The number of British cruise passengers rose by 5% last year to a record 1.79 million.

An additional 89,000 UK passengers took an ocean cruise in 2013 despite continued economic pressures on consumer spending, latest figures from Clia show.

Passenger figures are up by 21%, or more than 300,000, compared to five years ago.

Globally, the number of cruise passengers is forecast to be 21.3 million in 2013 – up by 2% over 2012 – while the number of European passengers who took a cruise in 2013 is predicated to be 6.4 million, representing growth of more than 4%.

The global number of cruise passengers for 2014 is forecast to be 21.7 million.

This year will see the launch of six ocean cruise ships worth £2.38 billion, with a capacity of 18,196 passengers.

The year and 2015 collectively will see a total of 13 ocean cruise ships launched worth more than £5 billion and accommodating over 37,000 passengers.

Clia UK and Ireland director Andy Harmer said: “The incredible choice and diversity of a cruise is reflected in the record number of British passengers who took a holiday last year.

“Many of Clia’s 63 member cruise lines are revitalising and investing in new ships, ensuring that guests enjoy modern, innovative ships of varying sizes, designed to cater for all ages and which offer amazing holidays to destinations around the world.”

He added: “The travel trade has played a crucial role in the growth of the British market. More than 70% of cruise holiday bookings in the UK are made through a travel agent, with their expert knowledge an important factor in securing each booking.

“In the year ahead, we will step up our agents training programme to ensure our 5,000 partner agents are kept fully up to date with the many new ships and cruise itineraries being introduced.”