Europe: Flat Year-Over-Year: This year, the total number of passengers expected on European sailings is expected to stay flat from last year at an estimated 6.4 million, according to the 2016-2017 Cruise Industry News Annual Report. The Mediterranean is seeing a decline, while in Northern Europe traffic is up.
Meanwhile, Europe’s percentage share of the global cruise market has been shrinking – to 27 percent this year from more than 31 percent four years ago.
These numbers are driven by several factors, including the instability in the Eastern Mediterranean, combined with the growth of new markets elsewhere, such as China.
At the same time, the numbers are not static, they can easily swing back in favor of Europe, pending market changes and political developments. And the record orderbook suggests a steady introduction of new tonnage into Europe that will maintain market growth. Besides, new external markets are expected to feed into European cruises, such as China, once more Chinese discover cruising at home.
Notable New Ships: Among the several cruise ships that were introduced this spring, two stand out: the AIDAprima, because of her use of new technology and for taking AIDA’s unique ship concept to the next level, and the Harmony of the Seas for literally reinventing the Oasis class, making the ship seem new and exciting.
The AIDAprima is the first true dual-fuel ship, burning traditional fuel at sea and LNG in port. She offers a number of new guest venues, while literally bursting with colors, lighting and modern styling.
By making the Harmony of the Seas a little wider than her previous sister ships, at 227,000 tons she is the largest cruise ship in the world, while 20 percent more energy efficient and faster. She has an energy management system that continuously monitors all energy producers and users and brings any deviations from set targets to officers’ attention for adjustment.
We are eagerly looking forward to the next generation of AIDA ships, as well as the fourth and fifth Oasis-class ships, as these companies continue to innovate and push the technological bar higher.
Angela Reale Mathisen and Oivind Mathisen