The German ocean cruise market topped two million passengers for the first time last year, an annual survey showed.
The strong 11% rise to the new record of 2.02 million customers was driven by a combination of factors, the survey by industry association CLIA and the DRV showed. The sector’s turnover (excluding on-board sales and excursions) grew by 18% to €3.4 billion as average daily prices rose by 2.8% from €182 to €187 and the average cruise length increased slightly to 8.9 nights. The average cruise price went up by 6% to €1,675 per booking.
This strong growth was accompanied by a 17.5% rise in the number of overnights due to the combination of passenger growth and 10 additional ships available to the German market, including the Aida Prima and TUI’s Mein Schiff 5.
Three out of four German ocean cruise customers selected a European destination last year. Northern Europe was slightly more popular, rising to a 36% share from 34% in 2015, but demand for the Mediterranean weakened to a 28% share of passengers compared to 31% the previous year. About 11% again chose a North America or Caribbean cruise.
“2016 was a record year,” said a delighted Karl Pojer, chairman of CLIA Germany and CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, during the presentation at ITB. “We assume that the German cruise has remained number two behind the USA.”
This claim was underlined by new figures this week from CLIA Europe which showed that the number of Europeans taking an ocean cruise holiday increased by 3.4% to 6.7 million last year. Germany was the fastest-growing major market while the British market also generated good growth with a 5.6% rise to nearly 1.9 million cruise guests.
Meanwhile, the German river cruise market maintained its steady recovery of the last few years. The number of passengers increased by 2.8% to over 435,000 customers while the average daily price rose by 4.1% to €143. However, the average cruise length decreased slightly to 6.9 nights from 7.2 nights in 2015.
“This figures show the trend to more frequent travel but shorter trips,” explained Daniel Buchmüller, president of the IG River Cruise association. The Rhine and the Danube remained by far the two most popular rivers for German customers.