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UK cruise sector ‘innovating and attracting new-to-cruise guests’

CLIA, UK & Ireland cruise guests


CLIA has said that its latest research shows that the UK cruise industry is “innovating, diversifying and attracting new holidaymakers”.

The association has revealed that holidaymakers from the UK and Ireland took approximately 1.7 million cruises in 2022, nearing demand levels last seen in 2019.

The Mediterranean remains the number one destination for cruise travellers from the UK and Ireland, with 38.4 per cent, followed by 29 per cent travelling to northern Europe and 10.6 per cent to the Caribbean.

The intent to cruise is “stronger than ever”, CLIA said. A total of 85 per cent of passengers say they plan to take a holiday at sea again (a six per cent increase from 2019), and 60 per cent will do so in the next two years (up from 53 per cent last year).

What’s more, 70 per cent of those who have never cruised before would consider a cruise in the next few years, up from 68 per cent in March 2022.

CLIA also stated that cruise “continues to diversify and attract holidaymakers of all ages”, with the average age standing at 55.8 years old.

As for the environment, 76 per cent of British cruise passengers who sailed in the past 12 months said they were ‘much more’ or ‘more’ aware of environmental and sustainable tourism.

Cruise ‘reinventing the experience’

Speaking exclusively to Cruise Trade News, Cunard sales director Thomas Mahoney said: “We’re thrilled to see such a positive report from CLIA.

“2022 was a great year for Cunard and thanks to the support of our agent partners, 2023 is already surpassing those levels.

“In fact, during wave, we saw strong booking momentum across 2023 and 2024 sailings, which continued through March and April as we launched our winter 2025 and Alaska 2024 programmes.

“Queen Anne’s maiden season and her newly-launched maiden world voyage are proving to be particularly popular with guests.

“With such a huge opportunity for the industry to convert more holidaymakers to cruise, the team and I encourage all agents to take advantage of the fantastic resources and events available via CLIA and the individual cruise lines.

“We recently introduced a ‘new to selling Cunard’ module on our Shine Rewards platform – it’s a perfect tool for those agents who are new to cruise and want some quick, easy-to-digest information on how to convert those Cunard cruise bookings.”

CLIA UK & Ireland chair Ben Bouldin 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.”

CLIA UK & Ireland MD Andy Harmer added: “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 on-board entertainment and relaxation.

“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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