The number of Britons taking ocean cruise holidays has doubled in a decade, it was revealed today.
A total of 1.2 million Britons went on ocean cruises last year compared with just 522,000 in 1997, the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) said.
Last year’s British total was 12 per cent up on the 2005 figure of 1.07 million – the biggest increase among European countries.
PSA director Bill Gibbons said the figure was expected to rise to 1.3 million this year and to 1.5 million in 2008.
Of the Britons who took ocean cruises last year, 450,000 did so after setting out from UK ports.
The fly-cruise market rose 13 per cent last year, while the number of Britons choosing to cruise in the Mediterranean increased 22 per cent. The Mediterranean now accounts for almost 40 per cent of all British cruises, with the Caribbean (17 per cent) the next most-popular destination.
Mr Gibbons said: ‘Last year proved strong for the UK cruise industry, but next year is poised to be even better, with fantastic growth coming from the launch of 12 new or refurbished ships.
‘The PSA has increased its membership by four additional cruise lines during the year and now has 37 cruise line members. There is a very wide range of ships and destinations available and truly a cruise for everyone.
‘We’re now predicting 8 per cent market growth in 2007 and 15 per cent growth in 2008. In 2008 we will see a very significant increase in growth from the UK, with new ships coming in aimed specifically at the UK market.’
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