Affordable, convenient and always luxurious, cruise holidays are definitively back in favour, with the latest figures from a leading industry conference confirming that Brits love to sail. Straight from Florida’s Seatrade Cruise Global conference in Fort Lauderdale, industry analysts revealed that after several years of stability, 2015 saw a record 1,789,000 British and Irish passengers take to the seas. This represents a 9% increase on 2014’s figures, not to mention the biggest jump in seven years.
Home-grown cruising wins over Brits
As well as overall figures increasing, the number of passengers kicking off their cruises from UK ports rose to 840,000, while the number of fly/cruise holidaymakers spiked to 949,000. This represents respective increases of 12% and 4.9%. Andy Harmer, UK & Ireland director of the Cruise Lines International Association was quick to get behind the new statistics, and comment on the fact that cruising is definitely back in vogue.
“The figures bear testament to the diversity that cruising offers today’s holidaymakers… demonstrated by the increasing number of ships sailing from British ports,” he said.
The Med dominates as destination of choice
Unsurprisingly, the Mediterranean retained its crown as the UK’s favourite cruise destination, with 672,000 passengers seeking out sun, sand and European chic. Britain’s 57 cruise ports also proved popular with both local and international tourists, attracting a record 1,017,000 passenger day calls from a total of 107 ships. Overall, this marks a 10% increase from 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,” said CruiseBritain’s Chair Angie Redhead. “The growth in passengers is the continuation of a steady trend and one that we and our members work tirelessly to encourage.”
Kudos to the Danube, Rhone and Seine
Europe’s stunning rivers played a key role in boosting numbers, with the popularity of river cruising spiking by 8% within the UK market. Industry experts also credited the boom to a remarkable rise in investment from lines launching innovative, amenity centric river vessels that set new standards for small scale cruising.
“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,” Harmer added.
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Image via Flickr Creative Commons. Photo credits: Roderick Eime, Henk Sijgers, Admanchester