New figures show 1.3 million Brits took a cruise in 2007 in another record year for the sector.


The figures, released by the Passenger Shipping Association, show an 11% increase in the number of cruise passengers on 2006.


PSA director Bill Gibbons, speaking at the Seatrade convention in Miami, said growth was expected to continue with 12 new or refurbished ships being launched this year to 1.5 million passengers in 2008.


He said: “The launch of Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas and Ocean Village 2 along with increased capacity from Princess Cruises has resulted in an increase in passenger figures in 2007. We can expect this trend to continue in 2008 with a huge increase in cruising capacity in the UK.”


New ships this year include Fred Olsen’s Balmoral, P&O’s Ventura, Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas, Cunard’s Queen Victoria, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Jade, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Splendor and MSC’s Armonia. Swan Hellenic is also reintroducing its brand to the UK market and Transocean is increasing capacity from Tilbury with Marco Polo.


Last year also saw an increase of 2% on the previous year on ex-UK cruises with 460,000 Brits choosing to cruise from the UK. The biggest growth was the fly-cruise market with an increase of 17% from 2006.


In terms of cruise destinations, the Mediterranean held on to its top position for UK cruise passengers, with a 21% increase in visitors in 2007. The Caribbean enjoyed a 6% increase, holding a 17% share of the cruise market. The Far East and Australia showed a 51% increase.