Cruise enthusiasts are still prioritising their holidays at sea despite the current increases in cost of living and the Mediterranean remains the preferred destination
A survey of 1,015 people by UK specialist cruise travel agencies cruise.co.uk revealed that almost 70% have booked or will book a cruise this year.
Of this number, around three-quarters will travel on their first-choice sailing, with the final quarter still cruising but opting for a lower-priced option than they would usually book.
Of the remaining survey respondents, 20% stated they would go on a non-cruise holiday this year, either in the UK or overseas. The final 10% have postponed their holiday plans until 2023 or beyond.
Nearly 20% of the overall respondents have at least one sailing lined up in both 2022 and 2023.
There was an even 50/50 split between cruisers either sailing from the UK or flying overseas to meet their ship, with little sign the ongoing issues at airports have affected plans.
For those yet to book this year, the Mediterranean is the favourite destination, with the Caribbean second and Norwegian Fjords/North Scandinavia third. The growing popularity of river cruises continues, as sailing a European waterway is in fourth place.
Tony Andrews, deputy managing director of cruise.co.uk, said: “For those who are still able to get some time away, a cruise remains an incredibly attractive choice because there is so much variety out there, with options to suit a wide range of budgets. The fact cruise lines include meals and a host of other inclusive benefits in their booking price means a holiday at sea still represents great value-for-money.
“It’s easy to see why the Med is such an attractive option. It offers guaranteed sun, a wealth of eye-catching destinations and is straightforward to budget for when travelling via a cruise ship.”
Uniworld’s goals designed to tread right
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises as announced a host of new sustainability initiatives focused on 11 ‘sustainability goals’.
Devised in tandem with parent company The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) five-year sustainability strategy, How We Tread Right, the measures include:
* Reducing 50% of food waste across all ships by 2025
* Increasing use of local and organic food products by Its supply chain by 2025 (defined as any produce sourced within a 30-50 mile radius of the riverbank along the itinerary on which it is prepared: To date, Uniworld’s onboard culinary team utilises 57% from local suppliers and 36% from organic suppliers)
* Carbon neutrality by 2030 or sooner
* Eliminating single-use plastic, switching to renewable energy,
* Offering guests sustainable tourism experiences in the form of MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experiences, designed to engage and give back throughout their river cruising journey. Currently, 31% of Uniworld’s itineraries include at least one ‘Make Travel Matter’ experience, on itineraries throughout India, Europe and the Middle East. Experiences include a visit to a local underprivileged children’s rescue in India and a Dutch Cheese Trail at a sustainable, self-sufficient dairy farm near Hoorn in the Netherlands.
Uniworld’s Sustainability Office, Julie Higgins, commented: “Our mission with Uniworld’s sustainability goals is to create a positive change through action with science-based targets, tackling everything from food waste reduction, supporting developing destinations and utilising local suppliers.”
G Adventures introduces new Galapagos ship
G Adventures has introduced a custom-built catamaran to its fleet of vessels in the Galapagos Islands.
The new Reina Silvia Voyager has 10 cabins split over two decks, including two dedicated solo cabins.
The 103-feet catamaran is running across four itineraries, ranging from eight to 10 days and including Quito, and can accommodate up to 16 guests split across twin or doubles with two solo cabins catering to individual travellers.
G Adventures says Reina Silvia Voyager will be for travellers seeking ‘bigger-ticket adventures’.
“We’re seeing a very high demand for once-in-a-lifetime adventures such as the Galapagos as travellers commit to trips they’ve long dreamt about,” said Yves Marceau, Global vice President of Product at G Adventures.
The Galapagos has been one of the operator’s top three most popular destinations for British travellers over the past six months, Marceau said.
Features on Reina Silvia Voyager feature an expansive third deck with lounge chairs for sunbathing, a covered cocktail bar, grill station, an outdoor Jacuzzi tub and eight on-board kayaks and two zodiacs for guests’ guided use.
Azamara removes embarkation COVID-19 testing requirements
From July 25, Azamara will no longer require pre-cruise COVID-19 -testing for guests, excluding ports where it is still required in accordance with country regulations.
Azamara will still require proof of vaccination prior to embarkation.
“The easing of our testing policy marks a step in the right direction towards a return to normalcy for the travel and cruising industry,” said President of Azamara, Carol Cabezas. “Cruising is one of the safest ways to travel, and our existing health and safety protocols onboard will ensure peace of mind for our guests and crew as we move forward.”