UK ports received record number of cruise calls and passengers in 2023

Figures from Cruise Britain confirm cruise activity has exceeded pre-pandemic records

UK ports received record number of cruise calls and passengers in 2023

Cruise Britain 

There were 2499 cruise calls to UK ports in 2023, reports Cruise Britain

By Alex Smith |

UK ports received their highest ever number of cruise calls and passengers in the 2023 season, newly released figures from Cruise Britain have confirmed.

In total, 2499 calls were received throughout the year, beating the previous record set in 2019. The number of passengers embarking on a cruise from a UK port exceeded 1.5 million for the first time, 26 per cent more than in the previous high in 2018.

“The popularity of cruises into and round Britain shines even more brightly than it did pre-Covid,” said Ian McQuade, chair of Cruise Britain. “Cruise is now an important part of the tourism landscape for many ports and destinations, and we are seeing the rewards for an industry that has consistently worked together to recover, regenerate and develop.”

UK ports welcomed 2.16 million transit passengers in 2023, 24 per cent more than in 2019. This resulted in an economic contribution of £150 million ($189 million), according to Cruise Britain’s estimate of an average contribution of £70 per passenger. Over three-quarters of transit passengers were non-UK nationals, with key markets including the USA and Germany.

Passengers visited or embarked through 57 cruise ports onboard 123 ships, with the majority of ships making multiple calls. The ships were operated by 53 different cruise lines.

“Looking ahead to this year, we see the growth trajectory continuing with England’s south coast and Scotland continuing to underpin national cruise growth,” said McQuade. “Regional ports in all four of our nations reported record 2023 figures and all will look to build on that growth.”

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