Cruising is taking off again in the UK. After a couple of years of standstill, 2015 brought a record 1,789,000 passengers from Britain and Ireland – a nine per cent increase on the year before, and the biggest rise in seven years.
Pushed in part by the debut of P&O Cruises’ 3,600-passenger Britannia (above) the number of passengers starting their cruise from a UK port increased to 840,000, a 12 per cent increase. Fly-cruise passengers reached 949,000, up by 4.9 per cent.
The figures were announced as the cruise industry gathered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for the Seatrade Cruise Global conference. Andy Harmer, UK & Ireland director of the Cruise Lines International Association, said: “The figures bear testament to the diversity that cruising offers today’s holidaymakers … demonstrated by the increasing number of ships sailing from British ports.
The Mediterranean remains the top destination for Brits, accounting for 672,000 passengers, but more people than ever before visited Great Britain through the country’s 57 cruise ports.
A total of 107 individual ships brought a record 1,017,000 passenger day calls – Up 10 per cent since 2013.
‘The magic million is a fantastic figure to reach and is almost triple the day call figures that we first started recording back in 2006. The growth in passengers is the continuation of a steady trend and one that we and our members work tirelessly to encourage’, said Angie Redhead, Chair of CruiseBritain.
The popularity of river cruising also continues to increase, with an eight per cent increase in UK passengers – to 150,300. The Danube, the Rhone and the Seine are the main beneficiaries, with increases of between 30 and 38 per cent.
“We have seen tremendous investment by companies in new, innovative ships with greater amenities on board. This, coupled with an ever-increasing choice and diversity of itineraries in Europe and further afield, has led to more UK passengers than ever opting for a river cruise holiday,” said Harmer.