A record 1.65m UK passengers will choose a cruise holiday next year – an increase of 6.5% over this year.
The bold claim from the Passenger Shipping Association comes as the world’s biggest cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas (pictured), is launched in Florida.
“We predict a record 1.65m UK passengers will choose a cruise in 2010, an increase of 6.5% over 2009,” said PSA director Bill Gibbons.
“We put this down to the two “V"s – value and variety” said Gibbons.
The cruise industry has – like the rest of the travel industry – suffered this year, but not as badly as other sectors such as air.
Many luxury lines have been to offer added incentives such as free flights and upgrades.
Earlier this year, Gibbons said: “Although the cruise industry is not recession proof it is better placed than many other travel sectors to weather the economic storm.”
Gibbons said the fact that meals and accommodation and often flights were all included in the price of a cruise made it an attractive option to consumers wary of hidden extras.
Next year 16 new ships of all sizes are set to come onto the market next year include P&O Cruises’ Azura, Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Eclipse, which are all dedicated to the UK market.
The UK cruise sector is one of the most buoyant in the world:
Passenger numbers rose by 11% and approached a record 1.5 million for 2008, accounting for 33% of the European market.
One in every 12 package holidays sold in the UK is now a cruise – it was less than half of that 10 years ago.
And the average length of cruise taken has also increased, from 9.7 to 10.4 nights.Oasis of the Seas will be joined by Allure of the Seas in November 2010