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Study shows British passengers' high brand loyalty

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Research from an online cruise travel agency has revealed that half of British cruisers are loyal to cruise brands, a fifth of which have only ever cruised with one company. A further 16% of respondents claimed to have always been loyal to one specific cruise ship, a report in traveldailynews.com says.

“As part of ongoing research into the holiday habits of Britons, an independent online cruising travel agency conducted a study into the loyalty of cruisers. 1,214 British cruisers, each of whom had embarked on more than three cruises, were polled,” the report said. The study, conducted by Bonvoyage.com, initially asked the respondents to the study if they were loyal to specific cruise operators, to which more than half, 52%, said ‘yes’. These respondents were then asked how many cruise operators they have travelled with, almost a fifth, 19%, admitted to only having ever cruised with one operator.

Of the fifth of respondents who admitted to being loyal to one specific cruise operator, 23% stated that they were loyal because of the ‘high quality’ of cruise offered by their favoured operator; whilst 18% said it was because they were ‘cheaper’ than any other liner. In a bid to investigate the matter further, bonvoyage.co.uk, created by the founders of online travel agency sunshine.co.uk, asked respondents to detail which other habits or loyalties they had when it came to cruising. Sixteen percent  of the respondents polled claimed to be ‘loyal’ to a specific cruise ship, admitting to only ever having cruised on the same cruise liner. A quarter of these, 24%, said they were loyal to a particular ship because of the ‘luxury’ onboard.

Furthermore, more than a tenth, 12%, of those polled claimed to be ‘loyal’ to a particular cruise route, stating that they always travelled to the same destinations through the same route; therefore, essentially being loyal to the destinations rather than the cruise operator or ship.

Chris Brown, co-founder of bonvoyage.co.uk, spoke about the results of the study: “It was interesting to see that some cruisers are loyal to a particular operator, even though they had only ever embarked on a cruise supplied by them. However, it is understandable, as a first cruise is often a very special experience. I would always recommend trying a new operator and ship though; as long as you do your research and travel with a well known and respected operator, everything should run smoothly.”

He continued: “Many holidaymakers are loyal to a specific aspect of their holiday, whether it be the operator, destination, resort or liner...the list is endless!  Holidays are such an important part of our lives that we may not want to risk trying something new, it can make sense to stick with what you know. Maybe next time you are booking a holiday, consider trying something new, you will probably love it!”

Diet themed cruise on MSC Fantasia in January

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

MSC Cruises, the Geneva based cruiseshipping company,  is launching a “dietthemed cruise” on 30 January next year with one of the most famous nutritionistsin the world, French diet specialist Dr Pierre Dukan, to give guests the rareopportunity to shed kilos, tone up and tan during a mid-winter holiday in theMediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean

"Losing weight naturally is key to theinternationally famous Dukan Diet Method, so it’s not surprising that the11-night cruise created especially for French speaking guests aboard theflagship MSC Fantasia is all about having fun, enjoying great food and beingexposed to the ship’s extensive state-of-the-art physical fitness facilities," the company said in a statement.

Even the shore excursions and walking toursof the famous cities where MSC Fantasia calls during the cruise will form anintegral part of the scientifically structured diet programme. And the highlight of the cruise will be thechance to meet Dr Pierre Dukan himself at a private onboard party. Anutritionist and specialist in food behavior for over 30 years, his 19 booksincluding the French best seller “I don’t know how to lose weight” (The DukanDiet book) have sold 2.5 million copies and brought him over 20 millionfollowers worldwide.

A team of expert nutritionists, dieticiansand a specialist physician trained in the Dukan Method will be onboard to giveprofessional advice and care throughout the cruise which departs Genoa, Italy,on 30 January and returns on 10 February. Guests will receive a Diet Kit and undergoa personal health assessment at the start of the cruise before being advised onindividual diet and sports training programmes. They will also be invited todaily workshops on procedures and technical aspects of losing weight, culinarydemonstrations, cooking lessons and themed conferences.

Dr. Dukan says he has strived to develop amethod that allows him to have fun while dieting because he himself has alwaysfought against being overweight. “This method works because you can eat asmuch as you like from a list of 100 different foods as long as you follow thementoring and monitoring of my team of experts,” says Dukan.

P&O Cruises to expand Green World Tours offering in 2012

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Following on from a successful first season, P&O Cruises is adding a number of new options to its Green World Tours programme for 2012. This also comes after the programme received an Environmental Initiative Award for its notable contribution to advancing the environmental aspect of cruising, the company said in a statement.

Green World Tours are a range of charitable and responsible tourism based shore experiences designed to support the towns and communities visited on longer itineraries, as well as giving the passenger a unique experience ashore. The first Green World Tour was in November 2009 and tours are now operated by P&O Cruises in 16 destinations worldwide. The tours vary in price and are non-profit making. Some include a donation and others just cover costs and passengers are free to donate as they choose.

