Cruise industry in Europe - Statistics & Facts

The European cruise market is one of the largest cruise markets in the world, ranking only behind North America for market revenue. Around 6.96 million passengers were carried on cruises in Europe in 2017. MSC Cruises is the biggest cruise company operating in the region, along with Carnival Corporation brands including Costa, AIDA and P&O cruises. In the wider European economy, the cruise industry has a major economic impact; for the manufacturing industry alone, the cruise sector directly contributed 7.3 billion euros in durable goods and 2.3 billion euros in non-durable goods in 2017.

Cruises around the Mediterranean are among the most popular in Europe. The Mediterranean Sea connects various countries, allowing passengers to visit numerous destinations in one trip. Italy and Spain rank as the two leading cruise destinations, with some of the busiest ports in the Mediterranean. The number of cruise calls at the port of Civitavecchia in Italy, for example, reached 729 in 2017. The Italian port competes with the port of Barcelona in Spain, which recorded 2.7 million passengers in 2017. Many cruises also call at Civitavecchia and the Balearic Islands, ranking them among the leading ports of call for cruises in the Mediterranean.

The largest source passenger markets for cruises in Europe are Germany and the United Kingdom, accounting for over half of the European passenger market in 2017. Although it is common to fly to other destinations first, many German and UK passengers also embark on cruises from ports in their respective countries. In Germany most cruise passengers embark in Hamburg or Kiel, while most passengers embark or disembark at Southampton in the UK. Southampton was in fact the leading port for the embarkment and disembarkment of cruise passengers in Europe in 2015. In the Northern European region, popular ports of call include Stockholm in Sweden and St Petersburg in Russia.

Despite concerns surrounding tourism in many cruise port destinations, the cruise industry in Europe is set to continue growing. In 2016, 10 new cruise ship orders were made in Europe and were predicted to increase. Between 2016 and 2019, 18 new cruise ships are planned in Italy and 12 in Germany.

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