Two Million Brits Take to the Seas in Record-Breaking 2017


Last year, the UK cruise industry enjoyed a record-breaking year, as almost two million British passengers holidayed on the seas in 2017. The latest report from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) demonstrates how the cruise industry continues to go from strength to strength.

In total, 1,965,900 British holidaymakers boarded cruise ships in 2017, representing a 0.5% increase on 2016, and more in-depth information suggests we’re travelling further than ever before. Africa and the Middle East enjoyed a particularly notable increase in British cruisers, with a jump of 25%, whilst Canada and New England oversaw a cruise capacity increase of a third.

The most popular destination visited by British cruise-goers, again, was the Mediterranean, accounting for 37% of the total audience. However, Northern Europe surged into second place, moving ahead of the much-loved Caribbean. The Norwegian Fjords, Northern Lights and Baltic States proving irresistible to an ever-growing number of UK cruisers.

Mediterranean beach

Adventure cruises also enjoyed an increase in popularity, with destinations such as the polar regions and the Galapagos Islands welcoming more British holidaymakers than ever before. This has been recognised within the cruise industry with more cruise lines offering unique itineraries, visiting further-afield destinations – and providing a sense of wild adventure for guests.

A huge boost for the UK economy, there were more cruise itineraries departing from UK ports in 2017 than ever before. A total of 1.1million cruises set sail from our shores – great news for businesses reliant on port cities.

Andy Harmer, senior vice-president and director of CLIA UK & Ireland, said: “In a step away from the traditional image of sunshine-soaked decks, we are seeing an increase in popularity of colder-climate destinations including Canada, Alaska and Antarctica. Thanks to the array of unique excursion options in these regions, from penguin-watching to ice fishing, these destinations are drawing in both new and repeat cruise travellers.

“We are delighted that the number of British travellers choosing to cruise continues to rise. There has never been a broader choice of ships boasting incredible onboard amenities, itinerary, or type of cruise, and with more than 27 new ships being delivered globally in 2018 alone, this is set to continue this year, into 2019, and beyond.”

These figures are from the CLIA’s 2018 figures, released earlier this month. Other key takeaways demonstrate that river cruising continues to grow in popularity and service – with the majority of river cruise vessels having been built in recent years. Additionally, the report revealed the average age of the British cruise is 56.

With the world’s largest cruise ship, Symphony of the Seas, about to launch alongside an array of other new ships and amazing new itineraries, 2018 looks set to be even better.

If you’d like to join the record-breaking numbers taking to the seas for cruise holidays all around the world, let Cruise1st introduce you to the very best deals. For more information, head over to our homepage or call our dedicated customer service team on 0808 2746 777.


About Author

Claire has worked in the travel industry since leaving college in 1994. One of this blog's most regular contributors, Claire covers cruise news and industry trends.

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