Cruise Lines International Association announces continued growth of Dutch cruise travellers in 2017

14 March 2018

Dutch travellers are increasingly choosing to cruise, according to the annual survey completed by the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA). 6,000 more passengers booked a cruise in 2017. This is a significant increase of almost six per cent against 2016.

Dutch travellers still prioritize the Mediterranean which remains the number one cruising region for Dutch holidaymakers, despite a small decline in numbers against 2016. In 2017, Northern Europe was the second most popular cruise choice and was up 13 per cent compared with 2016, and in third place, the Caribbean saw a significant rise in passengers from the Netherlands, and was up by more than 27 per cent.

A boom in short cruises of two to three days – showing a 37 per cent on 2016 figures – is a great sign that more people are trying a cruise for the first time as these are excellent entry-level choices.

Key figures for CLIA Netherlands are:

  • Almost 6 per cent more Dutch travellers chose to cruise in 2017.
  • Over a quarter of Dutch passengers headed for the western Med.
  • For an over 12 percent drop in eastern and central Mediterranean destinations, there is a 13.7 per cent increase in Northern Europe, a 39 percent growth of Baltics’ cruise destinations and record of 31 per cent more passengers to the Canary Islands.
  • The Caribbean remains the first choice after European itineraries with 22,000 people booking a cruise to the islands.
  • Youngest travelers average 48 years and stay on board for 8 days whilst over 60 years old can stay between 15 to 20 days at sea.

Andy Harmer, senior vice president membership, CLIA, said: “The increase of Dutch cruise passenger’s in 2017 is really encouraging. As per last year, they continue enjoying an average of nine days onboard cruise ships – more than southern Europeans who tend to stay 7 to 8 days on board. They are also becoming more adventurous by choosing more discovery and ‘exploration’ cruises to destinations including the Galapagos, Antarctica, and Arctic. This cruise segment in the Netherlands increased by more than 10 per cent in 2017, against 2016.”

More unusual, long-haul cruise itineraries are also proving popular with Dutch travellers. Cruises in South America and through the Panama Canal grew by nearly one-third last year, up 30 per cent.

Overall the European cruising market has been steadily growing for the past ten years, reaching over 6.9 million European passengers in 2017.

Across the European markets, the five-year trend is upward in all countries, particularly in Germany with a strong 8.5 per cent growth reaching a record of nearly 2.2 million passengers. UK and Ireland was up by 0.5 per cent with over 1.95 million cruise guests, Italy has grown to nearly 770,000 passengers with a 2.5 per cent growth, whilst Spain took the fourth leading market position, and continued its expansion for the second year running with a cruise market progressing by another 6.4 per cent.

Similar to previous years, Europeans tend to cruise in Europe as 75 per cent did so, but this percentage is slightly down compared to previous years due to the lower volume in the Mediterranean and the higher volume in the Caribbean. 50 per cent of Europeans chose the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Canary Islands, and 25 per cent went northern Europe and the Baltics.

The 2017 findings also revealed that there is a clear relationship between average age and cruise length and confirmed that older generations tend to cruise for longer periods. The youngest cruisers are in Italy while “oldest” ones in Europe are in UK, aligned with the longest average cruise length. In terms of destinations, the shortest cruises for European passengers are in the Mediterranean and are aligned with the lowest average age. The Baltics and Canary Islands destinations welcome a majority of slightly older passengers, travelling for longer periods of time.

Key figures for CLIA Europe are:

  • 6,941,000 Europeans took a cruise in 2017, for an average duration of 8 nights.
  • Germany leads the source market in Europe with 2,189,000 passengers, the largest significant growth of 8.5 per cent in one year – an exceptional result.
  • United Kingdom, with a 0.5 per cent increase in passengers had a record year with almost 1.95 million passengers.
  • Italy is showing a growth of 2.5 per cent, an impressive recovery compared with 2016.
  • Spain takes the fourth position with a 6.4 per cent, confirming a consistent two-year headway after the economic downturn of 2014/2015.
  • 4 out of 5 Europeans chose a cruise in Europe. The Mediterranean remains the most popular destination, but Northern Europe is becoming increasingly popular too, growing by 8 per cent in 2017.
  • The average age of cruise passengers are between 42 (Italy) and 57 (UK).
  • Cruise length vary from market to market, averaging from 10.4 days in the UK to 7.3 days in Italy. No variation in Germany in 2017, with an average of 8.8 days spent on board.
  • Other European markets, such as the Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands and Belgium, are all showing positive development with growth from 3.1 to 5.9 per cent.
  • With its continued expansion, the cruise industry will have enhanced its economic contribution in in European employment and overall economic participation. The 2018 CLIA European Economic Contribution Report set to be released later this year.