A record 1.7 million British holidaymakers took a cruise in 2016.
While numbers are skyrocketing, the ages of those on board are tracking in exactly the opposite direction.
The average age of a cruise ship passenger globally is 46, the lowest age seen in 20 years.
In the UK and Ireland, this age rises to 55, which is the lowest reported for the region since 2011.
A younger generation of cruise holidayers is one of the key emerging trends forecast by the Cruise Lines International Association this year.
Cruise ship passengers are getting younger and an industry expert has revealed why
There are several reasons why the cruise industry is attracting an increasingly younger market.
A spate of terrorism and political turmoil across many popular holiday destinations around the world have allowed cruise ships to emerge as a safer option for travel.
Meanwhile the range of activities and entertainment offered by new ships have significant appeal for millennials.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss both have two-deck race tracks and waterslides on board.
Cruise ship holidays: The Norwegian Bliss has a two-level race track on board
The average age of UK cruise passengers fell to its lowest in six years
Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas is getting a trampoline park and laser tag centre.
Other cruise lines are appealing to young singles searching for romance, like Swingerscruise.com.
These new features and options were all designed with a younger audience in mind, and official figures reveal they’re working.
Andy Harmer, SVP Membership & Director, CLIA UK & Ireland said: “In the latest CLIA Cruise Review, the average age of UK passengers fell to its lowest in six years and all of these factors contribute to attracting younger travellers and first-time cruisers.
Cruise ship holidays: The average age of passengers globally is the lowest in 20 years
“Cruise lines are continuing to expand their offerings, adding new on board features and shore experiences to their itineraries which appeal to a more diverse and often younger market.”
The many perks of cruise holidays, from living in the same room while you travel to being able to access far-flung exotic locations, have all drawn appeal from younger holidaymakers too.
Mr Harmer said: “A cruise holiday allows guests to visit multiple destinations on one trip with the added advantage of only having to unpack once.
“What’s more, cruise line itineraries are taking guests to more off-the-beaten track destinations and include a wide range of excursions, experiences and soft-adventure opportunities in destinations such as the Mekong, Galapagos and Antarctica.”