Feed on

In the news

A couple of news items have caught my eye in the last couple of days, and I decided I’d comment on them here. This post will cover the first that caught my eye, and a later post will deal with the other.

First was a press release from Cruise Industry News, in which they are forecasting “unprecedented growth” for Europe cruise lines. Based (I think) on the orders for new ships, they’re saying – if I’ve got this right – that cruise passenger numbers will rise from about 8 million this year to 14 million in ten years’ time; i.e. an increase of about 75%. They’ve published an ‘Infographic’ (which I’ve added below) which gives the number of ships that they expect to be active in the market and the number of berths on those ships. These show an increase from 132 ships with 198,919 berths (call it 200k) in 2018, to 163 ships with 301,405 berths (call it 300k) in 2027. So that adds some detail to the picture – with about 25%/30% more ships but 50% more berths, the ships are definitely going to get bigger.

The European cruise brands will go from carrying just over 8 million cruise guests in 2018 to over 14 million by 2027

More significantly, I’m not sure where they expect 14m passengers to cruise to. it’s already clear that some of the honey-pot destinations are full – I’m thinking of places such as Venice, Florence, Santorini, Barcelona and Dubrovnik. Non-cruise tourists also contribute to these numbers, of course – that would certainly be true of Florence, I think – but less so in the case of places such as Santorini. I also think that other destinations such as ports in Norway or Iceland would also struggle to accommodate more passengers. We did a fjords cruise on Britannia a couple of years ago and frankly she loomed over places like Flam and Stavanger, and when we landed at Ísafjörður in Iceland last year on Azura, the 3,000 passengers were already more than the total population of the town plus its hinterland – 2,500 or so.

So perhaps it is the case that the ship itself will become the point of the cruise. Perhaps also we will also see ‘corporate destinations’ appear: berths on the smaller islands in the Mediterranean that the cruise lines will develop and which will offer a holiday vacation for a day for the ships of their line.

Here are some pictures from ports in Norway taken on our last two cruises. They show, I think, how large even the current ships are, especially when seen in older, smaller places. The next generation of ships will be bigger.

And talking of the next generation of ships, here’s the Cruise news International inforgraphic.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: