The cruise industry is “breaking through the glass ceiling” and is finally being recognised as a mainstream holiday.

David Dingle, Clia Europe’s deputy chair, also said the number of UK cruise passengers will hit two million by 2020.

He said: “We are getting to that two million figure. We hit 1.9 million passengers in 2016, so I definitely think we will hit two million by 2020.

“We are really breaking through the glass ceiling. I think we are at the stage where cruising is being recognised as a mainstream holiday.

“Whether we see the same year on year growth yield as we did this year that will unfold, but at the moment we are seeing further growth.”

The cruise industry is undergoing a “significant” new ship building programme following the financial slump in 2008.

“During that period there has been a lag in the introduction of new capacity,” Dingle said. “So as much as anything we are going through a catching up exercise.”

There are 72 ships on order all of which are set to be built before 2025. The value of that order is $50billion.

All the major lines, including Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and MSC Cruises and Carnival, have ships launching in 2018.

Marella and AIDA Cruises, Germany’s largest line, also have new vessels due to launch.

“The year of 2017 has been a very good year for yield growth but whether we can have that much growth year on year remains to be seen,” Dingle added. “At the moment they are good indicators.”

Dingle pointed to the role of the trade press in helping to boost the cruise sector and also highlighted how comedian Rob Brydon might not have fronted a P&O Cruises television advertisement campaign “five or 10 years ago”.