Press Release | April 27, 2023

New data shows UK cruise industry innovating, diversifying, and attracting new holidaymakers

More people open to trying a cruise than ever before

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has revealed that holidaymakers from the UK and Ireland took around 1.7 million cruise holidays last year, nearing demand levels last seen in 2019.

In data published today (April 27, 2023), CLIA revealed that:

  • In 2022 British and Irish holidaymakers took around 1.7 million cruises, up from 479,000 the previous year.
  • The Mediterranean remains the number one destination for cruise travellers from the UK and Ireland.
  • The top three destinations in 2022 were: 38.4% travelled to the Mediterranean, 29% to Northern Europe, and 10.6% to the Caribbean.
  • The UK and Ireland markets accounted for 29% of all European source passengers.
  • Globally, over a quarter (27%) of those who sailed for two or more nights in the last 12 months travelled in a party consisting of three or more generations, a sign that cruise holidays offer a great experience for all ages.
  • The average age of UK & Ireland cruise guests last year was 55.8 years, as cruising continues to diversify and attract holidaymakers of all ages.
  • The average length of a cruise by British or Irish holidaymakers in 2022 was 9.7 days (down slightly on 2019).
  • Intent to cruise is stronger than ever. 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 (up from 53% in 2022).
  • Strikingly, 70% of those who have never cruised before would consider a cruise in the next few years (up from 68% in March 2022), showing more people are open to trying a cruise than ever before.

Growing awareness of sustainability

The cruise industry is pursuing net zero carbon cruising by 2050 and driving efforts to become one of the most sustainable forms of 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. This is a flagship industry for the UK, and these latest figures show that we will continue to contribute to the economy and jobs.”

Andy Harmer, Managing Director, CLIA UK & Ireland, said:

“Cruise holidays have once again captured the imagination of the British public. 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.”

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