Figures released today from the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) show that Brits took a record 1.62 million cruises in 2010 – a six percent increase on 2009 and more than double the figure recorded in 2001.
These figures, set against a challenging year for the rest of the travel industry, are attributed to the exceptional value and very high standards of quality and service offered by a cruise holiday.
This phenomenon is set to continue, with the PSA forecasting that cruise passenger numbers are on course to reach 1.7 million in 2011, and reach a record breaking two million by 2014.
Cruising continues to grow as a powerful force within the package holiday sector, now accounting for 11.7 percent of the overseas package holiday sector, compared with 10.6 percent in 2009.
This huge boom in the popularity of cruising is particularly apparent when compared to 1997 when less than three percent of package holidays booked were cruises.
Cruising from British ports increased by 10 per cent – with more than 650,000 people choosing to cruise from the UK, while fly-cruises also saw an increase of three per cent.
The Mediterranean continued to be the most popular cruise destination with 43 per cent of Brits choosing the region, an 18 per cent increase, whilst Northern Europe retained second place.
PSA Director, William Gibbons, said: ‘The UK cruise market continues to buck the trend and 2010 was no exception. The cruise sector continues to report impressive growth and the success of UK cruising, during one of the toughest economic periods the world has seen, can be attributed to the excellent value for money and the fantastic variety of a cruise holiday. The choice and diversity of cruising has never been greater – from intimate, ultra luxury yachts to floating passenger ‘resorts’. The exceptional standards of quality and service are the key to our continued growth, along with the huge choice of worldwide destinations and the wide range in styles of cruising. 2011 is well and truly on course to be yet another record year, with 1.7 cruises expected to be taken by Brits, and we are confident that cruise passenger figures will reach two
Key figures released by the Passenger Shipping Association
1.62 million cruises were taken by British passengers in 2010
Cruise passenger numbers increase six per cent on 2009 figures
11.7 percent of overseas package holidays booked is now a cruise
UK departures were up 10 per cent to 653.000 in 2010
Fly cruises were up three percent to 968,000 in 2010