In the UK and Ireland, we love a cruise! In 2019, nearly two million of us took to the sea as cruise passengers. And, except for a slight dip in growth that year, this number had been climbing steadily for the last decade, making us the second-largest cruise market in Europe after Germany.
Unsurprisingly, when the pandemic hit in 2020, these numbers tumbled (down to only 259 thousand). But we’re a resilient bunch, and our love for cruising cannot be quashed, with numbers on the increase again. So, what is it that makes cruising so irresistible to us Brits?
An extraordinary variety of facilities onboard
Today’s cruise ships look immensely different to those just twenty years ago. While you may still enjoy just soaking up the sun by the pool during days at sea, cruise lines have invested vast amounts of time and budget into creating fantastic facilities to tempt you away from your lounger.
Zip wires, climbing walls, surf simulators and all kinds of colourful waterslides are just a few examples. Then, there are engaging activities for children in the kid’s clubs, from toys and soft play for younger children to hang-out rooms for teenagers, which include movies, computer games and pool tables.
This drive to create exceptional experiences for everyone while onboard has widened the market, with cruises more recently attracting families and a younger audience.
Exciting dining opportunities
Before the pandemic, spending on eating out in the UK reached an all-time high. In large cities across the UK, new, exciting dining opportunities offered us the chance to experience cuisine from all around the world. Cruise lines have recognised this appetite for fine dining and adventurous food events and have invested in recreating these extraordinary experiences on board.
Step aboard one of the larger cruise ships, and the dining options are incredible. You can enjoy Japanese sushi and teppanyaki one day, a steakhouse grill on another, followed by traditional Tuscan cuisine. There are cutting-edge, immersive experiences that seek to thrill every sense, including sight, smell, taste and sound, then laid-back street food bars where international favourites can be found.
Although formal dinners are still an option, on the whole, dining onboard has become more relaxed, again catering to a broader audience and attracting those seeking fresh taste sensations.
Seeking sunshine guaranteed
Any Brit will know how much we love to talk about the weather! Perhaps it’s because, in the UK, it’s so unreliable. From snow to rain to the sought-after blue skies, no holiday here comes with a guarantee.
So, when travelling, we love to seek out the sunshine. Spain is our favourite destination, perhaps due to its accessibility as well as its warmer climate. France and Italy are second and third respectively, with the USA fourth. With cruises today offering more destinations than ever, including favourites, such as the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and Asia, it’s no wonder that many Brits are keen to get back on board.
However, not everyone is a sun-seeker, and cruise lines offer itineraries around a number of other spectacular locations too. There’s Alaska for incredible wildlife and the Norwegian Fjords for dramatic scenery. Popularity is even gaining for ‘expedition cruises’ to unique destinations, such as the Arctic.
Cruising made easy
Many cruises sail from UK ports, such as Southampton, Dover and Liverpool, heading down to southern Europe and the Canaries. Therefore, if you are looking for the ease of a no-fly cruise, there are plenty of options. Alternatively, cruise lines make it simple to fly out to your starting destination, with many including flights and transfers as part of their package.
Whatever your reason for cruising, there’s no doubt that cruise lines are keen to make up for the last two years lost due to the pandemic and so are aiming to fulfil your wish. Going the extra mile to create exceptional experiences that the UK market loves, they are dedicated to making your next cruise the best yet!// END - About the Author ?>