A record number of European passengers are booking cruises to the Arctic regions, the Norwegian fjords and the British Isles, new data shows.
A total of 1.49 million cruise passengers are expected this year in the Northern European region, up 16% from 1.28 million last year.
The number of passengers cruising the Arctic region, including Iceland, is expected to rise by 37%.
Cruises to the Norwegian fjords are likely to see a 29% increase in passengers.
The British Isles are forecast to see 16% growth while the Baltic Sea, which accounts for the largest number of cruises in the region, is expecting a 6% increase.
The figures for so-called ‘cool water cruising’ come from data compiled for the Cruise Lines International Association and the European Cruise Council.
Bo Larsen, director of Cruise Baltic, an association of 25 Baltic Sea destinations and an ECC partner, said: “The Northern European cruise market is growing rapidly, benefitting both from the region’s newly extended range of destinations and also from the cruise lines’ desire to extend their season here well into the colder months of the year.
“Northern Europe has become a must-visit region for international cruise passengers, attracted by its diverse and impressive attractions, including world-class cities, small towns and hidden gems, and of course its breathtaking natural beauty.”
Cruise ships from 44 lines serve a total 253 ports in the Northern European region, of which 52 are in the Baltic, 78 in Norway and the Arctic region, and 123 in North Western Europe, including the British Isles, North Sea and Atlantic ports.