The European Cruise Council (ECC) has claimed that Europe is now the ‘centre of gravity’ for the cruise industry after new figures showed record passenger numbers last year.
According to the ECC, a record 4m people took cruise holidays in Europe last year, an increase of 17% on 2006.
Five years ago only 2.6m people embarked on cruise holidays around Europe, Travelmole reports.
The most popular region for cruises setting off from Europe last year was the Mediterranean and Atlantic islands, with a 60% share of the market, followed by the Caribbean and other international regions (24%) and northern Europe.
With 1.3m passengers embarking on cruises in 2007 – 11% more than the previous year – the UK was the largest source market for European cruises.
David Dingle, chairman of the ECC, said that the industry is growing faster than had been expected, with the council not predicting the 4m passenger mark would be reached until 2010.
He added: ‘There is no doubt that Europe is the new centre of gravity for the cruise industry and we’re seeing increasing numbers of cruise lines basing ships in the region, which will encourage even more Europeans to cruise in future.’