The UK cruise market saw bookings fall sharply in the week following the Costa Concordia disaster but recovered half the lost ground by the start of this month.

Industry analyst GfK Ascent reported cruise bookings in the week to January 21, immediately after the Concordia tragedy, down 29% against the comparable week a year ago.

Sales remained 24% down year on year in the following week to January 28, but the market recovered to just 15% down in the week to last Saturday, February 4.

The Concordia was holed by rocks off the Italian island of Giglio on the night of January 13 with the loss of 32 passengers and crew.

Bookings were forecast to fall in the aftermath. However, GfK Ascent reports the cruise market for the year remains just 2% down on the same point in 2011.

The analyst reported total holiday bookings for the summer 2012 season down almost 9% on last year to the end of last week – in line with capacity reductions at the big-two groups Tui Travel and Thomas Cook.

Package holiday sales fared better at 7% down year on year for the season to date.

The GfK Ascent figures show sales improving since a poor start to January, with bookings down 10% year on year in the last week and 11% down the week before. Summer bookings over the first four weeks of January were 15% down on January 2011.