New tours for P&O Cruises in 2012 are:

        Rural Life & SOS Village, Nha Trang, £26

A visit to the local SOS Children’s Village - an independent, non-governmental social development organisation that works to meet the needs and protect the rights of children without parental care.  The tour then continues on to the Vinh Thanh commune to see how local farmers plant and harvest the rice; followed by the opportunity to visit a family in a typical Vietnamese rural house and to visit a communal house at Vinh Ngoc Village.

        Mondesa Township, Walvis Bay, £99

A visit to the Mondesa Township in Swakopmund, which was established in the early 1950s to provide housing for Owambo, Damara and Herero people working in Swakopmund. Mondesa is a township where poverty and unemployment is high and by opening their lives to travellers and visitors, the township community raises awareness and can provide opportunities for growth, friendship, support and a greater understanding between varied cultures.

       Kibbutz voluntour, Ashdod, £44

A visit to a kibbutz, a collective community way of living which only exists in Israel. Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a mixture of socialism and Zionism with ideals based on the principle of joint ownership of property, equality and cooperation of production, consumption and education.  The tour then offers the chance for participation in ‘Project Leket’ an initiative that sends volunteers into fields and orchards to gather produce for donation to those in need in Israel.

Tours are offered on some longer itineraries, such as Oceana’s 24 night Eastern Mediterranean cruise departing February 26 (including a call in Ashdod), and all world cruises. In 2012 Arcadia, Aurora, Oriana and Adonia are offering world cruises of between 87 and 109 nights in duration with shorter sectors available. Tours are offered  in ports of call including Limon, Bali, Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro, Port Kelang (Kuala Lumpur), Phuket and Port Elizabeth.

P&O Cruises managing director, Carol Marlow, said: “We have seen an excellent response to this new collection of tours and this shows that our passengers and crew really value the destinations that they visit and want to give something back. “The recent Environmental Initiative Award for this programme is fantastic recognition for the steps these Green World Tours are taking to advance the environmental aspect of cruising and we will continue to expand this programme to offer tours to even more passengers in more ports of call.”

Green World Tours are also offered to various wildlife centres and charitable projects, such as the Sea Turtle Conservation Centre in Laem Chabang and the Cats and Dogs Rescue Centre in Koh Samui. 

Darts and football legends to sail on Boudicca’s Caribbean voyage in January

  • Written by Kari Reinikainen
  • Category: More News

Guests joining Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ 35-night Caribbean voyage aboard Boudicca in January 2012 – the cruise number D1202 – will find themselves in the prestigious company of three major sporting celebrities from two of Britain’s favourite sports, darts and football. The stars are ex-footballer and former Manager of both Spurs and Arsenal, Terry Neill, along with former darts champions, Keith Deller and Cliff Lazarenko, who will be entertaining guests throughout this cruise, as part of the exclusive onboard enrichment programme, Vistas (www.fredolsencruises-vistas.com), the company said in a statement.

From ‘the beautiful game’ comes William John Terence (‘Terry’) Neill. Born in Belfast in 1942, Terry was involved in football from his earliest days, playing as a junior for Bangor before moving to Arsenal in 1959. In the early 1960s, he made 29 league appearances for ‘The Gunners’, and was also a regular player for the Northern Ireland team. He became Arsenal Captain in 1968 and played 275 games for them. He moved to Hull City in 1970, as one of the youngest ever Player/Managers, and was later Manager of Tottenham Hotspur, returning to his beloved Arsenal as its Manager until his retirement from the club at the early age of 41, in 1983. Since then, he has run a number of successful sports bars in London, and still commentates on Arsenal games for Arsenal TV.

Keith ‘Del Boy’ Deller was born in 1959 in Ipswich – coincidentally, also home to Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ head office. He caused a huge stir in the darts world, when he won the ‘Embassy World Professional Darts Championship’ in 1983, the youngest player ever to do so, and defeated the three top names in darts in the process – Eric Bristow, Jocky Wilson and John Lowe. After enjoying a highly successful professional career, Keith now works for Sky Sports, along with his old rival Eric Bristow, as a ‘spotter’, using his expertise to work out where the next dart will be thrown.

Big’ Cliff Lazarenko – so-called because he stands an impressive 6’ 4” and once weighed in at over 20 stone – was born in 1952, and entered professional darts in 1975. He won the ‘British Open’ in 1980, and reached the semi-finals of the ‘World Championship’ four times. Throughout an impressive career, his other triumphs included winning the ‘Autumn Gold Masters’, ‘British Matchplay’, ‘British Gold Cup’, ‘Jersey Open’ and ‘Danish Open’. Cliff retired in the early 2000s, due to poor health, but returned to professional darts in 2007, playing in the ‘UK Open’ at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton. In 2008, he also appeared in the BetFred League of Legends, where he reached the semi-finals, but was beaten by fellow darts champion, Keith Deller.

