The rise of long-haul
After a number of surprises in 2016 there has been an element of uncertainty as to what 2017 holds for the travel industry, but the UK cruise market hasn’t been blown off course and has, in fact seen, opportunity for further progression.
Fortunately, some of the political decisions and changes we saw last year have not dented the UK’s love of overseas holidays and there have been a number of developments within cruising. A host of new cruise ships will launch this year and key long-haul destinations will benefit from new routes as well as increasingly diverse itineraries.
While Europe and the Mediterranean remain popular cruise destinations we are starting to see new trends emerge in 2017; particularly the growth of long-haul bookings. More cruise lines are putting an emphasis on long-haul travel and we have carefully put together a range of cruise packages to every corner of the globe – meaning customers will find more choice on our website for long-haul destinations across 14 different cruise lines.
We are seeking to help our customers travel further this year and get more for their money. We’ve done that by adding both pre- and post- cruise hotel stays as well as offering destination-specific experiences, such as local sporting events, allowing guests to make the most of their time in their chosen destinations.
Alaska is one of most popular holiday destinations in the world thanks to its spectacular scenery, wildlife and glaciers, and is one in which we plan to expand on the most this year. The best way to fully immerse yourself in what Alaska has to offer is by cruise; not only will you see a slice of the coastline but you will also be able to experience Glacier Bay and the capital city of Juneau.
Our long-haul packages are also no longer limited to just cruising. A number of packages feature Amtrak experiences, a medium and long distance passenger railroad service in the US, including the Coast Starlight, Empire Builder and Memphis to New Orleans routes, allowing customers to explore destinations in more ways than one.
The benefit of visiting long-haul destinations is customers will experience once in a lifetime opportunities that aren’t available elsewhere – whether its specialist crocodile jumping cruises in Darwin, where the Adelaide River is home to 1,600 deadly saltwater crocodiles and offers some of the best crocodile viewing in the world; seeing the Mendenhall Glaciers; or visiting the Angor Wat temple in Cambodia, which dates back over 1,000 years.
A long-haul cruise can last anything from four days to four months – there are no restrictions – and as customers have a growing demand for unique and exciting holidays, we will continue to increase our offering in response.
Phil Evans is the managing director of Cruise Nation