The CTO has been looking at booking patterns in the UK and has concluded that the trend towards later and later bookings, which began in 1998, has apparently been reversed by the provision of early booking discounts. In 2004, the number of bookings made within three months of departure dropped from 41% in 2003 to 33% while the number of bookings made more than six months out increased from 34% to 44%. The average age of the UK cruise passenger is falling slightly from 56 years in 1994 to 54.1 years in 2004.
The average price for a cruise in 2004 increased by 15% to £1,205; at the same time, more competitive pricing by the four and five star luxury cruise brands caused a sharp drop in the number of cruises costing more than £2,000, from 25% to 14% of the total.
Meanwhile, the capacity in this sector has more than doubled in the last five years. The average cruise duration increased slightly to 9.7 nights although four out of 10 UK cruise passengers chose to cruise for 8-14 days mainly due to an increased number of sailings from a variety of UK home ports.