The Passenger Shipping Association has revealed nearly 1.5 million UK passengers took a cruise in 2008 - an 11% increase on 2007.
The statistics released at the Seatrade Convention in Miami revealed 2008 saw a 23% increase in the number of people joining their cruise in a UK port while the number of fly-cruise passengers increased by 4%.
According to the statistics in 2008 577,000 passengers took an ex-UK cruise with 900,000 Brits choosing to take a fly-cruise. The Mediterranean and Northern Europe, including the UK, were the most popular destinations with increases of 17% and 24% respectively year on year.
PSA director William Gibbons, said: "2008 proved to be another tremendous year for the UK cruise industry. The launch of P&O Cruises' Ventura, Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas, Fred Olsen's Balmoral, and the first full year of service for Cunard's Queen Victoria, along with ship launches from Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, Holland America and MSC, all contributed to a record number of passengers.
"The decision by a number of cruise lines, including MSC, NCL, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean, to increase the number of British port departures contributed to an additional 110,000 passengers choosing to begin their cruise in the UK in 2008."
Gibbons predicted the cruise market is better placed than other travel sectors to weather the recession. He also said he expected to see similar passenger numbers in 2009 as there is no expected increase in UK capacity.
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