Cruise bookings trend positively in the US and much of Europe



New ships – as well as promotions, convenience and variety of destinations – are the main factors driving consumer demand, with current bookings for 2H 2018 and 2019 trips up vs. last year in the US and in most countries surveyed in Europe. Spain was the outlier, with mixed bookings.

Grassroots® Research interviews with cruise travel agents/specialists in the US and Europe who sell cruises from large brands revealed that current cruise bookings for 2H 2018 and 2019 trips are up compared to the same time last year for 2017 trips for 100% in the UK, 87% each in France and Germany, 80% in the US, and 67% in Italy, while they are mixed in Spain, with 40% citing flat and 33% up. As to current cruise pricing for 2019 trips compared to the same time last year for 2018 trips, sources said it is up an average 5% in the US, 4% in Germany, and 3% each in Italy and the UK, while it is flat in France and Spain.


According to sources, the primary factors positively affecting cruise demand this year are the availability of new ships in the US, Germany, Spain and the UK; promotions and better offers/packages in France, Germany and the UK; convenience travel in France, Italy and Spain; the variety of destinations in France, Spain and the UK; a better economy in the US and Spain; and the range of services in Italy. However, the primary factors negatively affecting demand reportedly are mass-tourism ships in France, Germany, Italy and Spain; pricing in France and Italy; hurricanes, government travel restrictions, terrorism and Mexico’s political issues in the US; and exchange rates and Brexit in the UK.


Regarding the most popular cruise destinations currently, sources said they include the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe for clients in the US; the Mediterranean and the Caribbean in France; the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Baltic Sea in Germany; the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Northern Europe, the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates in Italy; the Mediterranean, the Greek Islands, fjords and the Baltic Sea in Spain; and the Mediterranean and the Caribbean in the UK.



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Sales of e-bikes surge in Europe for sports, leisure and even short commutes



While sales of conventional bicycles were mixed in 3Q 2018 year-to-year, sales of e-bikes increased in all countries surveyed, and all expect the e-bike market to grow in the next 12 months – although opinions were mixed as to whether e-bikes are cannibalizing the sales of conventional bicycles or whether they represent a new segment.