"With these three charismatic characters on board to entertain guests with their sporting anecdotes, the days at sea are sure to pass swiftly as Boudicca cruises away from the chilly British winter en route to the Caribbean sun. She departs from Southampton on 19th January 2012, for this leisurely 35-night cruise. The Atlantic crossing is broken by a call into the Canary Island of Tenerife, before Boudicca begins her odyssey of the Caribbean islands. Her ports of call are a roll call of idyllic destinations – the islands of Barbados and Curaçao, then Cartagena in Colombia, and Colon in Panama, before reaching Montego Bay on the colourful reggae island of Jamaica. The next port is a highlight of the cruise – an overnight stay in Havana, Cuba, a port steeped in history and romance.  Two more Caribbean islands complete this part of the itinerary – Turks & Caicos, and the tiny island of St. Maarten – before Boudicca begins her return voyage to Southampton, broken by a last call into Ponta Delgada in the Azores," the company said.

"This cruise has a host of added attractions, in additional to its superb itinerary. As well as the theme of ‘Sporting Personalities’, hosted by Terry, Keith and Cliff, there are two further themes of a very different nature – ‘Pottery’ and ‘Handicrafts’," Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines noted.   

Star Cruises celebrates SuperStar Aquarius homeporting in Sanya

  • Written by Teijo Niemelä
  • Category: More News

Star Cruises, the leading cruise line operator in Asia-Pacific, yesterday held a ceremony at Sanya Phoenix Island International Cruise Terminal to celebrate SuperStar Aquarius homeporting in Sanya with new Sanya-Vietnam cruise itineraries. Star Cruises is the first international cruise line to homeport in Sanya. 

The 51,309-ton SuperStar Aquarius arrived at the terminal at 7pm on 3 November amidst Chinese traditional revelry and festivity. The vessel was welcomed by a number of government officials including Mr Chen Haibo, Deputy Director of The Standing Committee of Hainan Provincial People's Congress; Mr Wang Yutian, Hainan Provincial CPPCC Vice Chairman; Mr Lu Zhiyuan, Assistant Governor, Hainan Province; and Mr Wang Yong, Mayor, Sanya. Accompanied by Mr David Chua, Star Cruises President, and Star Cruises' management team, the group of government officials joined the celebratory ceremony and activities afterwards. 

Mr Chua commenced the ceremony with members of the Star Cruises international sales team from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, India, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and the U.S., amongst others. Against the backdrop of celebratory fireworks, they greeted Sanya and guests in a variety of local languages. He added that Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman of Star Cruises' parent company Genting Hong Kong, sent his best wishes to the new deployment and the governments of Hainan and Sanya. 

Star Cruises is the pioneer of cruise holiday in China and Asia-Pacific, and will continue to play a vital role to developing the industry in mainland China. Mr Chua said, "It is with great honour and pleasure that Star Cruises deploys SuperStar Aquarius to homeport in Sanya. We have started promoting the Sanya-Vietnam itineraries regionally and internationally more than six months ago. Today, we invited over 500 representatives from international and Chinese travel agencies and media organizations to celebrate the launch." 

The new deployment reflects Star Cruises' long-held mission in developing new and interesting cruise holiday products for customers. During the five-month deployment, SuperStar Aquarius will ply the South China Sea, departing from thriving Sanya in two- and three-nights destination cruises to Halong Bay, Danang and Hu?. The new cruises will take advantage of the cool and sunny weather in Sanya, coupled with duty free shopping, sightseeing, entertainment and cultural shore excursion options which the four ports are famous for.

In the newly announced itineraries, passengers of SuperStar Aquarius will experience China's most popular beach paradise and its pristine fine-sand long beaches, amongst other things. Sanya has attracted increasing tourist attention, courtesy of its duty-free shopping, mushrooming tourist attractions and MICE facilities. Halong Bay is arguably the most beautiful tourist destination of Vietnam, featuring countless awe-inspiring limestone karsts and islands of different sizes and shapes along the Bai Chay Beach coastline. Well known for its historic monuments, Hu has been enshrined in UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. It boasts the Nguy?n Dynasty imperial citadel, the Tombs of the Emperors and the Thiên M? Pagoda. The fourth largest city in Vietnam, Danang offers visitors the opportunity to savor the historical Hoi An town and the country's fifth World Heritage Site My Son; to bask on the scenic Non Nuoc beach; and enjoy a round of golf and the bustling city life. 

Onboard dining and entertainment have been especially adapted according to the lifestyle preferences of Chinese tourists. SuperStar Aquarius features 765 cabins of different categories, a host of dining, recreation and entertainment options complemented with a vibrant and friendly international crew of over 800. Earlier this year, the ship underwent a month-long, US$1.6 million refurbishment, adding a 360-degree 18-hole mini golf putting green / driving range and a new wine and cigar Lagoon Bar while enhancing its child care centre and video arcade, amongst other things. 

Star Cruises brings with it the warm Asian hospitality that it is famous for. Our well-trained crew, consisting of various Asian nationalities, serves passengers with sincerity and affability. The new Sanya-Vietnam itineraries present another opportunity for Star Cruises to showcase its latest travel products and service-from-the-heart hospitality to passengers from around the world. 

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