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The CLIA (UK and Ireland) has just published its Cruise Review 2013 – a summary of the cruise market in the UK and Ireland for 2013. It makes quite fascinating reading.

There are quite a few strong headlines:

  • after a stand-still year for growth in 2012, the number of cruises taken last year increased, albeit only by a small amount;
  • cruises to the Mediterranean dropped by about 50,000 (an 8% drop) while cruises to ‘Northern Europe’ increased to 530,000 (an increase of 20%);
  • almost equal numbers of passengers started their cruises at a UK port rather than going on a fly-cruise – it’s 49% for UK port vs 51% fly-cruising. In 2007 it was just about 2:1 in favour of fly cruising. Between 2007 and 2013 the number of passengers embarking at UK ports increased from 467,000 to 844,000 – almost doubling. (I knew Southampton had got busier….);
  • whether it was because of the recession or because passengers are very savvy, per-diem costs were almost the same last year as they were in 2007.  If you then factor in the improvement in the ships over the last few years, it looks as if passengers were getting more for their money than ever before;
  • we all got older – passengers average age was 57, the highest over the review period (2007 to 2013);
  • we were very canny as to when we booked the cruise. 40% of 2013 cruises were booked in the 3 months prior to the cruise which was almost the highest percentage ever. In contrast, just 17% of cruises were booked in the 3 months before embarkation in 2009. In the same year 25% of cruises were booked a year or more in advance, and a further 19% booked 9 to 12 months in advance. In fact, in 2009 61% of cruises were booked 6 months or more in advance – in 2013 it was down to 39%. No wonder there were endless promotions last year….
  • the destination or itinerary was the most important factor in deciding to go on a cruise, with ‘cruised with this line before’ as the second most important reason. As for why passengers picked their last cruise specifically, by far the most popular reason was the price;
  • Finally, European river cruises did very well, up about 22% over the previous year, whereas long-haul river cruises were down by 45%. Nile cruises in particular dropped by over 50%.

You can download a copy of the Review from here.

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