European passengers taking cruises hit an all time high in 2008 with the UK continuing to top the list, says figures released by the European Cruise Council.
The UK accounts for a third of the market with nearly 1.5 million passengers taking a cruise last year followed by Germany with 21% of the market and 907,000 passengers - an increase of 19% since 2007. Italy, the third largest cruise market saw an increase of 6% to 682,000 passengers.
The Mediterranean and Atlantic islands continued to be the most popular destinations with 2.6 million passengers visiting. Just over half (53%) of European passengers booked a cruise lasting between five and seven days.
ECC chairman and chief executive of Carnival UK, said: "The European cruise industry has seen an impressive 66% growth in the number of cruise passengers in the last five years. This is a tremendous result and suggests cruising is in a strong position to face today's challenging economic climate.
"There are 17 cruise ships on order and under construction for the European market for delivery between now and 2012. This is significant investment and we anticipate the upward trend in the number of Europeans taking a cruise holiday to continue in 2009."
This news comes as the Passenger Shipping Association revealed 2008 saw a 23% increase in the number of Brits joining their cruise in a UK port while the number of fly-cruise passengers increased by 4%.
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