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European cruise market growth accelerated to 3.1% in 2015

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

The number of Europeans that took a cruise holiday rose by 3.1% to 6.6 million last year, a marked acceleration of growth from a mere 0.5% recorded in 2014, figures released by CLIA Europe showed.

However, the growth rate of the market last year came slightly below an average of 3.4% recorded in 2011-15.

Germany was the biggest source market in Europe in terms of passenger numbers, with 1.81 million, an increase of just 2% on 2014. However, its growth slowed drastically from an average rate of 8.3% over the past five years. The German market produced 15.8 million bed nights, the second highest figure in Europe, and the average duration of cruises taken by Germans was 8.7 nights, the figures show.

The UK generated 1.79 million passengers, an increase of 8.8% year-on, whereby the market returned to growth after a 5% decline in passenger number in 2014. The 2015 growth rate was also well above the average figure of 2.1% for the past five years.

In terms of bed bights, the UK was the largest source market in Europe, with 19.8 million bed nights in 2015. The average duration of a cruise booked in Britain was 11.1 nights.

Spain returned to growth last year, with a 2.7% rise in passenger numbers, which reached 466,000. Italy recorded a 32,000 passenger decline and produced 810,000 passengers last year. Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands also suffered a drop in volumes.

In all, the European source market covered 57.6 million bed nights and the average duration of a cruise taken by Europeans was 8 nights, CLIA Europe figures show.

Genting Hong Kong's cruise losses mount but sales gains lift 2015 profit

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen

Genting Hong Kong, the Hong Kong based cruise shipping group, has reported a fourfold increase in the loss from its cruise operations for 2015 on the previous year, but sales gains significantly lifted the group's overall result.

The cruise operations, which include the Far East focused contemporary market Star Cruises and the luxury market Crystal Cruises that is based in Los Angeles, booked a loss of $49.5 million from its cruise operations last year, compared to a loss of $9.8 million in 2014. Revenues increased to $652.8 million compared to $530.7 million. Ticket revenues more than doubled to reach $289.1 million from $141.4 million, while on board revenues fell slightly, to $363.3 million from 389.4 million.

"Passenger ticket revenue increased significantly in 2015 due to the contribution from Crystal Cruises. However, the higher provision against trade receivables in 2015 has resulted in an increase in segmental loss of our “cruise and cruise-related activities”. The increase in segmental loss of our ‘non-cruise activities” was mainly due to higher operating loss from our international marketing activities in relation to our Manila operations and lower revenue from aviation operation," the company said in a statement.

Genting Hong Kong's cruise related assets were valued at $3.49 billion at the end of 2015, sharply higher than than the $2.24 billion figure at the end of the previous year. Again the acquisition of Crystal Cruises accounts for the increase. Cruise related liabilities also increased significantly, to $927.7 million from $601.6 million. Loans and borrowings accounted for $519.2 million and 448.9 million of these, respectively, while the rest was made up by other liabilities.

Genting Hong Kong, which is domiciled on Bermuda and listed in Hong Kong, was able to increase its net profit to $2.11 billion last year from $397.8 million in 2014 due to a sharp increase in sales gains, which reached $2.22 billion compared to $397.8 million. This was due to large scale sales of shares in Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd, the world's third largest cruise shipping group. Revenues of Genting Hong Kong climbed to $689.9 million from $570.8 million.

Peace Boat unveils Ecoship design and announces exclusive economic partner

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Allan Jordan reporting from Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Fort Lauderdale

Peace Boat, an International NGO with headquarters in Tokyo, unveiled the designs and a funding agreement for its Ecoship, which it is billing as the “flagship for sustainability in the cruise industry.” The 55,000 gross ton ship, capable of carrying 1,900 passengers, has a target of reducing CO2 emissions by 40%. It is conceived as “traveling exhibition ship” to promote international exchange and cultural understanding for a sustainable society.

Peace Boat Founder and Director Yoshioka Tatsuya said that for the past two years, a team including leaders in the maritime world, renewable energy and energy efficiency has been working to create the designs, which it believes will serve as a global model as the “first and most ecological ship.” They hope to encourage the industry to follow suit urgently addressing the crisis of global warming and climate change.

