Figures released today from the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) show that 1.65 million Brits are expected to take a cruise in 2010 – more than a seven percent increase on 2009 and more than double the figure recorded in 2000. The PSA’s 2009 Cruise Review demonstrates that cruising has continued to grow in popularity with 1.53 million UK holidaymakers taking a cruise last year despite a challenging year for the travel industry. Fourteen ships are launching this year and passenger numbers are on course to rise further still to two million by 2014.
One in ten package holidays booked is now a cruise, compared with one in nearly 30 in 1997. The sheer diversity of the cruise market means there is a holiday for everyone, whether it’s a cruise departing from the UK, an ultra-luxury experience in the Caribbean, a cultural river cruise or a photographic expedition to the Fjords, many more people are getting onboard to discover a world of cruising.
Cruise customers are loyal. Figures from The Cruise Review show that 60 percent of passengers take more than one cruise a year. Passengers are also cruising for longer, with the average length of a cruise increasing year on year from 10 nights to 11 nights. The quality of service, value, high standards of facilities and huge variety of activities mean that passengers keep returning to cruising.
A cruise holiday offers a world of destinations.  The Cruise Review shows that Northern Europe is proving particularly popular with a 20 percent increase in the number of Brits visiting this region, with Baltic and Norwegian Fjord itineraries top of the list, while the Caribbean saw an eight percent increase in the number of cruise.
Notably, The Cruise Review reveals that ultra luxury cruises are up 50 per cent in 2009 compared with the previous year.  Thirty one thousand people paid more than £5,000 each for their cruise with another 200,000 spending between £2,500 and £5,000. 
PSA Director, William Gibbons, said: ‘The success of UK cruising, during one of the toughest economic periods the world has seen, can be attributed to the value and high standards of a cruise holiday.  The all-inclusive nature of cruising and exceptional standards of quality and service are the key to our continued growth, along with the huge choice of worldwide destinations and the wide range in styles of cruising.
‘2010 is on course to be another record year with 1.65 million UK passengers taking a cruise, and with a further 14 new ship launches this year and more ships dedicated to the UK market, we are confident in reaching 2 million passengers by 2014.’
Key findings from The Cruise Review (2009 UK Cruise Market):
• Cruise passenger numbers increase 4%
• Average cruise duration rises to 11 nights
• 6 out of 10 passengers take more than one cruise a year, 1 in 25 cruise more than 6 times
• Sales of Ultra-Luxury cruises increase more than 50%
• 1 in every 10 package holidays booked is now a cruise
• Average cruise price drops 6% and per diems by nearly 11% but 30,000 still pay more than £5,000 for their cruise
• Northern Europe is now more popular than the Caribbean with British cruise passengers
• More passengers book cruises face to face with travel agents
• 1 in 4 passengers books their cruise a year or more ahead