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2011 Emerging Vacation Trends: European Cruises Gain Popularity

February 9, 2011

I recently read the the 2011 Cruise Holiday survey which highlighted some interesting trends for 2011 that I wanted to share.  Europe has climbed to the second most popular cruise destination for 2011, surpassing Alaska in terms of number of cruises booked.   European cruises appear to be a better buy for your money this year.  Cruise experts surveyed reported by a three-to-one margin that Europe provided more value to travelers than Alaska in 2011.  And prices bear this out: booking data from Cruise Holidays shows that the average cost of a Mediterranean 12-day itinerary dropped  to $222 a person per day, down from $262 in 2010, and $290 in 2009. 

Cruise lines are clearly picking up on this trend.  Options for family cruisers in Europe, and in the Mediterranean in particular, have never looked better.  The Disney Magic is returning to the Western Mediterranean for its third season this summer with cruises from June to September, and there is speculation that the Disney Magic could find a permanent home in Europe.  The new Carnival Magic is set to launch its maiden season this year in the Western Mediterranean with cruises from May to September.  Royal Caribbean will have 10 ships in Europe this year, with the Voyager of the Seas in the Eastern Caribbean itinerary and the Adventure of the Seas exploring the Western Mediterranean.  Norwegian Cruise Lines, Celebrity and Princess, in addition to many other luxury and European cruise lines, also will sail the Mediterranean in 2011.

 The European itineraries particularly appeal to repeat cruisers, according to the Cruise Holiday survey.  These seasoned cruisers already understand the benefits of traveling by sea, so the value and ease of traveling to many European destinations on a cruise is clear to them.  And travelers are increasingly booking in advance.  This same study showed the percentage of people who booked their 2010 cruise more than six months prior to the cruise increased to 48.5%, compared to only 40.5% in 2009.

 With the growth in cruise bookings in the travel industry this year, we could see less discounting of pricing for Mediterranean cruises next year.  However, with the larger number of cruises in the region, with more staterooms to fill, prices should remain of excellent value through 2012.

If you are interested in booking a European cruise, or want more information, please contact me at jennifer@grintravel.com.

Jennifer Grinold
www.grintravel.com
www.facebook.com/grintravel

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