Figures released by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) UK & Ireland show that the number of Irish travellers embarking on a cruise in the key 2018 summer period rose by 11.8% on the same period in 2017.
The total number of cruises taken between January and September rose to 37,000 in 2018 from 34,000 in the same period in 2017 (an increase of 8.8%) and 31,000 in 2016. Full-year figures for 2018 will be announced in the spring.
The Western/Central Mediterranean remains the most popular destination for a cruise, followed by the Caribbean.
Andy Harmer, Director, CLIA UK & Ireland, said: “These figures bear testament to Ireland’s rapidly expanding cruise market and it’s fantastic to see that more Irish travellers are choosing to cruise for their holiday.
“2019 is an exciting time for the cruise industry, with 24 new ships being delivered for ocean and river cruise lines and many existing ships being renovated and refurbished to a standard that rivals even the finest land-based hotels. Never before has there been so much choice for customers in terms of style of ship, itinerary and onboard experiences.
“It is also an exciting and busy year for Irish ports, with cruise ships scheduled to dock across the country over 400 times in 2019. Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises will both have ships sailing roundtrip from Dublin over the coming year, which will see over 27,000 guests embarking and debarking in the city during eight journeys.
“Last year, Belfast welcomed a record 189,000 cruise visitors during the season and the outlook for 2019 looks even brighter. The city can expect to see the total number of times cruise ships dock in the city to surpass last year’s total of 115.”