| FRANKFURT, June 16
FRANKFURT, June 16 Europe's cruise lines
passenger growth rose in 2013 due to the popularity of the
Mediterranean as a destination and Germans' appetite for short
trips in northern Europe, a lobby group said.
A record 6.4 million Europeans booked cruises last year with
operators such as Carnival, TUI and All
Leisure Group, up 3.6 percent after an increase of 1.3
percent in 2012, according to a report published by the Cruise
Lines International Association (CLIA) on Monday.
Germany saw a 9.2 percent rise in passengers, drawing level
with Britain as Europe's largest markets, with each accounting
for around 27 percent.
"Cruising from German ports benefits from the fact that some
people increasingly tend to go on short breaks instead of taking
a long holiday to a far-away place," Helge Grammerstorf,
National Director of CLIA Germany, told Reuters.
Barcelona, Civitavecchia north of Rome, Venice and
Southampton were the busiest cruise ports.
"Some of the big ships with their wellness and fitness
opportunities, restaurants and entertainment shows, are seen as
a holiday resort themselves," Grammerstorf added.
In the 1980s, when TV series like "The Love Boat" stirred a
desire for what were then expensive cruises, the average number
of passengers aboard was 400-600. Now it is 3,000 and a
week-long cruise can be booked for about the same price as a
onshore package holiday.
Doubts about the safety of cruise ships have faded more than
two years after Carnival Corp's Costa Concordia sank off Italy
in 2012, Grammerstorf said, adding that the industry had seen a
dip in bookings shortly afterwards.
Europe is the world's second-largest cruise market after
North America, accounting for 30 percent.
Shipping groups' spending on cruise ship construction and
refurbishment were up nearly 5 percent in 2013 following
stagnation in 2012 and cuts in spending from 2009 to 2011, the
report also said.
Cruise tourism and cruise ship yards created more than
12,000 jobs last year, employing 339,000 staff across Europe.
(Editing by Susan Thomas)