Thursday, 8 March 2012

One in every eight package holidays booked is now a cruise

One in every eight package holidays booked is now a cruise

UK cruise passenger numbers increased 5% and, with sales of Ultra

Luxury cruises rising 8%, total cruise sales spending topped £2.4bn

The average price paid rose less than 1% in 2011

More than four in every 10 cruises were bought for less than £1,000

Four out of every ten passengers were on their first-ever cruise

About 100,000 more UK passengers chose to start their cruise at

a UK port but higher flight costs saw a drop in flycruise numbers

Western Europe, Atlantic Islands, Norway and the Mediterranean

were the big cruise destination winners in 2011

An emerging trend for short cruises from UK ports meant that

nearly half of all cruises booked were of no more than seven nights

A second successive year of double digit growth in overseas and

UK passengers making a cruise visit at UK ports

Eight in ten passengers book cruises through travel agents

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

From May this year, the 40,876 ton, 1,462-passenger ship (which NCL fans may remember as the old Norwegian Majesty) will sail exact replicas of Thomson Destiny's summer itineraries: Adriatic Explorer, Pearls of the Aegean, Colourful Coasts and Canarian Flavours.

Exact reasons for the swap have not been given but Thomson Cruises' managing director, Fraser Ellacott, told Cruise Critic: “We've been discussing modernisation of our fleet, and this is the first part of the story. We feel this ship suits our customers both now and in the future.”

Majesty, which is currently laid up in Piraeus, Greece for the winter, is being re-branded with Thomson signage and a lot of the crew from Thomson Destiny are being brought over to the new ship, but there are no immediate plans for refurbishment, Ellacott said.

Thomson Majesty is ten years ‘younger' than Destiny, built in 1992, although while sailing under Louis Cruises, it has scored an average of three stars in Cruise Critic's member reviews, as opposed to Destiny's four. What's bothering customers on our message boards is that passengers already booked on Destiny are being transferred between two ships on which the cabin grades don't match exactly. Member Davecttr's comment is typical of the concern being expressed: “I have a midships inside booked and reserved on Destiny for next winter so will be expecting a call from my travel agent about transferring the booking. If I don't get a cabin to my satisfaction I will not be pleased.”

No compensation is being offered to passengers affected, Ellacott said, as the ship change is a straight swap.

There could even be benefits. Thomson Majesty has more outside cabins than Destiny, as well as an a la carte restaurant, Le Bistro, and a larger spa.

But Thomson Cruises will no doubt be careful about using the word ‘new' when describing its recent acquisition; there were many misunderstandings in 2010 when Thomson Dream joined the fleet and passengers were disappointed not to find a brand new ship.