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Demand for cruising by British and Irish travellers nearing 2019 levels, CLIA data shows

‘Cruise holidays have once again captured the imagination of the British public,’ said Andy Harmer, MD, CLIA UK & Ireland
UK and Ireland travellers took around 1.7m cruises last year, nearing the level of demand last seen in 2019, according to new data from Cruise Lines International Association UK and Ireland.

In 2022, tourists from Britain and Ireland took around 1.7m cruises – up from 479,000 the previous year. Their top three destinations were the Mediterranean (38.4%), Northern Europe (29%) and the Caribbean (10.6%).  

Multi-generational parties 

Globally, over a quarter (27%) of British and Irish cruisers who sailed for two or more nights in the last 12 months travelled in a party consisting of three or more generations. 

The average age of UK & Ireland cruise passengers last year was 55.8 years. 

Strong intent to cruise 

While the average length of a cruise by British or Irish holidaymakers in 2022 was down slightly on 2019 at 9.7 days, statistics indicate that the intent to cruise is stronger than ever before. 

Some 85% of cruise passengers from the UK and Ireland say they intend to take a holiday at sea again, a 6% increase from 2019, and 60% will do so in the next two years, which is up from 53% in 2022.  

And 70% of those who have never cruised before would consider a cruise in the next few years, up from 68% in March 2022.  

The UK and Ireland markets accounted for 29% of all European source passengers last year.

‘Cruise holidays have once again captured the imagination of the British public,’ stated Andy Harmer, MD, CLIA UK & Ireland. 

‘A holiday at sea offers something for everyone, from action-packed experiences and visiting new cultures, to onboard entertainment, and relaxation. And the word is out as we are seeing more people than ever interested to try out a cruise for the first time.’ 

Sustainable tourism  

CLIA data shows the British travelling public is becoming more aware of sustainable tourism: 76% of British cruise passengers who sailed in the past 12 months said they were ‘much more’ or ‘more’ aware of environmental and sustainable tourism.  

Ben Bouldin, chair, CLIA UK & Ireland, said, ‘Cruise lines are always challenging themselves to innovate and diversify, and constantly reinventing the cruise experience. This forward-looking approach is at the heart of the cruise industry’s success and is also why we are committed to sustainability.’ 

He concluded, ‘This is a flagship industry for the UK, and these latest figures show that we will continue to contribute to the economy and jobs.’

The data was collected from 'The 2022 Europe Passenger Market Report,' 'The State of the Cruise Industry Report 2023' and 'Quarterly Passenger Data Sentiment Report.'