A total of 200 cruise ships operated by 65 lines are sailing in European waters this summer, official figures show.
The start of the summer season has seen 96 vessels sail back to the region from their winter itineraries in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Asia.
The European summer fleet includes 11 new ships, including three re-entering service for new operators, data compiled for the Cruise Lines International Association in Europe shows.
The deployment covers at least 530 destinations stretching from the Mediterranean to the Arctic. New ports this summer are Arendal and Brønnøysund in Norway and Bristol in the UK.
Clia Europe chairman Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio said: “The number of new destinations, new lines and new ships entering service in Europe this year are all further evidence of how cruising is growing and will continue to grow in the region, drawing on Europe’s unique offering in terms of its rich culture, its varied geography and its long maritime traditions, and its expertise in hospitality and service.”
Clia Europe secretary general Robert Ashdown added: “Seeing so many ships arriving in European ports for the start of the summer cruising season underlines how the European cruise sector is an integral and growing part of the global cruise industry that offers consumers high value holiday options and economic benefits to hundreds of communities.”
However, Carnival Cruise Lines is one company withdrawing its two ships from Europe next year.
Chief executive Gerry Cahill said the line’s middle-American passengers were not prepared to pay high transatlantic air fares to travel to meet ships in Europe.
He added that he was “optimistic” that Carnival would return in 2015. Royal Caribbean International and Princess Cruises are also scaling back 2014 capacity in Europe.
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