More than half the cruise holidays being sold now depart after March 29 2019 – the deadline for Brexit – which shows the “great confidence” passengers have in the cruise industry, it has been claimed.

Speaking at the final day of the Clia conference, Stuart Leven, the industry body’s UK & Ireland chairman, said the sector’s future looked positive despite being less than 12 months from Brexit.

He said: “More than half the cruise holidays now are being sold for after the March deadline. We have passed that threshold.

“There’s a great confidence out there that things will continue as they are.

“The destinations love us coming. We have taken the industry from one million [UK passengers] to nearly two million in seven years.”

Leven said that the “single biggest thing” that attracts people to cruise remained the destination.

Addressing agents directly on stage, in what was his last Clia event as chairman, he said: “Remember cruise is not a type of holiday, cruise is method to get to the holiday.”

He also said that the industry would keep bringing “the shiny new ships” if agents attracted more than two million passengers from the UK this year.