Record high for cruise passengers in the UK

Record high for cruise passengers in the UK

The cruise industry in the UK and Ireland grew to a record 1,789,000 passengers in 2015 – a 9 per cent increase year on year and the highest in seven years – according to figures released by the Cruise Lines International Association (Clia). 

The increase, which saw 145,000 more passengers take a cruise, means the size of the market has grown by two-thirds (67 per cent) in the 10 years since 2005.

The number of British travellers taking a river cruise grew by more than 10,000, taking the total to 150,300, a rise of 8 per cent.

The figures also highlighted the healthy condition of the ex-uk market: the number of passengers starting their cruise from a UK port increased to 840,000, marking a 12 per cent increase. Ex-UK cruises now account for 47 per cent of the market.

Fly cruises in 2015 also increased to 949,000, marking a 4.9 per cent increase.

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Cruises in the Mediterranean remained the most popular holiday choice for Britons, accounting for 672,000 passengers although the Atlantic Islands (Canaries and Madeira) had the best ever year with a record 188,000 passengers, according to Clia.

The Caribbean reclaimed more passengers after a three year lull and experienced an increase of 15%, the highest since 2011.

Kerry Anastassiadis, CEO of Celestyal Cruises and member of Clia Europe’s executive committee spoke about the findings, said: “The figures released today confirm the great shape of Europe’s cruise industry. Cruising is a fantastic holiday choice, and every year more and more people realise the great value and amazing experiences offered by a cruise holiday.

“This is helping us emerge as the most attractive holiday choice and being a young industry representing a small portion of overall holidays taken, our opportunities to grow in Europe and elsewhere in the world have virtually no limits.”

Clia UK and Ireland Director Andy Harmer said: “The past year was an impressive one for the UK and Ireland cruise industry. The increase in passenger figures bears testament to the diversity that cruising offers to today’s holidaymakers. The cruise industry’s continued confidence in the UK market is clearly demonstrated by an increasing number of ships that will sail from British ports in the coming years.”

Key figures

  • 1,789,000 UK and Ireland passengers cruised in 2015 – 145,000 or 9% more than in 2014
  • The highest increase in eight years
  • The number of passengers starting their cruise from a UK port increased to 840,000, marking a 12% increase
  • 2015 fly cruises increased to 949,000, marking a 4.9% increase
  • The Mediterranean remains the number one destination accounting for 672,000 passengers
  • Cruise represented 10.8% of the package tour business in the UK and Ireland
  • 6 million Europeans cruised in 2015, an all-time high – 200,000 or 3% more than in 2014
  • The number of Europeans choosing a cruise holiday has increased by 49% since 2008, when the economic downturn began, amounting to a 6% average annual growth rate

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