More holidaymakers are cruising for under £1,000

More cruises were sold for less than £1,000 than in any other price bracket last year, while figures show more holidaymakers are booking further in advance.

The Passenger Shipping Association’s Annual Cruise Review, out today, reveals a ‘signficant’ increase in the number of cruises sold for less than £1,000 in 2007. Over the year, these represented 38% of all cruises booked, compared with 34% in 2006.

Overall, more cruises were sold for between £500 and £1,000 than in any other price bracket.

However, the average price paid for a cruise in the UK last year was £1,334 – a 3% increase on 2006. But as a result of an increasingly competitive market, the price of a winter cruise fell by 4% to £1,464. The average price of a summer cruise was £1,277.

The average per day cost increased 5% to £137 – less than 11% growth in three years, in line with overall consumer price inflation in the UK over the same period.

Meanwhile, cruise passengers are reported to be booking further in advance – a return to the early booking trend after a blip in 2006.

Last year nearly one in five passengers, 18%, secured their cabins more than a year in advance. This compares with 15% in 2006. A total of 53% of passengers booked at least six months in advance in 2007 – the most advanced booking pattern for a decade.

The report said the figures show “a level of pent-up demand which has encouraged the cruiselines to continue adding capacity in 2008 and 2009.”

It adds: “The fact that they tend to book further ahead for winter cruises confirms the demand as there is less capacity on offer in the winter.”

The review says the figures show a level of pent-up demand which has encouraged cruiselines to continue adding capacity for 2008 and 2009.

More key facts from the Annual Cruise Review:

  • Global cruise passengers up nearly 7% in 2007, but the US was only up 2.5% to 10.6 million passengers. European cruise passengers topped four million – a 40% increase in three years.

  • UK cruise market set to reach 1.5 million passengers in 2008 and two million by 2012

  • In 2007, one in 14 foreign package holidays booked in the UK was a cruise. In 1997 it was one in 29.

  • In 2007, 38% of passengers were first-timers (36% in 2006)

  • Ex-UK cruises have increased 48% since 2004, compared with 22% increase in fly-cruises

  • 18% of passengers secured cabins more than a year in advance in 2007, compared with 15% in 2006, and 53% booked at least six months ahead – a return to the early booking trend

  • The Mediterranean’s share of the UK cruise market rose to 41% in 2007 from 38% in 2006 and 35% in 2005.

  • Passengers taking luxury cruises increased by 12% to nearly 22,000 UK passengers in 2007

  • Average passenger age was 53.2 years in 2007 compared to 55 years a decade ago

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