family orientated ships.... Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas, which is due to launch in November 2009 and will be the largest cruise ship in the world. Spanning 16 passenger decks, and weighing 220,000 tons, she will carry 5,400 guests and feature 2,700 staterooms. Oasis of the Seas will feature seven distinct themed neighborhood areas, including Central Park, Boardwalk, and the Royal Promenade.
Other great family ships launching in 2009 include Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Dream, which prides itself on some of the most elaborate children’s facilities at sea, including expansive play areas and a huge Carnival WaterWorks aqua park. Other features include scenic whirlpools extending over the ship’s beam and a variety of new stateroom categories.
Italian brands Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises show the strength of the European cruise market by launching four ships between them in 2009, the Costa Pacifica, Costa Luminosa, MSC Splendida and MSC Magnifica . Sister ship to the Costa Serena, the Costa Pacifica will launch in June 2009 and have a host of new features including a sliding glass roof over the outdoor pools, a Samsara Spa, huge movie screen and Grand Prix racing car simulator. The Costa Luminosa is set to launch simultaneously with all the great features of the Luminosa and more besides, including an innovative golf simulator, 4D theatre, and the highest percentage of balcony staterooms for any Costa ship. Launching In Barcelona the month after, the MSC Splendida will feature the exclusive all-suite, butler-served luxury MSC Yacht Club, whilst the MSC Magnifica will be in the Musica class and launches at the end of 2009.
And then there are the new ships of upscale cruise lines Yachts of Seabourn and Silversea Cruises. Set to launch in summer and winter 2009 respectively, these ships demonstrate the ultra-luxury sectors success at attracting luxury travelers to cruising. Indeed, 2010 and 2011 also will see further new ships from Yachts of Seabourn and Oceania Cruises. Following the introduction of Silversea Cruises’ first expedition ship, Prince Albert II earlier in 2008, specialist niche cruise companies are also adding new ships. The Spirit of Adventure fleet will double in size as Quest For Adventure takes her inaugural cruise in July 2009. With 450 passengers, this ship is slightly larger than Spirit of Adventure but will still be able to visit many of the smaller ports around the world. In addition, river cruise specialist Viking River Cruises is launching the 189-passenger Viking Legend, which at 443ft will be the longest ship on the European rivers. Lastly, Holland America Line has announced $200 million in enhancements to five ships as part of its ongoing Signature of Excellence programmed. Over the next two years, the ms Statendam, ms Ryndam, ms Maasdam, ms Veendam, and ms Rotterdam will all be refurbished to offer guests more luxurious accommodation, and even higher levels of service.
New destinations and excursions
2009 is the year that cruising goes exotic, with cruise lines adding a range of exciting long-haul destinations to their programs.
Australia-based Orion Expedition Cruises has added a range of new and exciting destinations, from Papua New Guinea to Melanesia, to its 2009 program, giving guests the rare chance to interact with remote island cultures overlooked by tourism. Princess Cruises has launched new itineraries to Africa, Asia, Australasia, India and Tahiti, with new ports including Muscat in Oman, Qingdao in China, Fukuoka in Japan and Topolobampo in Mexico, whilst Holland America Line has added four days at the Great Barrier Reef to its 2009 schedules.
Cruise lines are moving with the times, adapting to guests’ desire for experiential excursions. P&O Cruises has introduced new Once in a Lifetime shore excursions for the 2008/9 season with a range of must-do activities and experiences on land, sea, and in the air. These range from driving a Ferrari F430 in Italy through to zip wiring across a rainforest in Brazil.
Ocean Village has also launched a brand new Action Ashore program for 2008/09, allowing passengers to pick and choose the way they explore each destination. From as little as £20 per person, holidaymakers can enjoy touring destinations through activities such as land sailing, yacht racing, and quad biking.
Similarly, NCL Freestyle Cruising has launched new five-star exclusive Ultimate Touring excursions, enabling guests to explore ports of call in tailor-made, VIP style.
New themed cruises
Themed cruises are also looking popular for 2009, with most cruise lines continuing former themed cruises such as Hurtigruten’s digital photography cruise, Orient Express’ wine cruise, and Thomson Cruises’ Strictly Come Dancing cruise with stars Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova. Meanwhile several other lines have introduced new options: Fred. Olsen Cruise Line’s new Civilizations program offers the perfect blend of relaxation and intellectual stimulation. Escorted by guides, travelers can learn more about the history and culture of destinations through programmers including The Age of Discovery, Polar Exploration, The Great Artists, and Ancient Mythology.
