Many passengers swear by ex-UK cruising. But, for the inexperienced agent, it can often be a confusing area. Why cruise out of a UK port when you could fly to the Mediterranean or Caribbean? What exactly are the benefits? Mike Hall, head of marketing at Cruise & Maritime Voyages, explains more.
There was a time when ex-UK cruises were viewed as something that people went on who were afraid of flying or too old to undertake a journey by air. In the same way, flying was seen as part of the holiday experience, jetting off to arrive in foreign climes in a matter of hours.
Times have changed and the once pleasurable flying experience is, for most of us, now an endurance test. From parking the car to transferring to the terminal with all your luggage, checking in, queuing through security and then walking to the gate (at what always seems to be the opposite side of the airport). The whole process can take hours before you have even stepped onto the plane. And then when you do arrive the other end, there’s that awful sinking feeling when the carousel stops and there’s no sign of your luggage.
By contrast, a cruise departing from a UK port can be simplicity itself. Most of CMV’s guests live within a 50 mile radius of their chosen departure port and with more UK ports developing their cruise terminals, ex-UK cruising is becoming more and more convenient.
On arrival at the port, luggage is whisked away by porters. The next time it is seen is outside the cabin door. And when cruising, unlike flying, there are pretty much no luggage restrictions. None of that weighing your case and deciding whether you really need those extra pair of shoes; take as many pairs as you like!
At CMV, we operate a staggered check-in arrangement according to cabin position so that waiting to board the ship is kept to a minimum. A short walk will lead guests directly on board where they will either be escorted or directed to their cabins. A quick freshen-up, a light embarkation meal awaits and their holiday has begun. Compared to an air holiday, there really couldn’t be a simpler, less stressful start.
If you book your customers on a British based cruise line, the on board currency will be sterling, so there’s no need to worry about exchange problems. The bars and shops will all be priced in pounds. What is more, these lines are catering mainly for British guests, so the on board language is English.
Another great advantage of ex-UK cruising is being able to easily reach destinations like Norway and Iceland where you ship is your hotel. These countries are extremely expensive to visit and stay in and would cost a fortune on a land-based holiday. Also popular are short two- to six-night cruises combining two or more European cities in one short break. Remember these when you next have a city break inquiry.
Ex-UK cruising is growing as more and more people discover the hassle free way to a great holiday.
Mike Hall is head of marketing at CMV