This year will see increased numbers of cruises sailing from UK ports as the appeal of basing ships in Britain grows.
CruiseBritain reports that initial estimates of cruise embarkations for 2012 show a rise of 17 per cent year-on-year.
In addition, Round Britain cruises focusing on calls to British and Irish ports will rise to over 100 departures for the first time and show a projected growth of 33 per cent since 2011.
A total of 666 cruises are currently scheduled to depart from British shores carrying embarking holidaymakers as far afield as South America, the Caribbean, Baltic, Mediterranean and America.
Closer to home, the Round Britain sailings will take cruise passengers to a diverse selection of British and Irish ports including Tyne, Isles of Scilly, Kirkwall, Liverpool, Milford Haven and Jersey.
“There are 20 cruise lines scheduled to operate Round Britain cruises,” commented Kate O’Hara, chair of Cruise Britain.
“The increasing appeal of Britain as a cruise destination can be seen both in the rise in cruise numbers and also in the wide variety of cruise lines. Britain’s ports will host some of the world’s largest cruise ships from lines such as Royal Caribbean, mid-size vessels from Crystal and Saga, boutique cruise lines such as Silversea and expedition ships from Voyages of Discovery and Noble Caledonia.
“Britain is a unique destination that offers complete circumnavigation and a huge variety of attractions for passengers.”
The core season remains May -September but the more off-peak months are showing growth, particularly in the autumn and early winter months.
“The main departure ports continue to be Southampton and Dover,” added O’Hara.
“But it is good to see the growth of the profile of ports such as Harwich, Tyne and Portsmouth.
“Passengers have more choice than ever before and this reflects the diversity of British attractions and the options that the country offers to cruise lines.”