CRUISES are appealing to a younger generation of holidaymakers who appear unfazed by the recent Concordia disaster or their reputation as the holiday of choice for pensioners.

Market research firm Mintel said that 40% of people aged between 15 and 24 had expressed interest in taking a cruise.

Its findings provided welcome news for an industry still shaken by the impact of the Concordia disaster in January in which 32 people died when the ship hit rocks off the Tuscan island of Giglio.

Scotland in particular has benefited from a boom in cruise holidays in recent years, with the number of ship-borne visitors predicted to surge last year by 10% to 12% to reach 300,000.

Mintel's report, out yesterday, found offering "onboard house parties" and floating music festivals could attract younger people.

Tom Rees, senior travel and tourism analyst at Mintel, said: "Young adults like the idea of an adventure at sea and the house party atmosphere of an onboard holiday can appeal to many young package holidaymakers as a change from resort-based trips."

The report found the impact of Concordia had not been as severe as some had feared, with only 11% of Britons quizzed saying it would put them off a cruise. The cruise market was valued at £2.4 billion in the UK last year, up from £1.2bn in 2006, Mintel found.