Record year for UK cruise ships

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The growing popularity of cruise holidays – forecast to rise another seven per cent in new figures released this week – should come as no surprise to families and couples who have already taken a holiday at sea.
The food, facilities, entertainment, and above all, value for money offered on a cruise ship beats almost anything on land, and I am amazed that – despite its rapid and continued expansion – cruising still attracts only one in 10 people booking a package holiday.
Speaking at last night’s launch of The Cruise Review, at the National Geographic Store in London’s Regent Street, Peter Shanks, chairman of the Passenger Shipping Association, said that the typical price of a cruise was now £100 a day.
“Just think what value that represents. I can’t get my family a meal at Pizza Express for £100. It’s impossible to get a decent hotel room in London for £100.
“But the average spend for UK passengers on a cruise is £1,300 to £1,400 for two weeks and we offer far more than an average package holiday, with fine dining, entertainment, and superb facilities for children all included.”
Shanks’s comments are all the more convincing given that he is President and Managing Director of Cunard – not exactly at the bargain-basement end of the market.
PSA Director William Gibbons added: “The success of UK cruising, during one of the toughest economic periods the world has seen, can be attributed to the value and high standards of a cruise holiday. The all-inclusive nature of cruising and exceptional standards of quality and service are the key to our continued growth, along with a huge choice of worldwide destinations and the wide range of styles of cruising.”
The report shows that 1.53 million Brits took a cruise in 2009, and the number is expected to increase to 1.65 million this year, which will see another 14 new ships launched.
Northern Europe – the Norwegian fjords and the magnificent capitals on the Baltic Sea – are now more popular than sunshine getaways to the Caribbean, largely thanks to the fact that passengers can sail direct from UK ports rather than having to wrestle with airport security and airline baggage restrictions. The Mediterranean remains the most popular destination, offering something for everyone, whether they prefer to laze in the sun or visit historic sites.
There is growing evidence that once a passenger has taken their first steps up the gangway, they keep coming back for more. Six out of 10 take more than one cruise a year, and one in four took three or more.
The PSA has also produced figures which show that cruising brings about £30 billion into Europe and benefits the UK alone by £2 billion a year. Of the 733 million people boarding a ship in UK ports like Southampton, Dover and Harwich, 19 per cent are from overseas.

By | 2010-05-18T13:59:57+00:00 18 May 2010|Cruise news|0 Comments

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

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