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Germany's cruise numbers hit new high but lack of capacity pulls down growth rate

Only one big ship, Mein Schiff 4, shown here at its naming, entered the capacity-constrained German market in 2015
Whilst the number of German passengers taking an ocean cruise in 2015 constituted a new record—1.81m, up 2.3% from 2014— Germany's year-on-year growth rate declined due to capacity constraints, according to CLIA Germany's Michael Ungerer.

Some 296 ships with a total of 456,185 beds were on offer in Germany at the end of 2015, less capacity than in previous years, according to a new study by Business Research and Economic Advisors on behalf of CLIA Germany and the German Travel Association (DRV). Only one big ship, Mein Schiff 4, entered the market, while Deutschland and Azores left it.

CLIA and DRV expect capacity growth to push the German source market above the 2m passenger threshold in 2016, as AIDAprima and Mein Schiff 5 enter the market. The pair of new ships will add 5,750 beds this year. (And AIDA Cruises president Felix Eicchorn predicts Germany will produce 3m cruisers in 2020.)

In total, 15.75m passenger nights were sold on the German market last year with travel agents remaining the leading distribution channel, accounting for approximately 80% of bookings.

The average ocean cruise price has increased 3.3%, from €1,530 to €1,580; the daily rate grew by 4.9% from €173 to €181.86.

In total, the industry generated a turnover of €2.87bn in 2015, up 5.7% from 2014.

The average ocean cruise duration declined slightly, from 8.83 nights to 8.69 nights.

The average passenger age declined only slightly from 50.4 to 50.1 years.

The average age of German passengers travelling on a ship belonging to a German operator is about three years younger (49.2 years) than that of Germans travelling on a ship of a foreign line (52.2 years).

In total, ships of German lines accounted for 1.23m passengers last year, while international ships carried the remaining 582,000.

As far as destinations are concerned, Europe accounted for 76.2% of the market. In detail, the Mediterranean retained its top position with a 31.2% share, followed by the British Isles (12.5%), Norway/Svalbard/Arctic (12%), Atlantic Islands (11.4%), North America (11.3%) and the Baltic (9.1%).

Helge Grammerstorf, national director of CLIA Germany, predicted 2016 is likely to return to a two-digit year-on-year growth rate and more than 2m passengers, mainly as a result of new ships. Apart from AIDAprima and Mein Schiff 5, the tremendously popular Deutschland will return to Germany for the summer on charter to Phoenix Reisen.