British ports had a boom year in 2010, with visitor numbers topping half a million for the first time, according to a new report from CruiseBritain.
A joint venture between the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) and VisitBritain, the body said 837,000 people took an ex-UK cruise last year, while 541,000 visits were made by ships to UK ports.
The figures are 14% and 21% up respectively, year-on-year and are attributed to a rise in the number of cruise lines deploying their ships to the UK as well as the introduction of new ships.
Last year, 116 ships from 53 cruise lines visited a UK port, with each visit estimated to contribute €97 to the local economy, according to the European Cruise Council.
In the last seven years, ex-UK sailings or port visits have grown 134%.
Kate O’Hara, chairwoman of CruiseBritain, said: ‘We are seeing the UK increase in popularity every year and becoming a major player in the cruise market.
‘Round Britain cruises are increasing and projected figures for 2011 show that this market sector will continue to grow.