The majority of the cruise lines sailing in the Mediterranean market bring an almost exclusively American clientele there. According to cruise line executives surveyed by this newsletter, attracting European passengers presents obstacles which non­ European lines have it found difficult to overcome. In most cases, these lines have not been willing, or found themselves unable, to deal with with diversity of cultures, languages and currencies.

Instead, European operators are marketing in Europe. But they also find that it is difficult to mix several nationalities on one ship.

The lines with strong European market support include Costa Cruise Line, Chandris Cruises, Cunard Line, Epirotiki Lines, Louis Cruises, P&O Cruises, and Sun Line, all of which are European companies.

The United Kingdom was the largest European producer of Mediterranean cruise passengers in 1992, although the British sail mainly on British ships.

1992 European Market

United Kingdom produced approx:         205,000   pax  
Germany 195,000 "
France 120,000 "
Italy 110,000 "
Switzerland 20,000 "
Holland 20,000 "
Spain 17,000 "
Austria 10,000 "
Belgium /Luxembourg 5,000 "
Others 8,000 "
Total European markets, approx: 710,000 "

Market Leaders

Costa is setting the lead in the European market by being the only carrier to introduce new tonnage and redefining its product. The Italian operator will have three new ships and two older ships in the Mediterranean this summer.

Chandris meanwhile is focusing its energy in the North American market. Louis Cruise Line, operating out of Cyprus, will have four ships, catering to British and Scandinavian tourists.

Epirotiki, which is the traditional leader for Piraeus-based cruises in terms of capacity, will have eight ships out of Piraeus with another three ships in the Red Sea, Black Sea and Northern Europe.

Sun Line will be deploying its three ships in the Mediterranean during the summer season.


According to reports from European travel agents, discounting has also become a regular marketing tool for European operators. Methods range from early booking benefits, to price breaks for repeat passengers, stand-by rates, and subsidized air fares.