2013 was another record year for British cruise passengers, says CLIA

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New arrival: Norwegian Getaway debuted in Southampton this week but will be based in Miami (Picture: Norwegian Cruise Line)

For an update on this article, please click here

A new record for British cruise passengers was set last year, the industry body said today.

A total of 1.79million took a holiday at sea in 2013, up 89,000 or five per cent on the previous year, according to the Cruise Lines International Association. That means figures are up more than 300,000, or 21 per cent, since 2008.

Unusually, CLIA doesn’t give a forecast for the coming year, causing some, like my colleague Captain Greybeard, to speculate that British numbers may fall for the first time in years.

Across the globe, passenger numbers hit 21.3million last year, up two per cent on 2012, and are forecast to reach 21.7million this year. Europeans made up 6.4million of the 2013 figure, a year-on-year increase of four per cent.

Six ocean-going ships are being launched this year, worth £2.38billion, with a capacity of more than 18,000 passengers. Another seven will make their debut in 2015.

The cruise industry is worth almost £2.5billion a year to the British economy and creates more than 66,000 jobs in this country, according to CLIA. Globally, the industry is worth US$100billion or £61.1billion and provides around 775,000 jobs.

Andy Harmer, director of CLIA UK & Ireland, said: ‘The incredible choice and diversity of a cruise is reflected in the record number of British passengers who took a holiday last year. Many of CLIA’s 63 member cruise lines are revitalising and investing in new ships, ensuring that guests enjoy modern, innovative ships of varying sizes, designed to cater for all ages and which offer amazing holidays to destinations around the world.

‘The travel trade has played a crucial role in the growth of the British market. More than 70 per cent of cruise holiday bookings in the UK are made through a travel agent, with their expert knowledge an important factor in securing each booking.

‘In the year ahead, we will step up our agents training programme to ensure our 5,000 partner agents are kept fully up to date with the many new ships and cruise itineraries being introduced.’

For my article on new ships launching this year, please click here 

For my review of the world’s newest ship, Norwegian Getaway, please click here 

Shipmonk has been shortlisted as best blog in the 2015 Cruise International awards. To vote, please click here (last category)

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