Thought About a Cruise Holiday?

By | Category: Travel destinations

My aren't ships big!

In just ten years the number of Britons and Irish who take a cruise holiday has doubled. But, you might say, wasn’t the number quite small a decade ago? No, even then 776,000 went on a cruise. Now, says the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) in their 2011 Cruise Review, over 1.6 million of us took a cruise last year. And the figure has been growing much faster than other types of holidays. The estimate this year is that 1.7 million of us will take a cruise.
Down in Southampton where the annual Cruise Convention ends today, travel agents are being treated to the sights of ships, the differences and benefits, their facilities and schedules all so that they can sell more cruise holidays to us when they return to their agencies. The Cruise Shows that take place in London, Birmingham and Glasgow each year have been attracting more of us to the extent that there have been queues to get on to some of the stands, particularly those where there has been a draw for a free cruise. My sister and her family, who hadn’t taken a cruise until about 8 years ago, have now taken three and Viv ( wrote of her first time experiences last December. Since then, she has been on another. You might remember from the Northern Lights features, CD-Traveller ran in February, one person had cruised over 30 times and, in case you think he was getting on in years, he still hadn’t retired from the bank he worked in!
According to the PSA, one in every 22 holidays taken abroad is a cruise. That’s more than ski, take adventure holidays or visit popular destinations like Ibiza. In 2011 there will be 8 new ships and an extra 20,000 berths available.
So what’s the appeal? More and more cruise ships are being based in the UK so you don’t need to travel abroad in order to start your cruise. Four in ten of us started a cruise from a British port, an increase of 10% over 2009. More often than not, the currency used is sterling so you don’t have to exchange money into a different currency. And some of the reasons must come down to the large tour operators like Thomson and Thomas Cook. When they introduced cruises at cheaper rates than the main cruise companies they introduced a whole group pf package holidaymakers to the market. Once sampled, some have traded up. Similarly the cruise companies learnt from the tour operators so there are now cruises of all different types of duration instead of just 10, 14 and 28 day cruises. Finally there is no Air Passenger Duty on a cruise which, potentially saves, hundreds of pounds on a holiday.
As for the future growth in cruising much of it will have to come from the under 35 year olds, an area which is only very slowly looking at cruising as a holiday option.

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