Beyond that -- what's really interesting is that even as demand for holidays at sea increases, fares actually are stable. In fact, 38 percent of cruises sold last year cost less than £1,000. That means that a seven day trip could cost as little as £143 pounds per day -- including meals, flights, entertainment and of course transportation between ports of call.
PSA director Bill Gibbons said: "In difficult economic times, the cruise industry is very well placed with the all-inclusive pricing, all meals and entertainment included. With U.K. departures there is no need to fly either."
Indeed, the under £1,000 option is available in a range of ships and trips. In Cruise Critic's deals section today, for instance, we've featured a 10-night cruise and stay in Alaska with Princess Cruises for £799, a 7-night Fred. Olsen Northern Europe cruise for £700 and a 9-night fly cruise with Holland America to the Caribbean for just £899.
While cruising, for many people, is most commonly associated with big, ultra modern ships, Gibbons pointed out that some of the real growth areas in the industry were with ultra-luxury and expedition cruising.
These cruises, typically offering enhanced services, cuisine and more exotic itineraries, are of course more expensive than mainstream offerings. There was a 12 percent increase in these trips with passengers spending an average £350 a day.
In terms of destinations, South America's round-the-horn cruises, which spotlight Chile's gorgeous fjords, and Antarctica are hot new favorites and Alaska, a cruise region that appeals to a wide variety of travellers, from families to 20-somethings, is another that registered an increase in visits by U.K. passengers.
--by Kelly Ranson, Associate Editor and Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor-in-Chief