The cruise industry generated €10.4 billion to the UK economy last year.

This represents almost a quarter (22%) of the cruise industry’s ‘total output’ across Europe, according to a new report.

The study by the Business Research & Economic Advisors (BREA) on behalf of Cruise Lines International Association looked at tourism and employment figures during 2017.

From the overall figure, €3.85 billion was spent in direct expenditures, up 18% increase from two years previously, and close to a €1.5 billion increase from 2009.

The remaining €6.55 billion was indirect and other expenditure.

A total of 1,094,000 passengers embarked on a cruise from UK ports, an increase of 34,000 from 2015. More than 80% of departures were from Southampton.

The UK also saw growth in port visits, with 1,415,000 passengers visiting a UK port in 2017, up 39% from 2015. The most visited British port was Invergordon, Scotland, with an estimated 134,000 cruise passengers going ashore.

Port-of-call visits generated an additional €113 million in direct expenditure such as tours and souvenirs. Passengers spent an average of €80 while in port and €180 at their port-of-embarkation.

Together, passengers and crew spent an estimated €559 million at ports-of-embarkation and call, accounting for 15% of total cruise industry expenditure in the UK.


Cruise passengers spent an estimated €431 million on air fares, port fees, lodging, food and beverage, excursions and other expenditure in the UK. An estimated €14.8 million was spent by crew at ports, averaging €35 per crew member.

UK employment generated by the cruise industry also rose, with an estimated 82,410 Britons directly and indirectly employed, up from 73,919 in 2015.

The average job generated by the cruise industry paid more than €38,300.

Clia UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer said: “The figures released today bear testament to the cruise industry continuing to make significant contributions to the UK’s economy and the multi-billion valuation shows that cruise is a major player within the travel sector.

“More Brits are choosing a cruise holiday, more cruise passengers are embarking on a cruise from UK ports and the number of ports-of-call visitors continues to increase. This, along with more jobs being created through the cruise industry, translates into great economic benefits for the country.”

He added: “The success of the global cruise industry is set to continue with 24 new ships scheduled to launch in 2019 and 107 new ships on order for delivery before 2027, worth close to $60 billion. As the cruise industry’s confidence in the UK increases, so does the number of ships built for the UK market.

“P&O Cruises’ Iona, the largest ever cruise ship built for the British market with capacity of over 5,200 passengers, will launch in 2020. And Cunard revealed last year that it is building what will be the largest cruise ship in its history, with the 3,000-passenger ship joining the iconic fleet in 2022.

“Furthermore, just this month Celebrity Cruises announced that its second Edge-class ship, Celebrity Apex, will be christened in Southampton in 2020 and sail a mini-season in the UK. The ship will join Celebrity Silhouette, marking the first time the line has operated two ships in the UK.”