Windstar Cruises has also announced the return of its Signature Collection Series featuring distinguished guest lecturers who will sail on selected cruises throughout the 2009 season. Taste and learn about wine from top wine makers, or enjoy a culinary themed cruise with acclaimed chef David Shalleck. For more information on any aspect of cruising or to find your perfect cruise, visit www.discover-cruises.co.uk.
Ships of the Future Unveiled as Cruise Numbers Break all Records
Rendering of proposed mother ship launching smaller vessel
A cruise “mother ship” capable of launching a fleet of smaller vessels and a space efficient ferry are among ship designs of the future unveiled by the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) as new figures show the number of Brits now cruising continues to break all records. The designs were revealed at the National Maritime Museum along with the PSA’s Annual Cruise Report this month, which shows that 1.34 million British people enjoyed a cruise in 2007, with the number predicted to increase to two million by 2012.
The ships were designed by Fredrik Johansson, senior architect at Tillberg Design AB, the creators of the QE2 and QM2, Independence of the Seas, Crystal Serenity and many of the Disney ships. Mr Johansson described the cruise ship of the future: “These designs are ships of the future, with natural timeless materials and a crisp contemporary design.
Rendering of futuristic Interior Duplex Suite
The new generation ferries and cruise ships will have a distinct identity throughout - from the exterior and interior design through to the on-board activities, food concepts and shore excursions. They are aimed at the next generation of youthful, design-savvy and environmentally conscious passenger who we now see entering the market.”
The Passenger Shipping Association is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary and The Annual Cruise Report and ship designs were unveiled last night to an invited audience by director William Gibbons who said: “There has been a sustained boom in cruising for the past decade, with the number of Brits taking a cruise holiday more then doubling. We expect to see that growth increase even further and predict that cruise holidays will grow from 1.34 million British cruise passengers in 2007, to 1.5 million this year.
There are also 44 new cruise ships on order through to 2012 worth more than twelve billion [sterling] pounds so we expect more than two million British people will be enjoying cruise holidays in just four years. These new ship orders range from mega-ships through to small, intimate five-star ultra-luxury vessels. This diversity means the average age of cruise passengers has reached a record low and cruise holidays are attracting a greater range of travelers than ever before – from families, to ultra-luxury spa enthusiasts or adventurers.”
Major areas of growth in 2007 included:
-- Ultra-luxury cruise passengers increased by 12 per cent in 2007 to nearly 22,000, with passengers spending more than £350 a day – the increase primarily driven by a growth in winter cruising.
-- Specialist cruising - from the Chilean fjords to cultural river cruises in China, Peru and Russia to adventurous Antarctic voyages – niche cruising is growing in popularity. Alaska cruises alone increased by 9% in 2007 – 130% more than in 1997. There is now more variety in the specialist cruising market than ever before, with 17 cruise lines offering niche itineraries.
UK Departures And Ports Of Call
A record number of cruise lines (52) included UK ports in their 2007 itineraries. According to Cruise Britain (formerly Cruise UK) a record 591,000 passengers set sail on their cruises from UK ports in 2007. The PSA Annual Cruise Review also revealed that “ex UK” cruises, which leave and arrive back in Britain, have increased by 48% since 2004 – compared with a 22 percent increase in flycruises. The growth in cruising from UK shores is set to continue in 2008. This year P&O Cruises, Cunard Line and Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines all have new ships cruising out of the UK, while Royal Caribbean International has introduced its largest ex-UK ship. Carnival Cruise Lines is offering its first ex-UK schedules and both Norwegian Cruise Line and or MSC Cruises are dedicating ships to the UK for the first time this summer.
Cruise passengers are also changing. The average age of British cruise passengers fell to 53 years old in 2007—compared to 55 years a decade ago. Cruise holidays in 2007 accounted for one in 14 foreign package holidays. In 1997 it was just one in 29. There is also a high level of repeat cruise passengers—51% cruise once a year and 28% cruise more than once. Nonetheless 38% of passengers in 2007 had never cruised before.
