2017 was a record-breaking year for the UK cruise industry, and 2018 looks set to be even bigger in terms of passenger numbers setting sail from UK ports.
The news comes as Southampton port recorded in excess of 2 million cruise passengers through its doors in 2017. “A huge amount of work goes into ensuring all passengers transit through our facilities with the greatest of ease and it is testament to our whole port community that 2 million cruise passengers receive Southampton’s world class service”, explained ABP Southampton Director, Alastair Welch.
The number of UK-based passengers departing from home ports more than doubled in the decade leading to 2016, when totals reached 912,000 in comparison to 460,000 10 years earlier. With that in mind, leading cruise lines are anticipating even greater numbers to travel via UK ports this year.
“Fly-cruises have traditionally been more popular among UK cruise passengers”, explains CruiseDeals.co.uk representative Ian Crawford. “Yet the modernisation of ports, a greater range of destinations to choose from and the ease associated with travelling from home soil have all helped to make cruising from the UK a more appealing option in recent years.”
A boom of first-time cruisers
UK ports are proving particularly popular with new and first-time cruisers, who are keen to simplify their debut cruise experience. “Without a doubt, the biggest draw for cruisers to depart from home ports is how quick and easy the process can be”, explains Crawford.
Indeed, those setting sail from the UK are able to begin the holiday of a lifetime the moment they step onto the ship, especially on All Inclusive voyages. “Meals, entertainment, accommodation… everything is taken care of as soon as you’re onboard”, he concludes. “Having the opportunity to skip busy airports and avoid the stress of extra travel naturally appeals to new and experienced cruisers alike.”
Destinations to cruise to from the UK
Cruisers departing from the UK have more destinations to choose from than ever before, with the Norwegian Fjords, Canary Islands and some of Europe’s most famed cities available to cruise to directly from UK shores.
In addition, transatlantic and world cruises depart directly from Southampton. P&O Cruises’ 2019 Western Circumnavigation itinerary sails from this famed port, and over the course of 99 nights takes in the likes of Honolulu, Brisbane and Mumbai.
Southampton continues to be the leading cruise port in the UK, and last year was named the 11th busiest port in the world. Four passenger terminals are in operation, with ships from the likes of Royal Caribbean, Cunard and P&O Cruises all calling the port home.
Many of the other cruise ports in the UK are also growing in popularity. The UK is lucky to have a great selection of cruise ports to choose from, and some of the smaller ones have really come into their own in recent years. Ports including Tilbury and Liverpool, which recently celebrated 10 years as a cruise port, are also expected to see increased departure numbers in 2018.