The total number of people who took a cruise grew by 10% last year, an increase of two million people.
The figures, which were assembled by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the European Cruise Council, Passenger Shipping Association, International Cruise Council Australasia and G P Wild.
“We are delighted to see 10% annual global growth in cruise passengers last year, with milestones being broken all over the world as growth continues,” said Christine Duffy, CLIA president and CEO. “This is the first time that European figures have passed six million and the first time Australian cruise passengers have topped half a million.
“The latest statistics clearly show that the cruise industry has proved resilient during difficult economic conditions and these results are a testament to the industry’s ongoing innovation and investment. As we continually improve operations, and add new and exciting innovations and itineraries, we’re confident our sector has huge potential for continued growth on a global basis.”
William Gibbons, director of the Passenger Shipping Association, said: “British ocean cruise passengers exceeded 1.7 million for the first time in 2011 and are currently the second largest source of cruise passengers in the world. We’re looking forward to that growth continuing as new ships come on stream to satisfy demand.”
European cruise numbers grew by 9% y-o-y on the 5.56 million achieved in 2010. The UK, Italy, Spain, France and Germany all saw cruise passengers increase by an average of 7% to 15% in the past five years.
Australasia has also experienced rapid recent growth – with cruise passengers increasing by 30% in the last year alone – exceeding half a million and predicted to be over a million by 2020.