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According to Cruise Market, a new Market Assessment from market intelligence provider Key Note, 1.7 million people in the UK embarked on a cruise holiday in 2011, an increase of 4.8% on the previous year. While the US continues to account for the biggest number of cruise holiday makers, at around 5.9 million in 2011, the UK is the biggest cruise market in Europe, followed closely by Germany, which had around 1.4 million passengers in the same year.
In the UK cruise market, there is a prevailing trend toward cruises that embark from UK ports, rather than fly-cruise holidays. Although these cruises cannot visit the full range of destinations offered by fly-cruises, they remove the expense of additional travel costs, such as flights, which are often included in the price of fly-cruises. This trend is largely attributable to the recession, with many consumers looking to reduce holiday expenditure.
The increasing presence of 'mega-ships' is also an important trend within the cruise market. Such ships are capable of year-round departures, due to their size and extensive range of facilities, making them ideal for short breaks around the Mediterranean or Atlantic Islands. By constructing larger ships, cruise operators are able to reduce the cost-of-sailing per passenger, and can encourage onboard spending, through the wide range of amenities and services onboard. These cruise ships, however, can only dock in ports able to handle vessel of over 100,000 gross tonnage, along with commercial services for over several thousand passengers. Such cruise ships will inevitably deter destination-focused cruisers, along with consumers with preferences for a more intimate atmosphere.
Key Note forecasts that over the next 5 years, the cruise market will continue to grow year-on-year, in terms of passenger-numbers. For 2012 and 2013, relatively subdued growth is forecast, as the industry rebuilds its reputation following the Costa Concordia incident in January 2012. After this, increasingly significant growth is forecast, particularly as the UK's economic recovery proceeds.
Press enquiries: Jack Sykes at Key Note at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0845 504 0452. Press/review copies of the report are available on request.