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US tops cruise popularity chart

The US has emerged as the most popular destination for UK holidaymakers booking a cruise abroad, despite restrictions preventing travel to America.

Cruise specialist cruise.co.uk released the findings based on bookings taken during the past six months.

The Mediterranean is second on the list, followed by the Caribbean and Canada.

US cruise bookings have grown by 12% compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the company.

The trend emerged as prime minister Boris Johnson is poised to meet Joe Biden to urge the US president to open the country’s borders to UK travellers.

Cruise.co.uk also noted a rise in the length of time that people are booking cruises overseas, with the proportion of passengers sailing 14-20 nights rising from 32% to 35% compared to 2019, and the proportion of those sailing 21 nights or more increasing from 6% to 9%.

The percentage of travellers booking their sailing from the UK to an overseas destination has also increased, from 27% to 37%. Those opting for fly-cruises from the UK has reduced from 73% to 63%.

January and February remain the most popular months for UK holidaymakers to travel on an international cruise.

Company deputy managing director Tony Andrews said: “The US has always been a go-to port of call for overseas cruise guests; it’s clear that, as international travel further opens up, it remains as popular as ever.

“The fantastic variety of holiday options on offer, including a wide range of ships and itineraries, means the US continues to appeal to both seasoned cruisers and first-time passengers alike.

“The Mediterranean and Caribbean similarly have so much choice, plus plenty of sunshine to help guests make the most of their time away.

“It’s also interesting to see a slight shift in the proportion of people booking extended sailings. This may well be a sign they’re looking to get away for longer, to help make up for the holidays they’ve missed during the past 18 months.”

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