The number of cruises taken by UK passengers is predicted to surpass the coveted two-million mark this year.

In March Clia said it expected to reach the two-million milestone “by 2020” after the rate of growth slowed in 2017.

The number of cruises taken by British and Irish holidaymakers rose to a record 1,959,000 in 2017 – up 0.5% but down markedly on the 5.6% growth recorded in 2016.

But during the conference Clia chief executive Cindy D’Aoust told delegates she expected a global forecast of 28 million, with the UK topping two million by the end of 2018.

D’Aoust said: “We are growing, we are fun and we are innovative.

“When you think about the cruise generation, look around this audience. You represent the profile of people that we are talking about.”

She said that delegates were well placed to be successful when selling cruise, adding that the younger generation “wanted to experience things”.

“While [millennials] mostly do not have disposable incomes, they want to experience things,” she said, adding: “[When selling cruise] focus on what they will experience. This group of cruisers will be spontaneous.”

But she issued a warning to agents who hope to sell cruise to millennials.

“If you talk about advance planning you run the risk of turning them off,” she added. “In order to be affective, know who they and why they are travelling.

“You are the profile [of cruise passengers], use that to your advantage.”
D’Aoust said Clia was “proud” that the cruise industry was “taking the lead” when tackling the issue of environmental sustainability.

“In 2018, it is time to take the next step forward in terms of our leadership,” she said. “We must speak with one voice.

“I think you can all see that the holidays that are not good for the local habitats will not be good for holidaymakers.”