In the days before air travel became taken for granted by the vast majority of modern travelers, traveling by water was the most effective way of getting from A to B. Nowadays, as traveling by plane is clearly a much quicker and more comfortable way of going abroad, the cruise ship and maritime transport in general have taken on a different role of mainly being aimed at relaxation with destination and speed of travel being of minimal importance.
Cruise ships have become popular for not only escaping the hustle and bustle of large cities and stress of work, yet also for enjoying luxury on water. Most ships are equipped with luxurious restaurants and shops. Casinos and bars are similarly regular occurrences.
The British have been proven to be the keenest cruisers of modern times. An estimated 1.5 million Brits have set sail so far this year, spending around ₤1.9 billion in the process. This is one and a half times as much as in the year 2002, with spending and British participation in cruises a total of 29% up in the last 5 years. An explanation for such a rise in popularity has been found in the change of clientele the industry has undergone in recent times.
The most popular regions in recent years have been the Mediterranean and Alaska, most frequented by the British and their American counterparts. Whereas cruise ships used to function as a way of mildly entertaining pensioners, clients are now much younger and only one in ten British adults still believes that the industry is exclusively for senior citizens. According to a survey, 55% of 19-24 year olds are willing to set sail, whereas a mere 26% of over 65’s have the same urge. Youngsters are almost twice as keen on cruise ships as pensioners, providing an astonishing turnaround for the industry.