Germany remains the number one source market in Europe for cruises but the UK’s growth to just shy of 1.79 million passengers cruising last year is “the highest increase in eight years,” according to the trade body Cruise Lines International Association
The number of passengers cruising from a UK port is up 12 per cent to 840,000. Those additional 101,000 ex-UK cruisers followed in the wake of key ship launches in 2015, including P&O’s Britannia, which holds 3,600 passengers and Royal Caribbean’s 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas.
“It is unlikely we will see as high growth in 2016 as we did in 2015
Destination winners include the Atlantic islands, which had their best-ever year, and the Caribbean, which saw its biggest rise in five years (up 15 per cent). The Canaries and Madeira, and the Azores, saw a record 188,000 passengers (67 per cent up on 2014). The Mediterranean remains the most popular, with 672,000 passengers choosing the region.
However, Norway, in the ascendant for several years, saw 27,000 fewer cruise passengers visiting from the UK last year. The Baltic region also saw a significant fall.
“It is understandable that passengers will on occasion seek out new destination experiences. Norway, with its spectacular fjords and Northern Lights will undoubtedly attract more passengers again in the future.”
The number of UK passengers taking a river cruise grew by 10,000, taking the total to 150,300. Europe accounts for 87 per cent of river cruises taken by UK passengers.
The number of British travellers taking an ocean cruise grew by 145,000, taking the total number of cruisers last year to 1,789,000, according to figures released by CLIA UK & Ireland. The number of German cruisers rose to 1.8 million.