But cruising isn’t the only success story for the PSA to celebrate in its golden anniversary year. The PSA was similarly bullish about ferry travel. Ferry holidays have seen a modest increase for the second year in a row. A total of 42.6 million passenger ferry journeys were taken between British ports and the continent Ireland and British Islands in 2007 – an increase of 431,000 journeys from 2006. This is significant increase for the ferry industry after facing several consecutive years of falling numbers.
For more information on cruising, visit www.discovercruises.co.uk.
UK Cruise Industry Announces 11 Percent Growth Year On Year
The Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) announced another record year for the UK cruise industry with its latest research revealing 1.3 million Brits took a cruise in 2007 -- an 11% increase on 2006. The latest statistics also reveal that the number of Brits cruising today is double that of ten years ago with accelerated growth predicted over the next couple of years.
Speaking at the March Seatrade convention in Miami, William Gibbons, director of the Passenger Shipping Association, said that last year showed a significant growth for the UK cruise industry, but this year is poised to be even better with the launch of twelve new or refurbished ships. “We can expect this trend to continue in 2008 with a huge increase in cruising capacity in the UK from news ships including Fred Olsen’s Balmoral, P&O’s Ventura, Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas, Cunard’s Queen Victoria, NCL’s Norwegian Jade, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Splendor and MSC’s Armonia. This is in addition to Swan Hellenic reintroducing its brand to the UK market and Transocean increasing their capacity with cruises from Tilbury with Marco Polo. With the number of new and refurbished ships specifically aimed at the UK market we can expect to see an increase to 1.5 million British passengers in 2008.
2007 saw an increase of 2% on ex-UK cruises with 460,000 Brits choosing to cruise from the UK, however the biggest growth was the fly-cruise market with a significant increase of 17% from 2006.
The Mediterranean retained its position as the number one choice for UK cruise passengers with a 21% increase on visitors to the region in 2007. The Caribbean also remains a popular choice with a 6% increase and 17% share of the cruising market. The Far East and Australia also showed a 51% increase, highlighting that the British public are increasingly choosing cruising as a way to explore further a field destinations.
The PSA celebrates its 50th year anniversary in 2008 and now has 37 members representing 41 cruise brands. Gibbons added “With the increasing number of new build ships, diversity of product and ever increasing demand from the British public, the future of cruising looks very promising.”
UK Cruise Industry Grows by 12 Percent in 2006
More Brits then ever are taking to the seas, according to the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA), who announced today that 1.2 million Brits took an ocean cruise in 2006 – 12 percent more than the 1.07 million who cruised in 2005 and double the number who took cruise holidays just a decade ago. The UK cruise market showed the biggest growth rate of all European source market countries and, with the British taking longer cruises than in 2005, there was an impressive 19 percent increase in the overall number of cruise nights booked.
This year the PSA has also conducted research into why people choose to cruise and what they look for when booking a holiday afloat. The most important factors for an enjoyable cruise are good food and drink (35%) followed by the itinerary (27%), standards of accommodation, and then value for money and price. Good private and public facilities are also important, as is the range and quality of entertainment available on board.
Interestingly the research also found that whilst 11% of those questioned have been on a cruise in the last five years, 33% is considering a cruise in the next five years, which demonstrates the huge potential for further growth.
The key findings from the Annual Cruise Review were:
Cruise versus the package holiday market
• The continued growth in cruise holidays is all the more impressive when seen in context against the stagnation facing the overall package holiday market which, since peaking at more than 20.6m foreign inclusive holidays sold in 2002 has slipped back 8% to less than 19m in 2006.
• The cruise industry’s share of this market has increased 65% in five years and doubled over 10 years and in 2006 one in every 16 package holidaymakers chose a cruise.
• Cruises taken from a UK port also increased by 12%, to over 450,000 Brits.
• This trend looks set to continue, with significant increased ex-UK capacity coming from Carnival, Royal Caribbean International (RCI), MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Cunard Line and NCL Freestyle Cruising.
• The fly-cruise market increased by 13% last year to 753,000.
• Contributors to this increase included Island Cruises’ new Island Star and NCL’s positioning of two of its ships in Europe.
