British cruise passengers to surpass two million in 2018

British cruise passengers to surpass two million in 2018
Cruises are getting more popular with British travellers (Image: CLIA UK and Ireland)

The number of British travellers taking an ocean cruise is expected to surpass two million for the first time in 2018, according to predictions from Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) UK and Ireland.

CLIA’s prediction comes in the wake of new research that shows a record 1.97 million British people set sail on an ocean cruise in 2017 – a rise of 4.3% from 2016. Figures also indicated that cruise holidays accounted for just over 4% of the UK’s overall holiday market share and just under 11% of the market share for overseas package holidays. This was around the same as in 2016.

“This is a strong performance from the UK and Ireland market and indicates that it’s highly likely the total for 2018 will surpass two million for the first time,” said Andy Harmer, senior vice president of membership and director of CLIA UK and Ireland. “With an unprecedented number of ships on the global order book, there has never been a better time to take a cruise, with a wider choice of ships, itinerary and style of cruise than ever before.”

CLIA’s research also found that the overall value of a cruise holiday became a more important factor to consumers in 2017, alongside the price and the availability of special offers. Most passengers are also looking for an inclusive drinks package over the past two years, which CLIA has attributed to the number of first-time cruise guests who are used to all-inclusive drinks at land-based holiday resorts.

More travellers are also booking cruises in advance than ever before. Lead times for bookings have steadily increased since 2013 and now most people book an average of seven months ahead.

“We are delighted with this trend, which indicates a solidifying of consumer confidence, as people are prepared to commit to a cruise in advance,” said Harmer.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Thursday, July 5, 2018