Cruise Demand in the UK Increases to Surpass 2019

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New consumer sentiment data released by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) shows that the demand for cruise vacations is now greater than in 2019.

Intent to book a holiday at sea among UK passengers exceeds levels from three years ago, as the cruise industry pursues net-zero carbon cruising by 2050 and sees a 9% increase in the percentage of international travelers who believe the cruise industry is now a leader in responsible travel.

Cruise Demand Exceed Levels From Three Years Ago

The demand and perception of cruise holidays are now more significant than in 2019, surpassing the previous three years’ levels, according to CLIA.

New consumer sentiment data released by CLIA highlights the economic benefits cruises bring to the areas that ships visit, indicating that 69% of international cruise holidaymakers stayed at least one night in their local destination prior to embarkation.

Of the 69% of international cruisers that stayed prior to embarkation, 43% chose to extend their stay by two or more nights, while 67% stayed at least one night after disembarkation, with 34% extending their stay beyond one night.

Cruise Ships Docked in Southampton
Cruise Ships Docked in Southampton

In this CLIA survey of 4,000 domestic and international travelers, 85% of respondents who have cruised previously said they intend to take a holiday at sea again, at a 6% increase from 2019.

The CLIA UK & Ireland Managing Director, Andy Harmer said, “This year has been enormously encouraging for cruise, and it’s heartening to see demand for a holiday at sea is set to continue. The sheer number of repeat passengers we’re anticipating, combined with interest from those yet to sail, means the appeal of going on a cruise remains as strong as ever.”

“The economic advantages passengers bring to the destinations they visit is also clear, meaning local businesses – from taxis, to restaurants to hotels – benefit accordingly. And we’re delighted to see the raft of sustainability initiatives we have in place, including our 2050 net-zero carbon goal, were recognised,” Harmer added.

As displayed in the survey, of travelers who have taken a cruise in the last six months, 90% said they intend to cruise again, and of those who have never cruised, 66% are open to cruising, a 0.5% increase from 2019.

Read Also: UK Cruise Port Announces Huge Multi-Million Investment

Cruise lines are continuing to advance their sustainability initiatives in pursuit of net-zero carbon cruising by 2050, increasing the percentage of international travelers who say the cruise industry is a leader in responsible travel by 9%, reaching 51%.

Of those surveyed, 60% said they had later returned to a destination they had first visited prior via cruise ship.

MSC Cruise Ship in the UK
Photo Credit: Evannovostro /

The data collected is based on an independent, international survey of 4,000 holidaymakers in the eight countries of the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the USA, Canada, and Australia.

Additionally, the UK’s leading online cruise travel agency, Iglu Cruise, saw its highest new business booking week post-pandemic in August 2022, as cruise interest surged in the form of new bookings.

The VP of Global Supply for Iglu, Dave Mills stated, “It is great to finally see the dial moving on new bookings and a return to ‘normal’ trading. The cruise industry responded very responsibly to the challenges and restrictions resulting from Covid-19, whilst at times it may have felt frustratingly slow, the results show the carefully phased reduction of restriction has been effective and cruising is as popular as ever.”

As cruise lines began relaxing their protocols over the last couple of months, a boost in cruise interest and bookings occurred, displaying the industry’s gradual shift towards normalcy in the UK, and worldwide.

UK Cruise Industry Restart

The last three years for the cruise industry have been quite impressionable as the global pandemic shutdown drastically changed sail operations and protocols.

In the United Kingdom, the cruise industry restarted post-shutdown with MSC Virtuosa, departing from Southampton on May 20, 2021, for the ship’s maiden voyage.

Following MSC Virtuosa’s departure, Viking Cruises officially named its new 47,000-ton Viking Venus cruise ship in the English Channel that departed Saturday, May 22, sailing UK domestic cruises.

Viking Venus‘ departure marked a return to service for the cruise line that weekend, after 14 months on hold.

In the summer of 2021, the UK cruise industry began to make its comeback as many major cruise lines such as Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean departed that July from the UK.

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