The Port of Tyne is growing in popularity with cruise passengers (Image: CruiseBritain)
Almost two million British travellers took a cruise in 2017 – a record high for the country and a 0.5% growth from 2016, according to a new report from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
The Mediterranean remains the most popular cruise destination for British travellers, representing 37% of all sailings booked last year. Northern Europe and the Caribbean were the second and third most popular destinations, with the number of British nationals cruising to regions rising 7% and 3% respectively. Long-haul destinations also saw a boom last year, with travellers booking 25% more cruises in Africa and the Middle East, 22% more in China and the wider Asia region, and almost 25% more in South America and the Panama Canal. Canada and New England itineraries recorded the fastest growth, with bookings increasing by 33%.
CLIA’s report also revealed that ‘unusual’ and adventure-style itineraries in destinations like the Antarctic, Arctic and Galapagos rose by 3% in 2017, while river cruising underwent ‘somewhat of a renaissance’ as new ships, onboard experiences and onboard experiences became available to holidaymakers.
“We are delighted that the number of British travellers choosing to cruise continues to rise,” said Andy Harmer, senior vice president and director of CLIA UK & Ireland. “There has never been a broader choice of ships boasting incredible onboard amenities, itinerary, or type of cruise, and with more than 27 new ships being delivered globally in 2018 alone, this is set to continue this year, into 2019, and beyond.”
Cruises from the UK are also rising rapidly, with the number of passengers embarking on ships from British ports soaring 6% year-on-year to hit 1.1 million in 2017, according to a new CruiseBritain report.
The latest CruiseBritain figures also showed that the number of cruise passengers visiting Britain on day calls has quadrupled from just 365,000 in 2007 to reach 1.42 million in 2017. Numbers rose 17% between 2016 and 2017.
Last year, cruise passengers arrived at 68 UK cruise ports on 120 different ships from 56 cruise lines, many of which called on multiple occasions. Particularly strong regional growth was seen at a number of ports including Douglas on the Isle of Man, Kirkwal in Orkney, Portland and the Port of Tyne in Newcastle.
‘Round Britain’ and Irish Sea cruises continued to develop as an ideal way of exploring Britain’s various coasts, castles, cities and countryside destinations. The short sailing distances between Britain’s shores and adjoining countries have also helped to grow itinerary possibilities and popularity.
‘‘Increasingly, Britain really can offer a port for every cruise ship currently sailing – from expedition ships to mid-range or boutique vessels, up to the largest afloat,” said James Stangroom, chair of CruiseBritain. “Many of the UK’s ports can handle both day calls and embarkations which increases the opportunity to grow the nation’s cruise business. As the global cruise market continues its growth trend, we are confident that Britain’s appeal as a cruise destination will mirror that trend.’’
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