Confidence in the UK Cruise Industry Continues to Grow By Andy Harmer, Director, CLIA UK & Ireland
ver the last decade, the number of UK travelers taking to seas has almost doubled, meaning that more Brits are cruising than ever before. With almost 2 million Brits taking a cruise last year, and 90 percent of them planning to go again, there has never been a better time to Choose Cruise. This significant growth in the UK cruise market has not gone ignored by the industry. As cruise lines continue to invest millions into building new ships, the UK is reaping the benefits. In August, Azamara Pursuit sailed her maiden voyage from Southampton, where her christening ceremony also took place. Independence of the Seas and Celebrity Eclipse also returned to UK market, with the latter relocating from England to Ireland to make way for newto-market Celebrity Silhouette.
70 FOURTH QUARTER 2018 | TRAVEL & CRUISE
And there are even more ships are on the horizon. MSC Bellissima will be christened in Southampton in early 2019, and Saga’s new-build duo, Spirit of Discovery and Spirit of Adventure, will launch in 2019 and 2020, respectively. P&O Cruises’ Iona will launch in 2020, the largest ever cruise ship built for the
“THIS SIGNIFICANT GROWTH IN THE UK CRUISE MARKET HAS NOT GONE IGNORED BY THE INDUSTRY...”
British market with capacity of over 5,200 passengers, and Cunard revealed last year that it is building what will be the largest cruise ship in its history, with the 3,000-passenger ship joining the iconic fleet in 2022. Furthermore, just recently Celebrity Cruises announced that its second Edgeclass ship, Celebrity Apex, will be christened in Southampton in 2020 and sail a mini-season in the UK. The ship will join Celebrity Silhouette, marking the first time the line has operated two ships in the UK. The number of new ships launching in Southampton and lines choosing to have British homeports are great testaments to the strength of the UK cruise sector. And as the number of Brits taking a cruise holiday is expected to increase, the UK market can look forward to even more cruise lines christening their new ships in Britain in the future.