With Brits Taking 1.7 Million Cruises Annually, Have Luxury Cruises Become the Ultimate Holiday?

The travel industry has made a significant turnaround in recent years, with cruising particularly benefitting from the boom. In fact, an article in Travel Daily Media indicates that British travellers take part in this trend, having taken approximately 1.7 million cruises in 2022 alone. This number represents a 479,000 increase from the previous year, with the growth expected to continue as 85% of respondents plan to go cruising again.

Amid the shift in travellers’ priorities and expectations, such figures entail a closer look at whether luxury cruises have become the ultimate choice among Brits planning their holidays. Distinct offerings by the luxury cruise segment appear to appeal to their travel needs and preferences, as discussed throughout the article.

Cruises meet the need for all-inclusive holidays

One of the factors British travellers prioritise the most is cost-effectiveness, making all-inclusive holidays a popular type of travel experience. However, research conducted by the online money-saving platform CouponBirds reveals dissatisfaction with all-inclusive resorts. A majority (nine out of 10) of Brits staying at these resorts still spend extra on other travel needs, with dinners (27%), city tours (26%), and excursions (25%) being the top three additional expenses.

Luxury cruises thus target this need by offering actual all-inclusive experiences, from a wide range of accommodation and onboard dining choices to guided tours and excursions. For instance, the luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas Cruises has a package that includes roundtrip air with transfers, an open bar, all restaurants, shore excursions, fitness classes, and 24-hour room service.

Travellers want unique destinations and experiences

The previously linked Travel Daily Media article also notes the role of unique destination offerings in the growth of the cruise holiday market. In a desire to move away from mass-marketed holidays, Brits are more inclined to book off-the-beaten-path destinations and activities.

In this light, Explora Journeys demonstrates how a luxury cruise line can accommodate this consumer demand through its carefully curated Destination Experiences. Instead of simply visiting the usual European countries that appeal to traditional travellers, Explora Journeys sails lesser-trodden paths for more immersive adventures. Its Beyond Boundaries category includes remote beaches in the Caribbean and South America, which come with exclusive experiences like a deep dive via a specially outfitted U-boat submarine.

Personalised onboard services are a plus

Another way luxury cruise lines capture travel trends is through personalisation. Silversea Cruises, which won its second Best Luxury Cruise Line award at the 15th annual Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards, exemplifies personalised onboard services through its nearly 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio.

Specifically, Silversea Cruises provides guests from all suites with a dedicated butler to ensure a stress-free cruising experience. The all-included, professional butler service covers every task throughout the voyage, from unpacking suitcases to making restaurant reservations and organising in-suite bars. Additionally, state-of-the-art health and wellness facilities enable passengers to customise their exercise, fitness, and spa therapies based on their holistic lifestyle needs.

What’s next for the luxury cruise industry

Although luxury cruises are evidently fulfilling the needs and demands of British holidaymakers, sustainability remains a goal that must be met and placed at the forefront of cruise lines’ respective business plans. As more and more regional UK ports are opening for cruise vessels, luxury cruise lines have the potential to introduce a more environmentally friendly form of travel through cleaner fuels, more energy-efficient ships, and more sophisticated waste management systems whilst onboard.

The recent plans shared by the Cruise Britain members are thus a welcome addition to the industry-wide commitment to sustainability. For instance, the creation of the Cruise Industry and Government Forum points to greater investment in the decarbonisation of the maritime sector and the research and training needed for cleaner, greener maritime technologies.