CLIA UK & Ireland is expecting to confirm a record year for cruising and is confident in the sector’s future success whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations.
The industry body expects to announce that more than two million British travellers took a cruise last year for the first time.
The total number of cruises taken between January and September rose to 1,338,000 in 2018, up from 1,310,000 in the same period in 2017.
Full-year figures for 2018 will be announced in the spring.
In terms of a no-deal Brexit, the UK government and ABTA have released detailed passenger guidance. If there is no EU exit deal, cruise operations will continue on the same basis as today.
In addition, passengers who embark on a cruise at a UK port will continue to be protected by EU regulation on maritime passengers’ rights, which will be brought into UK law.
For those on a fly-cruise, UK citizens can be reassured that regardless of the Brexit outcome, planes will still fly between the UK and the EU.
The European Commission has stated that UK airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU. The UK government has offered similar assurances for EU airlines.
CLIA UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer said: “We welcome this advice and hopes it reassures UK and EU citizens planning a cruise holiday. We would also advise that all UK travellers check the expiry date of their passport when booking travel arrangements, and ensure that there is at least six months’ validity at time of travel.
“2019 is an exciting time for the cruise industry with 24 new ships being delivered for ocean and river cruise lines, and many existing ships being renovated and refurbished to a standard that rivals even the finest land-based hotels.
“Never before has there been so much choice for customers in terms of style of ship, itinerary and onboard experiences.
“The global fleet development, new destinations to explore, plus recent reassurances from authorities surrounding Brexit, put British travel agents in a great position to tempt their customers to choose cruise in 2019, whether it’s for the first time, or as repeat guests.”