Cruise update

by Charlotte Flach

Survey predicts 93% of luxury cruisers will book in 2022

A survey from Mundy Cruising has revealed that luxury cruisers are feeling cautiously optimistic about travel in 2022, with 93% planning to take at least one cruise this year.

Short haul destinations came out on top, with 49% planning to visit the Mediterranean and 23% eyeing a European river cruise. The Caribbean, Baltic and British Isles also featured prominently on cruisers’ wish lists for 2022.

The ongoing impact of Covid-19 inevitably looms over travel plans for 2022, with 62% of respondents stating that they will avoid countries with low vaccination rates, and 92% claiming that Covid-19 policies were either very important or somewhat important when choosing a cruise ship.

Encouragingly for the industry, 47% thought that the risk from Covid-19 was lower on a cruise ship than a plane, and 37% said that cruise ships were safer than hotels.

The survey also found that 46% of respondents are planning to travel on a smaller ship in 2022 compared to before the pandemic, and 42% expect to splash out on a higher grade of accommodation than before. The growing importance of sustainability was reflected in the fact that 41% said hybrid or low carbon propulsion was important when selecting a ship.

The findings were the latest from Mundy’s Cruise Expert Panel, which launched in October 2020 to coincide with the company’s 50th anniversary.

“Our latest survey shows that travellers are unperturbed by the recent media frenzy around the omicron variant,” said Mundy Cruising Managing Director Edwina Lonsdale.

“Their plans and priorities for 2022 reflect a growing sense that we are over the worst of the pandemic. While Covid policies onboard and vaccination rates in destination countries are of course still front of mind, cruisers are also looking to the future, with more emphasis placed on sustainable travel and excitement around the next generation of luxury ships.

“It’s also no surprise to us that our clients believe cruising to be safer than other forms of travel, given the industry-leading protocols that the cruise lines, port authorities and other key players have put in place over the last two years to ensure that a cruise ship is the very safest place to be.

"We are confident that the burning desire of travellers to get back to normal, along with the news that the UK government has overhauled its onerous and unnecessary testing regime for overseas travel, mean that cruise will come roaring back in 2022.”

Celestyal offers 30% off for Wave

Celestyal Cruises has announced its “Escape Back to the Blue’’ Wave season campaign with savings of up to 30% off select 2022 sailings booked from now through March 31, 2022.

Prices start from £329pp for the three-night Iconic Aegean itinerary reflecting a saving of more than 25%.

The seven-night Idyllic Aegean itinerary has been reduced by more than 30% to £759pp.

All cruises include the Celestyal All-Inclusive Experience with unlimited classic drinks, locally-inspired cuisine onboard, entertainment, select shore excursions, port, service charges and gratuities.

During the “Escape Back to the Blue” campaign, children aged 12 years and younger sharing the same stateroom with their parents sail for free on selected sailings. Solo travellers also enjoy a reduced solo supplement on select sailings.

Azamara doubles agent incentives

Azamara is doubling incentives for UK travel agent partners for throughout January.

The cruise line is offering up to £20 per booking on all sailings booked throughout the month – an uplift of 100% - on a pre-paid Mastercard irrespective of the passenger's Club Rewards membership class.

The increased incentive is only available in conjunction with the existing Club Rewards programme and is valid on bookings made up until January 31, 2022 inclusive on sailings up to April 3, 2024.

The cruise line has also extended its early booking offer. Book before February 28, 2022 and save 15%. This offer is valid on all 2022 sailings on the Dutch and Belgian waterways; the Rhine, Main and Moselle; the Danube; and the Seine, Rhone and Saone, as well as on Amadeus River Cruises’ golf, music, and wine-themed cruises.

New cruise brochure and giveaway from Gold Medal

Gold Medal's new Cruise Plus brochure features 60 all-new cruise itineraries from 15 cruise line partners – including six news ships – as well as a selection of cruise and stay packages for 2022 and 2023 departures.

It was launched earlier this month via an e-shot to GM’s agent partners and over the GM website and social media channels, with printed versions available later this month. To celebrate the launch, GM will be giving away a case of 12 wines on its Facebook page this Friday.

On offer to support the launch is a 14-night Eastern Caribbean & Perfect Day at CocoCay with Royal Caribbean Pre-cruise accommodation. Includes seven nights room only at 4* Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando in a Deluxe Room and a seven-night cruise onboard Harmony of the Seas from £3,269pp. Valid for departure March 26, 2023. Based on two adults sharing Return flights from Heathrow and private transfers throughout.

Gold Medal’s Sales Director Nick Hughes said: “It’s great to see this new Cruise Plus brochure released, offering a wide choice of itineraries, ships and cruise partners to agents. Our dedicated cruise sales and admin teams are ready to assist them with any enquiries, and ensure that 2022 really sees cruise holidays take to the seas once more!”

Star Clippers launches no-fly package for summer 2022

Star Clippers has launched a Rail, Sip & Sail package alongside its 2022 French Riviera & Corsica sailings on board luxury sailing ship, Star Clipper.

Travelling from London by Eurostar, guests will experience a two-night pre-cruise stay in Bordeaux - incorporating a wine tour in Médoc vineyards - followed by a night in Cannes prior to boarding the ship for seven nights. Highlights of the sailing itinerary include St Tropez, Corsica and Portofino.

The 10-night package departs the UK on July 13, 2022 priced from £3,129pp. Alternative dates are available upon request.

General Manager Fay McCormack, said: “We are thrilled to offer guests the opportunity to experience a Star Clippers sailing without having to step foot on a plane. This is a really exciting opportunity for sailing and travel enthusiasts.”

Shakespeare takes the stage on Queen Mary 2

Cunard will be taking Shakespeare and new work to the high seas in 2022, as it joins forces in a first-of-its-kind partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

Available exclusively on board Queen Mary 2, guests will enjoy tailored theatrical performances by the RSC, in addition to a unique blend of Shakespeare’s iconic love scenes in a brand-new piece called Boundless as the Sea, created by Owen Horsley.

Guests will also have the opportunity to see critically acclaimed new work Miss Littlewood: a musical by Sam Kenyon exploring the life of one of theatre’s most playful and radical figures.

For those interested in learning what it takes to be an RSC actor, the onboard cast will be leading a series of workshops that explore their craft. Guests will also be able to access ‘Shakespeare Tales’, intimate, informal events where the actors will perform their favourite sonnets and speeches, and answer questions from the audience.

In addition, Queen Mary 2 will host a touring exhibition, ‘Digital Diorama: An Augmented Journey Through Shakespeare’s Stratford’. Guests will use devices to experience scenes from his plays come to life before their eyes. Some of the RSC’s most popular productions in recent years including Hamlet, Henry V, The Merry Wives of Windsor and As You Like it will also be screened in Cunard’s onboard cinema, Illuminations.

The three-year partnership will begin on May 29 until August 12, 2022 and then again from September 15 to November 13, 2022 and will offer the programme exclusively to Cunard guests on Queen Mary 2 throughout these two periods. Guests will experience either Boundless as the Sea or Miss Littlewood on each featured voyage. Dates for future years to be announced at a later date.

Vice President, Brand and Product at Cunard, Lee Powell, said: “We are delighted to welcome the Royal Shakespeare Company on board our flagship, Queen Mary 2. To be able to offer our guests access to unique performances by world leaders in both contemporary theatre and Shakespeare’s finest work, is an extraordinary opportunity which I know our guests will fully immerse themselves in.”


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