The fifth annual National Cruise Week is slated for Sept. 15 – 23 in the UK. This year’s theme is ‘Greatest Journeys’ with the campaign highlighting great cruise itineraries focusing on worldwide destinations and the host of experiences available onboard.

In particular the focus will be to attract new to cruise customers onboard an ocean or river cruise – “holidaymakers who will be wowed by 1000+ worldwide ports, experiences and itineraries on offer from the 41 cruise line members of Discover Cruises,” according to a statement on behalf of the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA).

The statement said: “Whilst the cruise industry has faced significant challenges so far this year, over 1.7 million (UK) passengers took a cruise in 2011 and it is anticipated these figures will continue to grow over the coming years. There has never been a better time for the UK consumer to book a cruise and savvy travellers can snap up ‘greatest value offers’ throughout National Cruise Week when individual cruise lines will be issuing special offers and value-added incentives.  ACE (Association of Cruise Expert) agents will also be hosting a range of events and afternoon teas, where consumers can enjoy a ‘cruise cuppa’ and those new to cruise can get expert advice on finding the perfect cruise holiday and be inspired to take their own greatest journey.”

William Gibbons, director of the PSA, commented: “This is the fifth National Cruise Week and it has gained a momentum all of its own. We cannot shy away from the fact that the industry has faced a challenging start to the year; however, cruising is still continuing to grow in popularity. This is because a cruise holiday offers exceptional value with a huge range of accommodations and destinations from the top-end exclusive, intimate cruise to the family fun holiday, all including meals and entertainment.

“It is key to the continuing growth of the market that we focus on attracting new people to the cruise concept, and National Cruise Week is promoting the amazing and diverse range of experiences and incredible value that cruising offers.”