The number of cruise passengers from the UK and Ireland has surpassed the two million mark for the first time in 2018.
CLIA released figures today that show passenger numbers hit 2,009,000 in 2018, confirming that the UK & Ireland has become the second European market to reach the two million mark after Germany.
This figure represents a 2% year-on-year increase in ocean cruises.
Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland director, said:
It is a great milestone for the whole industry and has come after a lot of effort from a lot of people. I started at [cruise trade association] Ace in 2006 so I missed the million mark in 2004. It took more than 150 years to hit the first million and it has taken the last 14 years to hit the two million mark.
Around 90% of Brits and Irish customers that have cruised for the first time will sail again within 12 months, Harmer added.
Strong growth was seen in cruise passengers travelling to the eastern Mediterranean, up 8.5% to 746,000 passengers.
Other areas seeing significant growth, from a smaller base, included the Canary Islands, up 9.6%, and the Baltics, up 9%.
The central and western Mediterranean region remains the number one destination for European cruise passengers, and saw growth up by 1.2%, equivalent to 2.27 million passengers. Northern Europe was up 4.8% in 2018, to 1.43 million passengers.