Clia UK & Ireland is preparing to confirm for the first time that more than two million British travellers took a cruise in a year.

Today (January 14), Clia revealed the total number of cruises taken by Britons between January to September rose to 1,338,000 from 1,310,000.

The trade association took the opportunity to tell the industry that cruise operations will continue on the same basis if there is a no EU Exit deal.

Full year figures for 2018 will be announced in the spring.

Clia UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer said: “This is significant. It took about 50-odd years to reach the first million and then about 10 years for the second million.

“It shows how much the industry has transformed. There are three other countries that have reached the two million mark – the US, Germany and China.

“The UK is a country of around 60 million people. It shows how cruise is our adopted holiday choice for the UK.”

Harmer moving forward the industry would focus less on passenger numbers and more on other areas.

“It will now be more about other areas,” he said, adding: “The choice of experiences and sustainable growth, for example.

“If you look at where the industry has gone over the last couple of years with Costa Cruises launching its first LNG-powered ship that is certainly important.”

The UK government and Abta have both issued official guidance on passenger travel to the EU by air, rail or sea after Brexit.

Passengers who embark on a cruise at a UK port will continue to be protected by the EU regulation on maritime passengers’ rights, which will be brought into UK law.

UK citizens can be reassured that regardless of the Brexit outcome, planes will still fly between the UK and the EU.

The EU Commission has said that UK airlines will still be able to operate between the UK and the EU. The UK government has offered similar assurances for EU airlines.

Harmer said: “We welcome this advice and hope it reassures UK and EU citizens planning a cruise holiday.

“We would also advise that all UK travellers check the expiry dates of their passport when booking travel arrangements, and ensure that there is at least six months’ validity at time of travel.”