• Looking to this year, Ocean Village doubled its capacity with the launch of Ocean Village Two, and Thomson has introduced its fifth ship, the adults-only Calypso, in May.
• The Mediterranean was by far the most popular cruise destination for the British in 2006, growing 22% and accounting for around 38% of the 1.2m cruises booked.
• As the trend for short duration cruises (2-7 days) from UK ports grows - attracting first-time passengers, groups/parties – so the numbers traveling to the Med will grow significantly.
• The Caribbean is the second most popular destination, with 17% of the market.
Growth of UK port cruises amongst all nationalities
• A record 50 UK ports received visits from cruise ships in 2006.
• The number of all passengers embarking in the UK grew 15% to 576,000 passengers, of which non-UK passengers accounted for 127,000 – a growth of 27% year on year.
• Ports of call passengers to UK ports increased 22% to exceed 392,000 at UK ports in 2006.
• The total value of cruise passenger expenditure at UK embarkation or port of call ports was over €290m (£197m). Approximately €67m (£45m) of this was spent by overseas residents.
• Scotland and the South of England continued to attract the most cruise visitors, however the East of England had the biggest increase at four times its 2005 figure.
• UK sales of ultra-luxury cruises remained just short of 20,000 in 2006 – a 1.6% share of the UK market.
• Luxury passenger numbers have doubled since 2002 and after several years of consolidation by the eight lines in the PSA's Exclusive Collection (www.exclusive-collection.co.uk ), most cruise lines are in an expansive mood once again.
• The PSA’s niche product offering exploded in 2006 with four cruise lines joining the PSA’s Specialist Cruise Collection (www.specialist-collection.co.uk), contributing to a growth of 27% in niche, including river, cruises.
• The eleven Specialist Cruise Collection members offer itineraries that focus on the destination rather than the onboard experience and visit exotic places best experience by sea, such as the Galapagos, Antarctica, the Arctic Circle including Greenland, Iceland and Norwegian Fjords, East Timor, Papua New Guinea and the remote Kimberly region of Australia.
• For only the second time in 10 years, cruises of 8-14 days proved more popular with British cruise passengers in 2006 than those of 5-7 days.
• Longer cruises accounted for 43% of sales compared with 39% for 5-7 days.
• This trend is mainly due to the upsurge in bookings of ex-UK port cruises to the Mediterranean, which average 13 days.
• The average price paid in the UK for a 2006 cruise was £1,314 - a 5% increase on 2005's £1,253 – however, this figure is misleading, as the real cost per day of a cruise holiday actually fell slightly in 2006.
• Summer cruises cost an average of £1,229, which was £38 (3%) less than in 2005 with the higher average overall 2006 price being due to people booking longer, mainly winter cruises.
• Over the year, cruise lines sold 19% more cruise nights while increasing revenue only 16% to £1.55bn.
• On a per-day basis, cruises cost 1.5% less: £130 in 2006 compared with £132 in 2005.
Travel agents are the way to book
• As the cruise industry grows, travel agents continue to be the cruise lines’ key sales partners – producing 82% of UK cruise bookings in 2006.
• The UK continued to be the largest source market for cruises, followed by Germany, Italy and Spain.
• Joint ventures and acquisitions is the key word in the Spanish cruise market, with RCI and Carnival both entering into agreements with Spanish cruise lines which is expected to lead to increased capacity dedicated to this market.
• The worldwide cruise boom continued in 2006 with more than 15.5m passengers booking ocean-going holidays - up 7% on 2005 and on target to top 20m within five years.
According to Bill Gibbons, director of the Passenger Shipping Association: “The numbers of UK travelers opting to cruise has continued to grow in 2006 and the PSA is confidently predicting 8% market growth in 2007 with 1.3m UK passengers taking an ocean cruise and a 15% growth to 1.5m in 2008. “One of the main factors in the industry’s ever-increasing share of the UK holiday market is the surge in the number of ships being dedicated mainly to the UK market, offering cruise from UK ports and popular fly-cruise itineraries. “There is an ever growing range of cruise products available on the market – reflected in the increasing PSA membership – boosted to 39 brands by five new members – offering something to suit everyone, varying in size (from 49 passengers to almost 4,400 passengers) and itineraries, from polar bear tracking and adventure cruises to simply relaxing and unwinding with state of the art on-board facilities such as gyms, spas, garden villas, surfing pools, ice skating rinks, bowling alleys, and first class dining. This product innovation has been key to the growth of the industry, a trend we predict to continue with an expected two million UK cruisers by 2010”.
The Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) was formed in the 1950s to promote passenger travel by sea. Discover Cruises promotes cruise holidays and encourages people to experience a cruise holiday for the first time. Its website, www.discover-cruises.co.uk, offers advice on different types of cruise holidays and provides fact sheets for the most popular areas/types of cruising with details of individual cruise lines. Fact sheets are also available by calling the PSA on 020 7436 2449.
UK’s Passenger Shipping Association Revamps Its Website
This month, the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) relaunched its cruise information website, www.discover-cruises.co.uk , which has been completely revamped with downloadable fact sheets and a search facility.
The site now features interactive graphics designed to attract a younger audience and first-time cruisers, and it includes sections entitled ‘Cruises For You,’ ‘Cruise Style’ and ‘Life Onboard.’ In a new ‘Cruise Club’ section, visitors can sign up to receive news and offers from any of the individual member lines. Since launching the website in 2003, the trade body has carefully listened to feedback from site visitors, says PSA director Bill Gibbons, adding, ‘We have also had positive feedback from agents who use the website as a resource tool.’
PSA Offers Ferry & Cruise Information On Its Website
People who have had to cancel holidays by air may find alternatives by sea according to the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA), the industry body for cruise and ferry companies. During the recent elevated security air alerts that forced many flight cancellations, the PSA says that that ferry and cruise companies are continuing to operate as normal. PSA Director Bill Gibbons said: "there are more than 18 ferry companies and 15 cruise companies that offer departures from UK ports. You can travel by sea to UK islands such as the Isle of Wight, Isle of Man, Scottish Islands and the Channel Islands as well as visiting Ireland, Scandinavia and continental Europe and beyond. Although this is high season there is availability on ferry routes, particularly for midweek or off peak times and on some ex-UK cruises."
There has been a substantial increase in the number of people taking roundtrip cruises UK ports, according to Gibbons who reports that more than 400,000 people took an ex-UK cruise in 2005 and the PSA is predicting this will top 460,000 this year.
Here are some helpful PSA websites for alternative transportation via sea:
-- www.sailanddrive.com shows maps of ferry routes within and out of the UK and has links through to the ferry companies. The ferry companies update the site regularly with latest deals and offers
-- www.discover-cruises.co.uk has a really useful "cruise finder" service which you can use to check which cruise companies have holidays leaving from UK ports and when
www.exclusive-collection.co.uk has details of ultra-luxury cruises
-- www.specialist-collection.co.uk is a site highlighting adventurous and unusual cruises.
Million Brits To Cruise By The End Of 2006
British holidaymakers continue to pick cruising as one
of their top holiday choices, with 1.25 million Brits
expected to take an ocean cruise this year and 1.5 million
enjoying ocean cruise holidays by 2008, according to statistics
released by the Passenger Shipping Association’s (PSA)
Annual Cruise Review. The growth in demand for cruise
holidays comes at a time when the package foreign holiday
market is contracting – down 3% in 2005 - and shows the
resilient appeal of cruise holidays which increased its
equivalent share of the holiday market from 5.2% in 2004
to 5.6% in 2005.
There was a significant trend towards cruises that leave
direct from the UK (ex-UK) – out of 1.07 million that
took an ocean cruise last year, 406,000 of them chose
to take a cruise departing from a UK port. To qualify
this, approximately 40% chose to cruise from the UK compared
to 25% in 2001.
The increase in ex-UK cruising can be attributed to substantial
additional capacity from P&O Cruises, Norwegian Cruise
Line, Saga and Thomson Cruises and grew despite the withdrawal
of Airtours Sun Cruises, which carried a significant number
of Brits. In addition, Royal Caribbean International and
Princess Cruises based ships in the UK specifically for
the UK market for the first time.
Also new for 2005, was the launch of easyCruise into
the Mediterranean. This brought an entirely new cruising
concept to the industry and in turn started attracting
a younger audience.
