Demand for cruise holidays is higher than ever

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Barrhead Travel Aberdeen reveals huge spike in cruise bookings following record breaking start to the year

The UK’s number one travel agent, Barrhead Travel Aberdeen, has revealed a significant increase in demand for cruising this year. The travel group says cruise bookings are already up around 25% in 2024, as it continues to enjoy record-breaking sales this year.

Dozens of new ships have entered the market over the past few years and more than ten new arrivals are on the horizon this year. The increased capacity means the cruise industry is set to enjoy significant growth after an estimated 2m Brits enjoyed cruising last year.

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According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), younger generations are set to embrace cruising more than ever as they report that 77 percent of millennials* are considering a cruise for their next holiday. The findings chime with Barrhead Travel’s own booking data which indicates that the number of holidaymakers under 40 choosing to cruise has grown by over 30 percent since 2019.

Nicki Tempest-MitchellNicki Tempest-Mitchell
Nicki Tempest-Mitchell

In particular, cruising from longhaul destinations such as Barbados, Canada and Dubai are all on the rise – up 81 percent, 150 percent and 45 percent respectively.

Closer to home, Barrhead Travel says the Fjords are in high demand with cruise bookings up by 58 percent while Med favourites such as Athens and Mallorca have grown by 24 percent and 115 percent.

The travel agency group says that people are leaning towards holidays at sea mainly because of the value for money on offer and the innovative onboard experiences that can be found on new and refurbished ships. More cruise lines than ever are also choosing to homeport flagship vessels in the UK, offering holidaymakers options to cruise from closer to home.

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Nicki Tempest-Mitchell, Sales & Marketing Director at Barrhead Travel, said that cruising has been growing in popularity for several years:

“Cruise holidays are now firmly one of the most popular choices for all different types of holidaymakers. Little more than a decade ago, cruising was often perceived as more expensive and preferred by the over 50s.

“Now, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The cruise industry has evolved at incredible pace and has appeal to every single age group, every demographic and budget, as well as catering to all tastes. It’s one of the reasons that it’s also proving very popular for multi-generational groups as the onboard offering can accommodate everyone.

In addition to ocean cruising, Barrhead Travel says that river cruising is also on the rise, up by 171 percent year on year.

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“The appeal of river cruise is all about getting to the heart of multiple destinations and the accessibility that offers,” continued Tempest-Mitchell. “For European itineraries in particular, it’s akin to enjoying four or more city breaks in one go – and docking in the centre of cities means you can enjoy even longer at port as many itineraries offer overnights.

“With river cruise companies adapting their product to entice younger travellers, I think river cruise is one to watch for the coming year as a key travel trend.”

This increase in demand follows a series of cruise shows at Barrhead Travel stores across the country including Barrhead Travel Aberdeen, welcoming world leading cruise lines. Their cruise events, which take place each year, have seen record levels of demand.

Barrhead Travel’s retail network is open seven days a week until late as well as offering evening support through their online service, call centres and social media channels. Find your nearest Barrhead Travel store by visiting

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