The number of cruises taken by Irish holidaymakers increased significantly in 2018, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has revealed. Last year, 48,300 cruises were taken by Irish passengers, a growth of 8.3% from the previous year.These figures do not include Northern Ireland numbers as these are included in the overall UK figures.
Figures also showed an 8.3% rise in passenger numbers from 2016 to 2017, indicating that the Irish cruise market will continue to experience similar growth in 2019 and onwards.
Andy Harmer, Director, CLIA UK & Ireland, said: “It’s fantastic to see that more and more Irish travellers are choosing to cruise for their holiday. The figures released by CLIA bear testament to Ireland’s rapidly expanding cruise market, demonstrating the opportunity for Irish travel agents to grow their businesses through selling cruise.”
The average age remained consistent at 48 years, slightly below the average age for Europe cruise passengers.
Andy added: “The average age of 48 years for Irish cruise guests illustrates that cruises are becoming increasingly popular for families and the younger generation. In fact, figures showed that Irish passengers aged between zero and 39 years were the highest ever recorded last year. With cruise lines continuing to expand their offerings, both onboard and ashore, ensuring that there is something to suit every age and taste, it’s not hard to see why cruise holidays have this ever-growing appeal to families and millennials.”
The most popular destination for Irish holidaymakers is the Western and Central Mediterranean, closely followed by the Caribbean. Together, these destinations make up 62% of all cruises taken.
Both the Caribbean and Central/Western Mediterranean attract the youngest age demographic, at 43 years and 47 years respectively, likely due to being popular destinations for families.
“Thanks to the large deployment of incredible ships offering an amazing choice of itineraries in Europe and the Caribbean, these destinations remain the most popular for Irish travellers. As more cruise lines homeport ships in Dublin – this year Celebrity Cruises and Princess Cruises both have ships sailing roundtrip from the city – travelling around Europe has never been easier, offering a stress-free way to explore many must-see destinations.
“The destination is one of the most important factors in the decision making process when booking a holiday, and so rather than focussing on the maritime language when selling a cruise, travel agents should focus on the incredible ports and shore excursions a cruise holiday offers, all with the luxury of only having to unpack once.”
Pictured are Andy Harmer,CLIA-UK & Ireland Director;Tony Roberts,CLIA Chair and Vice-President UK & Europe and Adele Fitzpatrick-Foster,CLIA Events Manager.