British cruisers have a taste for the high life with
a 12% increase in the number of ultra-luxury cruises sold
in the UK in 2005. The Exclusive Collection (a group of
eight luxury brands within the PSA) carries nearly 20,000
passengers a year and is 1.8% of the UK market, which
is double the share it had in 1999.
Results for the Specialist Collection – an alliance of
six PSA cruise lines* with niche offerings – remained
steady at about 40,000 UK passengers in 2006. The Specialist
Collection aims to differentiate the guest experience
on the small specialist ships from that of other cruise
ships placing the emphasis on the destination rather than
the cruise ship itself.
A record number of UK passengers booked a river cruise
in 2005 with the 140,000 total beating the previous record
achieved in 2000 by more than 22,000. This is due to the
a huge increase in popularity for Nile cruises and also
because water levels were not challenged in Europe’s rivers
last year as they had been in both 2003 and 2004.
The PSA works very closely with CruiseUK of VisitBritain
to promote and drive cruising traffic into UK ports. According
to Peter Conway, project manager for CruiseUK, "Cruising
around Britain has never been more popular and CruiseUK
will continue to work with its partners to ensure a memorable
experience for both the passengers and their hosts. With
new port facilities commissioned across the country we
are looking forward to welcoming an increasing number
of vessels, where they will discover the quality experience
that Britain has to offer."
Bill Gibbons, Director, Passenger Shipping Association
commented, “Looking at 2006 - it’s already been such an
exciting year. We have recently seen the launch of the
largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean International’s
Freedom of the Seas and expect it to appeal to
a huge diverse market, including people who have never
considered cruising before. Fred.Olsen Cruise Line launched
its new ship Boudicca in February and we are still
looking forward to new and refurbished ships from Island
Cruises, Louis Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Line and
Travelscope. It looks to be a very strong year and I can
confidently say that there will be a 17% year on year
increase in ocean cruising to 1.25 million at the end
of 2006. ”
For the second year, the Annual Cruise Review includes
European ocean cruise statistics provided by the European
Cruise Council (ECC). Just over 2.14 million continental
Europeans took an ocean cruise, an increase of almost
20 per cent on 2004. Additional capacity from Costa Cruises
and MSC Cruises allowed Italy to close the gap on the
second largest market, Germany but the British take more
cruise holidays than anyone else with a 33% share.
The full statistics are available on the Passenger Shipping
Association’s website (www.discover-cruises.co.uk
*Crystal Cruises, Hebridean Island Cruises, Peter
Deilmann Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, SeaDream
Yacht Club, Silversea Cruises, Windstar Cruises, Yachts
Seven of the Passenger Shipping Association’s ultra-luxury
cruise line members have come together to form a new alliance,
the Exclusive Collection. The alliance is aimed at attracting
discerning holidaymakers seeking a sophisticated, bespoke
holiday experience, but who may currently not consider
a holiday afloat. Members of the Exclusive Collection
) are Crystal Cruises, Hebridean Island Cruises, Peter
Deilmann River & Ocean Cruises, Radisson Seven Seas
Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, SeaDream Yacht Club and
Edwina Lonsdale, chair of the PSA’s Exclusive Collection,
explains “There is such a huge diversity of cruise
holidays now that we felt that it was important to help
agents and consumers differentiate between the types of
experience available. There are still so many preconceived
ideas about what a cruise holiday will be like, but we
aim to show that ultra-luxury cruise lines can exceed
the service and attention to detail offered by luxury
land based resorts and offer better value for money.”
The new website will be a useful selling tool for agents
with up-to-date information on the cruise line members.
The Exclusive Collection features seven ships of excellence
that offer a breadth and diversity appealing to sophisticated
holidaymakers. There is an experience to appeal to all
tastes from river cruises to yachts, sailing ships to
ocean cruise liners and a capacity which ranges from just
49 to 1000 guests.
All seven cruise lines offer a crew to passenger ratio
of at least one to two, ensuring a truly unique and luxurious—yet
accessible - experience. This, combined with personal
attention to detail, outstanding service, fascinating
itineraries and a wealth of intriguing extras, guarantees
holidaymakers are spoilt for choice.
*The Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) represents
the leading cruise and ferry companies operating in the
United Kingdom. Its website provides information about
the PSA, its history, aims, members and links to other