Friday, 4 April 2008

Cruise Direct Launches Blog

Scared of flying? If so then why do it? Drive to a British Port, leave the car and you trouble at the dock and within a very short time you can be sipping Champagne on the balcony of your cabin as you prepare to sail off into the sunset. That’s not just fantasy it’s a reality for many holiday makers as they flock in ever growing numbers to holidays at sea.

As the world’s biggest Cruise Companies invest more than a billion pounds in this year alone they hope to get rid of the “quoits and cribbage” image that has restricted their market for so long. Sleek, Modern ships with ultra modern and luxurious facilities sailing to the most exciting destinations on Earth are attracting more and more under 45’s each year.

Giant ships such as Royal Caribbean’s “Independence of the Seas” weighing in at 160,000 tonnes will carry 3,600 passengers, serve 100,000 meals in a week and is equal to the length of 5 jumbo jets. The “Independence of the Seas”, which will dock for the first time in Southampton later this month, boast such facilities as an Ice Rink, Climbing Wall, Surf Machine and a decent size shopping mall.

P&O’s “Ventura” which docked in Southampton last week, cost over £300 Million and is already attracting 1/3 of it’s passengers from the under 45’s market although it won’t be just this age group that will be trying out it’s giant Scalextric track.

The “Carnival Splendor” will launch in July, at a cost of a mere £295 million , in Dover whilst NCL who boast a ship with a full scale bowling alley, will position 2 of it’s impressive fleet, The “Norwegian Jade” and the “Norwegian Jewel”, in the UK for this summer.

A fabulous addition to the Cunard fleet is the “Queen Victoria”, launched last December; she is the latest “Queen” to sail under that illustrious flag. Dwarfing her predecessor the 70,000 tone Queen Elizabeth (QE2) she makes the Queen Mary look almost tiny. Both of the old Queens (so to speak) when the QE2 finally retires in November, will continue to grace the holiday, service industry as excellent hotels in Dubai and Long Beach, respectively.

Many travel experts forecast the rise in capacity will force prices down as the competition to attract custom heats up, but the Cruise companies are gambling that the increase in demand will continue to soar as forecasters predict 2,000,000 passengers within 4 years.

The attractions are many, Freestyle cruising has removed the formal, some would say regimented, fixed meal times and replaced them with a choice of restaurants and an open all hours relaxed approach, much more in keeping with the style generally preferred by today’s traveller. Traditional cruising is still readily available and favoured by many but the Growth in the British market is most definitely in less formal cruising.

Already under construction are the next generation of super ships, Royal Caribbean planning to launch two £600 million, 220,000 tonne giants each carrying 5,600 passengers which further demonstrate their confidence in a market that is growing in popularity and offering better value than ever before. Cruise specialists such as Barrhead Travel and CruiseDirect offer discounts and expert, unbiased advice, using the personal experience of their consultants to assist potential cruisers find the holiday that will suit them.

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