2 APRIL 2018


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Article from BTNews 2 APRIL 2018



Almost 2m cruises were taken by British holidaymakers in 2017, with a record high of 1,959,000 cruise passengers reported in latest figures, released by industry body, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). This represents an increase of 0.5%, against 2016.
The Mediterranean remains the most popular cruise destination for British travellers, representing 37% of all sailings booked last year, despite a slight year-on-year decline overall.
Cruises in Northern Europe soared in popularity last year, seeing a rise of 8% against 2016 figures, making it the second most popular region for British cruisers, beating the Caribbean.
Northern Europe and the Caribbean attracted the youngest average age of cruisers, 52 years’ old, against an average of 56 for all British cruise customers.
The Caribbean, including the Bahamas and Bermuda, the third most popular cruise region, also saw an increase in numbers last year, of just over 3% against 2016 figures.
Unusual cruise itineraries increasing in popularity with adventure-style ‘exploration’ cruises in the Antarctic, Arctic and Galapagos were up 3%.
Andy Harmer, senior vice-president and director of CLIA UK & Ireland, said: “In a step away from the traditional image of sunshine-soaked decks, we are seeing an increase in popularity of colder-climate destinations including Canada, Alaska, and Antarctica. Thanks to the array of unique excursion options in these regions, from penguin-watching to ice fishing, these destinations are drawing in both new and repeat cruise travellers.”
Long-haul destinations also saw a boom in cruise last year as British holidaymakers broadened their horizons with more adventurous and unusual itineraries. Africa and the Middle East cruise bookings were up almost 25% on 2016; Asia, China, were up almost 22%; South America and the Panama Canal saw an increase of nearly 25%; and the fastest growth was seen by Canada and New England itineraries which were up by one-third, 33%.
Closer-to-home, cruises from UK ports continue to be an important part of the sector. Latest figures from CruiseBritain reveal that the number of passengers embarking at UK ports in 2017 increased to 1.1m, up by 6% year-on-year.
River cruising is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance, with new ships, new onboard experiences, and exciting new itinerary options. Given the investment made in new river ships in recent years, it is no surprise that one-third of all river ships currently in service have been built in the past 10 years, and more than a quarter of these, in the past five years. With more on order for coming years, the sector’s new lease of life is set to continue.
Harmer commented: “We are delighted that the number of British travellers choosing to cruise continues to rise. There has never been a broader choice of ships boasting incredible onboard amenities, itineraries, or type of cruise, and with more than 27 new ships being delivered globally in 2018 alone, this is set to continue this year, into 2019, and beyond.”


Baltic Record

Extensive data from 32 Baltic Sea ports lay the foundation for this year’s newly released Cruise Baltic Market Review. The report presents the developments from 2017 as well as the expected numbers for 2018, and shows growth in both calls, turnarounds and guest numbers reaching a total of 5,054,849 guests.   Cruise Baltic is a network of cruise destinations in the Baltic Sea offering easy access to 10 countries offering port facilities in the Baltic region. The network – founded in 2004 with 12 terminuses – has now grown in 2018 to 29 destinations.

“Cruise Baltic is very pleased to report that a record-breaking number of cruise guests are visiting the Baltic Region,” said its director Claus Bødker.  “Furthermore, we had a growth in both calls and turnarounds. The positive developments are caused by our high guest satisfaction level which comes from the fantastic service provided in all member ports.  Our guests love the well-functioning infrastructure and the high intensity of ports that makes it possible for them to visit several capitals in a one-week cruise, where they can experience local authentic cultures but where the locals all speak English,”

The record-breaking number of Baltic cruise guests in 2017 is equivalent to a 16.6% increase compared to 2016. On average, visitor numbers have been growing with 9.7% since 2000 going from a total of 1.1m visitors back then to the approximately 5m guests last year. Besides guest numbers, Cruise Baltic also experienced growth within calls and turnarounds, where the total amount of calls was increased by 15.4% and the number of turnarounds was 3.9% higher than the year before.

 “Cruise Baltic had a great 2017, when looking at the growth we experienced on all parameters, and the positive development does not end there as we estimate that in 2018, will be breaking visitor records yet again.”

Next year Cruise Baltic expects guest numbers to grow with another 8.4% meaning an increase of 1.2m guests since 2016.  In late August your editor in chief will be CMV’s Marco Polo to Murmansk (Russia), technically not part of the Cruise Baltic region, but a port always welcoming the British due to World War II historical reasons.  The current Anglo-Russian relationship should not affect the visit.



Rather like airlines who for the most part do not tell you when they are dropping routes, cruise lines have a habit of retiring elderly ships, and making sure they are either renamed or sent to the breakers yard.  And again like airlines new ships arrive with a great hullabaloo.

The following is a list of major new builds for 2018:  There are probably 40 more committed to from 2019 onwards, from small explorer ships with only 100 passengers to floating resort operations catering for 6,000 plus clients.  The World’s oldest proper cruise ship at work this year is probably Hebridean Princess (1964) closely followed by aforementioned CMV’s Marco Polo (1966).  Both have wi-fi.   We are not sure if even James Bond had thought that one up in the mid-sixties.

Please note the lower berth number is given, but this may increase substantially with ‘children friendly’ ships during holiday times.  We also note the passenger to staff ratio.  Ships bound for the Chinese market are not included.

Norwegian Bliss (April)
168,000 tons − 4,200 passengers @ 2.2/1
We will start with Bliss as it is the news for later in the month with a maiden transatlantic crossing from Southampton 21 April (and a few staterooms available).  She is the final ship in the Getaway series with all sorts of novelties including a go-kart track.  She is bound for Seattle which will become her home port this summer.

Celebrity Edge (December)
117,000 tons − 2,900 passengers @ 2.3/1

Holland America Line – Nieuw Statendam (December)
99,700 tons − 2,650 passengers @ 2.2/1

National Geographic Venture (December)
1,450 tons − 100 passengers @ 3.0/1

MSC Seaview (June)
154,000 tons − 5,300 passengers @ 2.9/1

Ponant – Le Champlain (October) & Le Laperouse (June)
10,000 tons − 180 passengers @ 1.6/1

Royal Caribbean – Symphony of the Seas (In service)
230,000 tons − 5,000 passengers @ 3.2/1

Scenic Ocean Cruises - Scenic Eclipse (August)
16,500 tons − 228 passengers 1.2/1

Seabourn Ovation (In service)
40,350 tons − 450 passengers1.3/1

Star Clippers – Flying Clipper (Date to be announced)
8,770 tons − 300 passengers @ 2.1/1

TUI Cruises – Mein Schiff 1 (Due in service 29 April) Previously designated Mein Schiff 7
111,500 tons − 2894 passengers @ 2.5/1

Viking Cruises – Viking Spirit (August)
47,800 tons − 930 passengers @ 1.7/1

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