With a hull form inspired by humpback whales, the Ecoship incorporates unique renewable energy features ranging from ten retractable solar-paneled sails totaling 2850-square meters, wind generators capable of producing 350 kW, closed water and waste systems and even a passenger disco designed to harvest kinetic energy. Five hundred (65%) of the staterooms will have balconies each fitted with photovoltaic solar panels and there will be a five-story vertical garden that will also pre-cool the HVAC system. Unlike traditional cruise ships, the Ecoship will forgo a casino and bars instead featuring an “Agora” for an exchange of ideas, university space, areas to host global discussions, and video conferencing to link the on-board programming with shore-side discussions and initiatives.

Singapore –based Six Capital Group has entered into an agreement becoming the exclusive economic partner for the project. They will be leading an innovative crowd-sourced funding scheme to finance the construction of the Ecoship. Patrick Teng, Founder, Executive Chairman and Chief Dealer for Six Capital said, “This is a beautiful ship, but it also has a higher purpose to create a global movement to get governments to respect, implement and make legally binding the COP21 agreements,” adopted in December 2015 by the 195 nations that attended the Paris Conference.

Peace Boat reports that they are currently in discussion with leading shipbuilders with a goal of appointing the builders by October 2016, commencing the building program in April 2017 and undertaking the Ecoship’s maiden voyage in April 2020 in time for the Summer Olympics opening in Tokyo on July 24, 2020.

MedCruise members host 27.4 million cruise passengers in 2015​

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

MedCruise presented today to the cruise world gathered in Fort Lauderdale, US, the 2016 edition of the MedCruise Statistical Report covering in detail the cruise activities in MedCruise ports during 2015.

The presentation took place during Seatrade Cruise Global 2016, with the 2016 MedCruise Statistics Report forming a special edition, as the Association celebrates this year its 20th anniversary.

A total of 27.4 million cruise passenger movements were hosted in MedCruise member ports in 2015, while at the turn of the century the very same ports had welcomed only 8.6 million passengers. Comparing to the previous year, this number is 6,2% higher, as the cruise passenger movements that had taken place in 2014 stood at 25.8 million.

In terms of cruise ship calls, MedCruise Ports recorded 13.194 in 2015. This represents a total that is lower by 4,4% comparing to the 13.813 cruise calls of 2014.

The trend of cruise vessels becoming bigger in size has been deterministic insofar the number of cruise calls is concerned. 2015 is the first year ever that the average number of passengers per cruise call in the region was higher than 2.000, while in the beginning of the 21st century the average stood only at 848 passenger visits per cruise call.

The recorded developments clearly show the commendable adaptability that MedCruise port members have demonstrated since the turn of the century.

Presenting the report, MedCruise President Kristijan Pavic stated “The MedCruise report outlines another successful year for cruise ports in the Med and its adjoining seas, based on the annual cruise traffic data of 73 MedCruise port members that represent 80% of the total cruise passenger movements in the region. The test for all is to allow for cruising in the Med and its adjoining seas to sustain as the most exciting way of vacations, while creating the background for socially responsible future growth."

Europe back on growth path in 2015

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä

Alan Lam reporting from Fort Lauderdale

At the SCG 2016 State of the Industry Europe panel, on behalf of CLIA Europe, Kerry Anastasiadis, CEO of Celestyal Cruises, presented the latest passenger figures for the continent. A record 6.57 million Europeans went on cruises in 2015, representing a 3.1% increase as compared to 2014.

Germany topped the table by contributing just over 1.81 million passengers; but the biggest growths came from Scandinavia, with a massive 14.9%, followed by UK & Ireland, with 8.8%, after a temporary decline in 2014. The increases were driven mainly by capacity additions.

The European picture was, however, a mixed one. Disappointingly there were a few areas of significant falls, with such market a Belgium falling by as much as 10.4%, Austria by 7.1%, and Italy by 3.9%.

Commenting on the results, Kerry Anastasiadis stated that after years of stagnation it was comforting to see Europe back on the growth path again. He also pointed out that a longer term perspective must be adopted on this. All throughout the financial crisis, between 2008 and 2015, Europe’s cruise business grew by 49%, representing an annual average of 6%. “Imagine what we would be able to achieve in a more favourable economic climate,” he said.

The potential for Europe is enormous, but there are challenges to overcome. “The key challenge for us is to ensure the next seven years to be as impressive as last seven,” he said, highlighting the need to overcome immediate challenges such as relaxing the EU visa regime and transparency environmental protection regulations as paramount concerns.

“These factors if not addressed will limit the growth of cruise business in Europe,” he added.

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CBR 3/2015 contents

CBR 2/2015 contents