Figures released by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) show that a record 1,789,000 passengers from UK and Ireland took an ocean cruise in 2015, a 9 per cent rise year on year and the highest increase in seven years.
UK and Ireland, which saw 145,000 more passengers take a cruise in 2015, also has the highest growth rate out of all the major European countries and the size of the market has grown by two-thirds (67%) in the 10 years since 2005.
The number of Europeans taking an ocean cruise holiday has also grown - since 2008, the market has increased by 49 per cent, proving both the cruise industry's resilience to economic downturns and the value provided by a cruise holiday.
The number of UK passengers starting their cruise at home rather than overseas grew strongly in 2015 with UK cruise departures now accounting for 47% of the market (840,000 passengers in 2015). It was another successful year for British ports overall; in total over one million UK and international passengers visited a British port during a cruise, a figure that has more than doubled in six years.
CLIA UK and Ireland Director Andy Harmer added: "The cruise industry's continued confidence in the UK market is clearly demonstrated by an increasing number of ships that will sail from British ports in the coming years."