Figures released today from the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) reveal that 2012 was a record year for UK cruise ports.

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The facts…

Last year saw more British passengers taking an ocean cruise holiday than ever before – an additional 1,000 brought the total to 1,701,000 and cruises continue to account for one in every eight of all overseas package holidays.

Passenger embarkations from UK ports increased 10 per cent (up to 962,000 in 2012), with 78,000 extra UK and 6,000 additional overseas passengers in 2012.

Equally, passengers visiting UK ports during their cruises increased by 11 per cent with 723,000 passengers visiting British ports – twice the figure of 2007. The number of UK ports receiving cruise calls also increased to a record 52.

What’s the favourite destination?

There is a noticeable trend towards cruising to Northern Europe which experienced a 29 per cent rise to 443,000 passengers – up from 342,000 the previous year.

And there was one standalone attraction: the popular Norwegian fjords saw nearly 200,000 passengers flocking to the region (44.5 per cent of the Northern European bookings).

However, the Mediterranean maintains its top spot as Britons’ favourite destination last year and saw 698,000 British passengers visiting its beautiful locations.

“Ultra-luxury”

We are still leaning towards a little bit of luxury, with 1.7 per cent of cruises booked by Britons in 2012 being classified under the “ultra luxury” cruising sector, which represents an increase of 2,581 passengers.

A “recession-defying year-on-year growth of 10 per cent” in the “ultra-luxury” sector has been reported, while last summer “ultra luxury” cruises increased by 30 per cent.

The cruising bug!

Cruising is an addictive way to visit fabulous locations and once on board British cruisers can’t wait to plan their next cruise according to the findings! The number of British passengers who took more than one cruise in 2012 increased by 12 percentage points to 54 per cent. The highest ever number of Britons – 374,220 – booked three or more cruises within the year!

PSA director, William Gibbons, said, “The increase in passenger figures bears testament to the value and diversity that cruising represents and the positive experiences that bring passengers back time and time again. We feel 2012’s record results for British ports are particularly remarkable and we very much look forward to seeing UK ports achieve the million mark in 2013, and the associated economic benefits that this will bring to the country.”

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