UK cruise passenger departures hit 1m

Record numbers of cruise passengers started their holidays from the UK last year, with the figure topping one million for the first time in the industry's history.

Data released by port operator cruiseBritain indicated that of that figure, more than 800,000 (21 per cent) of cruisers were overseas passengers beginning their journeys in the UK, as opposed to being residents of the country.

More than 100 ships called into ports around the nation and 866,000 passengers made day visits to Britain's multitude of unique attractions – a 20 per cent increase on 2013, suggesting that London 2012 is still working its magic as an advertiser for the UK.

Incoming cruiseBritain chairman Daren Taylor welcomed the news, claiming that 2014's figures are likely to equal or exceed the previous year's judging by current booking sales.

"With a day call growth rate of this magnitude, we are on course to see over a million passenger day calls into UK ports this year," he said. "This represents significant tourism revenue for each of the ports visited."

Being conveniently located with plenty of access to Europe, Britain is often used as a stopover for those wishing to journey through the continent, exploring locations such as the beautiful Greek islands and the spectacular coast of Italy.

News of Britain's record-breaking stats came during the closing days of Cruise Shipping Miami, the industry's largest expo, where major industry figures spent the week pointing to Europe as a major growth market.

The continent offers a huge variety and its Mediterranean climate, sparkling blue seas and splendid beaches prove to be all too enticing for British tourists, many of whom want to experience a different culture without wishing to endure a long journey from the UK.

Big attraction for British travellers is the convenience of sailing from a port close to home and avoiding the need to fly. Seafarer will be introducing some small ship UK departures such as Falmouth, Dover and Hull soon…watch this space!