Figures show that more Brits are choosing to cruise direct from the UK rather than flying to their destination.
Gill’s Cruise Centre, one of the UK’s leading independent cruise specialists, has witnessed a 20% increase in so-called ‘ex-UK’ passengers since the start of the year as travellers opt for a more convenient, stress-free solution to travel.
More than 531,000 Britons took a cruise that started and ended in the UK during 2008, a 20% increase on the previous year with the growth sustained during 2009.
By contrast, there was just a 4% year-on-year increase in the number of passengers taking a ‘flycruise’ between 2007-2008.
To date in 2009, 67% of Gill’s Cruise Centre’s customers have chosen to cruise from the UK, highlighting this growing industry trend.
Ex-UK cruises allow passengers to settle onboard ahead of the main itinerary so they can get a feel for the ship and its offering.
Given the popularity of cruises departing from the UK, an increasing number of cruise lines are offering ex-UK sailings and basing ships in UK ports, with more set to join them in 2010.
These include Cunard, Fred Olsen, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Princess Cruises, MSC Cruises and Voyages of Discovery.
2010 also sees the launch of several new ships which will be operating out of the UK the most high profile of which are Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and P&O’s Azura.
“I put this new trend down to what I call the 3Cs: cost, convenience and comfort,” said Chairman of Gill’s Cruise Centre, Alistair Gill.
“Ex-UK cruises are often a bit cheaper as there is no flight to pay for, there is no waiting around at the airport at either end and you can take your time to get settled onboard before the main itinerary begins. And, of course, without airline restrictions, passengers can take as many bags as they like!”
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