It has been a rocky few months for cruise, catalysed by the tragic events of Costa Concordia on 13 January and the continuing economic downturn. However, after some grit and perseverance from the industry, things are now getting back on course.
According to Cruise Britain, the number of cruises departing from the UK has increased 17% on last year. The rise can be attributed to the "growth of the profile of ports such as Harwich, Tyne and Portsmouth", according to Cruise Britain’s Chair, Kate O'Hara. As a bit of icing on the cake, the Department of Transport has now granted Liverpool "turnaround status", meaning cruises can now start and end in the city, whereas previously they could only make stop-offs.
Cunard is just one of the major cruise lines to contribute to the 33% year-on-year increase in British- and Irish-focused itineraries. It celebrated the Diamond Jubilee weekend with the Grand Event, the biggest celebration outside of London, which saw the Queen Victoria, the Queen Mary 2 and the Queen Elizabeth sail single file along the Solent into port, followed by a flotilla of smaller boats.
Elsewhere in Europe, things are also looking up with Costa reporting a 28% increase in April and May bookings on last year. As well as launching its newest ship, the Fascinosa -- described by Costa chairman and CEO Pier Luigi Foschi as a "steppingstone on our company's road to recovery" -- the company has also introduced several new safety procedures.
Lucky for you, cruise lines know that the best way to boost business is to create value-packed deals -- something we know a lot about. Historically late spring and early summer are down times for the industry, though here at Travelzoo we’ve had cruise deals coming out of our ears. No-fly cruises (sometimes referred to as ex-UK cruises) are proving particularly popular, with the industry saying there is a growing demand for no-fly sailings to destinations further afield. On top of that, the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) has reported that an impressive 835,000 people are sailing from UK ports this year -- that’s nearly 50% of the entire UK cruising population.
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