Last year 1.4 million British holidaymakers took a cruise. So why at a time when holiday spending is generally down, is cruising the fastest growing sector of the UK holiday industry?
Cruising is no longer the stereotypical lazy holiday for the over 65s. In fact it is full of surprises, which is why travel expert and cruise enthusiast Jonathan Beumont wants to tell you all about it.
Jonathan took his first cruise with Mr Motivator on board P&O’s Canberra at the age of 24 and 20 years later, he loves it as much now as he did then.
So much in fact that as well as a career as a TV producer, travel journalist and reporter specialising in all things travel related, he gives expert advice at The Cruise Show.
Facts on cruising:
- One in every eight package holidays now booked in the UK is a cruise
- There is a cruise ship to fit every type of holidaymaker of every age and every budget
- It’s also now possible to cruise to pretty much every corner of the globe
- Last year 1.4 million British passengers took a cruise holiday and more than half of that number took two cruises in the same year
- UK cruise passenger numbers increased 5% with sales of Ultra Luxury (five and six star) cruises rising by 8%
So why is it such a success?
- It offers incredible value for money. It is now possible to cruise from £100 per day
- There’s now a ship to suit all tastes from informal family fun through to luxury cruising for couples and groups of friends
- Exciting itineraries and more adventure allows you to get a taste of lots of different places all on the same holiday
- It’s the perfect multi-generational holiday as Mum and Dad, grandparents and the kids can all enjoy something different on the same ship
Yet there are still people who say a cruise holiday isn’t for them
Those who say…
“Cruising is for the newly wed, over fed and nearly dead!”
Or… I can’t think of anything worse than being cooped up with a load of people I don’t like.
Or… Won’t I be bored?
Or… I’m not the sort of person who enjoys shows, bingo or having to eat with strangers.
People have an image of cruising in this country that’s really old fashioned and just doesn’t really exist any more.
Ocean cruising can now be done in almost all parts of the world. You can ocean cruise in the far east, south America, Australia and New Zealand, California and Mexico, Alaska, The Caribbean and the Mediterranean. In fact some parts of the world are actually best explored by ship such as the Norwegian Fjords or the Panama Canal.
Ocean cruising offers the chance to see a different place almost every day if you want with only having to unpack once. It’s a great way of getting a taste of a destination.
The big ships are perfect for families, and groups of friends and can carry between 2000 to 5000 passengers and have facilities such as flow riders, ice rinks, water parks, basket ball courts, kids clubs for all ages, full size theatres, comedy clubs, night clubs and several options for eating.
Big ship companies: P&O Cruises, Thomson Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, MSC, Carnival, Princess, Holland America, Disney.
Smaller ships are generally more relaxed and often more upmarket carrying around 500 passengers suitable for older couples and groups of friends and offer fine dining, guest lectures, cooking schools, water sports and informative and educational enrichment programmes.
Small ship companies: Azamara Club Cruises, Oceania, Yachts of Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Seadream Yacht Club and Hapag Lloyd.
This is more relaxed and more suited for older couples or those with older children. They are perfect if you like city breaks, shopping, culture and great food.
River vessels carry around 150 passengers. The difference is unlike ocean cruising river vessels cruise during the day through the heart of a country allowing you to experience the incredible scenery. You pass mountains, castles, small towns and villages. The scenery comes to you! You moor in the heart of a city allowing you step off and walk into town.
Popular itineraries include the Christmas Markets in December, the Dutch Bulb Fields in Spring, the Rhine and Danube in the Summer and now cruises through Vietnam and Russia.
River cruising companies: Viking River Cruises, Uniworld, Avalon, AMA Waterways.
The Telegraph Cruise Show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham on 21-22 September 2013